Quick How to Stream MQA via Tidal to Bluesound


Just recently (yesterday?), Tidal started offering "masters" recordings that are in MQA format @ 96khz as opposed to 44.1khz. But, the catch--at least right now--is that such offerings are limited to (a) <200 albums; and (b) streaming only through Tidal's desktop app--not through iPhone, iPad, etc. 

Here's how I got the MQA to work in Bluesound.  It's only a temporary fix. 

1. Go to Tidal on my computer/desktop app. 
2. Open Tidal. 
3. Go to "What's New"
4. Next to Albums just above the album artwork you'll see, "New, Recommended, Top 20, Masters."  Select Masters. 
5. When you see an album of Masters you like, add it to your Favorites. 
6. Open your Bluesound app on your favorite device (does not have to be your computer/desktop). 
7. Go to Favorites, Albums, and find the album.  It can be a bit difficult if you already have, for example, a previous non-masters version in your favorites.  But, when you stream the proper album your DAC--if so equipped--will indicate that it's streaming in 96khz as opposed to the standard 44.1khz. 

Tidal needs to make this browsing functionality available in its own app. That may not help identify the "Masters" in Bluesound's app, but til those two things are updated you can use this workaround. 

I tested Van Morrison's Moondance and several Led Zeppelin albums.  The 96khz is subtlely different streaming through Tidal - Bluesound - my NAD M51 DAC.  I like the sound of vocals, drums, bass and transients. 
jbhiller
Thanks. I followed a similar process for streaming the MQA content using my Bluesound Node 2. I just made a note of the MQA selections that I liked from Tidal app and found them on my Bluesound app and saved them. My external DAC does indeed show 96 rate when playing those selections. A bit of a kludge but I did this mainly just to hear the difference.
I don't remember, does blue sound decode MQA?
Alan
My understanding is it does. Wouldn't getting a higher sampling rate- 96 vs. 44.1, for the streamed MQA content (via Bluesound) be a confirmation of this?
Yes, and if you use analog out you will get the full "deblurring" magic of MQA up to and including 24/192.
Thanks for the post.  I am streaming MQA, at least that is what the bluesound app is telling me.  It sounds great but then again so do the originals (16/44.1 hifi streams).
Thanks for posting this!  My weekend suddenly just got really busy

This works on an OPPO 105d player too.
The above method 'jbhiler' describes even works on non-MQA DACs. I'm listening to TIDAL Masters (MQA) tracks with my Lumin S1.  The tracks show as 48K / 24 bit, which is of course is higher than the Redbook standard TIDAL HiFi usually delivers. I'm guessing if my DAC was MQA capable, it would show as 96K / 24 bit.

Does this prove you don't need the TIDAL desktop app to decode the Masters (MQA) tracks?
A couple of things. Not all of the Tidal MQA contents are delivered at 24/96 so your non-MQA DAC is just showing the original rate. Try a few other titles from the Masters list and you'll see 96 on most of them but that's the most you'll get from a non-MQA DAC. The benefit of an MQA enabled DAC comes in when the original content is being delivered at 24/192. Here's what I've learned: the Tidal app decodes the first MQA phase up to 96 via software and going 96 -> 192 requires the hardware in the DAC. I also verified with the Bluesound helpdesk that both analog and digital coax outputs can handle MQA content. 
I'm using a Bluesound Node 2 into a Bel Canto DAC 3.7 via SPDIF and I'm getting either 88.2 or 96 kHz on most Tidal MQA material. 
You may want to try bypassing the Bel Canto and see/hear if those same contents sound better. The non-MQA DAC will limit the sampling to 96 if those contents were originally streamed at 192. The trade-off is going to be between the quality of the two DACs and the second MQA "unfolding" performed by the Node2.
@jank 
Do you run a desktop to the BDP-105d via usb? Or can it stream Tidal MQA independently?  I currently don't have the Oppo (nor Tidal) and I'm researching best ways of integrating MQA into my system.

No USB, wifi stream directly from an Android app on a phone.
All the masters I selected on the desktop are showing up on the Android phone and I can play them on the Oppo.
@jank 
Thanks!  Do you need to have the desktop on, open and running?  Or can it be done completely through a smartphone app?

You need the desktop app to select the masters and add it to your favorites. No need to stay running or even the PC to stay on.
Kalali said:  "You may want to try bypassing the Bel Canto and see/hear if those same contents sound better."

The fully decoded analog output of the Bluesound Node 2 is quite pleasant and a screaming deal for a $500 streamer-DAC, but it is not up to the SQ out of the Bel Canto 3.7 via SPDIF after the first MQA decode in the Node 2.
@jank 
Are you sure you're getting the MQA software decoded through the Oppo? I attempted doing what you said with the Oppo 103 and only getting 44.1 according to the Anthem D2 processor.  I would like to remove the laptop and just use the 103, but I don't think it's possible yet. 
I agree with mcroth. I don't think the Oppo can access the higher res Tidal MQA info. MQA argue that their un-decoded files in the standard FLAC wrapper will sound better than Redbook 16/44, but I have not been able to discern that by listening.
I have the Bluesound Node 2 and Rotel ra-1592 integrated amp connected via a Transparent Optical interconnect. I too was initially confused about whether my Rotel DAC was decoding the mqa. Someone above said it first, but I want to validate that not all Tidal MQA albums are 96 kHz - Beyonce comes in at 44.1, though Joni Mitchell comes in at 96 - my Rotel automatically switches its display from 44.1 to 96 when the data being send to it changes.

Bluesound’s app lets you stream the MQA via your phone/ (I have the iPhone 6s) - Bluesound also sorts all the MQA albums for you on my phone app which is really helpful.

I’m sort of a audiophile newb, why does my Rotel only display the 44.1 vs 16/44.1, it does this for the 96khz too - doesn’t display the "24 bits" portion of the frequency - do those numbers go hand in hand? - should i assume 96khz is also 24bits? thanks
Question:

If I have 1) Tidal, 2) Bluesound iPhone app, 3) Meridian Explorer 2, can I stream full mqa through my iPhone?

Thanks

Question:

If I have 1) Tidal, 2) Bluesound iPhone app, 3) Meridian Explorer 2, can I stream full mqa through my iPhone?

Thanks

Good question. Unless something changed in that couple of months, the only way to get the full MQA treatment was using the Tidal app on a PC/ MAC. That aside, why use a Meridian Explorer when you can do the same using your Node2. And more importantly, how can you use the Bluesound app on the Meridian?
Good question (& thx for the reply).

I have Tidal app on my iPhone (dropped the service bc imo the sq was not worth the $). I read, somewhere, that Bluesound + an mqa dac would play Tidal mqa streaming. Haven't, yet, purchased a mqa dac or resubscribed to Tidal. Don't want to install a computer in my sound room. Hoping to find a way to get full mqa at least investment. Trying to learn how.

Thanks
Unless there's a hack I don't know of, regardless of what "component" you use for streaming, you still need the Tidal HiFi subscription in order to listen to MQA processed music.