MQA on Atom

No, Naim don’t support MQA, they only support lossless Hidef.

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It’s possible but highly unlikely. Naim have made it clear that they have no intention of adding MQA support to it’s streamers. Well, I say it possible MQA support was made available via Tidal apps through software updates, so I guess it could be done.

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Thats what I asc, It could be done, but its highly unlikely because Naim dont wont to pay licence…

FIFY :wink:

Linn said similar…

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Hi Gents,

To put the record straight, Naim has always kept an open mind on new formats / market trends. Outside of the long winded forum debates of if its the way forward or not for audio nirvana, we take the view that if a technology hits a critical mass on adoption then give the customer what they want.

On some technologies we do this earlier than others. For example fully functional Roon Ready or Airplay2. On technologies that need a critical mass of market adoption and/or financial stability to survive we take a more careful approach. Being an early adopter can be a great way to burn a lot of cash and a product feature spec sheet that is a history lesson of dead technologies. … .

At a platform level all the new products (Atom and on-wards) can technically support MQA as a software upgrade. This includes the latest Muso MK2 and Qb MK2. Currently Roon users can get 1st unfold of MQA on the Naim platform and Roon exposes the Tidal Masters view…

Overall, we respect the work that the guys at MQA are doing. They’ve encouraged many a label to release native 24bit recordings to end consumers in MQA and native formats. For Hifi enthusiasts getting one step closer to the original is never a bad thing, especially on newer recordings where it will typically be in first generation 24bit format throughout the recording/mixing/final master process. .

Best regards

Steve Harris
Software Director


Thanks for the answer. It’s great when there is good communication between users and manufacturers, I have to commend it.

I understand Naim’s stance on MQA, however I have a question.

In Tidal I am able to see variants of an album with an indication of whether it’s a Master:

But searching for the same album in the Naim app, I see both variants without any indication of the difference:

Please forgive me if this is a stupid question, but is there any detriment to me picking the wrong (i.e. unsupported MQA version) to play in the Naim app?

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No, you get the regular 16/44 version if Tidal sees that you are using non-MQA equipment.
If you want the first unfold, you can use the Tidal app instead, but then you would need to send it to the Atom via Chromecast…or, as Steve explains above, via Roon.

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Is mqa still a thing it seems to have gone quiet?

I think it’s the talk of MQA that has gone quiet. Perhaps people will turn back to it with renewed vigour when they are bored of discussing Ethernet cables.


Thank you for the confirmation. :+1:

(Partly why I elected to hijack this existing thread, rather than start a whole new conversation on this emotive topic!)

Although the MQA compressed file is said playable on standard equipment, if don’t have at least MQA software first unfold, then are better off avoiding the MQA version entirely and simply Go for standard 16/44 If you do have the software first unfold (e.g. if you were to use Audirvana as UPnP server, which offers that capability as an option, how good it is will be down to how you perceive the result - but My understanding is that it will not be the same as either the standard 16/44 or the hi res original master. (Even with the second unfold in hardware, IIUC it will not be a bit-perfect copy of the original hi res master - but some people say they like the effect it has on the sound.)

… and some others say that with the first unfold (available via Roon) there is little or no (depending upon the DAC that you use) difference between MQA encoded material and equivalent ‘standard’ high res material - in other words little or no effect on sound quality. With the full unfold available via MQA enabled DACs, the differences are even less pronounced.

As IB states - some people specifically prefer MQA encoded material to ‘standard’ hi-res on certain DACs. I (with my particular DACs) do not fall into this category.

So, streaming directly to Naim without any MQA support, I’d be better off picking the non-Master version in Tidal.

It’s a shame the Naim app doesn’t better allow me to differentiate between apparently identical duplicates in that case. I can add the “correct” version to my collection in the Tidal app, then switch back to Naim to play. But this isn’t as slick as it could be. Oh well…

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Unless you have Roon (or other software that can perform the first unfold) I would say - probably yes.

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It is my understanding that if you choose the MQA version in the Naim app, a non-MQA, 16/44 version will be selected instead. You can easily test this for yourself though, by comparing the two versions.

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Chris, indeed Naim have confirmed that.

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Yes, I was previously a little concerned that the losses introduced by MQA encoding might still be present if we were listening to the files on non-MQA players, even if they still showed up as 16/44, but it seems that this is not the case.

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