Sprout 100, Roon & MQA


Loving my new Sprout 100 & Elac Unifi UB5 setup. I am pretty much only streaming Tidal via Roon with a USB connected Mac Mini. Everything sounds great.

Are there other/better ways to stream MQA to the Sprout 100 that cost less than the Sprout 100 itself? If the MQA was fully unfolded and went into the Sprout 100, would it even make a difference? I would prefer not to use the mac mini if possible. Would love something smaller and less expensive. I will likely continue to use it as a Roon Core

I have been looking at DACs, Allo’s products/RPi etc, but I cannot find something that can decode and render MQA that works with the Sprout 100s inputs. Since the Sprout 100 apparently converts analog back to digital maybe this is a wasted effort?

Thanks for any guidance!


My suggestion would be not to bother with MQA.

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Ditto to the MQA.

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…and lose Tidal and get Qobuz : )

If you are using Roon, why not let the software do the first unfold? At the very least, you would hear for yourself whether MQA is improving the experience for you. That being said, I agree with the others that MQA alone is not worth the expense of additional gear, even if that gear is “affordable.”

A final thought in connection to the Tidal vs. Qobuz debate. I was fortunate enough to secure a code to beta test in the US, and like others I found Qobuz to be of higher sound quality. However, without its integration in Roon, I found myself going back to Tidal anyway. I know, bad audiophile!

Yeah - hope they work Qobuz integration into Roon.

Thanks for the feedback.

When Qobuz is available in the US :slight_smile: I might be open to switching. Tidal hifi sounds great, and I am enjoying a 30 day trial of Roon, so yes like @BK_Audiophile, I will likely stick with Tidal until there are other options to stream in Roon.

Very excited to try Qobuz, and glad to hear it is an improvement over Tidal.

As for ditching MQA, maybe but I still don’t want to use a mac mini as the Roon endpoint.

I would be open to just Roon handling the first unfold and then the endpoint taking it from there. If we stop there - any suggestions?

As far as getting rid of the mac mini and a reasonable price, and not worrying about full MQA rendering, I am considering the Allo Boss 1.2, as it can be a Roon bridge, always on etc. Since it supports Airplay, my kids and guests can also stream easily from their phones using that or the built in bluetooth on the Sprout 100.

One step up would be the microRendu, which can often be found secondhand on the Roon forum for a very reasonable price. It also supports Airplay. Highly recommend it as a Roon endpoint.

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Thanks. That one wasn’t on my radar. I will take a look at it.

Maybe I’m one of the few who likes Tidal, Roon, and MQA. Whenever Qobuz comes to the US and gets integrated into Roon, I will give it a try. What is your reason for not wanting to use your Mac as the Roon endpoint? I have a DSJ that I use as my endpoint but I do use my Mac Mini to run the Roon core.

Michael - the main reason I don’t want to continue to use my mac mini long term, is I want the mac somewhere else in the house. The mac will remain in the house to run Roon core, and there will be another system that will leverage it as well.

I have attached a screenshot of an example of my flow in Roon.

Whether I stick with a mac mini running Roon connected via USB, move to a microrendu via USB, or use an Allo Boss via analog - is there any way to feed the Sprout 100 something better in this price range?

And if so, would it even be noticeable? As I mentioned, this currently sounds fantastic.

Finally - if I jump to a microrendu (new or used), price point will be similar to buying another a late model mac mini - which is the better option of those two in terms of SQ?

Apologies if this is basic. I am more technical on the software side than I am in terms of hifi audio. Thanks for everyone’s input.

Gotcha, it makes sense. Sorry but I don’t know of a better/different option in your price range. Sorry but I don’t have any experience with microrendu.

The microRendu will offer better sound, as it is designed to clean up the signal before passing it on to the USB input. The other benefit of a microRendu is that you can always upgrade the sound by getting increasingly better power supplies. Start with the iFi Power, or if you want to look at a higher price point, an Uptone LPS-1 will get you a substantial improvement in SQ.

Another option… You may want to look at SonicTransporter, which is a computer dedicated to running Roon. If you email Andrew Gillis at Small Green Computer, which builds the ST, you can talk to him about building a custom unit that has a USB out (as opposed to the usual ethernet out). I am not sure about what the price would be. This option would get you the SQ improvements without the need to find a networking solution.

BTW, Trebz, just saw this thread on Roon’s forum:

Thanks BK. Much appreciated!

Also consider a potential micro Rendu + Ultradigital combination (or the Matrix converter).

Small green computer has reasonably priced linear power supplies at $160 as an option.