MacBook pro can support MQA via Tidal, but must my DAC also support MQA?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by seal.rock, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. seal.rock

    seal.rock Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco, cA
    I am looking at some DACs at the moment - I know there are some that support MQA, but not sure if this is even necessary or not, since the source i'll be playing it out of MacBook Pro does. Anyone know how this works? Will signal be degraded by not having a MQA-capable DAC?
     
  2. Claude Benshaul

    Claude Benshaul Forum Resident

    MQA decoding is a two stage process: unfold+filter.

    The first step can be done in software and this is what TIDAL does. You need an MQA compliant DAC to apply the MQA filters that supposedly give you HiRes lossless equivalent quality from the resulting 17/96 decoded stream.

    Wikipdia claim that if you do neither the playable portion of an MQA file on non-MQA compliant equipment is roughly 13bit, which should be worse than CD.
     
  3. seal.rock

    seal.rock Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco, cA
    Thank you very much - this clarifies it for me. Would you think the DAC built into the MacBook Pro itself is capable is handling MQA? I would assume not.
     
  4. Dr Tone

    Dr Tone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    No it isn’t.
     
  5. seal.rock

    seal.rock Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco, cA
    Ok, thanks guys.
     
  6. Benjamin Reed

    Benjamin Reed Member

    Location:
    London
    Get the meridian explorer 2 Dac. Cheap and sounds awesome with mqa.
     
  7. seal.rock

    seal.rock Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco, cA


    Thanks for the suggestion, will check it out! I have just been reading some criticism of MQA along the lines of "______ compression _____," so not yet sure how far I want to go with it.
     
  8. Bubbamike

    Bubbamike Forum Resident

    I won't open up another MQA thread here. Buy the Dragonfly if you want MQA decoding. Cheaper than the poor sounding explorer and much better sounding.
     
  9. seal.rock

    seal.rock Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco, cA
    Do you like the red or black Dragonfly?
     
  10. Archimago

    Archimago Forum Resident

    Red is better than Black. Same microcontroller for the MQA "rendering" but the ESS DAC is a 9016 in the Red vs. 9010 in the Black.

    Here's Audioquest's data sheet.
     

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