Audio Device Configuration

Hi guys!

This is my first post, I hope this is the right category.

So I just started using Audirvana and while configuring my audio devices I noticed that my internal Realtek device is recognized as DSD but not MQA capable. Audirvana gives me the option to select either “Decoder”, “Renderer”, and “No MQA”. If I change the settings to any of them, the device sounds and there’s some change to the actual final audio. I wasn’t able to find any information about the internal DAC (My laptop is a Dell Inspiron 5520), and my question is:

If it lets me configure the device as “MQA Decoder” and it sounds and the audio changes, does this mean that the DAC is actually MQA capable or the software is just ignoring my settings and doing the first unfold only?

Thanks for the help!

Hello @HerrManneling,

Audirvana 3.5 integrates the MQA Core Decoder that performs the first unfolding (up to 88.2 or 96kHz) to benefit from the high resolution of the MQA audio files even without an MQA audio device. By MQA decision, the second unfolding (to 176.4 or 192kHz) can be performed only in a MQA renderer/decoder DAC.

Non MQA capable audio devices can benefit from the high resolution (doubled sample rate compared to the encoded file one) thanks to the MQA decoder integrated in Audirvana 3.
In this case, Audirvana brings, in addition to the general Sound Quality improvement, the decoding of the MQA file that would be played only at little above CD quality otherwise, losing all its high resolution benefits. Note that decoding the signal beyond twice the sampling rate of the encoded file (for the few rare recordings actually made above 96kHz) can only be done in a DAC MQA.

You then need to leave “Not MQA decoder” for your DAC in the Audio Settings, so that Audirvana performs the MQA decoding.

If you have a DAC that is “MQA decoder” then, you can select MQA decoder. That means that no audio processing done in Audirvana, as the DAC is doing all of the MQA decoding.
If you have a DAC that is “MQA renderer” then, you can select MQA renderer. That means MQA first unfolding done in Audirvana, and no other audio processing as the DAC is doing the other unfolding

The Blue color means that the file is “Studio authenticated”.
The Green color is for other MQA audio file.


Thanks @Antoine!

Thank you very much for your answer. I understand how MQA works; that’s why I have the question, since I don’t really know if this DAC is capable of unfolding MQA.

Maybe I was not clear on my doubt so I’ll rephrase my question: Will I have audio if the DAC is configured in Audirvana as MQA decoder even if the DAC is not MQA certified?

Thanks again for the help.

You’ll be able to play the files if you select MQA decoder for your device that is not MQA capable. You won’t get the benefits of the “first unfold” if you select MQA decoder. That’s why it’s better to select Non-MQA.


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