Audirvana as MQA renderer without having MQA renderer hardware

Hi, I’m using Ifi ZEN DAC V2 as an MQA decoder. No issue.
However, I will have another DAC, “E70 Velvet” by Topping shortly but it doesn’t support an MQA renderer or decoder. Now, I have hope or question if I can play MQA music as Audirvana as an MQA software renderer like a DDC. I know that we can listen to the MQA format streaming from TIDAL as a CD bitrate without having an MQA renderer or decoder without MQA renderer or decoder.
However, I wonder if Audirvana can do an MQA renderer as software to play HiRes music. (no playing as a CD bitrate)
If it’s possible, how can I do that at Audirvana and how can I check if it’s working? (We can check the LED light indicator for the hardware, but any way to check it inside of Audirvana?)

Hi @purplemountain,

Audirvana 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.
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.

To speak in specific, MQA doesn’t allow to do software 2nd unfolding. Thus, we have to listen to CD quality if no hardware MQA renderer or decoder. Am I right?

You are not limited to CD quality when you are playing a MQA track without an MQA device in Audirvāna :point_down:

Thanks for your reply!
Thus, we can unfold one time by Audirvana, but the MQA renderer or MQA decoder performs 3 times unfolding.
So to speak, if we don’t use the MQA renderer nor decoder, or Audirvana, then we can listen to MQA only at 44.1 or 48KHz. But, if we have Audirvana only, then we can hear 88.2 or 96Hz. But, if we have an MQA renderer or decoder together, then we can hear 176.4 or 182KHz.

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That’s a good summary yes :smiley:

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Sorry, but I’m still uncertain which would be the best MQA settings for my set-up:

• Audirvāna on a Windows 10 laptop

• which is USB connected to a Denon PMA-1600NE (PCM1795 DACs)

• MQAs come in via Tidal streaming

My MQA settings panel looks like this:


The DAC does not support MQA. It is not a Decoder and not a renderer. So ‘not MQA’

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