MQA over AirPlay?

Please forgive me if this has already been addressed; I could not find an answer in the forums. My Explorer2 DAC has the latest firmware and always works when directly connected via USB playing any TIDAL Master file. Over AirPlay, it only sometimes -briefly- shows the blue indicator light. I am using v3.0.6. on OS X 10.11.6 and have tried all of the MQA preference settings (Auto-detect, Not, Renderer, Decoder).

To further clarify, I am using Shairport Sync on a Raspberry Pi3 and Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil on a MBP as AirPlay speakers connected by USB to my Explorer2. Roon sends bit-perfect MQA for decoding/final rendering no problem via their RAAT network protocol. Can Audirvanna Plus do this?

AirPlay is not capable of streaming MQA.

In interviews that MQA founder Bob Stuart gave to Computer Audiophile, The Absolute Sound and Stereophile, he said that encoded files could be “truncated” to 16-bit such that they would retain much of their benefit to a decoder over AirPlay. Two of the three reviewers for those publications actually tried 16/44 streamed files and reported that they were not as good as the 24-bit versions, but were authenticated at the DAC and sounded generally better than CD.

Obviously, the Red Book MQA CDs that are starting to appear would work with bit-perfect AirPlay. But I don’t own any yet.

My question for A+ is whether or not this truncating process is possible within the program? In the meantime, I will attempt to identify the small number of 16/44 Master recordings available from TIDAL and play them to see what happens.

Airplay is limited to 16/44.1. Thus any decoded MQA signal will be downsampled to be streamed over Airplay and this is then nonsense.

Regarding not decoded MQA signal sent over Airplay, due to the 16bit limitation on Airplay, on the MQA CD format would go through. The MQA files found on download stores and streaming services are usually 24 bit to give more audio information, and thus can’t be streamed without being truncated (and losing the useful MQA data) over Airplay.

FYI, I’m currently developing the version 3.1 bringing playback to UPnP/DLNA devices, thus enabling playback of hires material. And this includes playing 24/88.2 or 24/96 MQA decoded.

Thanks for the response. I look forward to enjoying A+ SQ with HD music over my network.

It seems that Bob Stuart can truncate MQA files to 16-bit without destroying the encoded benefit, but others cannot.

Glad you got that sorted. So is your Explorer Decoder or Renderer? Reason I ask is that I’m getting one myself and want to make sure I get the settings right.

Meridian’s Explorer2 is a decoder that will fully unfold any MQA file to it’s maximum resolution. A renderer, such as the Dragonfly DACs, needs a software assist with the initial unfold to complete the process. A+ should be set to pass the file bit-perfect, which allows the Explorer2 to handle the entire task.

NEWS FLASH! Yes, MQA can work over AirPlay when files are created 16-bit/44.1 kHz as they are on MQA CDs. I bought a couple of these from Chesky Records at the recent Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, and they do fully decode (with the authentication light on) using my Explorer2 DAC.

So there!