Tidal MQA playback while in lossless mode

In stream settings I have the option to choose between lossless or master tidal. If I play a song that has the mqa indicator while in lossless mode the song will play at 16 44.1. I prefer to use pcm instead of mqa as I do not have an mqa dac.

Is audirvana downsampling the original mqa file to 16 44.1 or are they playing a different version of the song that’s not mqa from the tidal database?

This is the right answer

Hello @yolosauce, you can benefit of the MQA quality right in Audirvana even if you don’t have a MQA DAC. 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.