What are best settings for Tidal-> Audirvana ->Qutest -. Valve amp

I stream Tidal through my PC to Audirvana and from there by USB to a Chord Qutest DAC which doesn’t handle MQA.
From the Chord Qutest DAC it goes to a Feliks Audio valve amp.

Can anybody advise me?
Should I set Audirvana to MQA renderer or MQA decoder?
Should I convert PCM to DSD?
Should I use ASIO or WASAPI ?
What other settings should I use?

Thanks in Advance

Hi Neil!
Pretty simple questions. MQA doesn’t make sense with DAC not supporting, is it? You just get the sound of silence :smiley:
PCM or DSD? Whatever you feel sounds better. Hope you have a better than standard USB-cable. I would expect effects in regions above DSD256\PCM 384kHz.
ASIO or WASAPI? Whatever will work and see above, sounds good. I guess you followed the installation guide for the driver, if now your device appears in WASAPI, give it a try.

Your DAC seems to have some options too. So there is plenty of opportunity to ruin sound quality :sunglasses: . My experience is to leave options and filters unchanged. Certain recordings from '80s and early '90s sound harsh and upsampling will not help or even worsen things. In this case I do without or very low, 2x.


Thanks for taking the trouble to reply BB but unfortunately simply saying try what sounds best is not really the reply I was looking for :wink:
I was hoping someone who has a Chord Qutest DAC (which is not silent ) would have an answer

My audio system are composed from: PC (as music provider), a DAC iFi Audio Nano IDSD Black Label (which support all kind of files including and MQA), a Marantz PM5005 (as amplifier) and a pair of Dali Zensor 3 (as speakers).
Till now I didn’t change nothing nowhere, I let everything as was installed and the experience sound is a real pleajure.

Thanks terra, do you not use the upsampling abilities of this software?

No, just default as was installed. First time I tried and with upsampling, but, honestly, didn’t saw/hear nothing notable, to be different that the classic way, what was truly different was the consumption over the system resources :slight_smile:
So I let default and realy, everything sound very well to me, I believe that this upsampling is more the placebo effect than something realy palpable.

I have played with the upsampling a few different times but did not notice any difference. I turned that off and just send the source unmodified to my dac and let it do its thing.

I definitely notice a difference when I upsample from 16/44 to 32/768 or dsd256
But I want to make sure I have the settings perfect. So for exampel I wantto know if I shoudl use the renderer/decoder or no settings when I have Qutest as my DAC.
Are there English speaking techie experts in the forum that work for Audivirna that you can ask about the settings? I read the manuals and they are not much use

Hi Neil, me again :smiley:
As far as I have learned from the manual of qutest, it has no MQA integration. Thus, renderer or decoder setting for MQA from Tidal makes no sense. Only Audirvana will do the first unfolding, that’s it. My advice, forget about this setting detail. And there is no spec saying anything about input and frequency response at output relation. My Yamaha for example does change output with higher input. But if there is really a difference depends on the recording too. Real Hires from Tidal you will only get with MQA capable hardware. Audirvana does a nice job, don’t mess with the settings. Maybe check, if you have 32-bit at the output of Audirvana. There is a switch, where you could limit this. In my opinion no use to do so, use 32-bit as one way of upsampling.


Thanks for replying BB. I really do notice a difference with the up sampling but like you say Chord doesn’t handle MQA so it seems there must be some unpacking or unfolding. Also I see the input to Audivarne shows 16/44 and output shows 32 762

Sorry Neil, wrote just a long explanation, then it kicked me out, all lost :imp:
You have no MQA. Setting to no MQA or renderer does the same, Audirvana does first unfolding, you can sample up. Decoder, Audirvana does no unfolding, no upsampling.
I tested: 24/96 MQA in Tidal with network player without MQA. First and second played 24/96, third it played 24/48. 24 bit is its limit. With a DAC this is maybe different. Use 32bit always, this is a kind of upsampling too. Audirvana does an excellent job in my view.
When upsampling, use only pair upsampling, 44.1 to 88.2, 176.4 … Seems logical to me, not?
In the end it’s your decision, fiddling around or enjoy listening :wink:


Thanks BB, that makes sense

I have a similar setup, Laptop->Tidal->Audirvana->Qutest->Integrated tube amp and I I did some comparing between Audirvana vs Tidal player. My observation is that if I use Tidal as a standalone player on my Laptop the light on the Qutest is consistently blue with each album which means the sample rate is 176.4 khz. When I run Tidal through Audirvana the Qutest light changes between red, yellow and green which means the sample rate is between 44.1khz to 96hz depending on which album I play.

Does the Tidal player have its own upsampling algorithm? The bigger question I should be asking is: how does the sound compare? I still have to do proper A-B comparison but from the onset I “think” Tidal through Audirvana sounds better. @Neilmca Have you had success with upsampling Tidal through Audirvana? My ears are telling me that using Audirvana sounds better but the sample rate display on the Qutest is making me second guess!

Hi Neil thanks for this. Can you please repost the screenshot for the settings they advise? I think the previous image link expired.

Audirvana settings.JPG
Posted. Hope it helps
Audirvana settings.JPG

Got it. Thanks! Sounding good now :mrgreen:

Hi NeilMca, just wanted to resurrect this thread. Have you left your Audirvana upsampling setting to: upsampling x2? I’ve been experimenting lately with the upsampling settings and agree with your observations. Somehow the upsampling x2 sounds just right, better than the leaving it deactivated so I’ve left it there for the moment.

Добрый день.Есть несколько вопросов по проигрыванию MQA через Audirvana совместно с Usb ЦАП Ifi nano idsd.На пк лиц. Win10.Установлена последняя версия Auditvana 3.5. К ПК по usb подключен внешний ifi nano idsd(на нём установлена последняя оф.прошивка 5.3 с поддержкой MQA.Я так понимаю с функцией renderer).При воспроизведении файлов mqa из Tidal независимо от разрешения(44.1,48,96,192кГц/24bit они показаны в окне плеера слева внизу) они первично декодируются в 88.2 или 96/24 (эти значения указаны в окне проигрывателя справа внизу).По идее мой цап ifi idsd получает этот сигнал и должен сделать второе развертывание до исходных значений mqa.Цвет светодиода на нём подтверждает ,что он в режиме mqa.Вопрос?Делает ли он это,и до каких значений?192,384/24?Где это отображаетя?