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MQA full unfolding w/o a MQA enable DAC

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Heulpic

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Hello all,
I'm new to this forum and I have a question regarding the way I'm streaming MQA encoded music from Tidal. I once thought one needed a MQA enable DAC to do the complete unfolding
I use a Lumin U2 mini streamer (no DAC), which is apparently doing a full MQA unfolding, and send the signal to my Oppo UHP-205 DAC via the USB input.
My question; Since my Oppo is not full MQA enable, do I loose something in the process?
P.S. Please no lecturing about the benefit of MQA vs. non-MQA. I know all the controversy already:):):):)
 
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Turambar

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Interesting.

If my understanding is correct, the Lumin device fully decode MQA, so to the Oppo DAC it would appear as a PCM signal at 384 or 352.8 kHz, to be converted to analog without applying any further digital filtering.
 

somebodyelse

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Interesting.

If my understanding is correct, the Lumin device fully decode MQA, so to the Oppo DAC it would appear as a PCM signal at 384 or 352.8 kHz, to be converted to analog without applying any further digital filtering.
Their original explanation of how it was supposed to work included having to do secret things with the reconstruction filter to avoid the output being somehow 'wrong', hence the requirement for an approved DAC rather than just a software decoder. Has this requirement somehow disappeared?
 

norcalscott

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I suspect that the Lumin is just doing an initial SW unfold, same as the Tidal app running on Windows. This thread seems to have some information, but I would imagine if the Lumin is doing a "full unfold" they would specify it that way instead of just claiming to decode MQA. Now, whether or not a "full unfold" would result in improved sound quality, that is hard to say. The best way to prove this is to route the output of the Lumin into a MQA capable DAC, like the SMSL SU-9 and see what the display indicates for MQA. If someone has a DAC that you can borrow that would be a quick test.
 
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Heulpic

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Sure it's not clear on the web site but here's what I found in the manual (I'm set to passthrough):
1658762607370.png
 

tmtomh

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I have no definitive info here, but perhaps it’s a terminology issue. I believe MQA refers to the final stage - the choice of the reconstruction filter in the DAC as the “render” stage. So the “unfold” can happen before the DAC but not the final “render.”

Beyond that, it’s hard to answer your question without injecting some opinion. According to MQA you are losing something if your DAC is not MQA capable. According to most of us here, though, you’re not losing anything because MQA’s “custom” reconstruction filters are not nearly as “custom” as they suggest, and their choice of filter either makes no sonic difference or else is not the best choice from a technical standpoint.

The Oppo 205 is no longer state of the art in its DAC performance, but it remains damned close to state of the art and its performance is excellent and well in the range of audibly transparent. So I would not recommend getting a different DAC because of MQA.

The only reason to swap out the 205 would be if you want to get rid of it - you could sell it for a lot of money!
 

staticV3

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So tell me; How bad are they?
In case of the MQA pyramid, tons of headache, research, uncertainty trying to figure out the format, plus a $100 markup for compatible hardware, for a format that is at best still worse than straight FLAC.

MQA is a lossy, compressed format (MP3 with extra steps) trying to trick their customers into thinking it's not, and in doing so squeezing as much licensing money out of the industry as possible.
 
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dc655321

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In case of the MQA pyramid, tons of headache, research, uncertainty trying to figure out the format, plus a $100 markup for compatible hardware, for a format that is at best still worse than straight FLAC.

MQA is a lossy, compressed format (MP3 with extra steps) trying to trick their customers into thinking it's not, and in doing so squeezing as much licensing money out of the industry as possible.

That's a nice summary!
 
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Heulpic

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That is at least a contribution to the discussion but it's still an opinion unless it is proven by meassurements.
No way the get reliable information on the subject? Any measuments somewhere to compare the output signals between MQA and non-MQA music file of identical bit depth and freq. rate (perhaps a good challenge for Amir)?
Personnaly, I'm just a naive and easily suggestible follower. However, I'm wondering why there's still so many manufacturers (which I'm gussesing are more ''aware'' than me) embarking in such a scheme.
 

staticV3

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However, I'm wondering why there's still so many manufacturers (which I'm gussesing are more ''aware'' than me) embarking in such a scheme.
Since when do manufacturers care about what's "right"?
They see a sizeable group of people willing to shell out extra money for that MQA logo and so they do their best to meet that demand.
 
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Heulpic

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Very informative. Especially the videos. I was aware of the controversy and suspect about MQA claims but now I have some data to back it up.
I might have overpaid my streamer by 100-150$, but over few k$ of audio equipment, I won't complain.
Looking forward to have Qobuz available up here in Canada;)
Tkx guys
 
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