We've been receiving questions about MQA recently, so I'd like to address this "new" CODEC. I'll start out with simple "truths"....
MQA is just a CODEC (code-decode). It's an algorithm, a.k.a. "software". It's a "lossy" format, meaning compressed, like MP3. It's purpose is to conserve transmission bandwidth - which is less of an issue every day.
The device (PC, streamer, transport, etc.) that drives your DAC runs software that decodes various formats and passes them along or converts them to some other format. Ultimately, there's a hardware connection to transport the data to your DAC. The stream being transported is typically PCM or DSD. The "transport connection" is typically USB or SPDIF.
In the case of a PC streaming MQA, the data can be passed along to the DAC or decoded by the PC and converted to a "usable format" for your DAC. This means your DAC doesn't need to support MQA for you to listen to MQA.
Let's take JRiver for example. JRiver plays files (or streams), and can convert just about anything to PCM.
So, whatever you use to playback audio files or stream audio should provide a way to convert to PCM.
Here's the "controversial stuff".... MQA is yet another "new" standard in the search of license fees, and many manufacturers are rejecting it. There's just a lot of hype surrounding it currently, possibly due to lack of other industry news.
IMHO, Lossless high rate, high resolution PCM (not DSD, as I have discussed in other threads) remains the highest quality audio.
The DAC DAC excels at reproducing a super clean signal, uncompressed. It takes PCM data up to 192kHz/24-bit.
Just thought I'd get the ball rolling on this subject. More later, but please feel free to comment, but let's stick to facts, please....
- Tommy O