MQA already dead in the water? No full decoding DAC alternatives...
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  1. #1
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    MQA already dead in the water? No full decoding DAC alternatives...

    Please help me out here, are there realistic DAC alternatives available to try out full decoding? I was looking for one I could buy just to try it out. Unless you go for top dollar it gets thin.

    MSB Select - 80K, ok I’ll take two
    MSB Reference - 40K upwards
    DCS Rossini - 24K
    Berkeley Ref 2 - 18K
    Brinkman Nyquist - 18K (terrible measured perf)
    Mark Lewinson 519 - 17K, only announced
    .
    .
    .
    Nothing
    .
    .
    .
    Nothing
    .
    .
    .
    Nothing.
    .
    .
    .
    Lumins 2-10K - unfolding (Wolfson DAC)
    Estoteric N-05 - 8K, only announced (unfolding, since rng chg)
    MSB Analog DAC - 7K decoding
    Aurender A10 - 6K decoding, mainly a NAS
    Krell Vanguard DAC 4.5K, unfolding only announced (ESS9018)
    Mytek Manhattan 2 - 4K decoding
    Oppo UDP-205 - 1.5K decoding
    Bel Canto ACI600 - xK, only announced
    Quad Artery xK, only announced
    Mytek Brooklyn - 2K decoding
    Bluesound, Onkyo, LG, Onkyo, Moon, Sony, NAD, Meridian, Pioneer, Technics, Audiolab, Project, Rotel, Teac, Wadax
    Audioquest dongles, smartphones etc

    Not joining in so far Aesthetix, Antelope, Arcam, ARC, Auralic, Aqua, Ayon, Ayre, Benchmark, Bricasti, Bryston, Burmester, Chord, exaSound, Exogal, Hegel, Lampizator, Lector, Luxman, McIntosh, Meitner, Merging, Nagra, Naim, Playback Designs, PS Audio, Pyramix, Rega, Resolution Audio, Schiit, T+A, TotalDAC, Wadia, Weiss - essentially everyone who has had a leg up in the DAC market in the past years except the +20K segment.

    Except for MSB top-tier, Mytek and of course Meridian that is the entire Stereophile Recommended Components A+ list missing. Add Brinkmann and it is the entire DAC list. Does that tell something?

    Thoughts?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    “Life’s too short to listen to bad audio.”

    Big rig: Vpi Prime with Phoenix Engineering Eagle and Roadrunner/ Ortofon Cadenza Bronze MC/ Stillpoints LPI/ Grandinote Celio/ Aurender N100H/ Curious USB/ Auralic Aries Mini/ Meitner MA-1/ Ayre KX-5 Twenty/ Pass Labs X250.8/ WyWires Platinum IC+speaker+power cables/ Magico S3 mk2/ REL S5 SHO/ REL Blue/ Shunyata Triton+AlphaHC+Alpha Analogue+Alpha Digital/ Finite Elemente Pagode/ Stillpoints Ultra SS.

    Small rig: Naim UnitiServe/ Curious USB/ Ayre Codex/ Auralic Aries Mini/ Sbooster PSU/ Pass Labs INT-60/ Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II/ HiD Diamond 8/ Harbeth 3PSR2/ Shunyata Venom EU7 & Venom 3 HD.

    HP rig: MacBookAir/ Audirvana/ Auralic Gemini 2000/ HD Plex linear PSU/ Charleston Cable Company Cardas Custom/ Sennheiser HD800/ Shunyata HD/ Shunyata Hydra 2/ AudioTekne Blue.

  2. #2
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    Re: MQA already dead in the water? No full decoding DAC alternatives...

    So there are DAC's at every price point. There are ~8000 titles available. There are additional DAC's announced. Whats the issue?

    Not everyone makes a DSD DAC either.
    Jim

    D'Agostino Momentum Mono amps & Pre-amp
    Wilson Alexandria X2 Series 2 speakers
    Digital: dCS Rossini & Clock
    Analog: SME 20/3 with Esoteric E-03 Phono
    Transparent Opus Speaker Cable & Interconnects, PC - Transparent Reference Powerlink MM2x
    Power: Shunyata Denali

  3. #3
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    MQA already dead in the water? No full decoding DAC alternatives...

    Quote Originally Posted by still-one View Post
    So there are DAC's at every price point. There are ~8000 titles available. There are additional DAC's announced. Whats the issue?

    Not everyone makes a DSD DAC either.
    Believe it or not, I am not trying to talk down MQA. It’s the opposite, I want to try full decoding. I kind of like the unfolding level, but to my ears it is marginal and e.g. DSD is still better.

    But if fully decoded MQA sounds better, that would be great as there is only a limited amount of DSD material available, but a lots of MQA material on Tidal (have a hifi account).

    So, to try the real deal, I do need a fully decoding DAC and most of the announced partners are only unfolding. The problem is the Mytek is not good enough and would hence distort the test and I don’t want to go 18K for the Berkeley Reference 2 just to try it out.

    I’m open for suggestions, which are the fully decoding DACs I should try to get my hands on?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    “Life’s too short to listen to bad audio.”

    Big rig: Vpi Prime with Phoenix Engineering Eagle and Roadrunner/ Ortofon Cadenza Bronze MC/ Stillpoints LPI/ Grandinote Celio/ Aurender N100H/ Curious USB/ Auralic Aries Mini/ Meitner MA-1/ Ayre KX-5 Twenty/ Pass Labs X250.8/ WyWires Platinum IC+speaker+power cables/ Magico S3 mk2/ REL S5 SHO/ REL Blue/ Shunyata Triton+AlphaHC+Alpha Analogue+Alpha Digital/ Finite Elemente Pagode/ Stillpoints Ultra SS.

    Small rig: Naim UnitiServe/ Curious USB/ Ayre Codex/ Auralic Aries Mini/ Sbooster PSU/ Pass Labs INT-60/ Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II/ HiD Diamond 8/ Harbeth 3PSR2/ Shunyata Venom EU7 & Venom 3 HD.

    HP rig: MacBookAir/ Audirvana/ Auralic Gemini 2000/ HD Plex linear PSU/ Charleston Cable Company Cardas Custom/ Sennheiser HD800/ Shunyata HD/ Shunyata Hydra 2/ AudioTekne Blue.

  4. #4
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    Re: MQA already dead in the water? No full decoding DAC alternatives...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuoppis View Post
    Believe it or not, I am not trying to talk down MQA. It’s the opposite, I want to try full decoding. I kind of like the unfolding level, but to my ears it is marginal and e.g. DSD is still better.

    But if fully decoded MQA sounds better, that would be great as there is only a limited amount of DSD material available, but a lots of MQA material on Tidal (have a hifi account).

    So, to try the real deal, I do need a fully decoding DAC and most of the announced partners are only unfolding. The problem is the Mytek is not good enough and would hence distort the test and I don’t want to go 18K for the Berkeley Reference 2 just to try it out.

    I’m open for suggestions, which are the fully decoding DACs I should try to get my hands on?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Unless you are in the market for a new DAC I am not suggesting anyone should run out and purchase a MQA capable DAC. The way I look at , if you are happy with your current hi-rez or DSD DAC then do not go out and seek a MQA solution. If you are like me and have found Tidal's SQ and library to your liking then you can always add a inexpensive MQA solution until it is time to purchase that new MQA capable DAC.

    Note: I will be making a separate post regarding Tidal/ Roon SQ soon.
    Jim

    D'Agostino Momentum Mono amps & Pre-amp
    Wilson Alexandria X2 Series 2 speakers
    Digital: dCS Rossini & Clock
    Analog: SME 20/3 with Esoteric E-03 Phono
    Transparent Opus Speaker Cable & Interconnects, PC - Transparent Reference Powerlink MM2x
    Power: Shunyata Denali

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  6. #5
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    Re: MQA already dead in the water? No full decoding DAC alternatives...

    Quote Originally Posted by still-one View Post
    Unless you are in the market for a new DAC I am not suggesting anyone should run out and purchase a MQA capable DAC. The way I look at , if you are happy with your current hi-rez or DSD DAC then do not go out and seek a MQA solution. If you are like me and have found Tidal's SQ and library to your liking then you can always add a inexpensive MQA solution until it is time to purchase that new MQA capable DAC.

    Note: I will be making a separate post regarding Tidal/ Roon SQ soon.
    I am kinda on the same page: want to try it but not ready yet to replace my current kit for a bit of MQA.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    “Life’s too short to listen to bad audio.”

    Big rig: Vpi Prime with Phoenix Engineering Eagle and Roadrunner/ Ortofon Cadenza Bronze MC/ Stillpoints LPI/ Grandinote Celio/ Aurender N100H/ Curious USB/ Auralic Aries Mini/ Meitner MA-1/ Ayre KX-5 Twenty/ Pass Labs X250.8/ WyWires Platinum IC+speaker+power cables/ Magico S3 mk2/ REL S5 SHO/ REL Blue/ Shunyata Triton+AlphaHC+Alpha Analogue+Alpha Digital/ Finite Elemente Pagode/ Stillpoints Ultra SS.

    Small rig: Naim UnitiServe/ Curious USB/ Ayre Codex/ Auralic Aries Mini/ Sbooster PSU/ Pass Labs INT-60/ Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II/ HiD Diamond 8/ Harbeth 3PSR2/ Shunyata Venom EU7 & Venom 3 HD.

    HP rig: MacBookAir/ Audirvana/ Auralic Gemini 2000/ HD Plex linear PSU/ Charleston Cable Company Cardas Custom/ Sennheiser HD800/ Shunyata HD/ Shunyata Hydra 2/ AudioTekne Blue.

  7. #6
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    Re: MQA already dead in the water? No full decoding DAC alternatives...

    Kuoppis,

    The MSB Analog DAC is also fully MQA compliant via the USB port, and soon will be over Ethernet as well.
    Prices start at $7000 in the US.


    cheers,
    Alex
    Disclosure:
    Alma Music and Audio - Southern California
    [ Aqua Hi-Fi - Audio Research - Audioquest - Audionet - Audiopax - Auralic - Aurender - Bergmann - Brodmann - D'Agostino - darTZeel - Devialet - DEQX - ELAC - Evolution Acoustics - Hegel - iFi - Innuos - IsoTek - Kii Audio - Koetsu - Kronos - Kubala Sosna - Kuzma - Larsen - Linn - MSB Technology - Music Hall - Ortofon - Solid Steel - Sound Galleries Music Server - Technics - Wharfedale - Wilson Audio - YG Acoustics ]
    http://almaaudio.com



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  9. #7
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    Re: MQA already dead in the water? No full decoding DAC alternatives...

    Quote Originally Posted by asiufy View Post
    Kuoppis,

    The MSB Analog DAC is also fully MQA compliant via the USB port, and soon will be over Ethernet as well.
    Prices start at $7000 in the US.


    cheers,
    Alex
    Alex
    Now that is a nice option.
    Jim

    D'Agostino Momentum Mono amps & Pre-amp
    Wilson Alexandria X2 Series 2 speakers
    Digital: dCS Rossini & Clock
    Analog: SME 20/3 with Esoteric E-03 Phono
    Transparent Opus Speaker Cable & Interconnects, PC - Transparent Reference Powerlink MM2x
    Power: Shunyata Denali

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  11. #8
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    Re: MQA already dead in the water? No full decoding DAC alternatives...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuoppis View Post
    Believe it or not, I am not trying to talk down MQA. It’s the opposite, I want to try full decoding. I kind of like the unfolding level, but to my ears it is marginal and e.g. DSD is still better.

    But if fully decoded MQA sounds better, that would be great as there is only a limited amount of DSD material available, but a lots of MQA material on Tidal (have a hifi account).

    So, to try the real deal, I do need a fully decoding DAC and most of the announced partners are only unfolding. The problem is the Mytek is not good enough and would hence distort the test and I don’t want to go 18K for the Berkeley Reference 2 just to try it out.

    I’m open for suggestions, which are the fully decoding DACs I should try to get my hands on?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Hi! Excuse me but why do you say the Mytek is not good enough?! How much MQA have you actually heard and on which dacs?

    Many might disagree. The editors with Stereophile just gave a product of the year award to the Brooklyn.

    I’ve owned 3 or 4 dacs that support MQA and find the Mytek to be a solid performer.
    Just my assessment though and I appreciate yours can differ...just on what grounds?

    Happy listening...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  12. #9
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    Re: MQA already dead in the water? No full decoding DAC alternatives...

    Just saw that an additional ~350 MQA titles have been identified in the last two days.
    Jim

    D'Agostino Momentum Mono amps & Pre-amp
    Wilson Alexandria X2 Series 2 speakers
    Digital: dCS Rossini & Clock
    Analog: SME 20/3 with Esoteric E-03 Phono
    Transparent Opus Speaker Cable & Interconnects, PC - Transparent Reference Powerlink MM2x
    Power: Shunyata Denali

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  14. #10
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    Re: MQA already dead in the water? No full decoding DAC alternatives...

    Quote Originally Posted by asiufy View Post
    Kuoppis,

    The MSB Analog DAC is also fully MQA compliant via the USB port, and soon will be over Ethernet as well.
    Prices start at $7000 in the US.


    cheers,
    Alex
    Thanks for the info Alex, that’s good news. The Analog DAC is a proper one IMHO.

    Do you know whether the MQA capability applies to all Analog DACs or whether you need a certain newer model for it to work?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    “Life’s too short to listen to bad audio.”

    Big rig: Vpi Prime with Phoenix Engineering Eagle and Roadrunner/ Ortofon Cadenza Bronze MC/ Stillpoints LPI/ Grandinote Celio/ Aurender N100H/ Curious USB/ Auralic Aries Mini/ Meitner MA-1/ Ayre KX-5 Twenty/ Pass Labs X250.8/ WyWires Platinum IC+speaker+power cables/ Magico S3 mk2/ REL S5 SHO/ REL Blue/ Shunyata Triton+AlphaHC+Alpha Analogue+Alpha Digital/ Finite Elemente Pagode/ Stillpoints Ultra SS.

    Small rig: Naim UnitiServe/ Curious USB/ Ayre Codex/ Auralic Aries Mini/ Sbooster PSU/ Pass Labs INT-60/ Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II/ HiD Diamond 8/ Harbeth 3PSR2/ Shunyata Venom EU7 & Venom 3 HD.

    HP rig: MacBookAir/ Audirvana/ Auralic Gemini 2000/ HD Plex linear PSU/ Charleston Cable Company Cardas Custom/ Sennheiser HD800/ Shunyata HD/ Shunyata Hydra 2/ AudioTekne Blue.

 

 
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