Bryston: No MQA

I’ve contacted Bryston asking them whether they plan to implement MQA in their DACs and this is what they replied:

We have no plans to implement a signal changing type feature in Bryston products. We will leave that to other audio companies. […] Brian."

Too bad. I really like their products and I was contemplating buying their BDA-3.

Schiit and Emotiva have made the same statements. If MQA flourishes I’ll bet they’ll consider adopting it.

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It’s still early days for MQA and I can understand why manufacturers, especially the smaller ones, are not supporting it yet.

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Future software decoding in Roon will take care of it… Be patient. It is not necessary to have a hardware decoding if manufacturers refuse to support. This help to keep cost down and affordable.

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This is a good point. I think the verdict is still out on the benefits offered by MQA, but a definite benefit of Roon is that by keeping most of the intelligence on the server side, end points don’t need to be continually updated to support new formats. Software decoding (in Roon) may not deliver 100% of what is available from MQA files, but it will get us most of the way there.

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I am a big Bryston fan: BDP-2, BDA-3 and headphone amp. If you do a search, you will see definitive statements from Bryston stating that they would never support digital over HDMI, siting poor sound quality. I love my BDA-3 and it has 5 HDMI inputs. Never say never…

I have a BDA-3. It’s a fantastic DAC, I love it! I also love MQA. So it is a bummer that Bryston apparently has no interest in supporting it.
Thinking that other DAC’s, which do fully process MQA must sound way better with MQA, I bought a Lumin D2. Much to my surprise, the Bryston sounds even better than the Lumin when handling MQA files from the Nucleus, even though it’s only processing the first unfold/core decode (which is done by the Nucleus).
The Lumin D2 is a very good DAC, especially for the price, but I think this shows how GREAT the Bryston BDA-3 is, and why it was named a Stereophile Class A+ component.

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I have switched to Qobuz… running “HIRES” through ROON via a Bryston BDP-2 (endpoint) and BDA-3. Beats Tidal/MQA all day any day. Give it a try.

Best Ron Kramer
Long Time Bryston Fan


FLAC fan here. I think non-proprietary formats are the way to go. The science behind MQA is suspect (as it is on high res FLAC formats).


I’m not surprised at your finding there.

I went for a play date over the weekend with a mate who has a Mytek Brooklyn Bridge and has just had an Auralic Vega 2.1 delivered. I borrowed a Lumin T2 and took it over (I have been coveting one of these for a while), along with my RME ADI-2 FS so we could play with music sources and DACs to see if there were any revelations.

He subs to Tidal and has been on Qobuz over VPN for a while and has a local library of about 10k tracks too, so we had plenty of options. Not delving into specifics on methods etc as it was not a blind test and there was no science involved; just a pure listening exercise, but here is what we were left thinking:

  • The T2 is a fabulous piece of kit no matter what source you throw at it - I could buy this and probably be happy forever… until I heard the Vega
  • The RME has no right to sound so good at its price-point, it edges the Mytek on most formats
  • The Auralic made a better fist of MQA sources than anything else, even the T2 - and it is not an MQA DAC

The last finding was puzzling and I still can’t get my head around it. My mate is stoked at his purchase, and rightly so. I just need to work out how I can sell a kidney to fund a Vega 2.1 myself.

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I think it means you preferred the sound of the MQA files when played on a non-MQA DAC, meaning it was just playing FLAC… no? They are gorgeous units and I love the isolated second chassis in glass that they use. Looks fancy :smiley:

We got creative along the way :slightly_smiling_face: We used a number of players including Win64 apps from both Qobuz and Tidal into the DACs using USB, a Bluesound node into the DACs using coax, and obviously for the combined streamer/DACs we also ran the end-to-end internal process from Ethernet-in to analogue-out.

When testing MQA as a source, we tried both Tidal’s app and Bluesound’s Tidal connectivity. The Tidal app pulls down the MQA stream and does the first unfold and then the DAC (where MQA licenced) does the rest. So our MQA finding was definitely based on the MQA stream played through USB into the DACs (RME, Mytek and Auralic). We had 2 DACs connected into 2 different amp inputs and were able to quickly switch the USB cable over and the amp source over to compare pairs at a time - not seamless, but quick enough to compare in a useful manner. We definitely had MQA source out of Tidal via USB into the Auralic.

In comparing to the Lumin, we used native end-to-end T2 against the others. We contrasted the others (Mytek and Auralic) using streamer/DAC end-to-end and also isolating their streamers by using USB into their DAC.

Like I said, not scientific, but certainly interesting and informative.

Ha ha ha, I am sure you did, it always goes that way when you have all this cool gear to compare :smiley: I was just messing with you anyways cause I know you are a cool enough dude to take the joke and move on. Its cool that you were able to compare all those different combinations. Those Aurilacs are super nice though, especially the g2.1 Vega that also serves as a master clock. Thats is there way to do it right if you are going to do it at all :smiley:

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The Vega is absolute eye-candy and a superb performer. It’s starting to feel like an end-game piece of kit to me. Daddy wants…

We were using RCA connectivity when comparing side-by-side as his amp only has one set of balanced inputs, but when we were done, we left the Vega in place and connected through XLR.

We cracked a couple of beers and listened to a bunch of HiRes material from his own library and never felt the need to go back and further compare.

That’s the way to do, right there! You got both MQA and PCM FLAC and you kick some brews back with a friend and enjoy yourselves. No arguing over formats, just gear and music and beer sounds like a great time!

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