Does MQA only work over USB?

I have used a NAD M51 DAC for some years. It has USB Coax Optical and HDMI inputs. They all sound pretty much the same and over the years I have settled on HDMI from my computer to the DAC. Set and forget.

Clearly I deserve a new DAC one day :slight_smile: … NAD may soon upgrade or replace the M51 and include MQA, there are clearly other choices as well with HDMI.

My question is does MQA only work over USB? Does anyone know if a MQA capable DACs decode and unfold digital data when fed via say Optical or HDMI inputs?

I don’t see any limitations as MQA is always transmitted at 24/44.1/48kHz undecoded, the maximum specs for coax/optical is 24/192kHz.

It all depends on the manufacturers if they want to offer through this mean, it will probably incur additional licensing cost other than using USB. My bet that Roon may offer MQA decoding in the near future, so don’t give up hope. You may want to contact NAD regarding on firmware update that support MQA decoding.

With NAD products MQA only comes with the Bluesound modules or bluesound enabled products. These need an Ethernet connection. Not sure exactly how it all works but I suspect you will only get MQA playing via the Ethernet connection and not the other inputs. Good news is that this also supports RAAT and so should be very set and forget with Roon.