What DACs actually do post-DSP MQA rendering today?

For the main system I use it for room correction, consider it mandatory.

But in this case, for the headphones, I use the Audeze presets (convolution). They are perhaps less necessary. If the combination doesn’t work, and I had to choose between Audeze EQ and MQA rendering, I’m not sure which I would choose, neither is truly consequential.

That looks right. Great.

I use the brooklyn most often as the headphone amp with sennheiser HD650. Sounds great, very subjective of course.

EDIT: Activated audeze preset and that works as above too.

Check out “List of Roon compatible MQA renderers” from Peter Lie on May 8th. It’s in Audio Products / MQA category.

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Might be devices here too but not too sure who maintains it or how often


^^ This – and while the Brooklyn is probably a great DAC, I was not terribly impressed with the headphone section when I auditioned one a few months ago.

I’m going to go out on a limb as a fellow Meridian 8kSE owner and say that, instead of looking for a new DAC, you should be looking at Stax. IMO, my SR-009 earspeakers do not require EQ. They’re not cheap, but neither is a top notch DAC.

Yes, these all in one things…
I have a LHLabs Geek Pulse, and I have a similar concern.
I can run a Bryston headphone amp from the Meridian, and it sounds better, probably due to the amp, maybe the Meridian.

But I have decided against running headphones through the Meridian because of the switching hassle: the 818 has a ridiculous way of switching to headphone mode, a lot of buttonpresses on the Meridian remote, and you have to look at the display to verify what mode you are in, the buttonpress sequence requires that the 818 is in standby. Plus I have to disable room correction in Roon. And the the same sequence switching back. And if I forget to turn RC back on, the room is 10 dB too loud.

No, I want a separate channel.

Hmm. I have avoided auditioning Stax because of the cost. But you are right, cost perspectives shift over time. As do quality perspectives…

Don’t forget the Mytek Liberty; it’s DAC specs fall in between the two Brooklyns, and it has a headphone amp.

In the end I purchased a Prime, along with a USBridge and two SBooster LPSUs. Good DAC, brilliant amp.

Doesn’t tick all your boxes, but it does for me: it makes my Aeons sing like neither the S2 (with or without rHead) or the Brooklyn could. That – and MQA is splendid on it.

But as always – YMMV.

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Lots of considerations here.
A friend swears by the Hugo2 with Utopias.
Doesn’t do MQA.
Good form factor, could travel around the house with my iPad, on batteries.


MQA is still a new technology and paradigm. It’s a tough choice in today’s “now” world, but you could simply wait and see how things pan out, both with your Meridian kit and with others. I’ve been thinking about getting a Merging Hapi (multichannel ADC/DAC) for some time, but now I’m not sure it’s worth doing until there’s an MQA capable DAC card (which is bound to appear at some point now that ESS are going to be making MQA-capable DAC chips). This may take a couple of years. Patience grasshopper…

possibly not helpful, but i’m running a herus resonessence on one system, moon 230 on the other - mqa material runs crisp on both, with or without dsp. sounding good to me… next step, eliminate amps, active spkrs only

I did a test, by hooking the Bryston headphone amp to the Meridian 818v3, and removing all DSP. This allowed me to compare, by twiddling the MQA capability setting in the device setup, between full MQA decoding+rendering in the 818, Roon unfolding only without rendering, and Roon unfolding+upsampling.

Based on this, I concluded I won’t let MQA rendering be a deciding factor in my headphone rig.

(Unfortunately I also concluded the LHLabs Geek Pulse XFi held its own, so maybe I don’t need to get a new rig at all…)

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I have enjoyed the “original” Mytek Brooklyn DAC, which I use mainly for streaming Tidal from a Dell Windows10 Pro machine, via the USB port. I am seriously thinking of installing Dirac room correction on the Dell, when I have time to install and configure it.

I also enjoy a PS Audio DirectStream DAC, which I believe sounds a little better, the Brooklyn sounds just a tad “dry” compared to the DirectStream, but having said that, you would expect a product that costs three times as much to perform better, and the differences are not great between the two.

I am not a big headphone user, but have a pair of Sennheiser HD800’s, which are extremely difficult to drive. I used to own a Bryston BHA-1 headphone amp, which had excellent sound quality, but not the power of the Brooklyn, which drives those phones effortlessly!

If anything the Brooklyn DAC+ would be a better unit than the one I own, which for the price is just outstanding; actually, regardless of the price, it’s truly an outstanding DAC (and preamp), in today’s audio market a true “bargain”!

Patience is hard for someone who likes the latest tech, both in computers and audio. However, learning it is a valuable lesson. I’d looked at the Hapi as well, but, I decided to wait.

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My PS Audio DirectStream DAC does exactly as you describe, Roon does first unfold, the passes to DSP, preserving the MQA data, then outputs to Bridge II card where the DAC finishes the MQA unfold.
Does not seem to work over USB though, you need the Bridge II card and to feed it by from your network.
The sound is quite impressive on some recordings.

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