You said you wanted to play MQA. Neither the HifiBerry DAC+ or the ApplePi DAC appear to have any MQA capabilities which means that Roon can unfold MQA content from 44.1/48 kHz to 88.2/96 kHz but neither DAC will be able to Render the final unfold which can theoretically provide 176.4/192 kHz.
As far as I know there are no Pi DAC HATS that can Render MQA content. There are USB DACs like the Dragonfly Black and Red which are MQA capable but they don’t have XLR outputs and their use brings the quality of the Pi’s USB outputs into play.
Aaah I thought I was ”sure” I have read it somewhere like you say not real mq
I also found this here:
So i guess my rotel just can play it from tidal but not like it should if it was real MQA.
But it sounds amazing! So I wonder how it would sound with
The Rotel will play MQA files (which are in fact PCM format) but cannot use MQA data to its full potential.
Roon will do what is called the first unfold to give you a 88.1/24 or 96/24 bit file from the MQA file on Tidal. This gives you most of the benefits of MQA, you are just missing what is called the rendering which does anymore unfolding if there is a larger original master and applies some filters to “get the best out” of the DAC in you Rotel. According to some this should get you 90% of the benefits of MQA.
Roon will likely do this automatically for you but to be sure under Device Setup in Roon (go to Settings,Audio and select the cog wheels by the device) ensure the MQA Capabilities are set to “No MQA Support”.
take a look at the Topping D10 DAC. It lists for $79 on eBay and $89 including shipping on Amazon. Similar price to the Hifiberry XLR DAC.
the test results are amazing for that DAC (do a Google search), it comes with a proper internal power supply, display and enclosure, things that are missing from the Hifiberry unit. The Hifiberry part sits on top of the processing board with no shielding, and will likely get noise from it and the digital Pie power supplies which is not an issue with the external D-10. This will more than make up for the XLR versus RCA connections. All XLR gives you is 60Hz ground loop protection which will not be an issue with the D-10, so it really buys you nothing especially if you keep the cables as short as possible.
Best of all the D10 can do MQA direct DSD 11.2, PCM384 and thus the audio quality will be much better when you have proper HD sources from Tidal. It also has a proper Audio OPA-2134 Audio opamp on a socket which you can upgrade later. AND it also has SPDIF output built in which allows you various choices to connect to your amplifier/receiver/additional-high-end DAC.
I have a D10 hooked up to a Pie and am very happy with it. Overall a much better value for the money IMHO.
you are right, the D10 shows up in the roon setup as “no MQA support” however I just tried to play Stairway to heaven which is a Tidal track listed as “FLAC 48KHz, 24bit, MQA, 96kHz”, and indeed the Roon NIC converts it to 96KHz PCM 24 bit and the D10 plays it and displays “96KHz PCM”. I have some DSD tracks and it plays those flawlessly too.
It can handle up to 384KHz PCM, so this is way better than any tracks available on Tidal…
Best of all from the test results people did the D10 has the extremely good signal to noise ratio and ultra low distortion required to actually make use of these higher-than-CD sample rates. For $80, I am not complaining
Any DAC that can handle over 96/24 can get the first unfold to 96 or 88.2 as Roon does that bit. To get full MQA to 192/24 or higher you need an MQA render capable DAC. Still it does seem a very capable DAC for the money.
Simon, the D10 dac can handle 384KHz at 32 bits AND DSD256. How is that not way better than 192KHz/24 bits MQA?
It can convert at TWICE the rate that MQA requires, however I have set it up to 96KHz only because I use the SPDIF output of the D10 on a receiver that can only handle 96KHz. I don’t know if the PI/Roon can feed it at 384KHz, and for my application at least I don’t care since my amp cannot handle it.
Honestly if you have an amplifier and speakers that are actually good enough for you to hear a difference between 96KHz, 192KHz or 384KHz and 24 bits versus 32 then you are spending many 10,000’s of thousands of dollars on equipment and $$$ on a suitable house with acoustic qualities to go with that, and you would not be worrying about an $80 DAC in the first place.
My original point was: its is orders of magnitude better than the rudimentary XLR Hifiberry that Daniel was looking at, at a very similar price point, and it can handle way higher sample rates and SNR than CD quality or even DVD Audio can produce