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How will upsampling function in an MQA environment?


sdolezalek
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For those of us who use Tidal + Roon + HQPlayer/Audirvana/JRiver and upsample our existing content to say, DSD256 or DSD512, how will an environment of mixed files work?

 

Will the upsamplers in Roon, Audirvana, HQPlayer, etc. know to pass through an MQA file (without upsampling it) for decoding in the DAC? Or will the software upsample the MQA file, thereby rendering the MQA effect meaningless and making the result potentially worse than upsampling the same file in 16/44 format?

 

I wonder whether the newly announced upsampling capabillities in Roon's Version 1.3 (which is now also supposed to decode MQA) will allow users to software decode MQA files and upsample everything else?

 

Two steps forward one step back...or maybe its the other way around...

Synology NAS>i7-6700/32GB/NVIDIA QUADRO P4000 Win10>Qobuz+Tidal>Roon>HQPlayer>DSD512> Fiber Switch>Ultrarendu (NAA)>SMSL M500 DAC> Bryston SP3 pre>Levinson No. 432 amps>Magnepan (MG20.1x2, CCR and MMC2x6)

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For those of us who use Tidal + Roon + HQPlayer/Audirvana/JRiver and upsample our existing content to say, DSD256 or DSD512, how will an environment of mixed files work?

 

Will the upsamplers in Roon, Audirvana, HQPlayer, etc. know to pass through an MQA file (without upsampling it) for decoding in the DAC? Or will the software upsample the MQA file, thereby rendering the MQA effect meaningless and making the result potentially worse than upsampling the same file in 16/44 format?

 

I wonder whether the newly announced upsampling capabillities in Roon's Version 1.3 (which is now also supposed to decode MQA) will allow users to software decode MQA files and upsample everything else?

 

Two steps forward one step back...or maybe its the other way around...

 

I use Jriver's upsampling to my non MQA DAC and it sounds great. I have a Bel Canto 2.7, the incoming signal to jriver is 88 or 96. Then I choose to upsample those to either 176 or 192., my DACs highest capabilities. The files sound superb vs regular fed files. YMMV[emoji3]

 

 

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For those of us who use Tidal + Roon + HQPlayer/Audirvana/JRiver and upsample our existing content to say, DSD256 or DSD512, how will an environment of mixed files work?

Will the upsamplers in Roon, Audirvana, HQPlayer, etc. know to pass through an MQA file (without upsampling it) for decoding in the DAC? Or will the software upsample the MQA file, thereby rendering the MQA effect meaningless and making the result potentially worse than upsampling the same file in 16/44 format?

I wonder whether the newly announced upsampling capabillities in Roon's Version 1.3 (which is now also supposed to decode MQA) will allow users to software decode MQA files and upsample everything else?Two steps forward one step back...or maybe its the other way around...

 

 

Good question, My Xonar U7 sound card upsamples to 192/24. I tried it with MQA tracks and they sounded better than 44.

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For those of us who use Tidal + Roon + HQPlayer/Audirvana/JRiver and upsample our existing content to say, DSD256 or DSD512, how will an environment of mixed files work?

 

Will the upsamplers in Roon, Audirvana, HQPlayer, etc. know to pass through an MQA file (without upsampling it) for decoding in the DAC? Or will the software upsample the MQA file, thereby rendering the MQA effect meaningless and making the result potentially worse than upsampling the same file in 16/44 format?

 

I wonder whether the newly announced upsampling capabillities in Roon's Version 1.3 (which is now also supposed to decode MQA) will allow users to software decode MQA files and upsample everything else?

 

Two steps forward one step back...or maybe its the other way around...

 

There are apparently two aspects of MQA decoding: "unfolding" and time domain "corrections" for the original capturing ADC. The software decoding only does the unfolding, where the ADC "corrections" are a feature of an MQA-enabled DAC.

 

It would seem that the folding/unfolding process uses some noise shaping. This might/will cause issues with downstream DSP, including HQPlayer upsampling (which I use on some of my DACs). This is speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised if Roon will prevent further DSP processing (like HQPlayer) when any MQA decoding is happening. I have read several places that the MQA people have said that downstream DSP is something like "bad", or "forbidden".

 

As far as I know, the Roon team has been mum on this thus far. All we can do is wait to see what Roon 1.3 looks like. So long as Tidal always keeps the Redbook version of an MQA title and Roon gives a way to hide all the MQA versions, everyone should be happy.

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There are apparently two aspects of MQA decoding: "unfolding" and time domain "corrections" for the original capturing ADC. The software decoding only does the unfolding, where the ADC "corrections" are a feature of an MQA-enabled DAC....

 

 

It is not quite this neat - Bob/MQA claim that there is some benefit of the ADC "correction" passed through with the software decoding when you are using a "legacy" DAC. The press (e.g. John Darko) regularly repeat this claim and say it is one of the many advantages of MQA encoded music and why you (as a consumer) should take advantage of it even if you are using a legacy DAC.

 

As to the OP question, I believe Bob himself said (here on this site in his Q&A - not going to look it up though) you can do all the post MQA DSP processing you want (just not before it enters your MQA DAC - which is of course how it is usually done)...someone correct me if I am wrong...

Hey MQA, if it is not all $voodoo$, show us the math!

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As to the OP question, I believe Bob himself said (here on this site in his Q&A - not going to look it up though) you can do all the post MQA DSP processing you want (just not before it enters your MQA DAC - which is of course how it is usually done)...someone correct me if I am wrong...

 

My concern exactly! If DSP can only be done downstream of the MQA DAC then it can only be done to the analog output (unless you go through another whole A/D and D/A conversion). In other words, if you want hardware decoding of MQA you can't also do other DSP in the digital domain before that file gets to the MQA DAC.

Synology NAS>i7-6700/32GB/NVIDIA QUADRO P4000 Win10>Qobuz+Tidal>Roon>HQPlayer>DSD512> Fiber Switch>Ultrarendu (NAA)>SMSL M500 DAC> Bryston SP3 pre>Levinson No. 432 amps>Magnepan (MG20.1x2, CCR and MMC2x6)

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My concern exactly! If DSP can only be done downstream of the MQA DAC then it can only be done to the analog output (unless you go through another whole A/D and D/A conversion). In other words, if you want hardware decoding of MQA you can't also do other DSP in the digital domain before that file gets to the MQA DAC.

 

I took three MQA FLACs from 2L. At the FLAC's spectrums level grow in range [15…17 - 22] kHz to value about -105 dB.

 

Possibly in the range coded rest part of unpacked spectrum.

 

For 16 bit resolution it is not matter. Because noise level of 16 bit is -100 … -110 dB (defined by audio stuff, dithering, measurement method).

 

I suppose, unpacked MQA don’t contains the spectrum’s growth into range 15 … 22 kHz.

 

Looks like, upsampling of packed MQA is not the same as unpacked MQA.

 

I don't know that inside MQA and my post is hypothesis only.

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I took three MQA FLACs from 2L. At the FLAC's spectrums level grow in range [15…17 - 22] kHz to value about -105 dB.

 

Possibly in the range coded rest part of unpacked spectrum.

 

For 16 bit resolution it is not matter. Because noise level of 16 bit is -100 … -110 dB (defined by audio stuff, dithering, measurement method).

 

I suppose, unpacked MQA don’t contains the spectrum’s growth into range 15 … 22 kHz.

 

Unfortunately, that noise remains after unpacking. See the graphs I posted in another thread.

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As to the OP question, I believe Bob himself said (here on this site in his Q&A - not going to look it up though) you can do all the post MQA DSP processing you want (just not before it enters your MQA DAC - which is of course how it is usually done)...someone correct me if I am wrong...

 

Thanks for this. I should have written "upstream", not "downstream".

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