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AudioQuest adds MQA Support to Dragonflies via firmware


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47 minutes ago, Samuel T Cogley said:

 

Welcome to the forum!

 

I've used a lot of USB DACs with Macs, and I've seen all kinds of USB weirdness.  The first thing I will say is that a reboot is almost never sufficient to clear stubbornly persistent USB problems.  I usually power down, and then remove power (in your case, the battery if possible) from the mac for 30 seconds or so before powering back up.  Also, if you have a USB hub in the mix, be sure to power it off as well.  And also, for the purposes of troubleshooting, don't use a hub.  Plug the DF directly into the Macbook.

 

I can't speak to what, if anything, is wrong with the DF.  But the symptoms you describe are familiar with other USB DACs I have used over the years on Macs.

 

Thanks for the feedback!  Very helpful.

 

Since I wrote that post I've spoken to tech support at Audioquest.  His suggestion was to plug in the DFR and try it with itunes and youtube to see if the Audio Midi would "hold" the DFR as the output.  I did try both and the DFR remained as the "output" on the Macbook - lighting up green for everything I played through it.

 

However, when I then launched the Tidal app and selected all the correct settings - and started playing a track - the Audio Midi instantly reverted back to "Built In Output" as the output and it would not let me change to the DFR.  Then with Tidal still open, I went back to itunes and it still wouldn't let me switch to the DFR.  But, when I closed the Tidal app and then when back to the Audio Mini, it DID let me switch back to the DFR.  I don't get it.  It's like whenever I open the Tidal app, my Macbook instantly "turns off" the DFR and won't let me turn it back on until I close the Tidal app.

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1 hour ago, Bambam said:

 

Thanks for the feedback!  Very helpful.

 

Since I wrote that post I've spoken to tech support at Audioquest.  His suggestion was to plug in the DFR and try it with itunes and youtube to see if the Audio Midi would "hold" the DFR as the output.  I did try both and the DFR remained as the "output" on the Macbook - lighting up green for everything I played through it.

 

However, when I then launched the Tidal app and selected all the correct settings - and started playing a track - the Audio Midi instantly reverted back to "Built In Output" as the output and it would not let me change to the DFR.  Then with Tidal still open, I went back to itunes and it still wouldn't let me switch to the DFR.  But, when I closed the Tidal app and then when back to the Audio Mini, it DID let me switch back to the DFR.  I don't get it.  It's like whenever I open the Tidal app, my Macbook instantly "turns off" the DFR and won't let me turn it back on until I close the Tidal app.

 

You are selecting "Exclusive Mode" in the Tidal app?

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2 hours ago, Bambam said:

However, when I then launched the Tidal app and selected all the correct settings - and started playing a track - the Audio Midi instantly reverted back to "Built In Output" as the output and it would not let me change to the DFR.  Then with Tidal still open, I went back to itunes and it still wouldn't let me switch to the DFR.  But, when I closed the Tidal app and then when back to the Audio Mini, it DID let me switch back to the DFR.  I don't get it.  It's like whenever I open the Tidal app, my Macbook instantly "turns off" the DFR and won't let me turn it back on until I close the Tidal app.

 

The part I bolded above is expected.  Since the Tidal app has exclusive access to the DF, the system output must change to the default, "Built In Output".  It's the DF not playing that's the issue.

 

Try this:  Before launching the Tidal app, select "Built In Output" as the system default, then launch Tidal and select the DF as Tidal's output with the other appropriate settings (including Exclusive Mode).  Your goal is to get the Tidal app to output to the DF, not to have the system output stay on the DF after you launch the Tidal app.

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11 minutes ago, Samuel T Cogley said:

 

The part I bolded above is expected.  Since the Tidal app has exclusive access to the DF, the system output must change to the default, "Built In Output".  It's the DF not playing that's the issue.

 

Try this:  Before launching the Tidal app, select "Built In Output" as the system default, then launch Tidal and select the DF as the output with the other appropriate settings (including Exclusive Mode).  Your goal is to get the Tidal app to output to the DF, not to have the system output stay on the DF after you launch the Tidal app.

 

Ah, that could be it.  I will try this when I get home later tonight and let you know what I find out.  Thank you for the detailed response - the AQ tech didn't even tell me this! 

 

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12 minutes ago, Bambam said:

What's confusing also is the DFR instructions say to choose the DF in the Audio Midi.  It doesn't "warn" against it reverting back to "Built in Output"...

 

Yes, but I'll bet the DFR instructions don't say anything about the Tidal Desktop app.  It's the Exclusive Mode there that's causing this consternation.  I'm not saying the DFR instructions are wrong.  More like "not applicable" when using the Tidal app.

 

If you use the DFR as your general purpose audio output on your Mac, then AQ's instructions are spot on.  As a practical matter, when I use any application that uses Exclusive Mode (Roon, A+) the little speaker icon in Audio MIDI Setup always shifts away from my USB DAC.  It will come right back after the app exits.

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3 minutes ago, Samuel T Cogley said:

 

Yes, but I'll bet the DFR instructions don't say anything about the Tidal Desktop app.  It's the Exclusive Mode there that's causing this consternation.  I'm not saying the DFR instructions are wrong.  More like "not applicable" when using the Tidal app.

 

If you use the DFR as your general purpose audio output on your Mac, then AQ's instructions are spot on.  As a practical matter, when I use any application that uses Exclusive Mode (Roon, A+) the little speaker icon in Audio MIDI Setup always shifts away from my USB DAC.  It will come right back after the app exits.

 

And even so, the program (Roon, Tidal, etc.) is actually using the attached DAC even though the Audio Midi shifts away from it?

 

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22 minutes ago, Bambam said:

 

And even so, the program (Roon, Tidal, etc.) is actually using the attached DAC even though the Audio Midi shifts away from it?

 

 

Absolutely!  At home, I actually have two Mac Mini outputs feeding the same DAC.  Roon, and A+ use the USB, but the "System Output" (which is actually a mini TOSLINK connection) feeds the TOSLINK input on the same DAC.  Since it's a Yggy, I have to manually select which DAC input to use, but generally speaking, Youtube (or other web audio) goes to TOSLINK and Roon & A+ go to USB.

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On 2-11-2017 at 7:38 PM, GUTB said:

If you can't hear the MQA version is better I don't know what to tell you.

 

I coincidentally agree. The Redbook shouts too much. With the MQA you are waiting for when this happens but before you know it, the track played all through.

Not sure whether this is representative for MQA (the MQA version is more compressed, which this one seems to need), but the "into the mouth" certainly is in order for this one too.

 

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  • 1 month later...
On 5/17/2017 at 9:27 PM, Wavelength said:

mansr,

 

The same, really if you don't know don't say anything. Assumption on how something works is the biggest problem with computer audio. I get more of the stupidest questions asked on emails from stuff read here and on other forums.

 

Quote

Rendering is upsampling with specific filter coefficients. If the DAC chip allows programming arbitrary filters, as the ESS ones do, it can be made to perform the task. The microcontroller parses the metadata encoded in the incoming PCM stream and sets the DAC parameters accordingly. At least that's the only way I can see it working given the constraints. 

Totally incorrect!

 

Quote

Judging by the specs of the microcontroller in the DF, I estimate that it is too slow to do even the rendering part. Therefore I suspect all it does is set the upsampling filter coefficients in the ESS DAC chip according to the parameters indicated by the input stream. 

Also totally incorrect!!!

Turns out I was right all along:

 

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