So I've been listening to MQA Tidal on my MacBook Air - so I have software decoding but using the built in DAC (it sounds pretty good to be honest) but I'd like to try Tidal with a better DAC (and music in general although my MacBook is not my primary listening device). What is not clear to me is do I need an MQA compatible DAC as well to take advantage of the full abilities of MQA - or will any DAC capable of higher resolutions work since the decoding is happening on the software side?
I have a Pioneer XDP100 and am looking forward to the Android app whenever it arrives but in the meantime I'd like to expand the range of the MacBook. Also I'd like a DAC I can use in a setup with my smartphone as well in certain situations so something like the Meridien Explorer2 is less than ideal since it does not have a built in battery.
I strongly recommend Meridian Explorer 2, not only for built in MQA decoding but also it's way of processing music is incredible for me. I did not use any other DAC but I read some review of them, and at that price point Explorer 2 is extremely high quality. I am getting highest quality when I go with following setup (Keep in mind still Android Tidal app is is not supporting MQA, when it does I mean when we will be able to get MQA files on the phone following scenario will sound better I think):
Android phone (I have LG V20) > USB Audio Player Pro running with Bit Perfect option selected on my phone> A USB C Type to full USB converter cable connected to phone> a Y type Mini USB cable connected to converter cable > the other USB part of this Y type cable (which is for extra power if needed) is connected to a powerbank > an AMP (I have a simple one, Creative Sound Blaster E1) connected to Line Out of Explorer 2 > And finally my IEMs, 1 More Triple Driver plugged in to AMPs headphone out.
I don't know why but this phone > USB Audio Player Pro with Bit Perfect > Explorer 2 setup sounds better than PC > Explorer 2 > IEM setup. May be PC doing some process to the music before transferring it to Explorer 2?? Because UAPP Bit Perfect guarantees that the digital bits of music file is not being modified on the phone in any meaning and it directly goes to the DAC. Theoritacally also PC must do same thing when a USB DAC connected to it right?
By the way. My LG20 did not feed Explorer 2 when I connected directly to the phone with USB C Type to USB converter. But I have seen a video that a man connected one of HTC phone to the Explorer 2 without a powerbank it got energy directly from phone.
Edited by chaturanga - 2/8/17 at 9:45pm