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On a different, yet related topic

In an older post on the "Digital" forum you had written "MQA claims an end-to-end (which I take to mean encompassing the ADC and the DAC)". I just now ran across some information that clarifies what MQA means by "end-to-end". The following is from a FAQ on the Auralic website (full link below):

"AURALiC has done a live demo during CES 2016 for MQA on ARIES and ARIES MINI. It is however after MQA realized that ARIES does not have any DAC built-in and ARIES MINI has a digital output in parallel connection of its DAC I2S signal, they pulled it back immediately. They believe the MQA process is end to end and the DAC has to be optimized for MQA playback, so any digital output of fully decoded signal is unacceptable." [Emphasis added.]

One interpretation of this is that MQA believes it is critically important to "compensate" for the specific characteristics of the DAC chip used in a given A/D converter. A side affect of this policy is that it forces MQA to be a closed system. Without this restriction it would be trivially easy to create outboard MQA decoders (either hardware or software) and use them with any existing D/A converter - obviating the need to purchase an entirely new D/A converter.

This restriction also seems to support the view of MQA as a form of DRM - the SACD format also specifically disallowed the digital signal to be accessed externally. (This was one of Sony's main selling points of SACD to the record labels.) Fully decoded MQA files are only available to those who purchase MQA-licensed hardware, which includes a royalty payment to MQA.

Even if MQA felt it critically important to compensate for the DAC chip, it would seem they could instead choose to use an outboard decoder along with a some other means to optimize for a specific DAC chip. One choice would be a model similar to what Devialet provides for loudspeaker DSP correction. One can simply select from one of (currently) 736 supported models of loudspeakers and receive the "proper correction" via Devialet's SAM feature (Speaker Active Matching):


As always, strictly my own opinions and not necessarily those of my employer or city mayor.

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  • On a different, yet related topic - Charles Hansen 14:54:02 06/06/17 (0)


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