Originally Posted by ANRE
Q42. I'd like to ask about MQA decoding.
Does it require hardware, software or both?
Will there be a Linux software decoder library which will be able to be incorporated into the existing Linux audio ecosystem (perhaps something similar to how Nvidia provides proprietary graphics drivers for its video cards to the Linux community)?
Can you indicate what sort of licensing fee, if any, might be required for the enthusiast running their own Linux music playback system for personal use who would like to be able to decode MQA? Many thanks for any enlightenment.
MQA decoding does not require hardware, it can be performed on a number of different platforms. But the decoder normally runs in the context of paired DAC(s).
Currently we license decoder builds for Windows, OSX, Linux, Android, iOS, XMOS, some custom platforms, with several more coming.
We are rolling out the decoder platform licensing in stages and no decision has been taken yet about this type of application. But we will in due course so please stay in touch.
Q43. Soft decoding:
Will software decoding be allowed (and when)?
Will software decoding get the complete benefit that will be possible with hardware MQA DACs? If not what will the differences be?
Will a MQA decode software module be available for integration into third party music players that run on generic PCs and Macs?
We already have software decoders for a number of hardware, portable and mobile platforms. In these three cases the decoder has the benefit of precise knowledge of the DAC and associated hardware.
See A42, there is no inherent quality difference between MQA decoders unless they are operating in designated power-saving modes. However, it is inevitable that a properly designed hardware product, incorporating the decoder and DAC will give the better result. The performance level that MQA enables, allows hardware makers an even better environment on which to stretch their skills. For the audiophile, this should be very exciting.
We do anticipate a program to enable such applications, but the requirement for tight DAC coupling and the obligation to match the previewed audio (in the studio) means that several combinations and options are still being explored with both DAC makers and creators of software players. We will make announcements in due course.
Q44. Digital out decoder:
To the extent that hardware decoding is necessary or desired and that many DAC manufacturers
might not be able to incorporate hardware mods, could an MQA decoder in a box feeding into a DAC be a potential solution for consumers?
If someone already has a an expensive DAC, of which they are very fond, and this DAC doesn't natively support MQA, will it be possible for some manufacturer to supply a stand-alone box "MQA un-packer" with USB and/or S/PDIF output to make existing DACs MQA compatible?
Will software decoding into a "standard" high res bit stream that a generic DAC can use be allowed?
Which type of connections will be possible USB, SPDIF AES etc.?
Will SPDIF streamer interface be allowed, or only , in order to achieve a two way
communication. Meaning you would require a as a minimum in order to have your old DAC benefit from SW decoded MQA, or a streamer like Auralic.
- e. To get the best result, decoders with digital output require to know how to render for the specific connected DAC, or else to ensure that any alternative degraded representation is in line with the studio preview options (see Q21). This is true for either full decodes or split decodes (see A65).
We are working with our partners on programs for both product types and will announce roll-out in the coming months.
Q45. Is there any technical limitation that makes a FPGA DAC not to have MQA implemented?
A45. None whatsoever, we have several companies implementing MQA with FPGAs.