Tidal MQA playing with external DAC problem

Hi guys,
is possible to play correct mqa files from Tidal or mqa files?
I have Tidal Master subscription, TIDAL2 addon and external USB DAC (with working mqa HW decoder, of course).
But, unfortunately all MQA Tidal streams my DAC plays as “normal” PCM (FLAC). The same problem is with playing MQA files from filesystem.
CoreELEc maybe provides for all mqa streams some transcoding and sending it as PCM to DAC and DAC cannot recognize MQA.
I cannot find right settings in CoreELEC (Kodi) for playing mqa streams.
Maybe some settings for DIRECT USB play is necessary…

Can you help me someone?
Is possible play MQA on CoreELEC (S905x3)?

Thank you …

After few days of research and testing, there are some new information about playback MQA files on CoreELEC:
Good message: CoreELEC is full capable of playing MQA content with full quality. But external DAC with full MQA support is necessary for right full working .
Why? CoreELEC (KODI) isn’t MQA player, it means CE cannot recognizes MQA content inside normal FLAC (PCM) files or streams, plays all MQA files as normal PCM and plays from MQA files core content only, usually as normal 44,1/16 and maximally as 48/24, depending of MQA core file or stream. Because of CE don’t recognize MQA content and don’t have MQA playback license, CE cannot makes first unfold MQA file and if we have MQA DAC as renderer only, DAC don’t recognize MQA content and plays core only.

But because CE plays audio content as bit perfect (except DSD) we can play full MQA with full quality files if we have DAC MQA full decoder (not renderer only).
In this configuration all are working perfectly, CE plays MQA files without problem, DAC right recognizes MQA content and makes final MQA unfold with full original quality without problem. It works from file on filesystem, works perfect with TIDAL Master and TIDAL2 addon and works also as stream from my Android phone with mconnect application streamed via DLNA to CE
My configuration: CE on S905x3 (X99Max Plus) and IFi ZEN DAC V2 connected via USB.

Last remain is unsolved. Bit perfect playing DSD (SACD) format. Problem is, CE always does transcoding DSD format to PCM. I cannot find way, how to sent DSD stream from CE to my DAC without transcoding to PCM.

Thank you for your research.
I would also like to use it under CE + MQA. I also have a home theater with AVR, connected via HDMI, for multi-channel 5.1 sound designed for watching movies. Of course, I would like to listen to the songs only in 2.0 or 2.1 mode, in the best possible quality. I don’t know how a USB device behaves in CE, I can that I change the source from HDMI to RCA on my AVR, but I would like to avoid the problem of changing the audio configuration in CE every time I change the content from a movies to a songs …
I would like to ask you for your opinion on this device: “EarMen Donald DAC”?
well thank you

if you connect compatible USB DAC to CoreELEC, DAC is detected as new audio device in CE. It means, you cannot avoid the problem of changing the audio configuration in CE if you wanna listen to audio from AVR (HDMI movies DTS,DD,…) or over DAC (2.0 HiRes audio). For your help, you can use “Audio Profiles” addon, for example… Or manually change audio output in setting every time, of course.
EarMen Donald DAC: I have no experience with this DAC. I can recommend IFi ZEN DAC V2, which I use. But, I think, EarMen will not works with full MQA playback, because EarMen is MQA renderer only. And CE is not MQA player and doesn’t do MQA decoding (first unfold).
I thing, for full MQA playback with CE is MQA decoder necessary, not renderer only.
But, I don’t know sure, you must try it :slight_smile:

thank you for the quick reply.
I haven’t decided on a specific DAC hw yet, due to saving 60 USD, I won’t risk returning the goods and I’ll go your way. :innocent:

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