AirLens & Direct Stream DAC MKII & MQA

I think about buying a new Steamer and a new DAC. I use Roon and listen 98% music from Tidal including MQA-files.

Since I haven’t really found an answer online, I would like to ask you to answer the following question:

Can I use the combination of the new AirLens Streamer (what is capable of MQA according to the manual) and Direct Stream DAC II to listen to MQA songs in the full resolution (all unfolds)?

Sorry for my bad English…

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My understanding is that the AirLens/MK II combination is NOT capable of doing the full MQA file “unfolding”.


(Maybe @Paul can chime in and confirm.)

Final unfold comes from the DAC so no.

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I have this exact set-up. Roon does first unfold, but MK2 does NOT do any further unfolding.

Therefore MQA files can only result in a max of 96kHz.

But MK2 can do marvelous things with that input!



Very much agree - I really like MQA via the AirLens into the DS2. I enjoyed how the Bridge 2/DS1 unfolded MQA to 192kHz but think the combined sound quality of the AirLens and DS2 mean you have a really great sound with MQA unfolding to 96kHz (and better than it was via the Bridge 2).

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I’m not sure if MK2 software could be changed to add final level of unfolding BUT my impression is no. Not sure of what is involved to add unfolding but would be interested if someone knows.

Hi Dave,

I’m pretty sure in your setup, the Airlens do the unfolding. If you are using Roon, look at the signal path when you are playing back an MQA file. When I am playing back an MQA file, the signal path shows that the Airlens is doing the first unfold.

so if my DAC does not support MQA, is it best to go ahead and disable MQA renderer/decoder support on my Airlens or does it make any difference? I’m streaming TIDAL.

Keep it enabled. The airlens will do the first MQA unfold then pass the unfolded information to your DAC,

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