MQA through Toslink


Any DACs you know do this under the $400 mark?

Thanks!
leemaze
That may be a tall order. I checked a couple of low budget DACs  that do MQA, but they don’t have a toslink connector. Of course there may be one, but the $400 budget will limit your selection. You may consider something like the meridian explorer 2 DAC and a toslink to USB or toslink to SPDIF converter.
Thanks Mark - yes I’ve seen quite a few USB MQA implementations from pro-ject, iFi, and audioquest. 

Any recommendation for going from toslink to USB? I suppose this could have the additional benefit of reclocking jitter? I’m looking to Airplay MQA Tidal through an airport express. 

Thanks!
You may consider Bluesound Node 2 which retail for $499.00. But I am not sure if you will hear full MQA unfold through its Toslink output. 

I own a Vault 2 and using its analog (RCA) output for MQA playback. 
Can you tell us more about your implementation? Why Toslink? What is the digital source? What is the amplification?  If I have a full picture, I can be of more help :-)
My understanding is Node2 supports MQA though its coax digital, probably through Optical as well but I am not sure. Of course, the downstream DAC will need to also support MQA in order to hear MQA quality content. Analog RCA is a sure bet without the need for an external DAC.
@marktomaras 

hi, the source is Tidal and FLAC, transmitted over WiFi to multiple Airport Expresses, which feature an mini-Toslink output. 

They currently go via Toslink into Fiio D03 DACs and then to the integrated amps via RCA. 

I’m looking to improve the DAC section of the chain. My goal is a more 3D soundstage. The Fiio DAC sounds great in tone, rhythm and separation. But it doesn’t have the depth/texture I desire. Budget is $200-$400
Does the airport express also have the option to output via ethernet and even USB?  This will remove your toslink limitation.  Toslink is not particularly desirable by the way.  Something like the Meridian Explorer 2 can accept a USB signal from the Airport if the airport can use the USB port to output audio.  Usually hifi via ethernet is more desirable.  A previous poster mentioned Bluesound Node 2.  This is a killer option for you.  Forget toslink, go ethernet, and use the Bluesound.  The version 2 is $500 new.  You just have to find a deal on one, which seems possible.  Bluesound has a great control app for android and iOS so you can control with any device and stream Tidal, etc.  
@lalitk 

The Node 2 will do the first unfold via digital out, but the full untold requires using the analog output. 

The Node 2 does have a digital optical input, though I’m not sure if it can unfold MQA content from the digital input or only through streaming sources.  
Lets pretend cost cost is no object. What DACs can decode MQA fed from data via toslink?
It looks like the Mytek Liberty DAC should do it, it has an optical input and says it has a hardware MQA decoder (and a light on the front that will light up when MQA is being decoded).

The manual doesn't explicitly state MQA decoding via optical, but it doesn't say it doesn't (like the Pro-ject DAC).
Why not go this way:
computer > network > Airport Ethernet port > Bluesound Node 2 as a streamer and DAC > rca output to amplifier 
A reclocker that also converts to coax or usb might improve the sound anyway in that setup. Maybe even more than mqa will.
Toslink will limit the music to 24/96 in any case.

Have a look at this link. It may shed some more light on the facts:

http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/forum/subjective-soundings-your-views-on-audio/listening-to-audio/2307-airport-express-the-better-dac-outperforming-external-dac-s


Thanks @amg56 - was there something particular you took from that thread? The external DAC is certainly a sound improvement over the internal Airport Express DAC. 

@headphonedreams do you know of a toslink reclocker? Or a toslink to coax reclocker? Or a toslink to usb reclocker?
The ifi SPDIF iPurifier is once such reclocker. It supports 24/192 even through its optical connection and is bit perfect. 

https://ifi-audio.com/portfolio-view/accessory-spdif-ipurifier

The Wyred 4 Sound Remedy Reclocker is another, however, it reclocks everything to 24/96.

https://wyred4sound.com/products/digital-converters/remedy-reclocker

I found a high-quality glass optical cable a necessity to pass higher than 24/96. I’ve used Lifatec glass Toslink cables for years. Nice cables.

http://www.lifatec.com/toslink2.html 

The Bluesound Node 2 can indeed pass an MQA signal via optical. From their website:

Bluesound Players are a full MQA playback solution. They will decode and render MQA playback up to 24/192. If however you are connecting an external DAC, the maximum output will be 24/96 and MQA processing is not happening in the DAC.

If you have an external DAC that is certified by MQA, you may bypass Bluesound's MQA rendering process in the Bluesound NODE 2 or VAULT 2 and send the pure untouched music bits directly via TOSLink Optical or Digital COAX output for processing by your external DAC.



Slick! Thanks @wtf. I thought the iPurifer only had a coaxial input. 
So, now that we can get from Toslink to Coaxial with the iPurifier - is there a DAC that unfolds MQA via coax under $400?
After digging around iFi, I think that the iOne DAC actually does everything I’m looking for $200. Toslink Optical with MQA unfolding. Their input is a Hybrid Toslink/Coaxial connection, which is really slick, and looks like it just has coaxial!  They should make this more clear!  I sent them an email to confirm.

Anybody hear this little box?

Thanks!
I don’t see any references to MQA on the ifi site. A cool gadget nonetheless.
@kalali they updated the firmware on many of their products to include MQA support, including the iOne.

https://ifi-audio.com/wp-content/uploads/data/iFi_audio_PR_Extra_Ordinary_MQA_Easter_Egg.pdf

Heard back from iFi - unfortunately MQA does not unfold through Toslink or Coaxial.  Apparently the "MQA Renderer", which is engine these smaller/mobile DACs use to unfold MQA, only works through USB.  So that's why all the AQ, Pro-ject, and iFi DACs that do MQA can only do it through USB connection.

So back to other idea - anyone have a Toslink-to-USB Converter?