Implementing support for emerging technologies and formats is a consideration that requires the detailed examination of many factors.
AURALiC was pleased to participate in a brief live MQA demonstration at CES 2016, using our ARIES Wireless Streaming Bridge and ARIES MINI Wireless Streaming Node. The ARIES is a standalone streamer that does not contain a DAC however, and the ARIES MINI utilizes a digital output and an I2S DAC signal in parallel. MQA Ltd. views implementation of its codec as a necessarily end-to-end process, optimized specifically for MQA-defined standards. As such, restrictions are imposed on the nature of the digital output from MQA files and on processing in the signal chain (customizable/upgradable DAC filters, DSD upsampling, room correction, mixing down of input signals, etc.)
AURALiC streaming products, and the underlying network architecture that serves as the foundation for several of our unique streaming features and, ultimately, the sound quality they are able to achieve, rely on the ability to employ several of those very processing techniques. Without the freedom to develop new algorithms for artfully rendering digital music, we feel an artificial limit would be placed on our relentless pursuit of the best sound quality that is technically possible by sacrificing those techniques in favor of MQA support.
These are a few of the significant factors that were vigorously scrutinized in ultimately making the decision not to pursue support for MQA at the present time. If and when MQA Ltd. makes changes to the emerging MQA format that may be more consistent with our own development of signal processing techniques and technologies, we will of course re-evaluate this position with the hope that music lovers everywhere can benefit from continued research and valuable partnerships in the audio industry.