dCS Network Bridge Tidal vs USB

I have a dCS Network Bridge linked to a Metronome AQWO used as a DAC.

When I play files via USB thumb drive, the DAC recognize hi-rez including 24/176 kHz files. However, if I play Tidal MQA streaming, my DAC only recognizes 24/88 even though the Mosaic app says the MQA files are 176 or 352 kHz. Tidal streaming of 24/96 is fine though.

Do you have any idea what’s happening?


This is standard for MQA.

The 176/352 just indicates what the original input to the MQA encoder was. MQA lossily compresses this down to 44.1/48. The first unfold then expands this back to 88.2/96. Then the “2nd unfold”/“render” is really just a low-pass filter applied by the DAC.

This is why MQA gets such a bad rep with a lot of people. Its lossy compressed “high”-res with murky display requirements that misslead the end user.

Obligatory note: I’m not trying to start yet another MQA religious war thread, as seems to common on the Internet. Plenty of those abound if you want to Google for them. Just explaining the technicals of why the DAC is showing a 88.2/96k input after MQA first unfold is done by the Network Bridge.

The ability to play MQA encoded hi-res files requires two processes. The first is to decode the MQA file ( called the first unfold in accordance with MQA’s terminology of “Audio Origami”). The second process relates to unfolds beyond this i.e. for files above 24/96 and is called rendering.

The decoding takes place as part of the network function and rendering as part of the DAC.

In your situation with the Network Bridge you have the decode part ( first unfold) .Hence your Metronome DAC recognises MQA files <24/96 but not the higher resolution ones as although Network Bridge sends them ( therefore they are described as such in Mosaic), the Metronome DAC does not appear to incorporate MQA rendering.

Thank you both for the reply