Playing MQA files with an iPhone

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Playing MQA files with an iPhone

Postby GlowTube » Sat Nov 24, 2018 3:15 pm

I use Neutron on my iPhone SE, which I often play stand-alone, but sometimes connect to external DACs using Apple's camera kit USB adaptor.

Lately I acquired an iFi Nano iDSD Black which has MQA decoding capability, and I then downloaded some FLAC test music with MQA encoding. I access these files on my network using Neutron's SMB facility. They play well, and if fact sound fine through the iDSD, but I want to ask a few details. In the now-playing display, Neutron's screen indeed has the notation "MQA" visible. Does this mean that Neutron is simply detecting that the file is MQA, or that it is also decoding it? According to the single-LED display on the iDSD it is -not- seeing MQA, so either Neutron is decoding it (which the MQA community calls unfolding) or is stripping it prior to sending the music to the external DAC. Neutron's Audio Hardware listing does confirm that Neutron sees the iDSD as an external USB DAC, which is good.

I'd like to also ask about the set of Neutron settings to guarantee that it is passing a bit-accurate stream to the Lightning/USB output. This is likely to be in another forum article, could you point me in the right direction?

Lastly it's possible that other elements in this chain might impede or prohibit what I'm trying to do -- whether Apple clamps the Lightning output to some values, and/or the camera adapter does the same (it has its own firmware). If the iPhone is not a good partner for music decoding with an external DAC, I can substitute an Android device.

Thanks & regards!
GlowTube
 
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