Hi-Res DSD MQA Integration To The Max…

I’ve been integrating audio components since…. …. …. never mind….. I’ve been integrating hi-res (HRA, hi-rez, high resolution) audio into my different playback systems since 2000….

I’ve never seen or heard a more advanced integrated Digital Audio Playback (DAP) device than the Pioneer XDP-100R I recently (finally) ordered.

IMG_0026.JPG

On the lower left is the Pioneer XDP-100R, last year’s model. There is now an XDP-300R. When the 100R came on market sometime over a year ago it listed and retailed for right around $699. Since then I found one for $299 new and have it with me pretty much all the time. 

I was very interested in it from the start because it was the only device I knew that play both MQA and DSD masters in a seamless fashion. 

The other device in the photo to the right is my trusted and beloved OPPO HA-2 (since replaced by the HA-2SE at OPPO, still retails for $299). The HA-2 provides the hefty headphone amp, native DSD conversion to analog playback as delivered from XDP, and lots of extra battery to run or charge the XDP from.

I can travel anywhere with *just* the XDP but there are sound reproduction results with the combination of those 2 devices that are very very very hard to beat especially (and almost exclusively today) if you want to hear and travel and hook your home system up to play both native DSD and MQA up to 384k unfolded. 

It delivers native or upsampled 5.6mHz DSD (for PCM tracks including decided MQA) with a quality of sound reproduction I believe is very hard to beat no matter what you use.

~~~~~ THE SHORT VERSION ~~~~~

I’ve written some audiophile friends about the new setup I have. It is portable, it is long term with battery twice over (really more). It perfectly delivers MQA as well as native DSD analog to any output recipient gear you have (headphones, Bluetooth, Line Out to stereo/studio). It has aeons (days, months, years?) of storage onboard for music or video.  

It doesn’t need a computer to play anything. It *is* a computer.

How does it do this? Here’s my answer:

– It’s an Android PDA (personal digital assistant) and digital player running Android 5.1.1 from Google.  This makes it a very usable and convenient multipurpose tablet that fits in your palm and can host all the Google Play apps you might throw at it. 

I’m using Bluemail and Skype mostly cause I don’t want to burden or clutter it (yet). What I’m saying is it can be your browser, email box, music (and video, hint hint), YouTube player, any media streaming or stored onboard all in one. 

It can’t be your cell phone though you can Skype with calls in and out for $6.99/mo. I’ve used Skype to call out to any cell or Skype or landline number for $2.99/mo. for a very long time when I don’t have cell service (which happens a lot on The Big Island).

By relieving my iPhone of the responsibility of being my portable music player (using the same HA-2 via DoP and the Onkyo HF player app) it freed up all the iPhone  storage (a very conservative 32GB total in comparison to XDP’s whopping 432GB) for photos and videos I take with the phone.  Good trade!

– It is an exceptional MQA decoder providing full resolution unfolding Other popular lower cost MQA DACs I’ve had and used like the Meridian Explorer2 are limited to 192k. None of these support DSD either. 

The TIDAL software player alone with no external DAC just gets you to 96K (one unfold) as will presumably other software MQA players.

– It is 100% DoP (DSD over PCM) compatible that allows it to deliver native DSD to an upstream device (in my case the OPPO HA-2) via a short USB wire (see photo).

– It upsamples PCM to DSD up to 5.6 (11.2mbps stereo) with real precision (no rounding errors) and sends this as DoP to the HA-2 as well….

– It hosts the TIDAL app for streaming MQA etc…

– It has a lot of battery depending what resolution you are playing and how much Android app you use concurrently — but — I back this up with the HA-2 which is also a battery charger good for at least 1x XDP charges.

– It has up to 432GB of storage (!) using 2 SD micro flash slots up to 200GB each on top of its internal 32GB memory for the OS, apps, and music etc.  The SD micro flash cards are of course unlimited in number if that’s not enough for you.  They fit on a thumbnail literally to carry.

– It weights about 7oz.  The HA-2 is a bit heavier (battery!).  All fit in the add-on XDP hard zippered case I got that fits anywhere with cables, Zipbuds PRO (check those out online Amazon for around $25 — and their  brand new “26” AptX wireless creation I got through Kickstarter) and other various audio detritus.

~~~~~ CONCLUSION ~~~~~

What I get from these two devices working together is unlimited headroom for amplification (HA-2 provides necessary oompff even though XDP supports up to 16-300oHm headphones) with the most sophisticated PCM sound ever experienced in my humble opinion. It plays native DSD beautifully as well!

The synergy of MQA decoding with DSD upsampling delivered through an analog 1-bit perfect conversion by OPPO’s HA-2 is a level of Sound Quality on the otherwise edgy compressed qualities of PCM I’ve never come close to experiencing. 

I’m saying MQA sounds great but MQA upsampled to DSD sounds better.

The 2 together fit in my jean jack inside pocket.

The XDP can play everything on its on however the DSD in that case is its PCM converted counterpart, the same as all non-native DSD media players and DACs including Korg’s AudioGate, JRiver and the like. These all also support DoP to connect a “real” DSD DAC to like OPPO, Mytek and many many more.

If you are asking: How can I play the full studio authenticated MQA as well as Native DSD from one setup both in my home and on the go and have all the battery and power for rock n’ roll that I need as well as the convenience of a full Android/Google tablet in my hand traveling around, then look no further…..

Onkyo has very a very similar nearly identical product in collaboration called the DP-X1.  There is also an Onkyo Music app that allows you to buy MQA and other downloads online.

Good stuff. Low Price (I got 2 x 200GB San Disk SD flashes for a total of $150 online btw). Very Amazing Sound.

Did I say it plays your videos stored as well in all the popular formats with 720p resolution. I really like its video quality too.

Aloha!

– DE

….integration….the secret sauce for MQA and all PCM is hi-res DSD upsampling. XDP can do this with HA-2 attached and the result is not like any CD you ever heard.

IMG_0027.JPG

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Hi-Res DSD MQA Integration To The Max…

  1. dezfretz

    So glad you shared your discovery, David. You’ve certainly assembled a kool kit.

    And who better than the hi-res pioneer to figure out the synergy of MQA and DSD for ultimate playback sound quality?

    Art of listening…

    Reply
    1. david elias Post author

      It is the state of affairs of the art as far as listening for me no doubt Dez. Another year, another quantum advance in integration, consolidation, price reduction and ROL (return on listening!). Mahalo amigo.

      Reply
  2. les

    I have just received the Pioneer and was wondering how you play MQA Masters using Tidal as the mobile app doesn’t seem to support MQA Masters yet. Are you only playing MQA you’ve purchased? I can’t wait for the mobile app to support MQA properly.
    Regards.

    Reply
    1. david elias Post author

      Yes the method I believe is used for TIDAL on the XDP (which I haven’t tried myself) is to install/use the TIDAL app that is accessible from the Home page (“Apps” I think is the link). Once you install TIDAL app on the Android you should be able to stream with MQA — perhaps you can let me know if this works for you. Thanks!

      Reply
      1. les

        Hi,
        Thanks for responding. I have been trying to get the app to do more than ‘HI FI’ with no success. I did read somewhere that mobile will gain the ability but maybe just not yet. Thank you. I’ll keep my ears open.

      2. david elias Post author

        Les Mahalo! If I get a new Tidal trial I’ll let you know I think that could be worth trying with XDP but will ask around first….

        The MQA downloads do work great on XDP and software sure to follow in greater suppprt over the coming year.

  3. Dylan T

    Thank you for these thoughts. I have the XDP-100R, too, along with the Chord Mojo, which is superb. I may also get the Oppo HA-2SE, as I tend to keep the Mojo at home. Can you tell me if there’s a notable difference between the XDP-100R with and without the Oppo? I am looking to run a pair of Pinnacle P1’s, (50ohm). Playing largely classical music, so looking for more depth. Any thoughts welcome. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. david elias Post author

      Dylan I find that the HA-2 does an incredible job enhancing the sound from the XDP. This is using both the upsampling abilities to send DoP to the HA-2 so all PCM can get upsample to DSD64 or 128 and then converted to analog. Also the added gain control on the HA-2 as a headphone amplifier gives more headroom and control for volume. The HA-2 fits in the same case I bought for the XDP so they all can travel together.

      Reply
      1. david elias Post author

        I should add that the DSD upsampling is also effective on MQA tracks. I’m the only one I know doing this as most DACs like Brooklyn do either DSD or MQA but not both in series.

        With the 2 DACs I can play my MQA tracks for any res and have the XDP unfold them as necessary then send as DoP to the HA-2 to convert to analog.

        It is my very best MQA reproduction particularly on CD resolution tracks where the upsampling is most effective.

  4. Dylan T

    Hi David, thanks so much for these thoughts and your quick reply. I will likely give the combo a go. Can you let me know what case that is out of interest, as I’m looking for a few right now. The upsampling point is worth knowing, thanks again!

    Reply
    1. david elias Post author

      Dylan this is the case I got, fits in my small day pack ($10 Amazon)

      Navitech Black Hard Water Resistant mp3 digital audio player Case

      Also used these 200GB chips (2) and screen protector

      SanDisk Ultra 200GB Micro SDXC Memory ($77 Amazon)

      MIYAVIX OverLay Screen Protector Brilliant for ONKYO DP-X1 / Pioneer…

      Before getting the XDP I used the Onkyo HF music player on my iPhone with the $10 add on purchase for hi-res. This app worked fine with the HA-2 as DoP as well and a great player overall really for the smartphone.

      But the XDP is a much better music player with MQA and also much more storage and other uses for apps with a better screen especially for travel.

      Hope this helps DE

      Reply

Your Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s