If you own a network player such as the CXN/851N, then you may be aware that they do not contain the correct hardware to properly decode MQA files for accurate playback. However, it is possible to perform ‘MQA passthrough’ with these units, using them alongside the DacMagic 200M which then can ‘unfold’ the files completely.
You can connect the digital output of your device to one of the digital inputs on the DacMagic 200M either via TOSLINK, or S/P DIF. Please note that CXN and 851N don't support USB audio host functionality, so USB connection cannot be used in conjunction with DM200M.
MQA files will then be passed onto the Dacmagic 200M where full unfolding, and processing can take place, completely bypassing the internal DAC of the connected unit.
The MQA indicator LED on the front panel of the DacMagic 200M will indicate when, and how an MQA file is being processed.
Signifies the output as an MQA File. This indicates that a full decode is being performed by the 200M.
Signifies MQA Studio. Approved in the studio by the artist/producer or verified by the copyright holder as accurate to the original recording. This indicates that a full decode is being performed by the 200M.
The MQA stream is pre-decoded and the unit is operating as a renderer; this means that the unit is outputting a stream that has been decoded by the TIDAL app. Although this is perfectly fine, a better solution is to enable the 200M to execute a full decode.
To do this, turn on MQA passthrough in your TIDAL settings to allow the DacMagic 200M to complete the unfolding process rather than the source device (e.g.: the computer).