dCS brings on MQA

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Let there be MQA…

dCS products age like a fine wine, getting better over the years as the dCS team adds a flurry of new capabilities to keep their products fresh and current.  Most of these updates are accomplished with a firmware update building on a flexible architecture.

This week dCS announced the release of a software update that provides MQA compatibility to many of their current products specifically the: dCS Rossini, Vivaldi One, Vivaldi DAC, and Network Bridge.

We have been having too much fun over at PTA with the dCS Network Bridge, and we encourage you to check out what we’re hearing in the first issue of The Occasional Part-Time Audiophile Magazine.

Last week I had the opportunity to hear the near final dCS firmware that enabled MQA support on a dCS Rosinni at Definitive Audio in Seattle.  Ken Forsythe of MQA was giving us the latest on MQA’s world domination.

Particularly interesting were some of the facts Forsythe shared.

Currently all four major labels (Sony, Universal, Warner, Merlin) have signed up to support MQA and offer both their back catalog and new content in MQA.

Forsythe went on to say:

“While we are two years old in the market, we have only had a product under the TIDAL brand for 10 months. TIDAL crossed a pretty significant milestone last week, they now have 7500 albums in MQA. In 10 months, MQA has helped the labels put out seven times the amount of hi-rez content into the market then what existed prior to MQA.”

Most of the content was streamed directly from TIDAL to a dCS Rosinni DAC.

The star of the show was a un-released track from will.i.am called “Scream & Shout.” You know it, you’ve heard it. But that night, it had me wanting to jump out of my chair and bust out the moves that embarrass my wife and kids. I went home that evening and played the non-MQA version on my system that was very similar to the room at Definitive, it just wasn’t the same feeling.

Yes, I love my LPs. But I liked what I was hearing, and the ability to access that content via streaming from anywhere is attractive. Now add killer hardware from dCS and you potentially have something really special.

Availability of the firmware update will be as follows:

  • dCS Rossini – October 2017
  • dCS Vivaldi One – November 2017
  • dCS Network Bridge – November 2017
  • dCS Vivaldi DAC & Upsampler – December 2017

We can’t wait to get the updated firmware into my listening room.  You can expect detailed analysis of MQA in the near future. Stay tuned.




for immediate attention


18th October 2017
Cambridge, UK


dCS announces the release of a software update that provides MQA compatibility to all current product ranges –  bringing the MQA experience into what many regard as the best digital music source in the world.


MQA, Master Quality Authenticated, provides a means to efficiently encode and transmit high resolution audio. MQA is based on the axiom that, in audio, high resolution can be more accurately defined in the analogue domain in terms of temporal fine structure and lack of modulation noise, than by any description in the digital domain, particularly one that relies on sample rate or bit depth numbers.

MQA works by converting the analogue music to digital and back to analogue again. The conceptual framework models analogue as an infinite sample rate representation, which can be approximated by a hierarchical chain of downward and upward splines. The MQA encoder takes account of and corrects aspects of the original analogue-to-digital and studio preparation chain.

Although a listener can enjoy the encoded stream at CD quality without a decoder, the best result comes with an MQA Decoder, or a combination of MQA Core Decoder and Renderer, which reconstructs exactly what was heard in the studio.

The MQA Renderer performs sampling reconstruction under song-by-song instruction from the encoder, while at the same time matching and optimizing the attached DAC to deliver an authenticated analogue output.

MQA Decoders include a Renderer which is customized for each built-in digital-to-analogue converter. Generally, the converter includes an integrated DAC which is not wholly configurable and may have some performance limitations. For this reason, most MQA decoders include pre-compensation for the built-in converter.

dCS does not use IC converters in its DACs; instead the process of reconstructing analogue from the digital stream is entirely custom, using specific software and discrete hardware to make a DAC. However, unlike other non-integrated DACs, the dCS is still modeled on reconstruction using oversampling, filtering and high-speed conversion.

David Steven, Managing Director, dCS states:

“The dCS and MQA teams have been in discussion, development and testing for almost a year. This is a unique and exciting implementation made possible by the flexibility and capability of our platform, as well as the fact that both companies have aligned philosophies, strong mutual respect and trust.”

Bob Stuart, Founder & CTO, MQA adds:

“In the case of the dCS Rossini, the MQA and dCS teams were able to work together to develop code which accurately matched the MQA hierarchical ideal reconstruction to analogue. This MQA implementation is unique, as it is the first opportunity to enable a DAC which, by providing exact rendering to beyond 16x (768 kHz), matches the desired temporal response with very low modulation noise.”

For dCS owners firmware can be easily updated via the internet download and update functionality.


dCS Rossini – October 2017
dCS Vivaldi One – November 2017

dCS Network Bridge – November 2017

dCS Vivaldi DAC & Upsampler – December 2017

About dCS
Since 1987 dCS has been at the forefront of digital audio, creating world-beating, life-enhancing products that are a unique synthesis of exact science and creative imagination. Each of our award-winning product ranges sets the standard within its class for technical excellence and musical performance. As a result, dCS digital playback systems are unrivalled in their ability to make music.

All dCS products are designed and manufactured in the United Kingdom using proprietary technology, and materials and components of the highest quality. A carefully judged balance of our unique heritage and world-class engineering ensures there is a rich history of ground-breaking innovation inside every dCS system.

Copyright © 2017 Data Conversion Systems Limited. All rights reserved. dCS, dCS logo, Ring DAC are trademarks or registered trademarks of Data Conversion Systems Limited. Data Conversion Systems Limited disclaims any proprietary interest in trademarks and trade names other than its own. All specifications are subject to change and, whilst they are checked for accuracy, no liabilities can be accepted for errors or omissions.


  1. And come to think of it Mohammed, why does your Rossini feature MQA and mine does not?
    You somethin’ special???

  2. Hi, still no sign of MQA on Rossini, it’s 12Nov2017 and they still have released the firmware…. wonder what is going on

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