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Hi all, 

looking to get an external DAC to run a Pro-ject stream box S2 ultra into running Roon and tidal. Wanting the option for MQA if possible... wanting to know peoples experience with using MQA first unfold with R2R DAC (non-MQA hardware) performance versus MQA unfold and MQA hardware rendering using delta-sigma DAC... obviously the sound signatures are different, but with no opportunity to audition where I live I’m wanting to hear from any of you who may know from personal experience. I’m considering the topping d90 MQA or Denafrips Ares ii and like the sound of reviewers impressions of the Denafrips more, but worry about missing out on full MQA without the rendering taking place? Thanks in advance. 

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A bluesound node 2i is a good way to try out an MQA DAC in addition to being a good streamer for all your music (from NAS + Tidal etc.). It has MQA hardware, so will do the final MQA unfold.

 

Can be had for around $800-900 new or around $700 used

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Well I did at one stage have both the DACs you mention.   Recently got rid of the Denafrips Ares2 but kept the Topping D90 MQA.  Not because I preferred the D90 either but I went up to a Holo May KTE.  I kept the D90 for now as this does MQA.  But when I had both I preferred listening to the Ares2.  The Ares2 had a nicer sound that didn't have the digital sheen sound of the D90.  Larger soundstage, very clear vocals but missing some of the high end treble.  

For that part I mostly avoided MQA tracks as even though the first unfold is done by Roon.  It misses the rest of the unfolds and it had a sort of has lossy sound to it.

Now with the Holo May KTE it makes rebook 16 bit music sound superb.  So again I use this as my main DAC and just avoid MQA tracks where I can which is 99% of the time.  Superb DAC but is it unfortunately very pricey.

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