What does Passthrough MQA mean within Tidal?

Question: In TIDAL there is an option to ‘Passthrough’ which would expect that when this is switched on, i.e. the MQA stream is passed to the DAC, and the DAC does the unfolding of the MQA file (all 3 unfolds). When switched off, TIDAL will do the unfolding and delivers a PCM stream to the DAC as to enable non-MQA DACs to do their thing – Am I right in this assumption?

The reason for asking is the iFi DAC LED lights up magenta when the ‘Passthrough’ option is not active, meaning it seems to detect an MQA stream rather than an already unfolded one.

Answer: You are right, Passthrough bypasses the software decoding in the TIDAL application to the DAC which has the full Decoder technology. For Renderer DAC’s the TIDAL Passthrough needs to be disabled so TIDAL does the first decoding, then Renderer does the rendering.

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