When Will AVRs Support MQA?

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Q There’s been much discussion about MQA technology and its capabilities, but the only products that support MQA are a handful of DACs and stereo amps.

When can we expect to see MQA in mainstream AVRs such as those from Marantz, Yamaha, Denon, Pioneer, and Onkyo? For me, there’s no point in upgrading to a new receiver now if MQA decoding can’t at least be added via a firmware update. —Jacek G.

A MQA support is coming to more products: the company just issued a release detailing new partnerships that will bring the technology to a range of new streamers, standalone DACs, integrated amps, and software players. However, most of the forthcoming MQA-compatible products are pricey, high-end stereo components — not surprising given that the target customer for the technology is the early adopter audiophile.

MQA support can also be found in less expensive gear, including the Bluesound product range and integrated amps from NAD that incorporate the company’s optional MDC BluOS module . Audioquest also made a firmware update available that brings MQA support to its Dragonfly Red and Black DACs. At $199 and $99, respectively, these currently represent the most affordable entry point for those interested in MQA.

As for MQA in AVRs from mainstream companies, Integra announced that MQA support was coming to its DRX Series receivers via a firmware update, but that update has yet to materialize. Pioneer and Onkyo are both MQA licensees — the technology can be found in Pioneer’s XDP-100R and XDP-300R and Onkyo’s DPX1 portable digital audio players — but both brands have yet to announce MQA support for their AV receiver lines. When I asked MQA about the prospect of MQA technology upgrades coming to AVRs, I was told, “MQA will work directly with manufacturers to evaluate their implementation. It can often be a firmware update.” So, there you have it: MQA support could be coming to additional receivers via a firmware update, but no word yet on which ones.