MQA audio unplayable on a 2015 MBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Tenashus1, Apr 28, 2018.

  1. Tenashus1 macrumors 6502

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    Jul 27, 2011
    #1
    I have a mid 2015 13' Mac Book Pro. I also use Tidal Streaming. So, I got a Meridian Explorer 2 (E2) in order to hear MQA MASTER titles on Tidal. But the little green/blue light on the E2 never came on for me. Only a white light showing PCM streaming. Apparently, from what I've learned, the MBP's own internal DAC is not MQA compatible, and so I am not able to use the MQA option on the E2 with my Mac. MQA streaming seems to require MQA all the way down the line from the external DAC through the onboard DAC on the Mac. I'm a little taken back by this news. Does anybody have any experience with MQA compatibility with the 2015 Mac? I'd appreciate any info or insights on this issue. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Audit13 macrumors 68040

    Audit13

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    #2
    I'm not familiar with the E2 so forgive me if I make erroneous assumptions.

    Reviewing the specs, the E2 needs to be fed a digital signal via its USB input in order to perform conversion of the digital signal analog for output via the headphone or line-level analog connections. The situation described in the post leads me to conclude that:

    1. the MBP's audio circuitry should be bypassed in order to send a hi-res digital signal to the E2 for processing;
    2. the MBP's audio processor is taking the digital signal and downsampling it to 44 khz or 48 khz before sending it via USB to the E2 since the E2 LEDs indicate that it is receiving a non-MQA PCM signal; and
    3. you need to find a way whereby you can select the E2 as the audio output device via playback software or driver.
    I looked at the E2 website and noticed that there is software and set up instructions for the device. Did either of these two items help in any way?
     
  3. Tenashus1 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Unless there is something I am missing, I have tried every configuration with Tidal software and Mac apps to select the E2 as the output device; everything short of turning the Mac upside down. I do have the Boom Music Enhancer, but I shut it off every time I use the DAC. I have thought of uninstalling it to see if that might help since it always shows up as an output option even when it's turned off. Someone from the dealer where I purchased the DAC (Grammaphone) told me that the internal audio setup of the 2015 MacBook Pro is not MQA compatible which I still find hard to believe. Meridian says nothing about that. It would seem that the DAC should be able to bypass the internal circuitry of the Mac anyway. I'm stumped presently.
     
  4. Audit13 macrumors 68040

    Audit13

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    #4
    Does the output sampling rate have to match the input sampling rate? For example, if the input is 96/24, do you have to select 96/24 in the MBP's out settings?

    Even if the MBP's audio circuitry is not MQA compatible, the purpose of using the E2 is to bypass the MBP's audio circuitry.

    Are you able to test the unit with another Mac?

    Have you tried performing a fresh install of macOS?
     
  5. GrumpyCoder macrumors regular

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    Nov 15, 2016
    #5
    Can't help you with your problem, since I don't own the E2, but why don't you join us Meridian owners over at the Meridian Unplugged forum? It's dedicated to Meridian and while most of us probably own "full" Meridian systems, I'm pretty sure someone can help you with your issue (a bunch of official dealers hanging out there as well).
     
  6. Tenashus1 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6
    When using the E2 with the Mac on Tidal Master the sampling rate on the MIDI app defaults to 24/48, and the sound that comes through is truly superb. It's just the elusive blue light that bugs me. I have a 2012 MBP. May give it a shot. Haven't done a fresh install of OSX.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 29, 2018 ---
    Tried to register but Firefox indicates that the registration is not secure.
     
  7. GrumpyCoder macrumors regular

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    Nov 15, 2016
    #7
    I don't have a problem with Safari or Chrome. Just contact them via mail and let em know there are issues, pretty sure Carl will take care of it.

    Edit: Even if you don't register, check the "Green Light on Prime with MQA" thread in the MQA forum. That seems to answer your question.
     
  8. Tenashus1 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 27, 2011
    #8
    Thanks so much. Does it answer the question in a positive way? I'm afraid to look. :)
     
  9. Tenashus1, Apr 29, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2018

    Tenashus1 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Alas, maybe there is no blue light to be had Grumpy. The E2 sounds great on MASTER tracks. Better than hifi. This even without the blue light. Talking again to Meridian Support tomorrow. Maybe some answer will come about the elusive blue light.
     
  10. Tenashus1 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Well, I don't know what to say. I just tried the E2 on my 2012 MacBook Pro and I got the blue light and wonderful sound. I'm happy to finally see the blue light, but it's showing on the wrong machine. Why no blue light on my 2015 Mac Book Pro. The sound is almost as good on the 2015 with just the white light, but the sound on the 2012 is knock your socks off and in your face sharp. Happy I've still got the 2012 if that's as far as I can get with the E2. Strange world.
     
  11. Audit13 macrumors 68040

    Audit13

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    #11
    Is the 2012 running the same version os as the 2015?
     
  12. Tenashus1 thread starter macrumors 6502

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  13. Audit13 macrumors 68040

    Audit13

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    #13
    If you update the 2012 to 10.13.4 and you lose MQA streaming, I would be tempted to conclude that it is a software conflict in the latest HS release.
     
  14. GrumpyCoder macrumors regular

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    Nov 15, 2016
    #14
    Interesting observation. However, I can't see how this could be related to the internal DAC, which shouldn't be used at all when the E2 is connected. If there is really no other software installed on the 2015, could it be a settings issue? If you can, do a backup of 10.13.2 to an external disk, boot from it, update to 10.13.4 and see what happens.
     
  15. Tenashus1 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 27, 2011
    #15
    Reluctant to update the 2012 at this point. Funny thing is, the sound I get through the E2 on the 2015 is excellent. I'm wondering if for some reason the blue light is just not showing up and I'm getting MQA anyway. Thanks to everyone for your input. I certainly do appreciate it. I made Meridian aware of the issue. Perhaps the folks at Meridian UK can give me an answer.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 30, 2018 ---
    This sounds great:
    macOS High Sierra 10.13.2
    This version of High Sierra arrived on 6 December 2017. Apple said that this update improved the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac, and is recommended for all users.

    According to the company the update

    • Improves compatibility with certain third-party USB audio devices
    • Improves VoiceOver navigation when viewing PDF documents in Preview
    I wonder if something went wrong with the "improves compatibility..." update in 10.13.4.
     
  16. Tenashus1 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 27, 2011
    #16
    Appears that, at least for me, Explorer 2 is not compatible with the latest version of Mac OS. Tried the DAc on my wife's MacBook with earlier Sierra and it works just fine - blue light and all on MQA.
     
  17. Audit13 macrumors 68040

    Audit13

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    #17
    Interesting. Thank you for letting us know.

    Maybe post your findings in the E2 forum
     
  18. Tenashus1 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #18
    Registering now.
     
  19. Tenashus1 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Found out from Meridian that the E2 has no issues with working on the latest Mac OSX. What the issue is, I simply don't know. I'm stuck right now. I will say that the E2 is a wonderful DAC and that the MQA Master on Tidal is really something to experience.
     
  20. Tenashus1 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Some software issue on the MBP. Did fresh install of OSX, and DAC works perfectly. I have no idea who the culprit was but, at least I have things working now. :)
     
  21. GrumpyCoder macrumors regular

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    Nov 15, 2016
    #21
    Probably a driver issue then, maybe something went wrong in the initial install or some other installation screwed it up. Great you sorted it out and thanks for keeping us updated. Enjoy the Meridian sound!
     
  22. Tenashus1 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #22
    Funny, after all my struggles to get the blue light working on the Meridian Explorer 2 for MQA, now I find the iFi idsd Nano Black Label which gives me the desired magenta light. The Nano surpasses the E2 and even the Dragonfly Red. Fun with MQA. :)
     
  23. RumorConsumer macrumors 6502a

    RumorConsumer

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