Is MQA in your Future?

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by WobblySam, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    By an expert (PhD and recording engineer Mark Waldrep) who was open to trying MQA and also discuss positives and negatives of MQA, only to be stymied by them....

    A blog post form him

    http://www.realhd-audio.com/?p=6046
     
  2. lizard84

    lizard84 Abider

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    I’ve been fooling around doing comparisons this morning between artists on Audirvana, very easy to do with it’s Tidal capability.

    I think the worst thing I can say about the MQA offerings are they at worst indistinguishable from actual HD tracks in my library. Nothing scientific mind you, I can’t do a rapid A/B but repeated listening to tracks or sections of tracks back to back to back (sound level double checked with a radio shack digital sound level meter, cat #3300099)

    Nora Jones: Come Away with me: Don’t Know Why: DSD64 24/176.4 vs Tidal MQA Studio 24/96 vs MQA Studio 24/192. Opinion? It’s a wash, very impressive that we can stream at this quality.

    Led Zep II: Ramble On : HD Track ALAC 24/96 vs Tidal MQA Studio 24/94. Opinion? Again a wash, admittedly Led Zep was always poorly produced and the HD tracks are not major steps up but still, an impressive tie in my opinion for Tidal MQA.

    James Taylor: Before This World: Today Today Today: HD Tracks ALAC 24/96 vs Tidal MQA Studio 24/96 :Opinion? I’ll give a slight edge to the HD track, hard to put my finger on it but it’s there. Still very impressive.

    Ottmar Libert HD Track ALAC 24/94 blew away Tidal’s lossless non MQA offering.

    Doing many others and I’ll report back if interested. Bottom line? that if MQA is lossy, much like the new Buick isn’t your grandfathers Buick, the MQA lossy is not the lossy of old.

    All selections were coordinated through Audirvana with actual payback bit rates taken from its data.
     
  3. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    Were they from the same masters? For many LP's there are multiple masters around and if they are not the same master it is not a great comparison. For example Donald Fagen's Nightfly in MQA format is a different one than what is done at CD quality (the MQA songs are all longer than the CD - MQA has not said where this master is from - they said it was the same as the CD but how can that be?). Also since the LP was recorded in early digital, it is only a 20 bit master, so anything above that has been resampled higher. Until there is a head to head, from the same masters and same bit depth, etc. there will ALWAYS be questions.

    This has been the issue with MQA, getting real definitive honest answers - all we get is 'Trust us'!!
     
    Bill Ferris likes this.
  4. DaveVoorhis

    DaveVoorhis Super Member

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    If it's software built on top of a reliable transport protocol like TCP or RTP, if there is enough packet loss that the recovery time exceeds the buffer length, the playback stops. A good way to simulate this is to unplug your network cable whilst the sound is playing.
     
  5. lizard84

    lizard84 Abider

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    All I can give you definitively is my sound level matched results as above. Remember, I’m comparing a stream to a hirez download, it’s impressive.

    I’ll continue to purchase Hi-Rez downloads of course. But it’s good stuff this streaming, yes!
     
  6. Vintagear

    Vintagear Super Member

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    You seem very passionate about this subject. Have you taken the time to listen and compare the FREE files that I linked way back in post #92. They are all from the same exact high quality master so they meet your criteria.

    Listen and compare them on your non-MQA DAC and let us know what you hear.

    http://www.2l.no/hires/index.html?
     
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  7. E-Stat

    E-Stat Super Member

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    Actually, I believe they offer non-MASTER versions of that content as well. Your choice.
     
  8. DaveVoorhis

    DaveVoorhis Super Member

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    Having done some reading on MQA, I still don't get it: What is the supposed benefit, beyond consuming a bit less space and bandwidth compared to existing lossless compression formats?

    Given that space and bandwidth costs are ever-decreasing, taking up a bit less space and bandwidth seems like not much of a gain, and MQA is a proprietary format that demands payment from content developers (or at least the makers of some of their digital audio gear), content providers and device (e.g., DAC) manufacturers. Surely that cost will inevitably be absorbed by consumers -- you and me -- by eventually paying more for streamed/downloaded music?

    If so, what benefit do we get in return, that we wouldn't get from industry adoption of existing free audio compression formats?
     
  9. Johnny 007

    Johnny 007 Active Member

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    You can't really stream high quality files, so MQA might be an improvement for streaming.
     
  10. DaveVoorhis

    DaveVoorhis Super Member

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    There's nothing that technically prevents streaming high-resolution content, and bandwidth and storage costs are continuing to plummet -- largely driven by video content providers like Netflix and Amazon Video that have bandwidth demands that far exceed the requirements of high-resolution audio.

    And, again, why MQA instead of free formats?
     
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  11. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    I have and I have even went to an MQA (unofficial) listening test. I was underwhelmed by MQA. The reason being was the ringing of the MQA and the extra-fuzziness in the midrange of the MQA. The host mentioned the filtering of MQA actually adds ultrasonic noise to the file while playing which can add sympathetic noise in the midrange. This was a blind test also. I picked theMQA files out 75% of the time and also found them the worst or equal to the other files - FLAC High res.

    Based on my experience, i felt why are they pushing MQA - MONEY is the only reason.
     
  12. Johnny 007

    Johnny 007 Active Member

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    Well, if all the streaming services started streaming higher than CD quality content, then that would be nice. But right now, most of them don't.
     
  13. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    OK, hundreds is it? I would have expected by this time that number to have grown to hundreds of thousands. Looks like another failed format in the making!
     
  14. E-Stat

    E-Stat Super Member

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    Of course you can. Video streaming services like Netflix consume more bandwidth. With music, it's currently done in Europe with Quobuz and will be coming to the states soon.

    Like other providers, they offer different tiers with the Sublime+ service streaming 192/24.
     
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  15. lizard84

    lizard84 Abider

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    Actually it’s many many many times higher then that. There is a Tidal masters spreadsheet floating around on the net, do a search for the most current tally.
     
  16. lizard84

    lizard84 Abider

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    Currently done in Europe and coming soon to the states means no you can’t. Tidal’s been expanding the offerings for over a year.

    That said I’ll welcome Quobuz with open arms when it happens. Their pricing will face some push back considering the gripes here about Tidal’s costs.
     
  17. E-Stat

    E-Stat Super Member

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    But not from a technology standpoint as Johnny 007's post implied.

    Streaming "high quality files" is most certainly possible.
     
  18. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    Magical stardust that bring out real tears whenever one listens to it for long!

    I do wish Meridian had kept their initial MQA site up. It was downright comical when they were showing people (actors and models really) actually crying real tears while listening to MQA!

    When a company is announcing a new format, always best to look like it is going to be a real game changer! Swing the bat like you are aiming for the moon, and when it falls into the infield, hope there is enough momentum left over to carry it on to home plate..
     
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  19. Vintagear

    Vintagear Super Member

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    I'd like to try that at home. What recordings and sample rates did they play at your "unofficial" MQA listening test and were they all from the same masters?
     
  20. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    I didn't set it up. But the gent who did said they were from the same master. Most were 44.1/24 since that is what most of the MQA's he could get were.
     

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