Update your Tidal and get "Masters"

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by RamblinE, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    There does seem to be movement underfoot. What will this merger (if that is the right term) do to bring more subscribers to Tidal? Maybe a MQA Lite model that folds a 16/44.1 file into a much smaller lossy size that could be streamed feasibly over a cell network for use everywhere, to be unpacked by... You guessed it, a sprint MQA enabled phone!
     
  2. Rex81

    Rex81 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    My guess is that they'll offer something similar to what T-Mobile is doing with their "Music Freedom" package, which allows their users to stream music without it counting towards their data allowance. This gives Sprint a value-add service to help it compete and Tidal gets access to 44 million new users. Good for Tidal and therefore good for audiophiles.
     
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  3. RamblinE

    RamblinE (╯°□°)╯彡┻━┻ Subscriber

    Not even a little close. The actual reasoning makes sense in context with the rest of the wireless industry.
    http://engt.co/2jT7O8C

    Exactly. See my Engadget link above ^^. I work in wireless and am a little disappointed I didn't see it that way before reading the article x_x
     
  4. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    Maybe. But if it is just offering free music streaming for their customers they wouldn't need to buy 1/3rd of Tidal to deliver that.

    From your link:
    "Tidal will offer exclusive content that will only be available to Sprint subscribers -- yes, even being a loyal listener won't be enough. you'll hear more details on offers and promos "soon," Sprint says."
    Well the word content could mean many things. Does it mean tracks that are not available to regular Tidal subscribers? (That's doubtful to me as it seems Tidal has a vast library already). Or perhaps content means a better SQ specifically to Sprint phones like I was guessing. As the market for everything from new cell phone tech, carriers, and streaming music tightens all the players in this high stakes game will be looking for the advantage that will bring in the subscribers. Having a cell phone that would stream a CD quality content from Tidal would bring in many IMO but at a big cost to them without some sort of compression.. I know you work in some fashion for the cell industry and are probably in the know, but I wouldn't poo poo this so quickly, particularly in the long term..
     
  5. RamblinE

    RamblinE (╯°□°)╯彡┻━┻ Subscriber

    I work in frontline sales for a cellphone carrier. In four years, with various consumer audio products and several smartphones that have been praised by Head-Fi and the blogosphere for being excellent choices for the audiophile, sound quality in the sense that we here know it, has never come up once in any interactions with thousands of customers.

    To the lay person Tidal isn't known for lossless streaming. I explained to a classmate why I used Tidal and his elitist hipster sneer turned into a blank stare and I left him there. Jay-Z's stake in Tidal's parent company and his glitzy publicized relaunch of Tidal as a streaming service by and for artists featuring and showcasing the latest Pop and top 40 releases, is how most consumers know Tidal. That more, mainstream branding is what Sprint hopes to leverage. Content probably will be front and center for them before quality.
     
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  6. Rex81

    Rex81 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    This is an important insight. We audiophiles know Tidal for their quality, but it's important to remember that Tidal offers a lot more that I dare say most of their subscribers value a lot more. I'm thinking about their exclusive releases (Kanye West's latest album), Tidal X (live streaming of concerts), music videos, and curated playlists. Plus, that all-important image they're projecting. Tidal is a great product that really outshines Spotify in a lot of ways, even to the normal consumer. And for the same price if you're using their normal tier ($10 a month). It just came along after Spotify had gained tens of millions of paying subscribers and they have yet to be motivated to switch. The Sprint deal could help that. I hope it does.
     
  7. dodog

    dodog Addicted Member

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    Two really good links that describe the MQA folding/unfolding process and what's actually lost in the data when the file is reconstructed. It IS lossy, whether you'd be able to actually hear what's lost, I'm willing to bet, is probably close to impossible. Seems that the more really, really high frequency there is in the original, the more to be lost once reconstructed:

    http://www.audiomisc.co.uk/MQA/origami/ThereAndBack.html

    Also, and I love the quest for knowledge, it looks like a few have come really close to cracking the renderer (read this page and on):

    http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f...chnical-analysis-31311/index8.html#post627196

    I don't think that there could be a possible Redbook MQA implementation if I'm understanding this all correctly. It looks like the higher than 48 KHz stuff (and a bit below) is truncated and folded into the <48Khz range, which is then unfolded and decoded later, with a bit of loss. Much of what is lost is (probably) inaudible. I think with redbook, there would be too much info in the ~audible range that it would be too noticeable when reconstructed. There is also some talk that the noise shaping and reconstruction may introduce some "euphonic" distortion that some may like and/or attribute to MQA sounding better. Dunno, but it's all very interesting.
     
  8. SWL3600

    SWL3600 Super Member

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    Euphonic distortion, huh? Sign me up! :thumbsup:
     
  9. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Super Member

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    So MQA=MSG? :biggrin:
     
  10. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    It is about the exclusives to Beyoncé, Jayz, etc. They can offer that to Sprint clients first. The exclusive content to some artists is why Apple and Samsung reportedly gave them a look. As was mentioned, they can offer free cellular streaming from Tidal and charge for other services (though, I think they already had some plan for "free" streaming from popular on demand services). The question is whether they are going to make the service free to every Sprint client? If they did, obviously, the service would be more popular, but you wonder how that will work because it will cost them money every time a client streams a song. It sounds even less profitable than Tidal is today and not many people will make the choice to go with Sprint to save $9.99 a month on Tidal, especially if they prefer another service.

    I seriously doubt we will see a Sprint phone with its own DACs. Even if we do, is it going to be enough for people to give up their Pixels, iPhones, and Samsungs? Doubt it.
     
  11. KiM3Ce

    KiM3Ce AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    There is now a Tidal app for Squeezebox and Transporter so I installed it. I got the Tidal trial and I was excited to see a number of audiophile albums I knew well.

    I tried it this morning and it was a bust. The streaming was frequently interrupted on all three MQA albums I tried.

    I tried one non-MQA album and it seemed to work fine. I will try again when I have more time.

    For now, I would say if you are in my situation, go for the free trial before you count on streaming MQA from Tidal.

    FWIW my initial subjective impression was "nothing special." Obviously my Transporter is not MQA-decoding, but Tidal claims improved sound quality anyway from MQA masters.

    We shall see....
     
  12. KiM3Ce

    KiM3Ce AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I tried Tidal with the Transporter again. Still fails on MQA only. Since the file size is supposed to be smaller, it should be easier to stream. I tried going back to Ickstream, which I used before with Tidal, but it won't let me log into Tidal through Ickstream. It is offered as a selection but the website it brings up is unresponsive. I am working on getting Ickstream cloud but haven't received the necessary validation email. What a nuisance!
     
  13. Rex81

    Rex81 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    MQA is not smaller than Redbook. It's much smaller than a standard hi-res file, but it's about twice the size of Redbook. If you don't have a strong network, you may have trouble steaming MQA. I don't know what Transporter or Ickstream is, but I can say that MQA on Tidal works flawlessly streaming directly from a Bluesound Node. And yes, it sounds better than Redbook. The degree to which it is better depends on the particular recording, but either way you know you're getting the true master, which to me, adds value.
     
  14. KiM3Ce

    KiM3Ce AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    FWIW using Tidal on my desktop computer, I have been able to play MQA without the dropouts. This week I am expecting a new router; if that fixes the problem I will report it here. Transporter is the deluxe hifi version of the popular Squeezebox. They were sold by Logitech but are no longer supported. Too bad, it's a great piece of gear.
     
  15. KiM3Ce

    KiM3Ce AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    My first try with the new router feeding MQA on wifi to the Transporter seemed to work. I'll try some more and see how it goes.

    I tried running Ickstream and it doesn't seem to work with Tidal any more.
     
  16. AlTinkster92

    AlTinkster92 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Been a Tidal HiFi user for a couple of years, tried the desktop app last night and for my ears it showed no improvement. I use a Aune T-1 DAC which is just a basic DAC. The MQA audio to me was the same as regular HiFI.
    Promptly uninstalled the app.... :smoke: Al
     
  17. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    Just a heads up, remember still only a fraction of Tidal's music is MQA. There is a MQA icon somewhere on the desktop app that shows itself when you are listening to MQA.
     
  18. AlTinkster92

    AlTinkster92 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks Alobar, I saw the "M' for Masters, just really couldn't hear a difference. Wish I did.... :)
     
  19. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    A lot of people can't from what I read. I do think that will vary some based on different music etc..
     
  20. KiM3Ce

    KiM3Ce AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I will share my experience with MQA and Tidal in the hope it helps others. I bought a second-hand Meridian Explorer 2 on Ebay but I couldn't get the indicator to light up that shows you are getting MQA when playing Masters. It turns out you have to jump through some hoops:

    1. You have to use the Tidal app on your computer, which is very slow to start up. Tidal will work in Chrome but won't deliver MQA.
    2. You have to go into the streaming settings in the Tidal app. There is a little wheel which appears which takes you to an additional control screen.
    3. You have to get the latest firmware onto the Explorer 2 itself. The Meridian instructions say:
    "Go to “Start Menu>All Programs>Meridian Audio Ltd>Meridian USB Audio Driver” and select “Meridian USB device update tool” to open the firmware update application." but that does NOT appear in the Start Menu. Fortunately when you download the Zip file "dac-uploader-v1717-for-windows-with-instructions-mqa" the application you need is there.
    4. You have to set the Tidal app to maximum volume and use your computer to control the loudness.

    Plug and play it is not. If you dig through all the FAQs at Meridian you can get it working.

    My Transporter is in the shop. Of course it will not decode MQA. The tech found an issue with the wifi board in the Transporter which might fix my earlier streaming problems with Tidal. We shall see..

    On my PC Masters sounds pretty good even with cheapie headphones; I should be getting some Grados next week.
     

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