MQA may not be all that's claimed

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audioengr


paul79

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Re: MQA may not be all that's claimed
« Reply #1 on: 25 Jul 2016, 02:26 pm »
Interesting indeed. Thanks for sharing.

I have yet to read where anyone that has listened to it thinks it makes things worse though  ??

No experience myself of course.... Just keeping an open mind.

Blackmore

Re: MQA may not be all that's claimed
« Reply #2 on: 25 Jul 2016, 02:35 pm »
I believe Paul McGowan and Ted Smith of PS Audio have written on their forum that they think it makes their DACS sound worse. You have to read Paul's comments with some eye towards him promoting his own products, but it is interesting to read a contrary review.


nickd

Re: MQA may not be all that's claimed
« Reply #3 on: 25 Jul 2016, 03:40 pm »
I was worried my DAC may not be "up-gradable" to MQA.  :lol:

After reading the article, I am comfortable again. I still long for higher resolution from Pandora and some streaming services However it appears I am in the minority. Few of the non audiophile population feel that way.

My 28 year old son (it tech a with degree and lots of certs) just looks at me like I'm crazy when I talk about high resolution digital audio.

ctsooner

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Re: MQA may not be all that's claimed
« Reply #4 on: 6 Aug 2016, 12:13 am »
I was able to listen to it for an hour or so about a year ago.  One of the reps was in a local shop and we listened on the top Meridian system in the store. It sounded very good. It really did, but I wouldn't say it blew me away.  I just wasn't familiar with the Meridian system I heard as I don't like them. 

bhobba

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Re: MQA may not be all that's claimed
« Reply #5 on: 12 Jan 2017, 02:16 am »
I believe Paul McGowan and Ted Smith of PS Audio have written on their forum that they think it makes their DACS sound worse. You have to read Paul's comments with some eye towards him promoting his own products, but it is interesting to read a contrary review.

I don't think it was worse.

The claim is what John Darko found (ie its actually better than the original hi res files it came from):
http://www.digitalaudioreview.net/2016/06/an-inconvenient-truth-mqa-sounds-better/

What Paul McGowan found was while very close to the original it was slightly worse:
http://www.psaudio.com/pauls-posts/mqa-thoughts/

But even that is a good achievement.  Paul was told it could be better if it was optimized for the PS Audio DAC.

IMHO its the future of streaming services like Tidal.  Now I have a Tidal subscription I really don't buy new CD's or do downloads anymore except the occasional ones not in their library - but that's very rare.

The real issue with it IMHO is companies like PS Audio that constantly release new software updates don't want it because they will need to update the MQA decoder as well to get the best results.   We will see if it takes off enough so they will have no choice.  But even without it it sounds good - just not quite what is claimed.

Thanks
Bill

OzarkTom

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Re: MQA may not be all that's claimed
« Reply #6 on: 12 Jan 2017, 03:27 am »
I was worried my DAC may not be "up-gradable" to MQA.  :lol:

After reading the article, I am comfortable again. I still long for higher resolution from Pandora and some streaming services However it appears I am in the minority. Few of the non audiophile population feel that way.

My 28 year old son (it tech a with degree and lots of certs) just looks at me like I'm crazy when I talk about high resolution digital audio.

You might want to read this article about Pandora.

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/739-ces-2017-nice-surprises/

FullRangeMan

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Re: MQA may not be all that's claimed
« Reply #7 on: 12 Jan 2017, 10:50 am »
The article seems lucid, MQA looks another HDCD.

Steven Stone

Re: MQA may not be all that's claimed
« Reply #8 on: 12 Jan 2017, 05:07 pm »
You can pontificate all day if you wish OR you could get Tidal (the demo is free), download and configure their desktop app and listen for yourselves on ANY DAC since the app has decoding up to 96/24 built in. Lots of people have written about MQA before they've heard it, which is too bad...

ctsooner

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Re: MQA may not be all that's claimed
« Reply #9 on: 13 Jan 2017, 02:17 pm »
You are so correct.  It's typical of so many on the internet to talk about things they don't know about etc...  All too often folks look at graphs and measurements and make their minds up.  Folks forget how to listen.  I'm on the fence over the long term viability of MQA, just like I was about so many other formats of various listening and visual's before it.  Heck, I owned the Sony video format that was much better than VHS and fell through due to marketing, to laser disks to......name your tune.

I heard MQA as a dealer who had the rep in visiting with it about a year before they came to market with it and I was impressed.  I have and listen to a lot of high resolution music at home.  I find it's still all about how good or bad the recording is as nothing can compensate for that.  I heard fully unfolded files on an all Meridian system (not my favorite high end gear) and it sounded better than the same cuts in non MQA format that they played along side.  I will no doubt use it on my iPhone and through my AudioQuest Red, once that's available.  I have my QX5/20 from Ayre that won't have it available, but I will listen to the Tidal stream with and without to see if I want to use it on my main rig.  Again, I'm so glad it's available for some of their catalog and will be able to easily listen to cuts to see if I like it better or not. 

Too many folks get hung up on 48 vs 96 vs 192 and all the number in between.  Personally, I hear differences, but not huge at all.  I hear much larger differences going from 16 bits to 24 bits.  Adding more information seems to do much more for the musical experience in my system than the sampling rates. 

werd

Re: MQA may not be all that's claimed
« Reply #10 on: 21 Jan 2017, 07:20 am »
You can pontificate all day if you wish OR you could get Tidal (the demo is free), download and configure their desktop app and listen for yourselves on ANY DAC since the app has decoding up to 96/24 built in. Lots of people have written about MQA before they've heard it, which is too bad...

Hi

Ok i appreciate the tip. I use tidal (hifi account) from ipad into my Yamaha receiver configured for multiroom use. However, I did what you said and downloaded it on to my gaming desktop. I got it and sounds good and tidal sounds good over my gaming headphones.  I am assuming i have it? The only thing is i can't compare it. Is there anyway i can turn this off or am i stuck with no comparison?

werd

Re: MQA may not be all that's claimed
« Reply #11 on: 21 Jan 2017, 08:25 am »
Edited due to lousy dac and headphones on comp  :lol:
I can actually replicate this MQA Brand sound with my Bryston BDA2. Well with out the dynamics loss of the MQA. It sounds like my bda 2 on an aluminum shelf a bunch of heavily shielded rca cable. I am trying to remember the braiding type. Definetly not your holographic cables Empircal use to sell. Dam i forget.. oh well who cares.
« Last Edit: 21 Jan 2017, 08:11 pm by werd »

werd

Re: MQA may not be all that's claimed
« Reply #12 on: 21 Jan 2017, 03:46 pm »
I don't mind it for my ceiling speakers using tidal. I am not sure how happy I would be about it in the sweet spot . I would likely turn it off.

Steven Stone

Re: MQA may not be all that's claimed
« Reply #13 on: 21 Jan 2017, 03:58 pm »
"I can actually replicate this MQA Brand sound with my Bryston BDA2. Well with out the dynamics loss of the MQA. It sounds like my bda 2 on an aluminum shelf a bunch of heavily shielded rca cable. I am trying to remember the braiding type. Definetly not your holographic cables Empircal use to sell. Dam i forget.. oh well who cares."

I would disagree based on matched level A/B tests using my own original master files. If you had a Mytek Brooklyn you could turn the MQA processing on and off from your listening chair for some more tightly controlled listening comparisons that rely less on longterm aural "memory."

werd

Re: MQA may not be all that's claimed
« Reply #14 on: 21 Jan 2017, 04:07 pm »
Well i would need to be able switch it off at the sweet spot to get a meaningful opinion.. How do you match level?

garyalex

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Re: MQA may not be all that's claimed
« Reply #15 on: 21 Jan 2017, 04:17 pm »
All I can say is that some of the conclusions reached in this article are not consistent with my admittedly limited experience with MQA.  I've listened to MQA files on Tidal.  My DAC does not natively support MQA.  Even so I found some of those files to sound very good.  So far I've restricted my listening to albums I've heard many times previously.  One of those that I found to sound better than its non-MQA version was the Crosby , Stills and Nash "Daylight Again" album.  To me it sounded smoother and less digital.  There were others for which this difference was less apparent or not apparent at all.  So far I haven't heard anything that sounds worse.  Just my experience.

ctsooner

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Re: MQA may not be all that's claimed
« Reply #16 on: 21 Jan 2017, 05:46 pm »
Let's see if it really comes to pass for the masses in either mid or hifi.  I still don't think I'm missing a thing with a great system and if it does catch on, I'll do the upgrades later on.   So far I'm not missing it a bit.  I will be using it on my tidal stream and AQ Red DAC once I can and that will be perfect for me if it makes most recordings sound better.  It's just so early to figure out if it's better and by how much and in what types of systems. 

wushuliu

Re: MQA may not be all that's claimed
« Reply #17 on: 21 Jan 2017, 10:32 pm »
Interesting. So the article is saying that MQA is actually a lossy format with some whizbang processing. So the end product may sound great, but it's not any closer to 'master tape'. No wonder some companies are skeptical.

witchdoctor

Re: MQA may not be all that's claimed
« Reply #18 on: 21 Jan 2017, 10:41 pm »
Interesting article:
https://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/application_notes/163302855-is-mqa-doa

What a bunch of propaganda from a self serving manufacturer. Of course the fact that I don't need to buy a dac to get MQA never occurred to them right?
If anyone needs to prove the benefit to themselves open tidal. Pick a Masters version of an album and load it into a new playlist. Take the Hifi version of the same album and load it into the same playlist. Hit shuffle, and then play. Close your eyes and see how many times in a row you can pick the MQA version. The upgrade is obvious to my ears, and I didn't even have to buy a thing.

wushuliu

Re: MQA may not be all that's claimed
« Reply #19 on: 21 Jan 2017, 10:56 pm »
What a bunch of propaganda from a self serving manufacturer.

But are they wrong? What bothers me is the part about the source 24bit file not being preserved...

Quote
Note that the original 24-bit signal is never recovered. MQA does not losslessly preserve the original 24-bit signal. For this reason MQA is not truly a lossless system. At best, the MQA system losslessly conveys 17-bits at 96 kHz. Unfortunately this very complicated process is less efficient than lossless FLAC compression of the 17-bit file. It is also only slightly smaller than a FLAC version of the original 24-bit signal. MQA does not make it easier to stream 96 kHz files. With a 96 kHz 18-bit input, FLAC compressed MQA requires higher data rates than FLAC compressed PCM while delivering lower quality than 18-bit losslessly compressed PCM. MQA also requires special mastering and special playback hardware. Conventional FLAC compression requires neither.