iFi audio & MQA - The Official Thread

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iFi audio

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iFi audio & MQA - The Official Thread
« on: 9 Oct 2017, 07:45 pm »
Dear AudioCircle community,

1) We have decided to include MQA in future products (and seek to upgrade older products*) based on our previously announced policy that we will support any format with a substantial installed base and where demand from customers exists. And where a technically feasible will upgrade older products is possible.

Just as we support DSD extensively, despite its being less ubiquitous than PCM format, we now see MQA support as an important option to allow our customers free choice of music sources, without being tied to a specific format we impose on them.

With a large library of MQA encoded recordings available on Tidal and regular requests from our customers, we feel the time to add MQA support has come.

2) The iDSD nano Black label is a new product based on the iDSD nano and will be the first to feature MQA functionality. This involved a number of hardware changes from the iDSD nano beyond those applied for improved sound quality to allow for MQA.

3) That said, we are exploring the possibility for upgrades applied to older units with MQA and we are looking hard to make that happen.

*However we CANNOT at this point make any formal commitment or announcement as nothing is finalised and we have no final confirmation that upgrades of older products are technically feasible.

If upgrades for older products are feasible and are forthcoming, it will be announced at the earliest possible point.

======================

Additionally in this new iFI & MQA thread we should post an appeal to discuss things politely.

All those participating in the discussion should remember that no-one is forced to listen to MQA, not even on Tidal, non-MQA versions of all MQA titles appear available. Just as one may prefer headphones over speakers, there is no ‘right or wrong’ and so long as the choice is there, everyone should be satisfied.

While a discussion of the merits of MQA and its addition to iFi products is acceptable, it should be based upon fact, without getting emotional and leaving rudeness and name-calling outside.

Our passion remains in the best sound delivery WITH as much choice as possible (within reason of course!) – so we ask everyone here (and on other forums) for their understanding that by participating on the AMR/iFi audio, one is bound by a code of conduct that is polite, respectful and open.

Thank you for your kind understanding. :thumb:

witchdoctor

Re: iFi audio & MQA - The Official Thread
« Reply #1 on: 9 Oct 2017, 08:29 pm »
Hey iFi, thanks for posting this. Great to see you will offer upgrades to previous products where possible. Makes me feel like I won't need to keep buying a new Dac every 5 years.  :thumb:

After seeing Tyson's endorsement of your current dac I have high hopes for your new MQA Black Label DAC. Did you exhibit the new DAC at RMAF? How did the show go for you? Thanks

BTW, will this DAC be bluetooth ready so I can use my tablet for streaming?

wushuliu

Re: iFi audio & MQA - The Official Thread
« Reply #2 on: 9 Oct 2017, 08:47 pm »
Personally, I'd like to hear more than 'customers requested' as a reason for supporting MQA. Any chance someone like Thorsten will weigh in? Given the lengths to which he has gone in articles and other forum posts regarding his views on, say, DSD, and DAC/software design, I think it would go a long way to hear his thoughts on the merits of MQA. Especially if it's inclusion is now to be extended to mutliple products. Seems like a big decision that warrants more than 'by popular demand' as a reason.

witchdoctor

Re: iFi audio & MQA - The Official Thread
« Reply #3 on: 9 Oct 2017, 08:59 pm »
Personally, I'd like to hear more than 'customers requested' as a reason for supporting MQA. Any chance someone like Thorsten will weigh in? Given the lengths to which he has gone in articles and other forum posts regarding his views on, say, DSD, and DAC/software design, I think it would go a long way to hear his thoughts on the merits of MQA. Especially if it's inclusion is now to be extended to mutliple products. Seems like a big decision that warrants more than 'by popular demand' as a reason.

+1

witchdoctor

Re: iFi audio & MQA - The Official Thread
« Reply #4 on: 12 Oct 2017, 02:17 pm »
Any idea when the new dac will be available? Will it be bluetooth friendly? Any additional upgrades over the current model? I saw a review on Amazon of your current model and someone posted it was better than the Chord Hugo 2, that's quite an endorsement. I also noticed its on sale at Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/iFi-iDSD-Black-Label-Headphone/dp/B01MTNK3ZT/ref=sr_1_1?s=aht&ie=UTF8&qid=1507817838&sr=8-1&keywords=ifi+black+label


iFi audio

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Re: iFi audio & MQA - The Official Thread
« Reply #5 on: 12 Oct 2017, 08:58 pm »
Personally, I'd like to hear more than 'customers requested' as a reason for supporting MQA. Any chance someone like Thorsten will weigh in? Given the lengths to which he has gone in articles and other forum posts regarding his views on, say, DSD, and DAC/software design, I think it would go a long way to hear his thoughts on the merits of MQA. Especially if it's inclusion is now to be extended to mutliple products. Seems like a big decision that warrants more than 'by popular demand' as a reason.

Our Mr Loesch is busy handling and running the R&D team as iFi audio always has at least several projects in the works. Although he isn't available to reply on forums in person, we can assure you that Mr Loesch’s input is evident in every tech file/post we publish. In short, he's aware of what's going on in here as we relay comments back to him. :-)

Getting back to the original question, as is common with technologies today, many of the details MQA provide to their partners are covered by NDAs (which work both ways to protect the IP of MQA's partners as well). This means that even if iFi wanted to say anything, it would have to be cleared by our legal department and the people at MQA et al, etc.



Our R&D department is maxed out and does not have the bandwidth to furnish us with an MQA. Plus, there is plenty of debate on the subject already, some of it fuelled by lack of understanding, without our adding to the chorus! We prefer to concentrate on delivering MQA on as many of our devices as possible and getting long outstanding products into release.

With probably more MQA titles available than DSD, and with many mainstream artists recording new material likely to be available on MQA, the signs are that it is here to stay. The best example is TIDAL and MQA - it is certainly becoming more ubiquitous and cannot be ignored.



What we can say about MQA, is that for MQA titles to play as intended by the mastering engineer, MQA support is required.
As always, iFi will implement MQA in such a way that MQA support does not compromise the PCM & DSD performance our DACs are justly renowned for.

In our universe, all music formats can co-exist quite happily without compromise - it is not a case of PCM or DSD or MQA – we give you the option to choose.



If a customer does not like MQA, then there's no need to play MQA titles and the same goes for PCM and DSD formats.
But at the same time, we want to be sure that if and when you change your mind, you can play whatever you like with the best possible results.





RandyH

Re: iFi audio & MQA - The Official Thread
« Reply #6 on: 13 Oct 2017, 12:57 pm »
Seems like a reasonable approach.  More choices for the consumer. 

witchdoctor

Re: iFi audio & MQA - The Official Thread
« Reply #7 on: 13 Oct 2017, 05:00 pm »
I find flexibility of choice is key. Any idea when it will be available?

witchdoctor

Re: iFi audio & MQA - The Official Thread
« Reply #8 on: 16 Oct 2017, 01:02 pm »
How to master in MQA is being offered at the AES meeting in NYC. This will be a standard in about 24 months as all labels start mastering in MQA:

http://www.aes.org/events/143/specialevents/?ID=5624

witchdoctor

Re: iFi audio & MQA - The Official Thread
« Reply #9 on: 16 Oct 2017, 01:04 pm »
Personally, I'd like to hear more than 'customers requested' as a reason for supporting MQA. Any chance someone like Thorsten will weigh in? Given the lengths to which he has gone in articles and other forum posts regarding his views on, say, DSD, and DAC/software design, I think it would go a long way to hear his thoughts on the merits of MQA. Especially if it's inclusion is now to be extended to mutliple products. Seems like a big decision that warrants more than 'by popular demand' as a reason.

Have you listened to MQA through a proper DAC yet or will this be your first time?