MQA article

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rustydoglim

MQA article
« on: 19 Jan 2021, 07:29 pm »
http://secure.campaigner.com/csb/Public/show/566i-2cn52b--t824c-fdfhnu3

Has anyone done blind test?
Do you agree with Neil Young and Dr. AIX ? (edited for clarity based on feedback)

We wrote an article on MQA: https://nuprimeaudio.com/mqa-dacs/

You draw your own conclusion.  We just go with the flow.
« Last Edit: 8 Feb 2021, 09:36 pm by rustydoglim »

Tom Bombadil

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Re: MQA article
« Reply #1 on: 19 Jan 2021, 10:35 pm »
Shouldn't you have asked if we agree with Neil Young *and* AIX, instead of "or"?  Because those two are in agreement that MQA is an inferior format. 

As I do not have anything which can decode MQA, I have not been able to compare it to anything else.   It does strike me that it has some potential benefits, in that by being a high quality, low-loss compressed stream, it should be able to reproduce a very good quality playback which exceeds 320K AAC while still conserving bandwidth and digital storage.  As many cannot tell a difference between 320K and FLAC, certainly there is an audience for whom MQA is more than sufficient.  I can understand a company which must pay for bandwidth and storage for 60M+ songs would have financial motivation to use a compressed format. 

OTOH for those with high quality audio systems, MQA may fall short of Lossless.  If I drop $20K, $50K on a system, it is understandable if I don't want my music to be run through a compression / decompression process, even if it is a very good one.   Perhaps even more of an objection for my purchased & locally stored music library to be MQA-compressed.  Especially as storage and high speed bandwidth grows less expensive. 

I wonder if there is a viable economic model for MQA.   Are there enough customers who want something more than 320K but are willing to settle for less than Lossless?  And pay a premium for that middle ground compromise?  A premium which includes the cost of MQA-compatible hardware. 

Mike-48

Re: MQA article
« Reply #2 on: 19 Jan 2021, 10:47 pm »
I have listened to a few MQA-encoded files, and I thought they sounded pretty good. But that's not the issue. The whole MQA process is a form of DSP combined with a lossy codec and potential copy protection. It is designed to add its own flavor to the music -- and also to add a licensing stream for Meridian or its associated companies.

To say, "I like it; it sounds good" is to head down a slippery slope. We already have colored speakers and colored gear available, but if we tire of their colors, we can change gear. You can't change the music files! I'd rather have the original flavor, thank you.

MQA costs more, it adds coloration, it is lossy. What else? It takes away the ability to run your own DSP on music (say for digital room correction), as MQA devices don't output fully decoded digital audio -- only analog. So if you do want to add DSP, you'll have to go through another ADC-DAC cycle to handle MQA files.

I can't find anything good about MQA, other than profits for Bob Stuart.

Saturn94

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Re: MQA article
« Reply #3 on: 20 Jan 2021, 12:32 am »
I have listened to a few MQA-encoded files, and I thought they sounded pretty good. But that's not the issue. The whole MQA process is a form of DSP combined with a lossy codec and potential copy protection. It is designed to add its own flavor to the music -- and also to add a licensing stream for Meridian or its associated companies.

To say, "I like it; it sounds good" is to head down a slippery slope. We already have colored speakers and colored gear available, but if we tire of their colors, we can change gear. You can't change the music files! I'd rather have the original flavor, thank you.

MQA costs more, it adds coloration, it is lossy. What else? It takes away the ability to run your own DSP on music (say for digital room correction), as MQA devices don't output fully decoded digital audio -- only analog. So if you do want to add DSP, you'll have to go through another ADC-DAC cycle to handle MQA files.

I can't find anything good about MQA, other than profits for Bob Stuart.

+1!!

Samoyed

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Re: MQA article
« Reply #4 on: 20 Jan 2021, 02:41 am »
My father was an early adopter of stereo equipment and recordings. He even had an RCA cartridge stereo tape recorder. I bought my first quality amp, an AR, in 1967. God knows what I have spent from then until today, pursuing enjoyment. Believe whatever you want, but the soundstage and sound of Tidal MQA streamed through my Innuous and Evolution DAC is the best I’ve ever had in my home.

JLM

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Re: MQA article
« Reply #5 on: 20 Jan 2021, 01:30 pm »
I subscribe to Tidal and own a NAD M10 which fully decodes MQA.  So I've downloaded both MQA and "straight" versions of several albums.  I find the differences subtle but always prefer the original "straight" versions, probably because I'd like to think of myself as a purist.

Samoyed

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Re: MQA article
« Reply #6 on: 20 Jan 2021, 06:43 pm »
No doubt I’ve developed subjective biases in 54 years, and I’m delighted with them. Whatever blows your skirt up works for me.

mhconley

Re: MQA article
« Reply #7 on: 20 Jan 2021, 08:25 pm »
MQA is a lossy format so non-lossy formats are superior. That said, 99% of the time I cannot reliably discern the differences between 16bit 44.1kHz lossless and 320kpbs MP3. Still, I won't spend my money on MQA.

Martin

rollo

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Re: MQA article
« Reply #8 on: 20 Jan 2021, 08:29 pm »
  Not a fan of MQA or Tidal. Qobuz 44.1 or 24/192 does it for us for streaming. A dedicated transport and DAC still wins in our opinion.



charles

dfyoung

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Re: MQA article
« Reply #9 on: 8 Feb 2021, 05:12 pm »
I have listened to a few MQA-encoded files, and I thought they sounded pretty good. But that's not the issue. The whole MQA process is a form of DSP combined with a lossy codec and potential copy protection. It is designed to add its own flavor to the music -- and also to add a licensing stream for Meridian or its associated companies.

To say, "I like it; it sounds good" is to head down a slippery slope. We already have colored speakers and colored gear available, but if we tire of their colors, we can change gear. You can't change the music files! I'd rather have the original flavor, thank you.

MQA costs more, it adds coloration, it is lossy. What else? It takes away the ability to run your own DSP on music (say for digital room correction), as MQA devices don't output fully decoded digital audio -- only analog. So if you do want to add DSP, you'll have to go through another ADC-DAC cycle to handle MQA files.

I can't find anything good about MQA, other than profits for Bob Stuart.

Well said!

jjss49

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Re: MQA article
« Reply #10 on: 8 Feb 2021, 06:07 pm »
someone once (correctly in my opinion) said that mqa is answering a question that no one asked... except of course, for those who profit from it  :duh:

AJinFLA

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Re: MQA article
« Reply #11 on: 8 Feb 2021, 06:22 pm »
Has anyone done blind test?
Yes, with files supplied by BS himself https://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=19396

rustydoglim

Re: MQA article
« Reply #12 on: 8 Feb 2021, 09:44 pm »
My product manager wrote the article about MQA. As a manufacturer we have to be careful of what we say, but at the same time we want to be true to ourselves. I think the two images with straight lines are pretty good illustration. It is up to users to believe in whatever they hear.