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MQA: A Review of controversies, concerns, and cautions

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amirm

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Just a few questions about your post, Amir. First, I assume the 14/44.1 reference was just a typo, or are you referring to Phillips original 14/44.1 CD definition?
Sorry, yes I meant 16/44.1.

The two files referenced in the A/B test look like identical 24/96 versions. Was one of them really a 16/44.1 version, or a 16/48 version?
They were both 96 kHz sampling. One was downconverted and dithered to 16 bit, and the other left as original. To make it hard to perform a simple analysis and find one is 16 bit and the other 24, the 16 bit sample was also put in a 24-bit envelop. And very low level noise (at -140 dB) was applied to it to again, make it very hard to perform an analysis and discover it was 16 bit content. See the details here: http://archimago.blogspot.com/2014/06/24-bit-vs-16-bit-audio-test-part-i.html

What audio equipment did you use to run the comparison testing?
It has been a while but I suspect I used my Etymotic headphones. And my computer as a source.[/quote][/QUOTE]
 

amirm

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More blind appeals to authority (first Bob Stuart, now Rob Harley), rather than fact-based arguments, by Amir with regards to MQA. :rolleyes:
Bob Stuart is an authority. Don't confuse reality with high-school debating logic. You best download his peer-reviewed papers and read and learn from them.

Robert Harley is also an authority on who high-end audiophiles are. Much more so than Archimago.

If you want to complain about appeal to authority, that is what I saw in posts defending Archimago. You are giving folks a pass on that. I am not.

People need to stick to what they know. That's all. If you don't know audiophiles and their music purchasing habits, then don't comment on them. If you do, then you see me correcting you.

The facts I have presented are reality of the marketplace. People said MQA is going to take over the world so we should be scared and fight it to death. I said no way major companies like Amazon will adopt it and pay a cent to likes of MQA. My prediction came 100% true. If Tidal goes out of business, then MQA will die with it and so will all the dire predictions people are making against MQA. And what will kill Tidal would be competition from Amazon (and to some extent Qobuz), not any scare tactics regarding MQA.
 

Rusty Shackleford

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Bob Stuart is an authority. Don't confuse reality with high-school debating logic. You best download his peer-reviewed papers and read and learn from them.

Robert Harley is also an authority on who high-end audiophiles are. Much more so than Archimago.

It’s a well-known logical fallacy in academic philosophy, not “high-school debating,” and you’re still doing it. Their previous work has nothing to do with whether we should trust them with regard to MQA. Trust data. Trust reason. Don’t trust personalities or resumes.

Nor is citing Archimago’s meticulous deconstructions of MQA an appeal to authority. Instead, it’s an appeal to evidence. If someone said “Archimago said X, so it must be right,” that would be an appeal to authority. No one is saying that.
 

blueone

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They were both 96 kHz sampling. One was downconverted and dithered to 16 bit, and the other left as original. To make it hard to perform a simple analysis and find one is 16 bit and the other 24, the 16 bit sample was also put in a 24-bit envelop. And very low level noise (at -140 dB) was applied to it to again, make it very hard to perform an analysis and discover it was 16 bit content. See the details here: http://archimago.blogspot.com/2014/06/24-bit-vs-16-bit-audio-test-part-i.html

Impressive process.

It has been a while but I suspect I used my Etymotic headphones. And my computer as a source.

I figured it was high quality headphones. Often they reveal differences speakers in real rooms never will.

Nonetheless... I smell something fishy. Your test results were, how shall I say, unbelievably impressive? I suspect that the 16bit file had a processing error, or perhaps some anomaly, that you detected. The differences should have only been at about -90db from whatever maximum level you were using. To have such a perfect score as you did makes me wonder, unless you're actually from Krypton and not Seattle. Seriously, doesn't it strike you as a bit anomalous?

I have never tested hi-res formats against CDs on anything but speakers, albeit good ones, and even with the bias of sighted comparisons I've never once detected a difference, including on live digital recordings I've made myself. (I have two digital recorders). Though I do admit when I'm recording I definitely prefer 24bit as an insurance policy against my own sloppiness and ineptitude.
 

amirm

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Nonetheless... I smell something fishy. Your test results were, how shall I say, unbelievably impressive? I suspect that the 16bit file had a processing error, or perhaps some anomaly, that you detected. The differences should have only been at about -90db from whatever maximum level you were using. To have such a perfect score as you did makes me wonder, unless you're actually from Krypton and not Seattle. Seriously, doesn't it strike you as a bit anomalous?
Well, I did not show you the previous attempts where I failed. :) But once I find a spot that is different, then everything falls in place.

I think the files are still there on his site. It will be a good exercise for others to see if they can pass the test.
 

amirm

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It’s a well-known logical fallacy in academic philosophy, not “high-school debating,” and you’re still doing it. Their previous work has nothing to do with whether we should trust them with regard to MQA. Trust data. Trust reason. Don’t trust personalities or resumes.
What data? You presented none. All you said was raise an objection and I responded with it being out of order: Bob Stuart is one of our top luminaries and has huge standing in our industry both on research and engineering. His previous work, MLP, became mandatory compression technology in DVD-A and later became Dolby TrueHD. These are facts. It means the he knows more than average blogger how to develop formats that are performant and get industry adoption. You think it is an accident that he continues to get design wins?

Nor is citing Archimago’s meticulous deconstructions of MQA an appeal to authority. Instead, it’s an appeal to evidence. If someone said “Archimago said X, so it must be right,” that would be an appeal to authority. No one is saying that.
The article linked to was not "deconstruction of MQA." It was a response to something RH had written which I found fallacious. I explained why. I gave data on myself having content he says people don't have. I gave examples of others. Yet you come in defending him saying he has evidence and I don't?

You want to be partisan, fine. Just don't do it in such an obvious manner. Between the two of us, I am the only one who has led the development of technologies that have been adopted by the industry such as in Blu-ray. Lecture me with one-liner academic arguments at your own peril.
 

DonH56

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A high-end audiophile would jump off the cliff it he owned Emotiva anything. :D

Oops, crap... Well, I am not about to jump off a cliff, so hereby disclaim all pretense at anything "high-end audiophile". :D

I barely skimmed this train wreck but think I am in agreement with Amir. Questionable technical advantage but big names and marketing make it a business necessity to include if you want high-end cred to sell your wares. Do a search and you'll find a number of comments by high-end manufacturers using expensive cables and such who say they do it because customers expect it and they'd lose credibility if they didn't, engineering be damned. Or something like that.
 

GrimSurfer

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Oops, crap... Well, I am not about to jump off a cliff, so hereby disclaim all pretense at anything "high-end audiophile". :D

LOL. I am more of a believer in gravity than anything the audio world says is right or wrong, so no BASE jumping for me on a dare either.
 

Travis

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Amazon appears to have Neil Young on board, that's a major coup. I think he started this ruckus to begin with.

Travis
 

GrimSurfer

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Amazon appears to have Neil Young on board, that's a major coup. I think he started this ruckus to begin with.

Hey, Neil. This note's for you.
 

DonH56

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LOL. I am more of a believer in gravity than anything the audio world says is right or wrong, so no BASE jumping for me on a dare either.

:) I suppose what I need to do is to start a Go Fund Me drive for a set of AHB2's...
 

Cosmik

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People said MQA is going to take over the world so we should be scared and fight it to death. I said no way major companies like Amazon will adopt it and pay a cent to likes of MQA.
What is the MQA company's ultimate ambition? In their ideal world, what would happen?
 

Don Hills

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... MQA was not designed to pull in people like Archimago that weren't the customers of high-res audio to begin with. Or vast majority of our readership or audio objectivists. It is designed to give high-res to people who want to have it. ...

I would have thought that people who want high-res would want real hi-res, not an approximation designed for people who can't afford the cost of downloading and storing large files.
Have you previously posted your analysis of the business side of MQA? I've been elsewhere for a while, so would have missed it.
 

amirm

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What is the MQA company's ultimate ambition? In their ideal world, what would happen?
Same as Dolby's. Get it licensed broadly and make money from royalties, and tools.
 

amirm

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I would have thought that people who want high-res would want real hi-res, not an approximation designed for people who can't afford the cost of downloading and storing large files.
Just as LP, I don't believe the same masters are used for MQA. Many are newer takes on the files they have and so, the sound quality may very well be different/better.

MQA had a very negative impression around high-end audiophiles as many didn't like Meridian. But once Tidal released it, people listened and were happy with what they heard (properly or not). That has led to its increased popularity and adoption.

Even here, I routinely see requests for DACs with MQA decoding.
 

Cosmik

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Same as Dolby's. Get it licensed broadly and make money from royalties, and tools.
How broadly would they like "broadly" to be - in their idea world?
 

amirm

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Have you previously posted your analysis of the business side of MQA? I've been elsewhere for a while, so would have missed it.
I don't know the details of their licensing. But generally, the playbook is clear in wanting to build a business out of a new format. No different than MP3, AAC, Dolby, DTS, etc. None of these formats took over the world at the expense of competitors. Same with MQA.
 

amirm

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How broadly would they like "broadly" to be - in their idea world?
It would be as prevalent as MP3 playback is. We got there with WMA with the only company holding out being Apple. They can do the same but their value proposition is too limited. And they may be charging a lot more than we did for WMA. So practical limit to their business plan may be much lower than MP3.[/QUOTE]
 

SMG

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Between the two of us, I am the only one who has led the development of technologies that have been adopted by the industry such as in Blu-ray.
For anyone who knows the history of this, the words “such as" are sure doing a lot of work here. VC-1? HD-DVD? I say this as someone who still owns a Toshiba HD-A1, though I’m not sure why.
 

Blumlein 88

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1) Is that a bad thing? 2) How do you define "high end"?
If I have ESL speakers (which I do btw, could be anything else like horns or Magico etc.), some big tube amps say from Audio Research, a Moon Simaudio digital processor etc. etc. then it is high end. Devices that are expensive, unusual in design, usually have a story of design by listening, and not mainstream. Some devices may bridge over and be sterling examples with good reps in the high end like say Bryston amps and other Bryston gear. Something like Emotiva, no, not high end. Not meant as a slur against Emotiva fwiw.

Is that a bad thing? Too variable to say. Some high end is very good (though usually pricey for the performance) some is not really very good. I can say the same for mainstream items or even non-mainstream items that lack the correct cachet and story to be considered high end.
 
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