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MQA Bad For Music

Fitzcaraldo215

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J. Peter Moncrieff was the publisher of a Hi Fi magazine back in the 80-90s called International Audio Review. A basically objective type of reviewer more along the lines of Peter Aczel and the Audio Critic. Two of the better publications of the time, too bad there's little like them left.


I must be blind, where are you seeing his name, a page search also fails?
I also did not see his name anywhere at that site, which was my point. But, iar80 was his shift to the Internet from the old published IAR, similar to Peter Aczel's in later years. But, iar80 has been completely dormant for about a decade, then suddenly this.

I never did find him to be a true objectivist, like Aczel, and he published few measurements. He was more of a mixed bag weirdo, often going on at great length about the sound of stuff in his own sighted listening. The sound of different capacitors or passive parts in circuit were one of his crusades. It seems he was involved in the distribution of exotic capacitors.

But, he also was enlightening sometimes, for example in his trashing of power line filtering devices with respectable measurements. However, he also went absolutely gaga over some often odd pieces of gear no one else took much notice of, with long, long, long prose expositions about subjective subtleties of the sound.

Bottom line, he is an iconoclast, but one who also seems to promote his own iconic beliefs.

Meanwhile, I have a very bad case of MQA fatigue - not from listening to it, which I have done but which I do not plan to include in my system. I am just burned out on the topic from all the mostly less than fully convincing arguments about it pro and con. So, I won't be spending the time to read yet another such argument.
 
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Sal1950

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So, I won't be spending the time to read yet another such argument.
Me either, specially such a long winded one. The majority of which I don't understand.
JPM did like the sound of his own voice didn't he. LOL
 

Fitzcaraldo215

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Pacific Microsonics sponsored HDCD for about 5 years, and MS sponsored it for about 5 years more. Sooner or later you got to take your medicine. SACD got about 9 years of grace. Sooner or later people are going to figure out that anything past the CD format is overkill from a dynamic range and bandwidth standpoint, and in fact the CD format is overkill. I have a lot more optimism about Atmos.
I never felt HDCD did enough sonically to justify its existence as I switched it on/off with HDCDs. OTOH, I have been a happy buyer of SACD for over a decade. There is one word above all others making it highly worthwhile to me - multichannel. That is not for "surround sound" panning gimmicks on studio mixes, but to better recreate the sound one hears in the hall at a live concert.

It is also debatable that hirez is or is not useful in providing at least some small but noticeable sonic improvement. I gladly concede there may be little to none in remastering analog or native RBCD recordings. But, all SACDs are not alike. I do find it offers some advantage in native hirez recordings. Possibly, that is largely the result of increased headroom, reducing noise and distortion in the many processing stages of recording production. Possibly, it is because it removes audible filtering artifacts in a-d/d-a so close to the audible frequency band. Or, possibly, it improves time domain response in the audible band.

We can all read into the various, sometimes conflicting, separate listener studies summarized in the Reiss meta analysis on hirez what we will. But, Reiss made a strong case for improved ability to discriminate when listeners were given advanced training in what specific characteristics to listen for. That was a trend in the newer studies he summarized, and largely absent in older emprical testing. Still, no question that it all may be too subtle for the average Joe.

Among the classical recordings I listen to predominantly, I also do find that more recent CDs made from hirez masters are generally somewhat superior in "sonic transparency" to those from prior decades. Whether that is primarily due to hirez or other recording chain improvements is hard to know.

Atmos is interesting for movies, but not really for music, since its emphasis is on object-oriented movement or placement of discrete sounds to perceived locations not really necessary or customary for music. Helicopter flyovers are nice, but we do not need clarinets flying around the room. I think Auro 3D, which is a channel-oriented native recording format, has much greater technical appeal, especially for music by expanding perceived height and envelopment in the vertical direction, emphasizing high sounds in layers rather than overhead sounds, and with better vertical phantom imaging. However, I doubt either will make large inroads in the home in my remaining years.
 

svart-hvitt

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«However, if MQA dominates the world of hi-res, then the fear is spot-on. A world in which all content higher resolution than 44.1/16 is encoded in MQA is bad for the future of audio. No company should have power like that».
DANNY DULAI, Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Roon, previously (2008-2015) director of software engineering in Meridian Audio, a Bob Stuart company now owned by the same funds as MQA (Reinet Investments)

Source: https://community.roonlabs.com/t/mqa-and-digital-rights-management/63220/2
 
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Atmos is interesting for movies, but not really for music, since its emphasis is on object-oriented movement or placement of discrete sounds to perceived locations not really necessary or customary for music. Helicopter flyovers are nice, but we do not need clarinets flying around the room. I think Auro 3D, which is a channel-oriented native recording format, has much greater technical appeal, especially for music by expanding perceived height and envelopment in the vertical direction, emphasizing high sounds in layers rather than overhead sounds, and with better vertical phantom imaging. However, I doubt either will make large inroads in the home in my remaining years.
It amazes me how companies are continuously trying to reinvent the wheel. The 'perfect' surround sound format already exists - Ambisonics, in the form of B-Format, which can be further encoded into two channel UHJ for later decoding if required. I've been listening to Ambisonics (both UHJ and B-Format and am now using a hardware digital Ambisonics decoder) for decades.

B-Format can be decoded into as many speaker channels as one wants, even 200 or more channels. It allows for flexible loudspeaker placement (unlike say 5.1) It even allows for speakers to be placed above and below the listener, but doesn't have to if one doesn't want it. B-Format can also be transcoded into any surround sound format, 5.1, 7.1, etc even Auro 11.1. Ambisonics can be easily folded down to two channels, even mono without loss of any content. It's so flexible it's not true. In real life, sound comes from all around us. Listening to a concert in stereo on two speakers is unnatural and just plain wrong.

What people may not realise is that when you watch a football match, the 'soundfield' is being captured using B-Format microphones (Calrec Soundfield) and then converted into whatever surround sound format the broadcasters are using. Ambisonics is also being used by the likes of Google for VR as the 360 degree soundfield captured can be 'zoomed in' to anywhere within that soundfield. When you move your head and walk around wearing a VR headset, it's not just the picture that moves, it's the sound. Thanks to Ambisonics. It's also used as the audio engine behind many video games. It's the aural equivalent of looking at a 360 degree image on a computer monitor and using the mouse to scroll in any direction (horizontally and/or vertically) and then zoom in and an out anywhere within that picture.

Dolby Atmos is all the rage these days. I can't see anything it can do that Ambisonics hasn't been able to for years.

The main problem, as I see it, is that Ambisonics is patent free. So companies can't make a profit from licensing, hence why different companies keep on trying to reinvent the wheel and then patent it.

AK.
 
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j_j

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I'm sorry, but Ambisonics does not capture all of the necessary input required to reproduce the perceptual experience of a space. In particular, it samples space at one point, which just threw out a fundamental characteristic of a concert hall.

Sorry, it's not a panacea, it's not perfect, and it's not all you need, unless you only use one ear.

And before you start lecturing me on how it works, I KNOW how it works. I know in DETAIL how it works.
 
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And before you start lecturing me on how it works, I KNOW how it works. I know in DETAIL how it works.
I'm sorry that I've apparently managed to upset you in some way. I was in no way making any implication about your expertise and knowledge, nor casting any aspertions. I was just stating my belief. I fully accept that we generally possess two ears as opposed to a B format mic which only samples a single point.

So, ok, it might not be 'perfect' but, I'd be interested (honestly!) to know which system you feel has all the benefits of Ambisonics and more, and is a panacea, is perfect and is all one needs. And only requires simple equipment (such as a single microphone (with multiple capsules) and a four track recorder) to capture the audio? I honestly can't think of one, but then I'm not an expert in this area. Just an end user.
 

j_j

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Well, I'm sorry if I seemed annoyed, but I have been lectured, argued at, dismissed, and otherwise attacked by much more rabid B-format folks now for at least 20 years. It tends to make one somewhat grumpy, especially since Michael (a curse on chronic obstructive diseases) himself cheerfully agreed that there are more things than the entire soundfield at one point (absolutely, 'B' format, to the limit of the equipment, does capture the soundfield at one point).

For starters, two points would be good. (seriously) On the other hand we would like to be able to move our head around (rotation and translation), and find a good spot in the captured soundfield for what we're paying attention to, like people do in real soundfields. (Just watch a concert crowd, even with reinforcement, angle heads, juke sideways, etc, without even thinking about it) So more than two would be good, too.

Capturing the perceptual cues requires at least 5, if not 7, to capture the local soundfield around (not at) one point well enough to fill the horizontal plane. Reproduction requires a minimum of 7 (3 front, 2 side, 2 back) as there is no way of getting around the pinna shadow behind you. But even that's limited to some extent, depending on playback situation.
 

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