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MQA decoding in DACs

urfaust

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I know this is a sensitive subject, so i ll cut to the chest. Regardless of the fact we could have avoided MQA or not, now it's here and streaming services use it. On Tidal for example i can put my dac in exclusive mode and get "hi-res" audio but what difference would it actually make if my DAC was capable of decoding MQA? Are they somehow downgrading the signal without MQA decoding capabilities, or it's just a lesser signal than what it would be with the MQA stream once decoded? What about the difference in decoding levels of MQA? I have heard about 2x,4x up to 16x decoding/unfolding but it's unclear, some level of it can be performed in software and hardware?

I really don't want to fire a debate about it, i just want some practical opinions on these particular matters.
 
OP
urfaust

urfaust

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What major streaming service besides Tidal uses MQA?
Qobuz too, even if they don't advertise it. If an editor delivers in MQA, Qobuz will stream the MQA but only the core level without a MQA capable DAC

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-S1Eub3E-88

Same thing going on at Amazon music HD apparently
https://music.amazon.fr/albums/B00NUGX3U...c3c5-d8677

Bottom line is we ll have to deal with it in the future i think at this point, wether we like it or not. Im not even sure i would change hardware for it, just wondering what is really going on in the process of these MQA compared to regular hires.
 

AndrewC

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Qobuz too, even if they don't advertise it. If an editor delivers in MQA, Qobuz will stream the MQA but only the core level without a MQA capable DAC
...

Qobuz will actively remove MQA albums when identified and flagged. So, no, they're not streaming MQA albums.
 

Jimbob54

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If you know its a sensitive subject you have no doubt read the countless threads on here and elsewhere surrounding it.

All the opinions under the sun are contained therein.

There are also some facts. And a good deal of uncertainty and fear.

Just ask yourself this:

If you can obtain a 24/192 version of a recording and play it back on pretty much any hardware made in the last 5-10 years, what possible benefit could a format that takes that file, encodes it/ folds it/ sticks LED lights on it and then makes someone pay a fee to reverse that process bring to the table?
 
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urfaust

urfaust

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Qobuz will actively remove MQA albums when identified and flagged. So, no, they're not streaming MQA albums.
How do we know that? the albums tested as MQA are still there, like for example https://open.qobuz.com/album/yivch5m465swc
If you know its a sensitive subject you have no doubt read the countless threads on here and elsewhere surrounding it.

All the opinions under the sun are contained therein.

There are also some facts. And a good deal of uncertainty and fear.

Just ask yourself this:

If you can obtain a 24/192 version of a recording and play it back on pretty much any hardware made in the last 5-10 years, what possible benefit could a format that takes that file, encodes it/ folds it/ sticks LED lights on it and then makes someone pay a fee to reverse that process bring to the table?
It's not what im concerned about, it's that those without a MQA capable dac, will get actually worse than MQA, as we don't have access anymore to that 24/192 files on some services but only the MQA lossy file, and on top of that, unfolded only one step in software, the rest being restricted to hardware MQA decoding.
 

raif71

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I know this is a sensitive subject, so i ll cut to the chest. Regardless of the fact we could have avoided MQA or not, now it's here and streaming services use it. On Tidal for example i can put my dac in exclusive mode and get "hi-res" audio but what difference would it actually make if my DAC was capable of decoding MQA? Are they somehow downgrading the signal without MQA decoding capabilities, or it's just a lesser signal than what it would be with the MQA stream once decoded? What about the difference in decoding levels of MQA? I have heard about 2x,4x up to 16x decoding/unfolding but it's unclear, some level of it can be performed in software and hardware?

I really don't want to fire a debate about it, i just want some practical opinions on these particular matters.
Yeah, you pretty much went to 2nd base :facepalm:
 

Jimbob54

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How do we know that? the albums tested as MQA are still there, like for example https://open.qobuz.com/album/yivch5m465swc

It's not what im concerned about, it's that those without a MQA capable dac, will get actually worse than MQA, as we don't have access anymore to that 24/192 files on some services but only the MQA lossy file, and on top of that, unfolded only one step in software, the rest being restricted to hardware MQA decoding.
If the service actively wants mqa, they will support the first decode. The odd one that sneaks through, I wouldn't worry about.

I agree, if all sites not just tidal start to adopt it properly, I won't be happy but at the minute, if you don't like mqa, don't get tidal.
 

voodooless

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I beg to differ.

Begging doesn’t make it any more true:
1624715950449.png

Found Tidal yet?
I so i ll cut to the chest.

Don’t do that, please.. MQA is bad, but not worth cutting yourself :facepalm:;)
 

Katji

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Check some market share pie graphs. Most - if not all - do not show Tidal, it is included in [Other].
 

Katji

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:) voodooless got in first.

"hi-res" / Tidal is an audiophile thing. What percentage of streaming users? 2%? 1%?

Note Tencent in that chart. Population of China >1bn, population of India >1bn, then there's the rest of Asia. And Africa.
 

dpippel

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Katji

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Name recognition in Audiophile La-La Land. Like MQA.

Not even a blip on Apple's radar.
 

AdamG247

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What is it about anything “MQA” that causes people to lose grip of civility and respect for others? It’s like a trigger word used by charlatan Hypnotists! o_O

Please behave or this thread will be tossed in the MQA thread rubbish bin.
 

pjug

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Statistics, statistics. This article states that Tidal has at best 5% of the streaming market which, while not huge, is certainly more than the source you posted:

https://www.fool.com/investing/2021/03/08/square-just-bought-tidal-for-300-million-heres-why/

It also has name recognition and, I would expect, a large chunk of the "audiophile" market. Major enough for me.
I would read "at best 5%" as the same thing as "some low percentage, no idea what the number is".
 
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