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MQA Deep Dive - I published music on tidal to test MQA

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Raindog123

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Page 1 of stereophile this month.



Why would not this Jim Austin just finish with a powerful:

"And in conclusion, let us present MQA's _real_ tests - the tests that totally discredit these GoldenSound's pathetic attempts! The tests that speak for themselves so Loud-and-Clear - and illustrate MQA benefits so obviously - that no front-page-smear column, or bob's-talk-blog, or any of those plentiful ad-hominem attacks would be never-ever, EVER necessary!"

Oh, wel…
 
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rkbates

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Have you ever done actual professional testing in any engineering discipline?
As an engineer who has done a fair bit of testing, I find a lot of products give erroneous results when tested 'incorrectly'. Oddly enough, the products that have the strongest supporters are the ones that survive (and still perform within expected parameters) when users knowingly or unknowingly abuse them.
 

noobie1

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1st unfold non-MQA DAC is no problem with EQ but you can't EQ in front of a MQA DAC (unless you have Roon) because EQ changes the bitstream and it is not longer recognized as MQA by the DAC.

OK that makes sense now. Doing a little reading, it sounds like the rendering step is an upsampling step not unlike what izotope src does in Audirvana. Little some experimentation, perhaps one could get close to the fully rendered MQA signal with Audirvana while being able to PEQ/REQ.
 

dadregga

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I thought the entire point of MQA was that it "preserved ultrasonics" which are presumably lost in 44.1 mastering?

Whether preserving ultrasonics matters or not is its own issue, and whether MQA can preserve them more efficiently and transparently than vanilla PCM is another, but either the codec is good at preserving ultrasonics or it isn't - I don't see how it can be had both ways.
 

DimitryZ

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As an engineer who has done a fair bit of testing, I find a lot of products give erroneous results when tested 'incorrectly'. Oddly enough, the products that have the strongest supporters are the ones that survive (and still perform within expected parameters) when users knowingly or unknowingly abuse them.
Good points.

In my experience, as performance demands increase, the margins errode and system testing parameters become ever more important.

This is something I do for a living (among a few other things).
 
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DimitryZ

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I thought the entire point of MQA was that it "preserved ultrasonics" which are presumably lost in 44.1 mastering?

Whether preserving ultrasonics matters or not is its own issue, and whether MQA can preserve them more efficiently and transparently than vanilla PCM is another, but either the codec is good at preserving ultrasonics or it isn't - I don't see how it can be had both ways.
Not sure what you mean, but here are @Archimago measurements.

https://archimago.blogspot.com/2017/02/comparison-hardware-decoded-mqa-using.html?m=1
 

Raindog123

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What gets me to post is all the ill-informed stuff I read about it from people who don't know the topic. Stop doing that and I will go do something else. I just showed you again all the wrong things you say about this situation. If you don't like what I am doing, don't keep posting superficial talking points against MQA.

And who cares if you see or don't see benefit. It is a solution for a subset of high-res consuming people who want to use this format. The world of audio has far more serious problems that needs our attention but a few of you can't let this vendetta go. It has become personal for you causing you to lose objectivity.

Finally caught up with this 'salvo'... :)

No, you did not "show me" anything about "all the wrong things you say about the situation". (What "situation"?) You've repeated a few general statements of yours, and made a couple of personal attacks (hopefully unintentionally).

...But all that was not the goal. With my initial and follow-on clarifying posts, I simply wanted to offer an alternative view. To let "independent consumers" to hear _my_ MQA/Tidal experience, to let them to form their own "educated opinion". (Fully realizing that this message of mine - as the five of yours I am responding to - will probably be seen by a hundred of folks total, and that is.)

As for "and who cares if you see or don't see benefit." - Naively, I thought that the very premise of your site was to help us - the "lay" consumers as we've been called - to see (and to seek) "benefits"... Through exchanging opinions, experience, and reliable, provable testable (!) data!?

If you want to go solve "far more serious problems that need your attention" - by all means please go! But, for the record, I find you calling my opinion a "vendetta", "ill-informed stuff", "superficial", "become personal" and "causing to lose objectivity" offensive (all this just from a couple of paragraphs of yours). Suggest a simpler and more civilized term for it: “a person who disagrees with you.”

So, let's either (1) agree our positions to co-exist and be mutually-respected and respectful; or (2) continue the debate (but please, PLEASE, lets make it constructive and leave all those personal attacks out.) And maybe we can start by implementing >this<?

PS. You’ve fired at all of them, but left out this one. (Secretly helping me to make the point? :) )
…And to the most fundamental question of “At the end, what is the SQ benefit of MQA?”, there is anything but an answer…
 
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firedog

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Is there evidence that MQA is getting any substantial royalties for licensing its product? I read on APS awhile back that MQA is likely giving its license for essentially free in order to gain market share. Given how they are bleeding money and desperately need a large streaming service to adopt their product, I could certainly see a scenario where this is true.

Some manufacturers are reporting the fees for MQA addition are substantial.
Roon and anyone else who markets an MQA software decoder ("first unfold") in their software apparently plays a licensing fee per MQA track played back.
 
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Raindog123

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As I have repeatedly explained, the most common platform for consumption of MQA which has DSP is Roon and it has no problem managing both.


To get back on [semi-]technical track... :)

What is the SECOND most common platform to do that? (And what is the price of Roon today, eg life-time?)
 

firedog

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I didn't tell you MQA is free to users. I said MQA is free to those of us who use software decoders in Roon (and Tidal App). None of us have ever paid for MQA. I paid for Roon what I paid without Tidal or MQA. I then subscribed to Tidal and Tidal later added MQA without raising its price. And Roon added decoding for the same without asking me for more money.

Roon charges plenty of money for their player and MQA costs are cost of doing business.

A fundamental misunderstanding of basic economics. You are paying, whether it is visible or not.
And the upcoming Tidal pricing tiers includes a premium for MQA.
 

firedog

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So how much did MQA pay Jim Austin to write that?
Jim Austin has been in the tank for MQA from the beginning. He decided it was "good for the industry" (meaning audio magazines, record labels, manufacturers - but not consumers) so we should accept it despite all its flaws negative aspects, and potentially devastating aspects.

They don't need to pay him. He represents "the industry" and doesn't see himself as having a different role. It took him ages to stop referring in print to MQA unfolded to lossless 24/352 and the like, even though he was well aware no such thing exists.

And how much do you want to bet that Jim Austin had multiple discussions with MQA about his response before composing his "independent" editorial?
 
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lucretius

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A fundamental misunderstanding of basic economics. You are paying, whether it is visible or not.
And the upcoming Tidal pricing tiers includes a premium for MQA.

Of course, subscribers are paying. But if there are a significant number of subscribers there for the MQA, then the economies of scale can be passed on to all subscribers.
 
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lucretius

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no need to capture, just download directly from the server, it'll take less than a month.

How? Do you mean with the open source downloader? It appears that this tool can only download one album at a time without human intervention. After each album download one must then select another album for download. With 60M tracks, there are conceivably 6M albums, requiring as many human interventions. Do you still think it can be done in less than a month?
 
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bennetng

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Page 1 of stereophile this month.
View attachment 134017
electronic.png


First paragraph: Of course you don't want to listen to it, because if you do, your "time domain" nonsense will fall apart. If you still want to listen, here is a real example, with flac snippet attached:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...-music-on-tidal-to-test-mqa.22549/post-807177

Second paragraph: Let's see. The decoded MQA file with the same file name as the screenshot in GoldenOne 's archive cannot even achieve the dynamic range of 16-bit 88.2kHz with much softer noise shaping. Also, if the MQA encoder cannot resolve excessive high frequency content like white noise and other ultrasonic tones in GoldenOne's test file, only those parts of the file should had been compromised. The MQA encoding process indiscriminately added large amount of ultrasonic noise in the whole file, even in portions only contain digital silence, it makes no sense at all, just bad design. The added noise even clipped a -3dBFS 1kHz tone, how can this be "near Nyquist"?
mqa.png

flac.png
 

Anthony T

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Some manufacturers are reporting the fees for MQA addition are substantial.
Roon and anyone else who markets an MQA software decoder ("first unfold") in their software apparently plays a licensing fee per MQA track played back.

Got a link for the information please?
 

lucretius

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You sure are on a roll here with more fallacious summaries. Hardly anyone buys copies of files in MQA. Almost every bit of MQA is consumed in streaming. And you spin this as it just works for me? No. It works that way for everyone. Sure, two people in Japan buy MQA CDs and play them in hardware capable MQA player. So what?

Apparently, another two people buy and download MQA files from highresaudio.com.
 

dmac6419

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I read that useless explanation -- multiple times actually. There is nothing clear about it:

"We actually can show this effect quite prominently when looking/listening to MQA-encoded music that began life as 44.1 or 48kHz. Very obvious examples are pop recordings such as this Bruno Mars album below originally of 44.1kHz sampling rate, fed into the MQA encoder and then unfolded to 88.2kHz within the Tidal software. "

How the heck does he know what master the MQA file came from? And if he does, why doesn't he know if it was 44.1 or 48 kHz?

You need to know what the labels gave them to encode. I have seen tons of horror stories which I have documented. You don't need MQA to screw things up -- the labels do that routinely.

Regardless, my point was that this is just a bunch of guessing games which contrary to what Archimago said, require fair bit of expertise just to know the vocabulary let alone what is really going on. The notion then that he can be Joe-anybody online to do this analysis is a farce.
Word
 

Jimbob54

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Can you give an example of your configuration/solution?

Its either Roon, or they are EQ after the core decode in (for eg) the Tidal desktop app , to EAPO or similar and not caring that the receiving DAC wont then be able to do the farcical "final" unfold (the upsampling one) so no blue light! This is of course a perfectly acceptable position as they already have the "best" of MQA from the core decode
 
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