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

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nimar

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As far as I've been able to tell, all MQA files on Tidal are 24-bit. Many of them are, however, made from 44.1 kHz masters, quite pointlessly.

What Roon claims to decode it to is not necessarily what is really is. They likely stick it in a 24/88-96 container to be able to apply DSP and send it on like that. Regardless of if it was originally 16 or 24 bit

There are actually plenty of 16/44.1 MQA files, what that actually means / what purpose it serves in beyond me. I guess they are "authenticated" to be truly 16/44.1 but that seems of limited benefit. The best guess is it's done for consistency from a licensing perspective and possibly as it's configured to use the "correct" filter for the track. Again, how correct that really is, is debatable.

If this actually happens or not is not certain, but one could imagine a perfect world where the good people at MQA actually choose the best filter based on the material (type of music, recording equipment, etc)

https://listen.tidal.com/album/87279677

Screenshot 2021-04-01 at 2.00.41 PM.png
 
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earlevel

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I would much prefer MQA was an open source solution, that there's wasn't a premium to use it.
But...MQA exists as an invasive royalty machine, kind of at odds with open source :p

But it's an interesting thought—I'd still be against implementing it if it were free. If adopted heavily, it would just stand in the way of something useful being adopted in the future, should we make a true breakthrough.

The most hilarious aspect, for me, was listening to Bob Stuart explain why some guy in Japan needs hi-res audio on his phone, but is impacted by data rates, so he needs this feeble compression and assurance his audio is without peer as he listens on earbuds on the metro...in an age where we stream hi-res video everywhere, no less...
 

mansr

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The most hilarious aspect, for me, was listening to Bob Stuart explain why some guy in Japan needs hi-res audio on his phone, but is impacted by data rates, so he needs this feeble compression and assurance his audio is without peer as he listens on earbuds on the metro...in an age where we stream hi-res video everywhere, no less...
And MQA doesn't even save any bandwidth. How many times does this need to be repeated?
 

krabapple

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TLDR: MQA isn't lossless, is arguably worse than normal flac, and is seemingly nothing more than a (quite effective) scheme to generate licensing fees.

If MQA isn't lossless, then it is by definition 'worse' than' FLAC of the same source, at preserving all the data.

Determining 'worse' beyond that is a matter of first, determining if they sound different from each other, and if they do, which one is preferred. Which has not been done here.

As has been noted Archimago did an extensive breakdown/takedown of MQA a few years ago.
 

earlevel

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The most hilarious aspect, for me, was listening to Bob Stuart explain why some guy in Japan needs hi-res audio on his phone, but is impacted by data rates, so he needs this feeble compression and assurance his audio is without peer as he listens on earbuds on the metro...in an age where we stream hi-res video everywhere, no less...
And MQA doesn't even save any bandwidth. How many times does this need to be repeated?
LOL—that seems to be aiming that at me, for mentioning that Bob Stuart said it. But you know how forums work—if you have a point to make, there is no limit on how many times you'll have opportunities to re-make it. :D

Anyway, for anyone who missed the fun, here it is, queued up to the section of interest at 7:38:

 

Jimbob54

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That must be a recent development. There used to be none whatsoever.

Phase 2 of the Masterplan. F*ck the algorithms, compression, filters and all that shite. Just make the blue light come on.
 

Racheski

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I listened to that for several minutes. I heard the words, understand the words, but still have no clue what value MQA is adding.
The value is to display a fancy logo on your DAC and/or change its glow to a fancy color that was previously unobtanium. It's like buying a new skin for your gun in a FPS.
 

Oukkidoukki

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How this MQA thing went so confusing? If I make music in home studio, I start the project by choosing bit/ samplerate, usually 24 bit 96khz in sequences software. Then I record intstruments, singing and so on. They end up wave files that are 24bit 96khz. When song is done , whole thing will be rendered to stereo file 24bit 96khz. And that is the master. Why they just dont put that there in Tidal and then we stream it 24bit 96khz? Then it is pure and original Master.
 

mansr

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How this MQA thing went so confusing? If I make music in home studio, I start the project by choosing bit/ samplerate, usually 24 bit 96khz in sequences software. Then I record intstruments, singing and so on. They end up wave files that are 24bit 96khz. When song is done , whole thing will be rendered to stereo file 24bit 96khz. And that is the master. Why they just dont put that there in Tidal and then we stream it 24bit 96khz? Then it is pure and original Master.
Because then Bob Stuart doesn't get paid.
 

Oukkidoukki

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And what is this up rendering.....making 16 bit 44khz 24bit 88.......we need bit perfect stuff not warped sh...te
 

LightninBoy

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I'm trying really hard to understand the MQA value prop. Here's what Bob says is the primary issue they are solving ...


hear yes and if we go so the first
proposition is we go into a studio and
we say where is your microphone V let's
listen and if you connect an A to D
converter in the DTA converter and you
compare them yes today they're different
what comes I that what comes out of the
eight of the in D doing is different to


So he's essentially saying that the DAC and ADCs studios use are not transparent. When asked what is different he talks vaguely about time smearing. Well, this is a pretty big claim. And more importantly seems provable. So has MQA shared measurements showing the differences AND any studies showing the differences if any are audible?

In some ways, it reminds me of the "circle of confusion" problem, but instead of focusing on the studio speakers and listening environment, the focus is on the ADC->DAC chain. That seems like the wrong focus. Imagine if all this effort and brainpower were used to standardize and certify studio listening environments, and the blue light coming on certified that the recording was made to these standards and can be accurately reproduced with transparent equipment. Now that would be valuable (IMO).
 
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