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

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Maki

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I still fail to see the reason people are so aggressively against MQA. It's a format made to deliver high quality music at acceptable bandwidth via streaming services by making intelligent tradeoffs on inaudible wavelengths and it achieves this goal, no?
It's closed source and requires special hardware for no good reason.
 

KeithPhantom

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I still fail to see the reason people are so aggressively against MQA. It's a format made to deliver high quality music at acceptable bandwidth via streaming services by making intelligent tradeoffs on inaudible wavelengths and it achieves this goal, no?
But then there are other services such as Netflix and Disney+ streaming 4K HDR 5.1 audio to more people than are subscribed to Hi-Res audio and haven’t seen them complaining about bamdwidth.
 

Honken

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The same problem as DD+ with Atmos being backwards compatible with stereo, I guess. You get more, provided you have the means of decoding it, and it’s still functional if you don’t.
And high resolution FLAC isn't?

I wonder if it isn't time to close this thread? At this point all the arguments from both sides have been given, and what remains are poor arguments, snark and passive agressiveness. From both sides (but not in equal distribution). To me, it looks like yet another religious debate where neither side is willing to concede. I can only imagine it getting uglier from here on out.

I know my own stance on the matter, but just like all the other arguments in this thread - they're not going to sway anyone from the 'other' camp.

For what it is worth, I applaud @GoldenOne for his/her efforts and I'm surprised that the debate is going in circles on this forum.
 
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Moby is MQA.
The problem is that the 'hifi' version is simply MQA but with MQA flagging removed. meaning any tools to check for MQA flagging will say it is not MQA. But actually it is.

Here is the deltawave comparison between the MQA version and Hifi version of Moby - Porcelain:
View attachment 125480

The audio content of the file is 100% bitperfect identical.
The only difference is the "Master" track has MQA flagging. That's it
But the hifi version is still the MQA release just disguised as regular FLAC.

The same happened with my tracks, the "HiFi" version had no MQA flagging at all and nothing would recognise it as MQA. But it was 100% bitperfect to the MQA release and was not the same as my master.

@Glasvegas @snowsurfer Tidal is serving MQA and falsely describing it as "Lossless CD Quality"
That sucks... Really misleading... Gonna have to leave Tidal...
 

edahl

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But then there are other services such as Netflix and Disney+ streaming 4K HDR 5.1 audio to more people than are subscribed to Hi-Res audio and haven’t seen them complaining about bamdwidth.
If people streamed 4K HDR 5.1 on the bus every day I wouldn't fault them for worrying about bandwidth. High quality video compression is of course also super important and develops all the time.
 

voodooless

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making intelligent tradeoffs on inaudible wavelengths and it achieves this goal, no?
What’s wrong with 24/48? It’s all de bandwidth and resolution anyone would ever need. No special licensed codecs needed. The FLAC file is probably also smaller than the MQA version.
 

KeithPhantom

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If people streamed 4K HDR 5.1 on the bus every day I wouldn't fault them for worrying about bandwidth. High quality video compression is of course also super important and develops all the time.
Video even at 1080p actually exerts more of a burden on available bandwidth than Hi-Res audio, and many people watch series like this even when commuting in public transportation or waiting or in their own homes. Obviously video needs compression since uncompressed video is just too much of a burden even for local storage. There’s just not a single good reason MQA should exist that cannot be solved with current alternatives.
 
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I still fail to see the reason people are so aggressively against MQA. It's a format made to deliver high quality music at acceptable bandwidth via streaming services by making intelligent tradeoffs on inaudible wavelengths and it achieves this goal, no?
The point is that "intelligent tradeoffs on inaudible wavelengths" would be fine. I would be able to accept it, damm I even own a mqa dac and everything.

However, messing already existing 44khz red book in favor of pushing mqa is completely unacceptable. Here I'm not talking of mqa, but of how Tidal is pushing it down all our throats. That's just not fine.
 

Grooved

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Moby is MQA.
The problem is that the 'hifi' version is simply MQA but with MQA flagging removed. meaning any tools to check for MQA flagging will say it is not MQA. But actually it is.
If I can give one advice (that applies for a lot of posts in this thread) : not generalize a found case.
Not all the Hifi are 16bit MQA with flagging removed, there are still lots of real 16bit FLAC


And to avoid any piracy argument on tests later, better download the free 2L tracks only, or record Tidal stream instead of dowloading.
I tested and can record part or full song in full digital, I even saw that I got all info as recording a folded MQA stream (by disabling the MQA Core on Roon for example) gives the MQA flag inside and my DAC lights up Blue or Green if I play it.

On a different point, back to the supposed prolem created by the MQA encoder that can't process correctly the files you submitted, I find it a bit strange since it was not removed automatically but once you contacted them.
I can also confirm that there were/are on Tidal server other files with test tones, and that have not be removed or only removed by their creator.
 
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voodooless

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And the resulting spectrograms:
top is OP's original, middle is OP's "MQA Encoded" version, bottom is the vorbis-to-wave version. Gray is -100dB.


View attachment 125487
Is it just me or does the Vorbis version resemble the original closer on this quick inspection. The noise bands in the MQA version are quite visible. The Vorbis version seems to mask of HF noise quite effectively.
 

edahl

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Voting with your money is part of capitalism.
We agree about that!

The point is that "intelligent tradeoffs on inaudible wavelengths" would be fine. I would be able to accept it, damm I even own a mqa dac and everything.

However, messing already existing 44khz red book in favor of pushing mqa is completely unacceptable. Here I'm not talking of mqa, but of how Tidal is pushing it down all our throats. That's just not fine.
It's not really being pushed down anyone's throats though?
 
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If I can give one advice (that applies for a lot of posts in this thread) : not generalize a case.
Not all the Hifi are 16bit MQA with flagging removed, there are still lots of real 16bit FLAC
Yes. But the problem is, if the flag is removed then you can't tell. And neither can your DAC.

In a previous post, I said that the longer this thread goes on, the worse the situation looks. MQA encoded tracks that aren't MQA tagged are, as I understand it, effectively 13-bit encoded. That's not good.
 

Grooved

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Yes. But the problem is, if the flag is removed then you can't tell. And neither can your DAC.

In a previous post, I said that the longer this thread goes on, the worse the situation looks. MQA encoded tracks that aren't MQA tagged are, as I understand it, effectively 13-bit encoded. That's not good.
We can, but it needs analysis, which is not what most of customers can if they have any doubts on it. I tested it and I can, without any piracy software, get all the info, and recreate a file like it should be with it's correct MQA flag, even if the one they stream has not or is hidden.

And yes, what you get is different, especially if you don't unfold the file. Anyway, letting believe that you are listening FLAC by clicking on Hifi and instead providing 16bit MQA is a at least a lie and a lack of honesty from a service provider
 

DDF

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That sucks... Really misleading... Gonna have to leave Tidal...
I'm debating. Whats missing in this discussion is an objective test of the noise added to 44.1 by downfolding realistic but aggressive ultrasonics. I spent years in the lab testing lossy codecs, and @amirm is right, high level ultrasonic tone bursts or square waves will tell you nothing about the ultrasonic noise that is actually folded into the audioband with real music. This may not be a huge issue to audibility and may just look like excessive dither. We don't know.

Tidal also has the best android eq through uapp, and the best quality lossy encoder so I will probably keep it for those.

But it royally sucks that Tidal is selectively but increasingly ripping us off by delivering 13 bit files as lossless.
 

dc655321

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Is it just me or does the Vorbis version resemble the original closer on this quick inspection.
I think so.
In the time domain, the vorbis version replicates the impulse stimulus and even a clipped section near the end of the original track. The mqa encoded track does neither.
 
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