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MQA Sounds Really Good!

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mocenigo

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So if you listen to two complete albums every single day, you'll have heard all of them once just short of 32 years from now. At least if they are digital files it isn't like friends I had with that many LP records. Not a huge physical storage problem.

Yeah. I need now to focus on lifespan extension.

Now, talking seriously, complete editions make quickly a big part of the collection. It is not that, for instance, I will start listening to the BACH 2000 disc by disc, for instance, it is rather more like a library for consultation.

Also, on a completely unrelated matter, in Germany it is legal to make up to five copies of physical media, even circumventing copy protection mechanisms, for close friends and relatives. This would allow a small group of close friends to pool their collections and serve as additional backups. This is for purely informational purposes, and does not represent actual situations.
 
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LTig

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So if you listen to two complete albums every single day, you'll have heard all of them once just short of 32 years from now. At least if they are digital files it isn't like friends I had with that many LP records. Not a huge physical storage problem.
He could start his own streaming service... :cool:
 

mediocrebutarrogant

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in my ab test streaming mqa from tidal over airplay to apple tv -> optical out -> amazon cheap dac ->rca-> topping l30 -> sundara Tidal beats apple hi res lossless night and day difference.. mqa can be snake oil but definitely sounds richer to my ghetto stack atm waiting for E50
 

Ata

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in my ab test streaming mqa from tidal over airplay to apple tv -> optical out -> amazon cheap dac ->rca-> topping l30 -> sundara Tidal beats apple hi res lossless night and day difference.. mqa can be snake oil but definitely sounds richer to my ghetto stack atm waiting for E50
If Apple Music gets streamed over Airplay, you lose not only hires, but lossless, too. It gets encoded as AAC over that channel.
 

mediocrebutarrogant

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If Apple Music gets streamed over Airplay, you lose not only hires, but lossless, too. It gets encoded as AAC over that channel.
thanks for the clarification! i thought apple tv fixed output is 24 48 over airplay, which is well, not hires but lossless at least, but many thanks !
 

Zensō

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in my ab test streaming mqa from tidal over airplay to apple tv -> optical out -> amazon cheap dac ->rca-> topping l30 -> sundara Tidal beats apple hi res lossless night and day difference.. mqa can be snake oil but definitely sounds richer to my ghetto stack atm waiting for E50
There is most likely something wrong in your methodology, whether it’s different masters, level differences, or something else. McGill University did a well conducted blind test comparing MQA to other lossless sources and found little to no audible differences, so hearing “night and day” differences indicates something else is at play.
 

mediocrebutarrogant

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There is most likely something wrong in your methodology, whether it’s different masters, level differences, or something else. McGill University did a well conducted blind test comparing MQA to other lossless sources and found no audible differences.
thanks! my observation was from all things equal tidal app streaming over airplay and apple music streaming over airplay tidal just sounds better . very keen to understand why all else equal such difference in performance.. from my amateurish view Tidal is the only difference in this set up.. and creating an enjoyable outcome .. quite strange .. i would rather use apple music ... and also i really want to understand what I am doing wrong :(
 

Zensō

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No it doesn't -- Apple Music content gets encoded at 44.1kHz/16 bit PCM over Airplay 1 and 2.
Though it appears there are some instances where Apple Music Lossless over Airplay 2 is being converted to AAC.

 

ElNino

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Though it appears there are some instances where Apple Music Lossless over Airplay 2 is being converted to AAC.


I wish that guy wouldn't use the HDCD indicator to draw conclusions about AAC or the lack thereof. Airplay does not do clock synchronization, so clock drift can result in resampling, even when PCM is sent over Airplay.

The videos are too low resolution for me to tell what he's trying to demonstrate otherwise.
 

mediocrebutarrogant

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I wish that guy wouldn't use the HDCD indicator to draw conclusions about AAC or the lack thereof. Airplay does not do clock synchronization, so clock drift can result in resampling, even when PCM is sent over Airplay.

The videos are too low resolution for me to tell what he's trying to demonstrate otherwise.
and my apple tv is airplay 1 while iphone 11 is airplay 2 i guess
 

Zensō

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I wish that guy wouldn't use the HDCD indicator to draw conclusions about AAC or the lack thereof. Airplay does not do clock synchronization, so clock drift can result in resampling, even when PCM is sent over Airplay.

The videos are too low resolution for me to tell what he's trying to demonstrate otherwise.
I agree, the HDCD method he’s using is not definitive. That said, in the comments there and elsewhere some people looked at network traffic and pretty much confirmed his findings regarding AAC when streaming Airplay from within the Apple Music app (as opposed to using the system controls). It’s irrelevant in my case since I can’t reliably hear the difference between 256 AAC and lossless anyway.
 

Zensō

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thanks! my observation was from all things equal tidal app streaming over airplay and apple music streaming over airplay tidal just sounds better . very keen to understand why all else equal such difference in performance.. from my amateurish view Tidal is the only difference in this set up.. and creating an enjoyable outcome .. quite strange .. i would rather use apple music ... and also i really want to understand what I am doing wrong :(
You have to test blind and level match to around 0.1 db, otherwise your conclusions are very likely unreliable. You could try this test as another data point:

 

mediocrebutarrogant

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You have to test blind and level match to around 0.1 db, otherwise your conclusions are very likely unreliable. You could try this test as another data point:

i dont want to increase volume while playing apple lossless on my amp.. at same volume level on my amp tidal clearly sounds better, and i was wondering why. if i move amp to 4 o clock at apple lossless it nears tidal performance
 

Zensō

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i dont want to increase volume while playing apple lossless on my amp.. at same volume level on my amp tidal clearly sounds better, and i was wondering why. if i move amp to 4 o clock at apple lossless it nears tidal performance
The point is, you can’t compare audio quality if levels aren’t matched. Louder will always sound better. Your sources are very likely not at the same level, so you have to match the levels at the output, not by the settings on your amp. Without doing this, you’re only comparing volume, not quality.
 

jsrtheta

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i dont want to increase volume while playing apple lossless on my amp.. at same volume level on my amp tidal clearly sounds better, and i was wondering why. if i move amp to 4 o clock at apple lossless it nears tidal performance
The sources' outputs must be level matched, not anything else in the chain.
 

mediocrebutarrogant

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The point is, you can’t compare audio quality if levels aren’t matched. Louder will always sound better. Your sources are very likely not at the same level, so you have to match the levels at the output, not by the settings on your amp. Without doing this, you’re only comparing volume, not quality.
yup of course! on my iphone apple music and tidal both at max so i would think they would be volume matched ... :(
 

mediocrebutarrogant

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The sources' outputs must be level matched, not anything else in the chain.
thanks ! listening to Michael Jackson after 20 years i guess ha ha what joy! methinks ima go balanced return L30 and get L50 :facepalm: thats a 200 USD hit for cables alone :confused: though great thing about apple is just they last years and years and years
 

Ata

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I wish that guy wouldn't use the HDCD indicator to draw conclusions about AAC or the lack thereof. Airplay does not do clock synchronization, so clock drift can result in resampling, even when PCM is sent over Airplay.

The videos are too low resolution for me to tell what he's trying to demonstrate otherwise.
My own incomplete experiments confirm the AAC issue is present when streaming from an iOS device, but yes, there is good information elsewhere, e.g. https://discussions.apple.com/thread/252848734

The behaviour I see when streaming from Apple Music on my Mac (Big Sur, lossless capable) is:

- Airplay 1 on my MoodeAudio device: constant ALAC 44.1/16 (260-280KB/s) sound stream, no buffering;
- Airplay 2 on my DENON receiver: same average bandwidth, but with buffering.

My guesses as to why this may be present on iOS devices:

- Maybe there is adaptive encoding that downgrades to AAC in case of network issues (I use good quality wireless, have not tried wired connection);
- Maybe it is to do with Apple Music DRM considerations.
 
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