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Tidal’s New Lossless Tier Says Goodbye to MQA (but does it really?)

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amirm

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So when Tidal sells lossless, is it lossless Redbook quality or lossless adulterated à la MQA but without the decoder?
They can't control whether someone uses a decoder so that can't be it. I would think they would want said content to be completely free of MQA or it would sure cause confusion with the MQA light coming on even though the customer did not pay for that tier.
 

Soundstage

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They can't control whether someone uses a decoder so that can't be it. I would think they would want said content to be completely free of MQA or it would sure cause confusion with the MQA light coming on even though the customer did not pay for that tier.
Agree. And they have to clean first their catalog of the MQA only albums otherwise their lossless claim is abusive.
 

Atanasi

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No, Master Quality Audio IS MQA , there is no PCM above 44/48 on Tidal that arent MQA, new or old tiers, thats the unfolded MQA files that go up to 9216kbps

Thats how they have always described it
This is also fraudulent. 320 kbps MP3 is not 1411 kbps either, even if the decoder outputs that.
 

Jimbob54

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They can't control whether someone uses a decoder so that can't be it. I would think they would want said content to be completely free of MQA or it would sure cause confusion with the MQA light coming on even though the customer did not pay for that tier.

It could be MQA with the flag stripped off so it would show as 16/44 and not trigger the decode.
 

Jimbob54

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It could be MQA with the flag stripped off so it would show as 16/44 and not trigger the decode.

I'd be amazed if tidal wanted to increase their cost base by storing both redbook and mqa files when I assume some software can detect what tier/quality a customer is on and flip the mqa flag on or off before streaming.
 

TurbulentCalm

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While Qobuz is better priced and offers good quality, the app is garbage (not to mention that the recommendation engine is utterly useless) and half the background information is in French.

Now I am looking towards Google, latest iteration of YT Music is finally usable AND it keeps my uploaded songs for the streaming holdouts (Rammstein *cough*)...

I’m trying Deezer right now. Three months free for new users. I have found its interface to be cleaner that Tidal’s. It’s recommendation engine started choosing songs that I like immediately and is updated frequently.

Additionally, I can finally queue more tracks at the end of the Playing Queue, at anytime, and not just after having cleared the the Playing Queue and then explicitly queuing the first track or album to it before playing any track. It has working, if rudimentary EQ built in. You can disable Explicate tracks from playing in recommendations or in search results, and best of all NO MQA! Unless we find MQA-CDs being distributed to these services to replace existing CD quality tracks, that is (this was the case with some tracks of the 2L tracks on Qobuz, I believe).
 

TurbulentCalm

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I'd be amazed if tidal wanted to increase their cost base by storing both redbook and mqa files when I assume some software can detect what tier/quality a customer is on and flip the mqa flag on or off before streaming.

I have left Tidal but still have some days left in my old plan and I’m in Australia. So I dropped the streaming quality from the new HiFi Plus to HiFi and then examined some MQA tracks.

D703FE87-7078-4C27-8767-ABAB296E83CC.jpeg


The new streaming options.

835E007A-AD33-49CA-B1C7-1E034AB28A75.jpeg


Album show Master and tracks show the ‘M’ symbol.
But the track plays as a non-MQA track, cyan colouring used. And it is 44.1/16 through to the DAC.

I had hoped to try and use UPP to examine the tracks, unfortunately it hasn’t been updated to allow the selection of the new HiFi level.

At a guess they could either send the MQA encoded FLAC data minus MQA flagging or do some kind of limited MQA unfolding to 44.1/16 at the server end for each stream. Of course they could do the unfold once and store the extra ‘HiFi’ level file for later streaming but we’ll probably never know.
 

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Jimbob54

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I have left Tidal but still have some days left in my old plan and I’m in Australia. So I dropped the streaming quality from the new HiFi Plus to HiFi and then examined some MQA tracks.

View attachment 127620

The new streaming options.

View attachment 127621

Album show Master and tracks show the ‘M’ symbol.




View attachment 127617

The new streaming options.

View attachment 127623

But the track plays as a non-MQA track, cyan colouring used. And it is 44.1/16 through to the DAC.

I had hoped to try and use UPP to examine the tracks, unfortunately it hasn’t been updated to allow the selection of the new HiFi level.

At a guess they could either send the MQA encoded FLAC data minus MQA flagging or do some kind of limited MQA unfolding to 44.1/16 at the server end for each stream. Of course they could do the unfold once and store the extra ‘HiFi’ level file for later streaming but we’ll probably never know.
Once the tier goes wider than oz I'm sure the boffins on here will discover the truth.

I truly hope the lossless tier is true redbook as I'd go back to it.
 

TurbulentCalm

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I have this now in my Tidal plan (Australian). So I tested it.

It only allows CD quality 16Bits/44.1kHz audio. Note that don’t mean that the files aren’t MQA encoded with the MQA flags stripped forcing non-MQA 13Bit audio over the stream. Someone is going to have to check this.

Oops…

HiFi Plus is the all you can eat MQA flavoured plan.

HiFi might be 44.1/16 CD, or more likely some mutated MQA version if only MQA was supplied to them from the publisher.

Like buying MSG free takeaway and finding it still has MSG in it.

MQA, the audio equivalent of MSG.
 

dmac6419

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What’s your point? Bias by who? I cut and pasted the title of the linked story. I did not write the linked story.
I asked you was this your source, because the source was bias,not trying to start a war,just trying prevent one,the last time I cut and pasted a title the moderator deleted my post and made me link to said source.
 
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sandymc

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It could be MQA with the flag stripped off so it would show as 16/44 and not trigger the decode.

Has anyone anywhere experimented with what exactly the conditions are that trigger the decoder? So tried to change bits in the tags, etc, and see what is and is not recognized as MQA?
 

Jimbob54

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Has anyone anywhere experimented with what exactly the conditions are that trigger the decoder? So tried to change bits in the tags, etc, and see what is and is not recognized as MQA?
It may have been mentioned in the recent mqa deep dive thread. Don't know the mechanics but think that was one of the findings, that setting the quality level to hifi (not master) served up the undecoded mqa file. I may be mistaken..
 

sandymc

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It may have been mentioned in the recent mqa deep dive thread. Don't know the mechanics but think that was one of the findings, that setting the quality level to hifi (not master) served up the undecoded mqa file. I may be mistaken..

I followed that whole thread fairly carefully - I don't think anyone mentioned doing any practical experiments to see what caused the light to go on.
 

luft262

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While Qobuz is better priced and offers good quality, the app is garbage (not to mention that the recommendation engine is utterly useless) and half the background information is in French.


Now I am looking towards Google, latest iteration of YT Music is finally usable AND it keeps my uploaded songs for the streaming holdouts (Rammstein *cough*)...

Yeah, I miss Rammstein ! You can't even buy their music on Band Camp. From what I understand it's CD, Spotify, or bust, unless you want to listen to all of their music as music videos on YouTube. I'm a big fan so I have most of their music on CD and ripped files.

I find the Qobuz app to be fine. The only feature it doesn't have is algorithm based suggestions. You have to manually select a track, album, or human created playlist.
 

don'ttrustauthority

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Finally 'the end of the beginning', and hopefully ' the beginning of the end"..:)
Just another of a million such ideas that will continue to come and go. Nothing to see here.
 

Jimbob54

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I followed that whole thread fairly carefully - I don't think anyone mentioned doing any practical experiments to see what caused the light to go on.

There was talk of a "flag" in the file - what the flag actually is and how it works , I know not. @mansr or @GoldenOne may know
 

Atanasi

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At least when Tidal's app does the decoding, they can easily disable the MQA decoder if the correct quality is not selected.
 

SKBubba

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So when Tidal sells lossless, is it lossless Redbook quality or lossless adulterated à la MQA but without the decoder?

It only allows CD quality 16Bits/44.1kHz audio. Note that don’t mean that the files aren’t MQA encoded with the MQA flags stripped forcing non-MQA 13Bit audio over the stream. Someone is going to have to check this.

They can't control whether someone uses a decoder so that can't be it. I would think they would want said content to be completely free of MQA or it would sure cause confusion with the MQA light coming on even though the customer did not pay for that tier.

Whatever Tidal is trying to accomplish with these new tiers, it seems pretty clear that they have already damaged their brand by getting involved with MQA.

No matter what they do going forward, there will be FUD associated with their offering, at least in the foreseeable future.

They had already introduced confusion about what software, decoders and equipment you need to get the full benefit of their premium product. They proceeded to force that on all their customers, taking away choice.

People who don't need or want that, or who don't want to be bothered with assembling the required components, or who don't appreciate having options removed are likely to or have already switched to a competing service offering industry standard formats that play on any device.

If Tidal thinks a lower-priced tier offering a standard format will help retain those customers, they first have to overcome the confusion they themselves created, then they have to offer clear, provable assurances about what they actually deliver. Moreover, they will have to gain back people's trust in their company and service.

All of this could have been avoided. Instead, they outsmarted themselves by creating a problem where there wasn't one and that they are now scrambling to fix.
 

dmac6419

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Whatever Tidal is trying to accomplish with these new tiers, it seems pretty clear that they have already damaged their brand by getting involved with MQA.

No matter what they do going forward, there will be FUD associated with their offering, at least in the foreseeable future.

They had already introduced confusion about what software, decoders and equipment you need to get the full benefit of their premium product. They proceeded to force that on all their customers, taking away choice.

People who don't need or want that, or who don't want to be bothered with assembling the required components, or who don't appreciate having options removed are likely to or have already switched to a competing service offering industry standard formats that play on any device.

If Tidal thinks a lower-priced tier offering a standard format will help retain those customers, they first have to overcome the confusion they themselves created, then they have to offer clear, provable assurances about what they actually deliver. Moreover, they will have to gain back people's trust in their company and service.

All of this could have been avoided. Instead, they outsmarted themselves by creating a problem where there wasn't one and that they are now scrambling to fix.
I'm sticking with Tidal because I like Tidal, MQA or no MQA it sounds great to me.Staying with Amazon HD and Qobuz too.
 
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