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TIDAL HI-FI + ROON: some albums only offer an MQA version?

mssngpeces

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Oct 27, 2019
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Hello,

I recently installed Roon on my computer and found out that some albums I've been playing are not being played in FLAC, but seems to be a downsampled version of the MQA version (see picture). I'm confused since I selected HiFi in streaming quality (and not master, as I've read it is actually lossy).

Here's an example. Even though I selected the HiFi streaming quality, Roon/Tidal seems to play a downsampled version of MQA :
Capture d’écran, le 2020-12-01 à 22.42.45.png


This particular album has a FLAC version, but some albums seem to only offer an MQA version (which then seems to be a downsampled MQA version when streaming quality is set to HiFi). Am I missing something? And would there be an audible difference between those two versions in HiFi streaming quality? Thanks!
 

Askew

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You know, when I was using my free trial of Tidal and subsequently researching MQA, I had the persistent question of whether Tidal will serve me unfolded MQA files if I just request Hi-Fi (FLAC) or will it always have a FLAC file that does not contain MQA encoding available to stream seperately for every track.

Very interested to see if any findings appear in this thread.

Fortunately for myself, I cannot hear a difference between the 320kbps AAC streams that Tidal offers with the regular subscription and FLAC, so if I was to ever use it I think I would opt for the cheaper tier and forgo the entire FLAC/MQA situation.
 
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mssngpeces

mssngpeces

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You know, when I was using my free trial of Tidal and subsequently researching MQA, I had the persistent question of whether Tidal will serve me unfolded MQA files if I just request Hi-Fi (FLAC) or will it always have a FLAC file that does not contain MQA encoding available to stream seperately for every track.

Very interested to see if any findings appear in this thread.

Fortunately for myself, I cannot hear a difference between the 320kbps AAC streams that Tidal offers with the regular subscription and FLAC, so if I was to ever use it I think I would opt for the cheaper tier and forgo the entire FLAC/MQA situation.

Yeah, I'm having the exact same question.

The only music streaming service that I can use in my country who is both lossless and Roon compatible is Tidal. Qobuz is not available. I wish Deezer was Roon supported, or at the very least, had an exclusive/bit perfect mode (yeah, this is not even the case at the moment).

That being said, Tidal's apparent move to an all MQA library is very off-putting.
 

Askew

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Tidal's apparent move to an all MQA library is very off-putting.

It is very off putting, I cannot hear any benefit provided by MQA so for me it is not useful and only serves to require the use of more hardware to unfold it and to introduce unwanted DRM to my music.

I was interested in Tidal because some music on Spotify has audible (to me) compression artifacts in some music. I believe this could be due to source or encoding technique rather than a limitation of Vorbis at 320kbps, because the codec sounds fine on most songs.

Tidal’s 320kbps AAC sounded flawless to my ears, couldn’t tell it apart from FLAC.
 

Askew

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I just read through this article specifically covering Tidal's MQA and various methods of decoding it both completely and not.

Article on Blogspot

I hope you find it as interesting as I did.
 
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