My new article series on MQA.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by LeeS, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. LeeS

    LeeS Roll Tape! Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta
    This is provably false. Several AES studies show that listeners can differentiate between 16/44 and 24/96 or 88.2.
     
  2. LeeS

    LeeS Roll Tape! Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta
    With respect, this reply is speculation. There is no evidence that labels will stop hirez downloads or other offerings. These labels carry a lot of debt; if they can make money from the hirez niche then they are likely to keep doing that.
     
  3. Otlset

    Otlset Forum Resident

    Location:
    Temecula, CA
    Bet the OP is sorry he started this thread.
     
  4. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    Not -completely- contradictory I suppose, but....

    Lee, a line from the article that stood out. Sorry if it's been addressed, it's a long thread. "What if that format was attractive to non-audiophiles?"

    I'm curious what makes MQA attractive to non-audiophiles. My observations tell me non-audiophiles get their music from Spotify and YouTube. They're not worried about the sound quality, because again, they're non-audiophiles consuming their music through earbuds and bluetooth speakers.
     
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  5. Ski Bum

    Ski Bum Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I heard a demo at my hifi dealer that was run by Peter McGrath of Wilson using a Rossini (with what was then beta dCS software) through Wilson Alexia Series 2 speakers and ARC electronics that showed stunning improvements using MQA-encoded hirez files, which McGrath attributed to removing "time smear" from the files. I've also listened to the file comparison posted on this Forum, and heard barely any improvement. I've streamed MQA files from the TIDAL app on my MacBook, and some are good and some are not so good (though none sounded like what I heard at the McGrath demo). Therefore, it's easy to be skeptical. In any event, if I have to trade MQA filters for my dCS filters, I'm going to pass. I would prefer that MQA offer a package of authenticating the masters and offering the folding technology to facilitate streaming, while giving us the option to use the MQA filters or the filters that were designed by the manufacturers of our own DACs. I'd be happy to pay whatever toll that MQA wants to charge if they could actually deliver the package that I suggest.
     
  6. LeeS

    LeeS Roll Tape! Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Not at all, I am having fun. The anti-MQA dogma can be amazing at times.
     
  7. LeeS

    LeeS Roll Tape! Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta
    The attractive part is the convenience of streaming. I can access millions of titles on my smartphone now. Of course, there is lots of competition there with Google, Apple, etc.
     
  8. LeeS

    LeeS Roll Tape! Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta
    I have heard two demos (Mehow from Mytek and Peter McGrath from Wilson) and I have been able to hear improvements on the MQA files in both instances. However, I have heard a couple of bummer files where the improvement was slight. To understand MQA better, I have reached an agreement with Spence at MQA to encode a few tracks from my own recordings that I know very well. I will report back on my findings.
     
  9. Dr Tone

    Dr Tone Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    He didn't also play the original master for comparison did he? From other accounts of this exact demo, they aren't allowed to or simply don't want to..
     
  10. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    I do indeed love living in the future where all the music ever made is seemingly available on my phone. But that's today's world, not the future world of MQA. Non-audiophiles explicitly don't care about things like MQA, it's part and parcel of them being "non-audiophiles".

    So we could theorize that one day all streaming will be in MQA, and some people will notice and appreciate the differences and others won't, but the potential is all there. The problem with this is I know of at least one streaming service that is explicitly not interested in going above the 256K/320K MP3 level because their customers aren't interested. MQA may solve streaming bandwidth problems relative to streaming high res FLAC, but that's not the actual dichotomy, which would be MQA vs. MP3 (the current status quo). MP3 still uses a whole lot less bandwidth then MQA.

    It raises a question though, so far we've talked about "the industry" and Tidal. As it seems MQA's future is in streaming and streaming only, has anybody checked with the non-Tidal streaming services about their interest in MQA?
     
  11. River Rat

    River Rat Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Tennessee
    MQA is already obsolete. A new standard, ACE (Ambient Condition Encoding), is the future. Scientists and engineers observed that ambient conditions of the space in which a recording is captured affect the resulting sound more than any other factor. ACE captures these ambient conditions, such as temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, elevation, air currents, etc., and encodes them in the upper, non-audible bits of digital samples. Patented, proprietary algorithms in licensed DACs decode this information and apply adjustments to the audio stream based on netting out real time measurements of the playback space's ambient conditions, thus recreating the original sound as heard in its native ambient space. Super high-end ACE DACs can interface to the listener's HVAC system for even more realistic, more analog sounding playback. Studios are still retrofitting the required telemetry and DAC manufacturers are incorporating the licensed ACE algorithms into their development cycles. ACE is expected to formally launch later this year.
     
  12. Ski Bum

    Ski Bum Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    McGrath played three recordings, at least two of which he said that he recorded himself (the third was a recording of a Keith Richards performance, and I forgot whether McGrath said he recorded that one). McGrath played an unencoded hirez file of each recording, followed by what he said was an MQA encoded version of the same file. The clarity and imaging of the MQA-encoded files were markedly better than the unencoded files in each case. The level of improvement was easily heard in each case, and they sounded terrific. In one instance, you could hear the difference in the crowd noise even before the performance started. I found this to be exciting, but as noted in my earlier post I have not heard similar improvements from the Archimago (sp?) comparison or in streaming most TIDAL MQA files.
     
  13. Higlander

    Higlander Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida, Central
    If you mean the Study that showed they could differentiate 6/10 times, yes true, but 5/5 is guessing. Not sure that 6/10 is considered conclusive.

    And that was with Trained audiophile listeners.
    Maybe 8 or 9 out of 10, but if the gains are so easily heard, it should be a Slam dunk according to the anecdotal accounts I have read.
    Just saying, still nothing really concrete.
     
  14. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Mexico USA
    I agree with virtually everything you're passionately saying here about MQA, a point of view that IMO is decisively winning the debate, except the idea that it all adds up to a license to self-righteously throw civility out the window and call MQA "a con," alongside others calling @LeeS a "shill" and Lee briefly losing it and accusing Archimago of being a technical ignoramus, etc. etc.
     
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  15. Dr Tone

    Dr Tone Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    I must be thinking of the audio show specific MQA sponsored demos.
     
  16. House de Kris

    House de Kris Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Texas
    Hey, there's nothing wrong with no choice for consumers once we are bestowed the gift of the "Perfect Filter Forever" by MQA. Well, it wasn't perfect at first, it's been improved, and is now a Perfect Filter Forever. That is, until it gets even more significantly deblurred. THEN we'll have a Perfect Filter Forever. At least for a while.
     
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  17. Hymie the Robot

    Hymie the Robot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Yes. Kick all the advancements in DAC technology up to this point to the curb, our exclusive filters, combined with lossy DRM'ed files, produce perfect digital sound. ...until we decide it isn't. You can't make this stuff up.
     
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  18. krlpuretone

    krlpuretone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Grantham, NH
    I don't believe Tidal will exist in the future...
     
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  19. Higlander

    Higlander Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida, Central
    I have learned over many years of being into HI-FI.
    Any time the mention of a huge or stunning change or improvement, usually hints to other variables being changed.
     
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  20. rbbert

    rbbert Forum Resident

    Location:
    Reno, NV, USA
    Which is, in my case at least and I suspect for many others, the biggest reason to dislike MQA, no matter how good it may sound. I can only hope you are wrong about this (and so far, at least, I think every album available in MQA is also available in hi-rez FLAC)
     
  21. saturdayboy

    saturdayboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    the MQA debate has become about as tribal as politics in this country.
    the facts, and actually hearing it are not as important as being on the "winning" side.
     
  22. rbbert

    rbbert Forum Resident

    Location:
    Reno, NV, USA
    It's not dogma. If you don't understand the very real and often carefully thought out objections by many industry professionals (many also admittedly prejudiced), then you are not doing your journalism homework
     
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  23. Hardy har har!
     
  24. ralf11

    ralf11 Active Member

  25. Hymie the Robot

    Hymie the Robot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Sorry but neither MQA or politics have anything to do with being on the winning side. Actually that doesn't even make sense. Maybe I am missing your point, I just don't see it. People don't vote for who is going to win, they vote which issues are important to them.
     

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