Ok, this is getting RIDICULOUS. "MQA CDs"

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Digital Vinyl Infidel, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. TonyCzar

    TonyCzar Forum Resident

    Location:
    PhIladelphia, PA
    It's probably worth pointing out that two types of DRM were developed for MQA. One was to limit access - the way we traditionally think of DRM working, such as ye olde itunes - and the other is for purposes of "authentication" - the little blue light that lets you know you're handshaking pure, completely unfolded MQA end to end. The latter (obviously) has stayed in.

    I think it's a good thing to have some indicator that some MQA you've bought is properly "unfolded" end to end - it boosts confidence in your decision making to know that some MQA you're trying out is "as good as it gets" in the MQA universe, versus other format/delivery options you might be comparing it to. (Or to make sure your streaming setup is doing what it's supposed to.)
     
  2. sublemon

    sublemon Forum Resident

    hdcd sound fine undecoded imo
     
  3. Merrick

    Merrick Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland
    But doesn't that prove my point? Such authentication is unnecessary for PCM/FLAC. And from the little hard data we have seen, MQA fully implemented is essentially identical to the PCM/FLAC versions of those same files, so why are we bothering to go through all the extra steps MQA requires, especially when those extra steps do nothing for the consumer but put more money in the pockets of certain companies?
     
  4. TonyCzar

    TonyCzar Forum Resident

    Location:
    PhIladelphia, PA
    But bandwidth for streaming. It's not necessarily "all you can eat" for a fixed price. (And even if it is from your carrier now, that's not always going to be the case).

    I bet the cost of your DVD or Blu-Ray player (and most titles? IDEK.) includes a license fee going to Dolby. And one of the things they're doing is the same thing that MQA does: delivers a "great" sounding (YMMV) compressed soundtrack in something besides LPCM, which in many cases can't be shoe-horned onto a DVD because of space limitations.
     
  5. Merrick

    Merrick Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland
    First, did you even read the article that mentions the streaming requirements for PCM? Now reduce them even more because FLAC has smaller file sizes. MQA is a solution in search of a problem.

    Second, Dolby absolutely does have a licensing fee. So does DTS. However, other than a few titles in the very early days of DVD, no company is selling separate LPCM, Dolby, and DTS releases of a given movie. I buy it once and I've got it all. MQA is about reselling the same titles yet again, now with a form of DRM, under the guise of sonic improvements that don't seem to be borne out in reality.

    If someone tried to resell you the same car you already own at full price, claiming that there are speed and handling performance improvements, and on top of it you have to buy a special set of tires to get all the improvements on top of the price of the car, and then you find out from real world tests that the car isn't actually improved in any way, wouldn't you call that snake oil? I know I sure would. Every supposed benefit of MQA looks like snake oil to me.
     
  6. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Bandwidth for streaming is doing nothing but increasing. This is already largely a non-issue, and becoming less and less of an issue with each passing day. I can stream FLAC from my home server to my office or iPhone, although don't bother (I compress to 256kbps mp3 on the fly) because I don't find the difference particularly noticeable for portable use.

    For home use I have so much bandwidth I'd never come anywhere close to exhausting it, even streaming high-res audio. Although my experience with Tidal has been that I don't much care for many of the masters they have on offer, preferring others I already own - so I wouldn't stream half of what they offer even if I subscribed. In fact, I find the inability to choose between my own masters and the ones offered up for streaming one of the main things holding me back from using any of these services. Ideally I'd want one that integrates with Subsonic, and lets me pick whether I listen to my own rip or theirs in situations where they have the same album as me.

    MQA is useless for solving any of the real problems with streaming services like that...
     
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  7. Digital Vinyl Infidel

    Digital Vinyl Infidel Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    North America
    I just can't believe that some harp on "bandwidth". Laughable. I am streaming a 1080p video right now on Amazon, while downloading files from Bandcamp.

    Shocking that some still use this as a flimsy defense for MQA. I admire your patience.
     
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  8. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Yeah, it's a head-scratcher.
     
  9. TonyCzar

    TonyCzar Forum Resident

    Location:
    PhIladelphia, PA
    Yet no mainstream streamer is going beyond redbook quality. In the USA, Tidal is it. (I assume that there's a dedicated classical streamer in this territory, but really, IDK.)

    With no compression scheme, a single album at hires FLAC can still weigh in at a shade under 2GB.

    So Dolby is functionally a troll under the bridge collecting pennies on every video disc handed over, and every device sold. You're just used to the situation, is all (and it's nowhere near the $200 entry level for dedicated MQA household hardware).

    I haven't come to defend MQA, but I do see it as solving a problem in the streaming space. ("Ownership" and music purchases is a different kettle of fish, and I suspect when it comes to buying music, we agree more than we disagree.)

    I spent some time on Tidal when the original trial drop of "MQA Masters" occurred. A/Bing is not in my DNA, so I didn't spend a lot of time doing it, but after some casual comparisons (Tidal+non-MQA DAC only), I thought MQA came out (mostly) ahead of Tidal's corresponding lossless titles. In general, I thought the MQA was quieter, title vs. title.

    Was it due to masters which had been greased differently from what is prepared for lossless streaming/sales? Does MQA have built-in limitations because on a loudness push it all falls apart? IDK. Chicken or egg, I can't say. If the MQA streaming lifestyle were as simple as a single switch or software setting, no more money per month, and no specialized hardware to buy, I'd probably leave it all in "MQA Mode" and walk away from it as a problem, switching back when something is just wrong.

    Buying MQA is a different issue entirely.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  10. TonyCzar

    TonyCzar Forum Resident

    Location:
    PhIladelphia, PA
    Not if you're on a provider that has already gone ahead with monthly caps (like Comcast in select markets, and their notoriously inaccurate "usage meters").

    There's no law of anything that says bandwidth will just get cheaper and cheaper or plentiful to the point of not losing sleep over it. But what do I know? I see mobile ads that act like $50 to $75 for 2GB over the course of a month is a REALLY GREAT DEAL, and a hi-res FLAC of 1 album comes pretty close to chewing through that.
     
    Blank Frank likes this.
  11. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Comcast has a "cap" in my market, but it's so insanely huge I can't imagine ever even approaching it, let alone going over it. Unless I lost my job and sat around all day streaming high-res video...
     
  12. FJosh

    FJosh Well-Known Member

    MQA is lossy? I don't think that's true.

    There's a large rural segment of the USA that does not have Cable Internet available to them, 1.5Mbps DSL if they're lucky and God awful satellite Internet if they're not . Also Comcast has a 1Tb cap in my area. 1080P and sometimes 4K video streaming with an entire family can chew through that quicker than you think. I just finished downloading the demo for a video game Mass Effect Andromeda, it was 44Gb. That's just a single video game.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
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  13. robertzombie

    robertzombie Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
    MQA is lossy.
     
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  14. FJosh

    FJosh Well-Known Member

    I see. Would an analogy be it's like lossy 4K video? Okay, it's lossy but it's still better than lossless 720P video which is the highest quality currently available for streaming (ala Tidal).
     
    oneway23 likes this.
  15. ecoutez

    ecoutez Member

    Location:
    London, UK
    Fair comment and I notice the record labels have not provided much information about the Tidal Masters. But how often do we listen to flat transfers from the original master tapes? I accept that when I listen to any CD I am normally listening to something different in one respect or another from the original tapes. It's what makes this hobby fun and why we buy different versions (and remasters/mixes) of the same album.
     
  16. oneway23

    oneway23 Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, US
    The masterings used for the Tidal Masters program thus far are no different than those used for the hi-res PCM releases already on sale at a multitude of other vendors. Same provenance issues as before, then.
     
  17. saturdayboy

    saturdayboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    Not remotely interested in MQA, but what makes it "a fraud"?
     
  18. oneway23

    oneway23 Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, US
    The fact that your situation is fantastic in no way indicates that things are exactly the same everywhere else. The two of us are in urban areas on either coast. Ask your friends in the mid-western and southern areas of our country how their home internet service is.
     
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  19. Robert van Diggele

    Robert van Diggele Active Member

    Location:
    The Netherlands
    How may people will listen to a streamed hi res flac album while they are out of their home? Not many I guess.
     
    sunspot42 likes this.
  20. Digital Vinyl Infidel

    Digital Vinyl Infidel Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    North America
    No, MQA makes MQA a fraud.

    I have no interest in exotic blackpool derivatives, or toxic herbal supplements, does that not make them snake oil?
     
    sunspot42 likes this.
  21. Digital Vinyl Infidel

    Digital Vinyl Infidel Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    North America
    Mobile "hirez" streaming is such a con.
     
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  22. saturdayboy

    saturdayboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    billnunan likes this.
  23. saturdayboy

    saturdayboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    I think "snake oil" is something that has zero effect. I think MQA is a new encoding system approach that actually might be slightly better, slightly worse, or about the same as the previously available systems. I don't think that when a new prescription drug is developed, that it is necessarily "snake oil" just because it doesn't work better for you than what you were previously using.
    Like I said, I'm not interested. From what I've read it's nothing to get excited about. It's not for me (like a lot of things in audio), but I don't think that makes it "snake oil".
     
    billnunan likes this.
  24. Digital Vinyl Infidel

    Digital Vinyl Infidel Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    North America
    mumbo jumbo.

    MQA has ZERO benefit to music consumers. But benefits others. Snake Oil.
     
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  25. saturdayboy

    saturdayboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    Ok, continued success with your public service announcements warning of dangers of snake oil consumption.
     

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