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GoldenSound MQA testing video

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Merrick, Apr 15, 2021.

  1. Merrick

    Merrick The return of the Thin White Duke Thread Starter

    Location:
    Portland
    GoldenSound on YouTube has done an extremely extensive video on testing MQA’s marketing claims using music (mostly containing test tones) that he got published on Tidal so he had access to the original master and the MQA rendered versions. In a sane world this video would be the end of MQA and Tidal, but marketing is powerful, especially in audio.

     
    Spaceboy, tmtomh, Xarkkon and 19 others like this.
  2. I watched this an hour or so ago. Enlightening information and I hope it has a wide audience.
     
    tmtomh, Xarkkon, Hogues and 9 others like this.
  3. Glfrancis2

    Glfrancis2 Overworked and underpaid state employee

    Location:
    Birmingham al
    Sorry...thread derail
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  4. jbmcb

    jbmcb Forum Resident

    Location:
    Troy, MI, USA
    I watched the whole thing. Here are the main takeaways:

    1. The maker of the video wanted to test MQA encoding. Since nobody has direct access to an MQA encoder, he followed the process to upload his test tracks to Tidal.
    2. Tidal rejected the test tracks for somewhat vague reasons. He re-uploaded them, disguised as electronic "music" That is, it had musical content, mixed in with frequency sweeps and impulse tests.
    3. He uploaded them in 88.2KHz and also 44.1KHz

    When he downloaded the MQA encoded tracks and analyzed them, he found MQA had altered the output of the files. That is, MQA is *not* lossless, it changes the audio in the recorded files when played back. Even with the 44.1KHz, which MQA should. theoretically, not mess with at all, it added noise and various filter ringing artifacts, some of which was directly audible.

    There were some other issues as well, such as Tidal claiming that some MQA encoded tracks were high-res, though the MQA decoded file was run through a spectrum analyzer, there was no audio above 22KHz, indicating it was an up-sampled 44.1KHz file being advertised as "high-res."

    According to the creator of the video, he followed all of Tidal's, and MQA's, recommended methods of recording and uploading his files. He also used MQA approved software players, as well as MQA certified external DACs, when doing his testing.

    None of this is to say that you might like MQA and find it to sound superior to FLAC or some other audio format. That's fine. The video's creator is critiquing the claims made by MQA, and the marketing made by Tidal in particular. The main two problems are that, what a musician uploads to Tidal is *not* what is coming out of the speakers when you play back an MQA file. It fundamentally alters the audio. The other problem is that it is not clear if audio being played is truly high-res or not, as both upsampled 44.1KHz files and 88.2KHz files appear as "high-res" when MQA encoded.

    My personal opinion: the graphs of the impulse response and noise floor look *really* bad. Whatever filter they are using adds in a *lot* of noise. Maybe Bob Stuart is a genius and discovered that injecting large amounts of filter ring and noise into a signal makes it sound better. I think that clean, unprocessed FLAC sounds just fine, so that's what I'll stick with.
     
  5. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Location:
    Athens, Tennessee
    The shifting of ultrasonic content, down to audible range, is horrid. A trained ear can also sometimes hear this as a degrading of timbre, overall Stereo imaging, and of tonality. An AAC 320 Kbps file does far less invasive damage to the content to my ears. A 16/44.1 wav or flac file (which is most of the MQA offerings on Tidal) is more transparent sounding to my ears. Sorry to have to agree with this gentleman's findings.

    In short, MQA does nothing useful (except to line the pockets of MQA, Ltd). And it degrades sonic quality. Sometimes audibly. Over 99% of MQA content is not High Resolution either. Which means a 16/44.1 CD, .wav, or .flac file is superior quality. MQA is not willing to provide any meaningful information about their technology and has a severe attitude problem about it. See yellow button which discusses the "Output of the Bull" from Paul W. Klipsch and associates. Therefore, I am not a fan of Tidal. I applaud GoldenSound and Paul McGowan of PS Audio for their trying to tell the truth and getting to the bottom of what MQA is doing, and trying to provide unbiased, sensible information as well as proper science and expertise.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2021
    F1nut, Xarkkon, SKBubba and 8 others like this.
  6. SteveKr

    SteveKr Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    It is easier to fool someone than it is to convince them that they have been fooled.
     
  7. tIANcI

    tIANcI Wondering when the hifi madness will end

    Location:
    Malaysia
    MQA or no MQA it does not matter to me. There’s tons of lousy mastering that makes a bigger difference than whatever format it’s stored as. :D
     
    Xarkkon likes this.
  8. Monty12

    Monty12 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Burlington Ontario
    I agree.

    I found this comment from YouTube. ...basically something to the effect of mqa is bad for music, the same way the proposed football super league is bad for football.
     
  9. realgone

    realgone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Singapore
    When MQA came about, my impression was they were telling us the final sound had a direct line to the master tapes, which I found quite unlikely even though Bob Stuart has some solid credentials. Basically I feel the audiophile industry is rife with so many subjective claims I think they thought slipping another one into the mix would work and to some extend it has I suppose.
     
    Xarkkon and jesterthejedi like this.
  10. punkmusick

    punkmusick Formerly 4011021

    Location:
    Brazil
    A few weeks ago I went from Tidal to Deezer because I read that I'd need a MQA capable DAC to enjoy the Master streaming, which I don't have, and Deezer offers CD quality for a lower price (in Brazil). If I understood the video, even if I had such a DAC I would not have true Master sound anyway, so I'm glad I changed my streaming service. I just wish the Deezer Android app was as good as the Tidal one.
     
    Shawn, Plan9, Monty12 and 1 other person like this.
  11. Stereosound

    Stereosound Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    No reason to make it even worse though.
     
  12. Stereosound

    Stereosound Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    You can try giving feedback or request features in Deezers forums here: Deezer Community | Deezer Community, bringing music lovers together
     
    jesterthejedi and punkmusick like this.
  13. Glfrancis2

    Glfrancis2 Overworked and underpaid state employee

    Location:
    Birmingham al
    I just wish deezer was available with Roon
     
    Monty12 likes this.
  14. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Location:
    Athens, Tennessee
    If you could at least get lossless 16/44.1 you're ahead of Tidal, and at least get what is on the CD. 16/48 or higher sampling rate, blows MQA away and sounds better from good sources, mastered right.
     
    Shawn, punkmusick and Plan9 like this.
  15. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Location:
    Athens, Tennessee
    You can take the best mastering there is, and when MQA gets done with it. it is damaged goods. Sorry. It does matter. Nothing wrong with a well mastered 16/44.1 CD source from good source material.
     
    The Killer Piglet, F1nut, CDV and 6 others like this.
  16. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    From day one I thought MQA was a licensing scam disguised as some kind of wannabe digital audio revolution. I think this just confirms it. There is no use for this garbage - none - except to bilk consumers out of money.

    When I had Tidal I never listened to the "Master" albums if I could help it. Most of the stuff I was checking out wasn't even available in the format. However, it sounds like MQA is pushing Tidal to encode everything to MQA now. Might be awhile before a substantial portion of the catalog there is re-encoded but that's enough for me to avoid resubscribing at all.
     
    jesterthejedi, RolandG, Shawn and 2 others like this.
  17. jonwoody

    jonwoody Tragically Unhip

    Location:
    Washington DC
    This topic has really blown up on Reddit. MQA always seemed like a solution in search of a problem to me I never bothered with it and I prefer Quobuz in any case.
     
    SteveKr, RolandG, Kyhl and 3 others like this.
  18. Monty12

    Monty12 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Burlington Ontario
    Yes, I've noticed in addition to reddit, that most forums and YouTube comments have really become anti mqa
     
    jesterthejedi, Plan9 and jonwoody like this.
  19. Monty12

    Monty12 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Burlington Ontario
    100%
    This would solve a big problem i have. Quobuz is not available where I live, and I have always liked Deezers flow.
     
    McLover likes this.
  20. Stereosound

    Stereosound Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    A good reason to watch which equipment you buy if you dislike MQA: MQA is Vaporware
     
    SteveKr, Plan9, McLover and 1 other person like this.
  21. AXington

    AXington Woo!

    Location:
    Acworth, Ga, USA
    I think this video clearly exposes false advertising claims used by MQA and Tidal. I don't know who else deals with MQA, but this is confirmation of what I've expected for a while, and I think MQA's actions in trying to censor these tests, and their response in general is further indication of some things I have been suspecting for a bit and that is this:

    1. MQA's advertising is clearly misleading and false and most likely violates several consumer protection laws. However, I can only speak from my limited knowledge of U.S. laws, and admittedly I'm no lawyer. However, I think there's a good case for a class action lawsuit if a more influential and well-to-do audiophile or music lover than myself would organize it.

    2. MQA's use of obfuscation, their licensing fee structure, the lights on DACs, and their marketing is clearly an attempt to monopolize high resolution audio and is in violation of anti-trust laws and should be looked into by lawmakers and governing bodies.

    3. MQA is a lower resolution, lossy format, that only solves one problem: the music industry's hatred towards FLAC and their desire to inject DRM into high resolution audio.
     
    McLover, BluTorch, GhostEMP and 5 others like this.
  22. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Sweden
    Amen.
     
    Plan9 and SteveKr like this.
  23. lamode

    lamode Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Italy
    It's time to fight back instead of grumbling to ourselves!

    To save everyone a lot of time, I have tried to compile a list of hardware/software companies which are building products with MQA support (according to the MQA website). Please join me in contacting them all. Be respectful and point out that MQA is a fraud, it is not in their interest, and it is also not in the interest of the consumer. The only winner here is MQA itself.

    Where possible, I have included the email address for all companies, otherwise I have tried to include a contact form.

    Social media can be a better (more public) option so I have included Twitter accounts (where available) or, failing that, I have tried to include a Facebook page.

    Meridian has been omitted for obvious reasons.

    (Note that this is NOT doxxing as these are companies, not individuals, and all contact details have been made publicly available).

    Good luck!




    ALO Audio
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    john@cayin.cn

    Clarus
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    info@claruscable.com


    Cocktail Audio
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    nwkoh@novatron.co.kr

    Control4
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    dCS
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    Esoteric
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    FiiO
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    JBL Synthesis
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    Gustard
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    Hegel
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    Helm Audio
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    Hiby
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    Highscreen
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    Hilidac (Audirect)
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    sales@audirect.cc

    iBasso
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    iFi
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    Jineung
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    jineung@jineung.com

    KEF
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    https://twitter.com/kefaudio

    Khadas
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    Kontinum
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    Krell
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    Loxjie
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    iqiuliu@gmail.com
    https://twitter.com/loxjie

    Lumin
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    info@luminmusic.com
    https://www.facebook.com/luminmusic

    Luxman
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    Lyngdorf
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    Mark Levinson
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    https://www.marklevinson.com/contact.html
    https://www.facebook.com/MarkLevinsonAudio

    Matrix
    https://www.matrix-digi.com/en/
    info@matrix-digi.com
    https://www.facebook.com/matrix.digi/

    Metrum Acoustics
    https://metrumacoustics.com/
    info@metrumacoustics.com
    https://www.facebook.com/MetrumAcoustics

    Moon by SIM Audio
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    https://simaudio.com/en/contact-us/
    https://twitter.com/Simaudio

    MSB
    https://www.msbtechnology.com/
    https://www.msbtechnology.com/about-msb/contact-msb/

    Mytek
    https://mytek.audio/
    http://mytekdigital.com/ost/open.php

    NAD
    https://nadelectronics.com/
    https://support.nadelectronics.com/hc/en-us/requests/new

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    https://onkyosupport.aqipa.com/en/new-ticket
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    stanley@palabaudio.com
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    Sonnet
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    If you want to do even more, there are other forums where the message can be spread :)
     
    wgb113, Shawn, Merrick and 3 others like this.
  24. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Sweden
    Good initiative.
     
    McLover likes this.
  25. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer

    Location:
    Toulouse, France
    Great work!
     

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