Is MQA Dead?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by DaleClark, Sep 1, 2017.

  1. DaleClark

    DaleClark Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Bexley, Ohio
    It's been 3 years we have been hearing about how wonderful MQA is. However, no middle priced DACS outside of Bluesound Node and this one coming soon Box Design by Pro-Ject Audio Systems

    It's either low priced USB only computer/headphone dacs or expensive Mytek level and higher dacs. Tidal is only streaming service as of now utilizing MQA. Even that is a hodgepodge. Poor search, MQA ID markers, etc.

    Qobuz, which I subscribe, is offering Sublime +. True Hi rez files for streaming on many selections.

    Outside of Meridian (who's own mid level dac is not MQA), the stereo rags and some industry professionals, there seems to be no excitement. At least with DSD, there are plenty of DACS that support the format.

    I always got the feeling MQA was just a licensing "money grab" trying to be the THX of the two channel world.

    What are your thoughts?
     
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  2. riddlemay

    riddlemay Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    My hope is that someday the technology will be as easy to use as a CD player. I really do hope that, because I have enough hope that MQA does offer an improvement that I'd look forward to it producing better sound in my home, if computer audio can be made as no-brainer as physical media are now.
     
  3. james

    james Forum Resident

    Location:
    Annapolis
    I have a MQA capable DAC, but haven't spent much time reading about the format. I thought that having a MQA DAC wasn't necessary to listen to a MQA stream? That software such as Tidal can unfold the MQA in software and then output it to the DAC?
     
    jmrife likes this.
  4. SquishySounds

    SquishySounds Yo mama so fat Thanos had to snap twice.

    Location:
    New York
    MQA has always had two strikes against it
    1. The competition is more convenient
    2. The competition is free
     
  5. 500Homeruns

    500Homeruns Peaceful Punk

    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    The new LG V30 (smartphone) is going to be MQA capable/certified.
     
    Freebird likes this.
  6. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    MQA Decoding Explained
     
    Jacob29, wipster and Tim Müller like this.
  7. DaleClark

    DaleClark Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Bexley, Ohio
    Seems awful complicated for such a plug and play world we live in.
     
    sunspot42, rxcory, tmtomh and 3 others like this.
  8. Dax_Frost

    Dax_Frost Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    The new Sony NW-ZX300 walkman will be MQA compatible too.
     
  9. james

    james Forum Resident

    Location:
    Annapolis
    it may seem complicated if you need know the technical details. I think the nice thing, as shown in @Apesbrain 's link above, is that if your playback software supports MQA, you can listen to MQA. If you want to take things up a notch and get a MQA compatible DAC, you can do that, too.

    But all you have to do is hit play and you're in business.
     
  10. Tim Müller

    Tim Müller Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    Thank you!
    This explanation feels like MQA is more like a burden than a helpful invention.
    Too many things to think about, MQA renderers vs. full decoders vs. software, etc.
    FLAC seems to be much easier, and you don't need any special hardware.

    Best regards
     
  11. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    And it will probably have DAC firmware issues if the V20 experience is anything to go by.

    RE: MQA, just a licensing scam.
     
    dchang81 likes this.
  12. Archimago

    Archimago Forum Resident

    Hang on a sec folks... Before discussing life or death, the real question is DOES MQA SOUND BETTER!? Sure, MQA is also a compression format, but who really cares that much about that...

    If it does show a preferable sonic difference, then I don't see why we should not support it; if not in current form, at least in principle with perhaps future devices.

    Remember guys & gals, if you have a hi-res DAC capable of 24/176 and 24/192, try out my test - find out for yourself and let me know:
    Archimago's Musings: INTERNET BLIND TEST: MQA Core Decoding vs. Standard Hi-Res Audio

    Result submission ends in 1 week!
     
    sunspot42 and Byrdsmaniac like this.
  13. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    MQA is very successful at solving two non-existent problems:

    One, how to stream hi-res: MQA has the potential to deliver "24/192-equivalent" sound in a 24/48 package. The problem is that no objective evidence exists that hi-res sounds "better" than redbook and that the audience for this is not interested in streaming and no longer paying attention as they've left PCM behind for the "next new thing" DSD. (Sorry @Archimago, if I've jumped the gun.)

    Two, how to get the copyright genie back in the bottle: Copy-protection has never worked and who other than the industry cares about this anyway.

    So, it's got that going for it.
     
  14. 500Homeruns

    500Homeruns Peaceful Punk

    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    What issues are you referring to? It's the best sounding smartphone I've ever heard.
    You can message me so the topic of this thread doesn't go off track.
    Thanks.
     
  15. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Was it ever alive?
     
    vinnn, MusicNBeer, SteveKr and 10 others like this.
  16. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eagle, Idaho
    My rule is 'if people are arguing about whether a new format sounds better than the old format' - it doesn't.
     
  17. sublemon

    sublemon Forum Resident

    computer audio is already even a less brainer than physical media, at least in my home... turn on squeezebox and 100K+ tunes available in multiple rooms
     
  18. nosliw

    nosliw Azunyan! にゃーーー!

    Location:
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    I'm guessing you're referring to the sound playback being downsampled to 48KHz due to the API on third-party music players?

    EDIT: My LG V20 is the H990DS model and it comes with an LG Music Player, which is not affected by the downsampling issue with its DAC.
     
  19. Burning Tires

    Burning Tires Forum Resident

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Are we talking about the Malaysian Qualifications Agency?

    Medical Quality Assurance?



     
    Adamski777 likes this.
  20. Claude Benshaul

    Claude Benshaul Forum Resident

    I just wish that the same energy invested by the music industry to promote yet another audio format would be invested instead at mastering decent records in the first place.

    MQA is leaving me cold. Perhaps because I'm 50+, perhaps because I spent too much time near things that go boom or perhaps because I was born under the wrong star. It doesn't really matter why but the result is that I simply can't hear any differences between MQA and HiRes Audio. However the differences between CDs that were well mastered and those that are not are painfully obvious. Sadly the latter has become the norm.
     
    SteveKr, sunspot42, klockwerk and 7 others like this.
  21. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Mine is an ATT model. It did not come with the LG Music Player, but I was able to install that on my phone after going through some rigamarole with APK Editor. I would like to use other apps for hi-rez content. LG knows about the API issue but refuses to fix it. Never would've been an issue had they actually tested the product properly before giving the green light on full production. Done with LG now.
     
  22. Archimago

    Archimago Forum Resident

    Hey there Apesbrain,

    No worries about jumping ahead... I'm still curious how this all turns out between MQA and good ol' PCM.

    However, I'm not sure about DSD either. Many of us have been there, done that also starting with SACD back at the turn of the century. (Not sure if you're bringing this up in jest or seriously believe in DSD.) IMO, DSD is dead as well.

    It is quite possible that audiophiles end up being rational and just not care about any of this. Realizing that what we have is already better than our hearing ability as is :). I'm with Claude B. it's all about getting good recordings rather than the technology. There are just no real problems left in terms of file formats for stereo digital audio.
     
  23. No Static

    No Static Gain Rider

    Location:
    Alabama
    When I saw the word 'Authenticated' I didn't investigate any further. Fun to read about, though.
    But that's just me.
     
  24. jmrife

    jmrife Wife. Kids. Grandkids. Dog. Music.

    Location:
    Wheat Ridge, CO
    I can hear a SQ difference in the Tidal MQA files I play through Roon. They come through as 24/48 to my Bifrost Multibit DAC. The same DAC does good things for 16/44, but I am getting added benefit from Tidal/Roon at no extra cost or effort.
     
  25. slovell

    slovell Retired Mudshark

    Location:
    Chesnee, SC, USA
    They just want to sell you the latest gizmo to get you to buy more gear and have to buy your catalog again. Does anyone remember HDCD? DVDA and SACD are sorta still around but not really. I've got several SACD's and DVDA's but I can't remember the last time I listened to one of them. Music in surround sounds cool the first few times you listen to it then, IMHO, it starts to sound kind of surreal, which it is. The only band I ever saw live in surround sound was Pink Floyd.
     
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