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MQA puzzlement.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by hman, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. hman

    hman Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Northport, NY
    A lot of people on here are very, very negative on MQA. I'm listening to Gregg Allman's "Laid Back" on MQA through a Bluesound Node 2i, and it sounds pretty great.

    What is the problem? I'm not hearing it.
     
    aarodynamic, audiomixer and Fruff76 like this.
  2. Mike-48

    Mike-48 A shadow of my former self

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Discussed many, many times. If you're really looking for information, SEARCH is your friend. If you're just trolling, please don't.
     
  3. hman

    hman Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Northport, NY
    Not trolling...never trolled...don't believe in it. I read a lot of the older threads, but I still can't make much sense of them. There is a lot of technical speak in them. A lot of the files that they talk about are unknown to me. I even googled and could not figure out what to do with those files or how to play them.
     
    CBackley likes this.
  4. justanotherhifienthusiast

    justanotherhifienthusiast Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    it probably makes some bad masters or bad remasters sound better some how with their custom filters. i think in the case of already well recorded music its just gimping your potential sound. the fact that its being marketed as a miracle is disingenuous and everyone with half a brain can see that. theres no excuse for being ignorant.
     
    sunspot42, McLover and Xarkkon like this.
  5. justanotherhifienthusiast

    justanotherhifienthusiast Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    its not hard to understand that all digital music has a bit depth. its often referred to as bits. to explain it easily the higher the sample rate the more information is potentially available to you. if your system is even capable of resolving that information is dependent on each person. there is no denying the fact that mqa is considered a lossy format, that is, after all the processes that it goes through, the song winds up with less information then it started with.

    an example would be playing a song with high dynamic range (a song that has large differences in the quietest moments, to its loudest, eg. most classical) on youtube. youtube downsamples the bitrate and youre left with something in the range of 96kbps bit rate. thats going to equate to a inferior sounding song, the lower bass frequencies will be missing etc.

    well with mqa, the format is lossy so youre also losing information. they apply a custom filter to do something to the song. i dont know what it is, perhaps its a custom fr filter. to some people, they might think they are hearing something better because they're hearing something different. different isnt better. in this case different is reduction of the bit depth. that is literally the opposite of what we audiohiles like to consider hifi.
     
    McLover likes this.
  6. hman

    hman Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Northport, NY
    There is an excuse, and it is simple. I still have no idea what MQA is and what it is not. The people who hate it have failed to adequately explain what sucks about it. The people who advocate it have also failed at articulating what is better sounding about it.

    It could also just be me being stupid.
     
    aarodynamic, CBackley and Sterling1 like this.
  7. hman

    hman Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Northport, NY

    Thanks. Now I get it. It is like the hi res version of the battle between FLAC and MP3.
     
    displayname likes this.
  8. justanotherhifienthusiast

    justanotherhifienthusiast Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    its a lot more then that. its a way for sony umg, warner and universal to introduce drm again to digital music.
     
    sunspot42 and McLover like this.
  9. Ezd

    Ezd Forum Resident

    Here Paul of PS Audio gives his take on MQA... Some folks in this forum like Paul, others not so much. Personally, he comes across as an honest, knowledgeable person to me. He does a good job of explaining MQA in every-day language.

     
  10. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Location:
    Central PA
    One of these, of course.
    [​IMG]
    Oh wait, that's the 16-ounce...my bad...
     
  11. Sterling1

    Sterling1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Here's a sidebar. Today's iTunes delivers streams and downloads from Apple Music in algorithms which I cannot distinguish from the same music I have on stereo SACD and I have a very resolving system. So, although I have the capability to listen to MQA music from Tidal via my OPPO-205, there's no point to it, since Apple Music brings me a world of music for just $9.99 a month.
     
  12. Xarkkon

    Xarkkon Would you like a Custom Title?

    Location:
    Asia
    Thanks for this! I think Paul adds a lot to the industry with his videos, especially for newbies like me.

    However, he definitely has a slant to his views, which is to be expected given his background and objective. I can understand that not everyone appreciates it.

    For him to come out with this view instead of just following the marketing "this makes music sound super good" spiel comes as a pleasant surprise.
     
    McLover likes this.
  13. Kyhl

    Kyhl On my break

    Location:
    Savage
    Some corrections to Paul's video.

    1.) MQA (24/48) is larger than a CD (16/44.1). They aren't packing hi-res in a CD file size. The are packing semi-hi-res in a smaller hi-res sample size.
    2.) MQA unfolds to 24/96, not 24/192. To get from 96k to 192k it is a simple upsample. It is not more musical information.
    3.) If MQA corrects something that is wrong with the original ADC then I would expect the combined engineers at TI, Cirrus Logic, Analog Devices, and others would probably like to know what they had done wrong. Feel free to tell us too, without marketing speak.
     
    sunspot42, ds58, JackG and 1 other person like this.
  14. Leigh

    Leigh http://orf.media

    I hate it because it's a solution looking for a problem. We have 4K TV's streaming these days. But somehow 24/96 audio is just to much bandwidth, or something.

    MQA is a money grab, and it's completely unnecessary when there is an open format that works better. It's really that simple.
     
  15. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles

    Is anything showing on cable, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc. not compressed picture wise?
     
    condorsat and HiFi Guy 008 like this.
  16. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    Even compressed file sizes of 4K video are a lot larger then any audio.
     
  17. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles

    My point is it’s still compressed.
    People don’t seem to mind a compressed visual, but god forbid compressed audio.
     
  18. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    No, your point is to desperately beat the drum in favor of MQA.
     
    sunspot42 and McLover like this.
  19. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles

    Not necessarily MQA, but many other formats, too. Vinyl has many limitations, but people still defend that as a viable format, which it is. But so much vitriolic hate over MQA when many people enjoy it. Plus, IT’S ENTIRELY OPTIONAL. It’s not threatening any other format out there. It’s just another alternative. Listen to it or don’t. It’s really that simple.
     
    condorsat and Nascimento Brasil like this.
  20. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Not entirely accurate.

    There have been instances of DACs shipped out with MQA filters that you cannot turn "off" when playing non-MQA files. What if I don't want that filter? The only way to know if the DAC maker didn't implement the MQA filters as "all the time on" is a third party independent bench test. What if you bought a piece of equipment based on brand reputation and subjective reviews, then later found out it had a non-defeatable MQA filter that was on all the time? I know I'd be upset about that.

    There are also MQA CDs starting to hit the market in USA and Japan. In some cases they are the only in-print copy of a particular version or mastering. That means if I don't want MQA I can't buy those. I have to fork out for something else, in some cases at a much higher cost.

    As for whether MQA sounds good or not, those filters can act almost like an EQ that will "trick" some folks into thinking MQA is some kind of revolutionary format, or that it sounds better than another version on Tidal. In a way not that different than jacking up compression and putting a smiley faced EQ on a remastered CD or download - that can "trick" people too.

    The downsides of MQA have been discussed at length here. I'd suggest OP read some of that stuff. The whole issue is MUCH more complex than some folks might know.
     
  21. hman

    hman Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Northport, NY

    Thanks for the detailed answer. I will take a deeper dive.

    I will also download a few hi res tracks from HD Tracks and compare to Tidal's MQA counterparts.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  22. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles

    I’m not losing any sleep over this.
    I have a music library of over 10,000 silver discs & 10,000 vinyl records to fall back on. I’m enjoying the convenience on Tidal currently & enjoying the sound.
     
    stereoptic likes this.
  23. Linger63

    Linger63 Forum Resident

    Location:
    AUSTRALIA
    According to the display on my OPPO 205........MQA unfolds to 24/352.8

    I believe that some Queen MQA releases only hit 24/96 though,
     
  24. acdc7369

    acdc7369 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pittsburgh
  25. Dr Tone

    Dr Tone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    Your Oppo is just displaying the source bit depth and sample rate that is stored as metadata in the MQA file. There's only one unfold to 24/96 and everything after that is just upsampling with the specified MQA filters back to the source sample rate or higher.
     
    Linger63 likes this.

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