POLL: Which MQA Decoding Do You Use With TIDAL?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by audiomixer, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles Thread Starter

    24/48: No Decoding
    24/96: Software Decoding Through Tidal
    24/192: Decoding Through An MQA DAC

    I am getting 24/96: Software Decoding Through Tidal which is fine for me right now without investing in a new DAC or Roon.

    (And please, if you don't use or care about MQA or Tidal, don't post or comment here.
    We already know how you feel.)

    NO THREAD CRAPPING.

    Thank you.
     
    SoundDoctor likes this.
  2. h46e55x

    h46e55x Why me? Why not?

    Location:
    Gitmo Nation West
    When I listen to MQA I usually select the 48kHz 24bit MQA 96kHz. In fact when listening to full hi-res I also select the 96 or 88.1 instead of 192. I haven't seen any listed as 48-24-48, although I do have one I purchased from OnkyoMuisc that is 44.1-16-44.1.

    I don't really notice any improvement from the larger file. From my understanding of what MQA is actually doing, I don't know why the larger file would improve anything.

    Honestly even in full hires I don't imagine there is much to be gained after 48-24 and certainly nothing after 96-24; I am sure others will disagree and insist they can feel the ghostly presence of sound far beyond human perception. :hide:
     
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  3. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles Thread Starter

    Thank you for your informed response.
     
  4. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Listener

    Location:
    New Mexico USA
    I’ll be interested to see how many people weigh in on this poll, but I’d also be curious to hear about the various rationales for choosing one of these options over the others. And are these three the only MQA listening settings on Tidal?

    Also a bit mystified how the 24/48 No Decoding is an MQA listening mode, rather than simply being plain vanilla non-MQA 24/48 PCM. Are there any putative advantages or disadvantages to listening to MQA files without any decoding?
     
    Kyhl likes this.
  5. Samoyed

    Samoyed Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Seattle, wa
    I have a Nuprime Evolution DAC, which fully unfolds and authenticates MQA. I love MQA, and Tidal.
     
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  6. Blowby

    Blowby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Colorado
    Sennheiser Momentum 2 headphones, PC-Realtek Dynaudio chipset.

    Listening to Jeff Beck (Non Mastered), the snare sound image seems to stay at the same volume and impact moving through the different 24 bit levels. I prefer the 24/9600hz since it sounds like the treble and bass balance quite nicely with the non moving snare presentation.
    TIDAL Browse - High Fidelity Music Streaming


    With more bass in a track on a Mastered I prefer 24/192000 hz.
    30'000 Days
    Carnival
     
  7. Leigh

    Leigh Tornado scientist

    I have no MQA decoding devices and never will - so it's plain PCM for me and it sounds just fine.
     
    audiomixer and Bubbamike like this.
  8. 500Homeruns

    500Homeruns Peaceful Punk

    Location:
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    I use my LG V30 smartphone for Tidal full 24/192 decoding.
     
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  9. I really can´t vote because I really don´t know how it works for me, I´d like to know though. I run TIDAL with a MACBOOK PRO and I plug it via usb to an OPPO 105, and from the OPPO, RCA cable to my amp. I asume computer is decoding to PCM in high resolution and then sending the PCM data to the OPPO DAC?
    I really like the sound I get this way and I think it´s superior to CDs, but like I said, I really don´t know how it´s works, I think my DAC is not capable of decoding MQA, or is it?
     
  10. Old Zorki II

    Old Zorki II Heavy Horses Operator

    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    My Auralic Fenton is using “unofficial” algorithm to unfold MQA into 24/96 or 24/192. And then sends it to DAC. Dunno what it means. Sounds good to my ears, but perhaps not as good as native 24/192. May be artifact of my equipment. Or placebo.
     
  11. SirMarc

    SirMarc Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    I use a Bluesound Node 2i for Tidal. The Node will natively unfold the full 24/192 file through the analog outs, but I find it sounds better coax out to my PS Audio dac at 24/96. That said, I'm on a 30 day free trial of Qobuz, and find it to sound better, so I'm probably gonna switch...
     
  12. Wasabi

    Wasabi Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Lutz, FL
    Node 2i and AQ DragonFly Red for portable.
     
  13. MrEWhite

    MrEWhite Well-Known Member

    Location:
    United States
    I got a Pre Box S2 Digital back from warranty recently, I use it to completely unfold the file to 24/192 (on music that supports it of course).
     
  14. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Meet me at the Green Dragon for an ale

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    So, I'm confused.

    When folks say they are listening to MQA 'unfolded' - what about the 'secret sauce' which is the post unfolding filtering/deblurring?

    Isn't MQA two parts: 1)unfolding; partial or full, 2)filtering/deblurring; which is where the real MQA "magic" is supposed to be?

    Unfolding only ain't the whole enchilada, right?
     
    Kyhl likes this.
  15. Blowby

    Blowby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Colorado
    I guarantee the 3 year old sound card in my laptop has no MQA secret sauce and it sounds pretty good. Does Tidal provide any of this magic before it hits the my desktop?
     
  16. Kristofa

    Kristofa I dream of wires

    Location:
    Eugene, Oregon
    I have been using Tidal via Roon then to my Oppo UDP-205 endpoint. Since the Oppo can’t do the second unfolding from Roon’s first unfolding, I am stuck at the first unfolding. I think I will start my free trial of Qobuz this weekend so that I can compare the MQA tracks I like with the Hi-Res offerings on Qobuz. My New Years resolution was to get my ripped CD library sorted once and for all, and I am excited because it is only March and I am so close to my resolution!
     
  17. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Meet me at the Green Dragon for an ale

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    No. Only an MQA licensed DAC can apply the 'secret sauce'.
     
    Kyhl likes this.
  18. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles Thread Starter

  19. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles Thread Starter

    I'm finding quite a few of the listed "Hi-Fi" titles streaming at 24/96.
    Listened to Bowie's "Let's Dance" at that sampling rate; the latest remaster, and I was dumbfounded by his vocal presence.
    Right there in between your speakers. :D
     
    Fruff76 likes this.
  20. MrEWhite

    MrEWhite Well-Known Member

    Location:
    United States
    I played that on Tidal through my Pre Box and I didn't see it streaming at 24/96.
     
  21. SoundDoctor

    SoundDoctor Forum Resident

    Location:
    United States
    And I listened to the same thing on my A&K A&norma SR15 through headphones and was dumbfounded by the unnecessary (IMO) ridiculous compression!

    As for the poll, I voted 192/24 as A&K devices now support MQA with the recent firmware updates.
     
  22. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles Thread Starter

    I didn’t hear the compression.
     
  23. Kristofa

    Kristofa I dream of wires

    Location:
    Eugene, Oregon
    I didn’t hear ridiculous compression either. I A/B’d the 24/96 MQA from Tidal and the 24/96 offering on Qobuz and found them very similar. They are both louder than the 16/44 version on Qobuz but all were a bit clearer than my early EMI America CD. So I guess I A/B/C/D’d a few tracks (Modern Love, China Girl, and Criminal World). Perhaps it is possible compression of the remasters that you don’t care for? I like the modern sound of the remaster, but I don’t know if I will upgrade my original CD.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
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  24. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles Thread Starter

    ^^THIS^^
     
  25. SoundDoctor

    SoundDoctor Forum Resident

    Location:
    United States
    To me, the dynamics seemed a bit squashed. The 2018 didn’t have the dynamic punch of the single edit of the title track on the “Nothing Has Changed” compilation from 2014, but I digress.
     
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