when is Naim going to update streamers for MQA?

I can't image Naim not including MQA decoding with their new line of "Uniti" components, in fact the name itself would be hypocritical without its inclusion.  With HiRes streaming becoming mainstream, I would hope they would include enough foresight and processing power to handle any software adaptable format that may come down the pipe.

While its easy to predict "mainstream" ownership of music becoming a relic of the past with on demand and streaming taking over ... just like it did with video. Coming into focus inside my crystal ball is HiRes radio stations ... both online and terrestrial. With just the smallest amount of imagination sources of revenue abound in all directions. A good thing in a capitalistic world if progress is to take root. 


While there was indeed reason to be pessimistic given 20 years of stagnation in the record industry, there's finally a glimmer of hope for a new business model rising from the ashes. With MQA being just one step on a long road to recovery for the recording industry. 

 

Bill Allen posted:

I can't image Naim not including MQA decoding with their new line of "Uniti" components, in fact the name itself would be hypocritical without its inclusion.  With HiRes streaming becoming mainstream, I would hope they would include enough foresight and processing power to handle any software adaptable format that may come down the pipe.

While its easy to predict "mainstream" ownership of music becoming a relic of the past with on demand and streaming taking over ... just like it did with video. Coming into focus inside my crystal ball is HiRes radio stations ... both online and terrestrial. With just the smallest amount of imagination sources of revenue abound in all directions. A good thing in a capitalistic world if progress is to take root. 


While there was indeed reason to be pessimistic given 20 years of stagnation in the record industry, there's finally a glimmer of hope for a new business model rising from the ashes. With MQA being just one step on a long road to recovery for the recording industry. 

 

How has HiRes become mainstream all of a sudden?  Outside of this forum and similar, I see no flocking to hi-res, or even awareness of it, let alone any concern for what the benefits might be.  4k on an i-phone is more likely to become 'mainstream' than any of this.

What matters Simon is what Naim decides to put inside their production Uniti products. More processing power will keep the Uniti line from becoming outdated the moment it hits the streets, hopefully they had time to make changes on this front. 

With HiRes "becoming" mainstream, MP3 is dead as dead, there's simply no money left to extract from this format. HiRes is the 4K of the Music Industry ... MQA is simply the first vehicle.

 As I said they have a long ways to go ...

What evidence do you say MP3 is dead? Is that not just wishful thinking? I suspect  MP3 is the most ubiquotis digital encoding format globally by a huge margin and growing... I just can't see on any perspective how any one can credibly say MP3 is dead..

Also is  hires mainstream? Really ? I guess if you asked most what is hires they would give a blank stare or say they their TV does it...

Agree on what matters is what is released for production. Hopefully they are getting close. I have my eyes on a Nova

ChrisSU posted:

To suggest that Hi Res is mainstream is just ludicrous. MP3 and AAC are mainstream, CD is for crusties, lossless streaming is off most people's radar, and Hi Res is from another planet as far as most people are concerned. 

Albeit FLAC downloads are certainly slowly creeping into mainstream, especially for younger music enthusiasts... who know that AAC and MP3 is not the be all and end all (which I find really encouraging) 

Come on guys follow the bouncing balls ... MP3's are dead as far as making money for the record company's ... nobody is paying to download anymore. (Most never did) They make very little money on streaming MP3's. They need a new source of income and HiRes offers a new pasture. 

HiRes steaming is coming ... so is 4K for video ... deal with it in your own way.

 

 

Richard Dane's post reflects some discussion that may have been in the beta forum about the new platform capability with respect to adding new features such as MQA... and Simon notes that the (limited or lack of) availability of MQA libraries and toolkits for developers is a factor. So too must be the business context, and it is only "days" since MQA have announced major partners in streaming distribution (Tidal) and content (Warner and Universal)... From my chair up in the nosebleeds, I think it isn't exactly "late" for Naim to be deciding whether or not to place a bet on this specific and proprietary technology. Their choice to embrace Chromecast, already widely adopted and embedding in apps and services, but to do it at "Naim levels of performance" seems much more sensible / less risky (at the time serious development must have started). The de-risked (but certainly not risk free or market proven) landscape for MQA is only about five minutes old! Focus on shipping products against existing announcements has to be job one. I want my Nova now; I can wait for MQA as a cool new free upgrade via firmware (just as I got for Tidal, DSD, multi-room play, and more with the original product line). I think we need to pick fewer things to complain about not having yet ha ha ha!

Regards alan

 edit:

ps - as bandwidth increases and onboard memory for buffering drops in cost, the feasibility of full-fat hires streaming above red book rates also increases; MQA isn't the only way to bring higher res forward, just as 4K live and on demand "streaming" or "broadcasting" on television networks is arriving in spite of bandwidth levels that would have been terrifying not that long ago

Speaking of dealing with, I just found out there is no phono input on any of the new Naim Uniti components.

While they all offer an analog to digital converter to stream on your network. No MQA, no Phono input ... humm ... what exactly are they going to unify.

Pessimism

Am I missing something? What exactly does MQA achieve? Yes, it can stream high res data in half or quarter of the bandwidth - but it will only make a difference for those whose internet connection is borderline: i.e. where the 2.3Mbps of the 24/96 can get through without any interruption but 4.6 can't. For anyone with lower or higher rate connection either MQA won't stream or uncompressed high res would.

Meanwhile i don't believe that the people listening with earbuds on phones, which I suspect is a high proportion of the masses that stream, would notice or care about the difference in sound quality between MQA and MP3, so MQA is hardly set to become mainstream.

 

 

Bill Allen posted:

Speaking of dealing with, I just found out there is no phono input on any of the new Naim Uniti components.

While they all offer an analog to digital converter to stream on your network. No MQA, no Phono input ... humm ... what exactly are they going to unify.

Pessimism

is that true? I've only been looking at the Core, which I didn't think did unless its been added, but maybe the Atom & Nova? Is there some digital processing reason for it, rather than passing the analogue direct into the amp stages?

Bill Allen posted:

Speaking of dealing with, I just found out there is no phono input on any of the new Naim Uniti components.

While they all offer an analog to digital converter to stream on your network. No MQA, no Phono input ... humm ... what exactly are they going to unify.

Pessimism

Really? The Nova has 2x DIN / 2x phono inputs into its preamp... the Star has phono and a single DIN input... where are you getting your info from?

Bill Allen posted:

With HiRes "becoming" mainstream, MP3 is dead as dead, there's simply no money left to extract from this format. HiRes is the 4K of the Music Industry ... MQA is simply the first vehicle.

As someone who works in the music industry (and whose partner works in the home entertainment/video/dvd/call it what you will industry) I would say that the observation that  "HiRes is the 4K of the Music Industry" is fairly accurate in that the vast majority of people care about neither.  HiRes is far from mainstream, with the vast majority of consumers opting for convenience and price.  Think of a triangle with FAST, CHEAP, GOOD at each point, now pick two (you can't have all three).  I would suggest that the vast majority of consumers pick the first two and, unless something happens to radically change the paradigm, this will continue to be the case.  Cue questions from friends and colleagues "Why do you pay extra for Tidal Premium?  Spotify etc is awesome!"    Spotify is THE dominant streaming service, they stream a lossy format and, considering the current growth trends of the major streaming services (and yes i'm talking real growth), there is a still lot of scope for growth in this area.  The suggestion that there us "no money left to extract from this format" is well wide of the mark.  

Regretfully continuing the analogy:

MP3 is more the equivalent to TV/480i Video. The masses where happy with that too, ask them "now" to go back and watch their Tube TV ... I think not! 

From that vantage point, HiRes audio is more the equivalent to HDTV (HiDef ... hell it even sounds the same)

We all got a first hand seat on how the HDTV transition took place, with early adopters suffering through the upscaling effects of 480i video feed for years. Go back in your hot tub time machine to 1995 an ask "anyone" if they want to continue watching blurry TV and they would look at you real stupid. Go forward 15 years from today and same will be true with MP3's. 

The Big 3 record company's who own 70% of the worlds recorded music have "finally" decided to convert their back catalog to HiRes audio. When the transition to HiRes is complete, nobody and I mean nobody will shed a tear for MP3 or even remember it existed.  MP3 will be dead as dead, but yes, don't hold your breath waiting for this to happen. 

Trying not to get trapped in analogical semantics ... my argument is the the transition to HiRes audio will be very similar. 

 

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
Bill Allen posted:

Speaking of dealing with, I just found out there is no phono input on any of the new Naim Uniti components.

While they all offer an analog to digital converter to stream on your network. No MQA, no Phono input ... humm ... what exactly are they going to unify.

Pessimism

Really? The Nova has 2x DIN / 2x phono inputs into its preamp... the Star has phono and a single DIN input... where are you getting your info from?

Two extra analog inputs are one thing, a built in Phono equalizer is another. I asked this question point black at both RMAF 2016 and CES 2017 and I was told there are no Phono EQ's built into the Uniti products. 

IMO a product called Uniti should bridge past, present, and future formats.

Bill Allen posted:

Regretfully continuing the analogy:

MP3 is more the equivalent to TV/480i Video. The masses where happy with that too, ask them "now" to go back and watch their Tube TV ... I think not! 

From that vantage point, HiRes audio is more the equivalent to HDTV (HiDef ... hell it even sounds the same)

We all got a first hand seat on how the HDTV transition took place, with early adopters suffering through the upscaling effects of 480i video feed for years. Go back in your hot tub time machine to 1995 an ask "anyone" if they want to continue watching blurry TV and they would look at you real stupid. Go forward 15 years from today and same will be true with MP3's. 

The Big 3 record company's who own 70% of the worlds recorded music have "finally" decided to convert their back catalog to HiRes audio. When the transition to HiRes is complete, nobody and I mean nobody will shed a tear for MP3 or even remember it existed.  MP3 will be dead as dead, but yes, don't hold your breath waiting for this to happen. 

Trying not to get trapped in analogical semantics ... my argument is the the transition to HiRes audio will be very similar. 

 

I don't think the debate was so much about whether we nutters, or your average music consumer, want HiDef, and where that might be in the future, but more that we have HiDef already, so what is MQA for?  I am sure that if in 15 years time Spotify has everything available in studio master quality for £6 a month, its users won't be saying 'screw that, we want to keep our MP3s', that would not make sense.  Its the unwillingness amoung of the majority of music listeners to pay the premium that is there currently, which says to me it is a long from being mainstream right now.  Many many music lovers won't even pay premium for CD quality over MP3 currently, so HiRes seems unlikely to become mainstream until services like Spotify make it the affordable standard, and in 15 years time it probably will be.

jon honeyball posted:

why would it have phono eq when there is a range of phono eq boxes available from naim?

Quite - I am intrigued by this Phono EQ - I assume Bill is referring to a phono (graph) preamp with RIAA equalisation. As far as I am aware Naim preamps haven't contained these for many many years - and one can indeed now use the Naim phono stage if one requires this  - and I see no reason why one couldn't use that with the Uniti series if you wanted - albeit you might need a separate PSU for it.

These are all decisions a manufacture like Naim has to take into consideration.

My retail customer's will ultimately vote with their pocket book. None that I talked to so far want the complexity of add on boxes to their upcoming all-in-one device purchase.  My decision on what lines to carry hinge on anticipating my customer needs.  While I have no problem selling them an extra set of cables and phono amp, the problem is I have to "sell them" on this. 

At home my wife has integrated our MuSo into her daily life as a HDTV speaker (via fiberoptic) and Tidal steamer for music. She rarely plays music from our NAS anymore. This little device has not only changed her perspective but also mine on the future of audio interaction.  However she now wanted to play her LP collection (both new & old).  So I bought her a Sony turntable with built in phono amp and plugged it directly into the analog input on the MuSo. Done!

While the new Uniti line offers a way to tie in my hi-end stereo system to the MuSo and whole house network, there is no easy path to hook up my tube phono amp.  Even I don't want to purchase an additional phono amp for the rare times I would steam analog from this location. Without a MQA solution we are talking yet another add on box or worse ... computer audio. This potential complexity is already irritating me, just image the scenario's my customer's will bring to the integration of limited all-in-one devices. 

I don't know much about all this but all I want is well recorded music to play on my Gyro or NDS. I don't want it meddled with, just a high quality recording from a studio. It's not much to ask for and it's all getting complicated in my opinion. 

I trust Naim to do what's best with their products, if they don't adopt this MQA thing or whatever it is that's fine by me, it will be for a good reason.

Bill Allen posted:

Regretfully continuing the analogy:

MP3 is more the equivalent to TV/480i Video. The masses where happy with that too, ask them "now" to go back and watch their Tube TV ... I think not! 

From that vantage point, HiRes audio is more the equivalent to HDTV (HiDef ... hell it even sounds the same)

We all got a first hand seat on how the HDTV transition took place, with early adopters suffering through the upscaling effects of 480i video feed for years. Go back in your hot tub time machine to 1995 an ask "anyone" if they want to continue watching blurry TV and they would look at you real stupid. Go forward 15 years from today and same will be true with MP3's. 

The Big 3 record company's who own 70% of the worlds recorded music have "finally" decided to convert their back catalog to HiRes audio. When the transition to HiRes is complete, nobody and I mean nobody will shed a tear for MP3 or even remember it existed.  MP3 will be dead as dead, but yes, don't hold your breath waiting for this to happen. 

Trying not to get trapped in analogical semantics ... my argument is the the transition to HiRes audio will be very similar. 

 

OK, let's leave the analogy out of it.  The assertion that "MP3 is dead as dead, there's simply no money left to extract from this format" is inaccurate.  There is still a lot of life left in this format.  Where are live there is only one Hi-Fi streaming service and their market penetrationis minute.  I would suggest that a similar situation exists in most countries around the world.

Also, just to clarify, it was never the record companies decision that MP3 be the default format, this was the choice of the likes of Apple, Spotify, etc.  In fact they are supplied full 16/44 audio masters.

The transition to HiRes audio may well be similar but considering, most markets are still transitioning to streaming I would suggest that it still has a long, long way to go.  I also know from my partner that even though both are declining formats, DVD still outsells Blu-Ray by a considerable margin. 

As a side note, many of my younger colleagues don't own a TV in the traditional sense with the usual add ons - Sky Box, Blu-Ray Player, DVD, player etc.  They own a lap top and a Netflix account, that's it. 

King Size posted:
Bill Allen posted:

Regretfully continuing the analogy:

MP3 is more the equivalent to TV/480i Video. The masses where happy with that too, ask them "now" to go back and watch their Tube TV ... I think not! 

From that vantage point, HiRes audio is more the equivalent to HDTV (HiDef ... hell it even sounds the same)

We all got a first hand seat on how the HDTV transition took place, with early adopters suffering through the upscaling effects of 480i video feed for years. Go back in your hot tub time machine to 1995 an ask "anyone" if they want to continue watching blurry TV and they would look at you real stupid. Go forward 15 years from today and same will be true with MP3's. 

The Big 3 record company's who own 70% of the worlds recorded music have "finally" decided to convert their back catalog to HiRes audio. When the transition to HiRes is complete, nobody and I mean nobody will shed a tear for MP3 or even remember it existed.  MP3 will be dead as dead, but yes, don't hold your breath waiting for this to happen. 

Trying not to get trapped in analogical semantics ... my argument is the the transition to HiRes audio will be very similar. 

 

OK, let's leave the analogy out of it.  The assertion that "MP3 is dead as dead, there's simply no money left to extract from this format" is inaccurate.  There is still a lot of life left in this format.  Where are live there is only one Hi-Fi streaming service and their market penetrationis minute.  I would suggest that a similar situation exists in most countries around the world.

Also, just to clarify, it was never the record companies decision that MP3 be the default format, this was the choice of the likes of Apple, Spotify, etc.  In fact they are supplied full 16/44 audio masters.

The transition to HiRes audio may well be similar but considering, most markets are still transitioning to streaming I would suggest that it still has a long, long way to go.  I also know from my partner that even though both are declining formats, DVD still outsells Blu-Ray by a considerable margin. 

As a side note, many of my younger colleagues don't own a TV in the traditional sense with the usual add ons - Sky Box, Blu-Ray Player, DVD, player etc.  They own a lap top and a Netflix account, that's it. 

Touche

I know it's a technicality but Spotify does NOT use MP3 because of apparently licensing costs, they instead use the Ogg Vorbis codec and container which is open source  and licence free and apparently better suited to streaming.. though I am not quite sure why... and of course despite this and being worlds largest streamer are yet to make a penny in profit...

Bill Allen posted:

...Without a MQA solution we are talking yet another add on box or worse ... computer audio. This potential complexity is already irritating me, just image the scenario's my customer's will bring to the integration of limited all-in-one devices. 

What line of business are you in?  None of my customers give a cr@p about MQA.

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

I know it's a technicality but Spotify does NOT use MP3 because of apparently licensing costs, they instead use the Ogg Vorbis codec and container which is open source  and licence free and apparently better suited to streaming.. though I am not quite sure why... and of course despite this and being worlds largest streamer are yet to make a penny in profit...

Simon thanks for the correction.  I am aware of this, hence referred to them using a lossy format earlier in the thread.  Was just trying to keep it simple, and for many MP3 has become synonymous with lossy formats (and I took at as being used in that way in this thread), much like Hoover was with vacuum cleaners. 

I can't see naim rushing MQA integration into their products.  This is not to say it won't happen but that much like Rega with CD Players, they seem happy to wait and make a considered move rather than diving in head first.

 

Bill Allen posted:

These are all decisions a manufacture like Naim has to take into consideration.

My retail customer's will ultimately vote with their pocket book. None that I talked to so far want the complexity of add on boxes to their upcoming all-in-one device purchase.  My decision on what lines to carry hinge on anticipating my customer needs.  While I have no problem selling them an extra set of cables and phono amp, the problem is I have to "sell them" on this. 

At home my wife has integrated our MuSo into her daily life as a HDTV speaker (via fiberoptic) and Tidal steamer for music. She rarely plays music from our NAS anymore. This little device has not only changed her perspective but also mine on the future of audio interaction.  However she now wanted to play her LP collection (both new & old).  So I bought her a Sony turntable with built in phono amp and plugged it directly into the analog input on the MuSo. Done!

While the new Uniti line offers a way to tie in my hi-end stereo system to the MuSo and whole house network, there is no easy path to hook up my tube phono amp.  Even I don't want to purchase an additional phono amp for the rare times I would steam analog from this location. Without a MQA solution we are talking yet another add on box or worse ... computer audio. This potential complexity is already irritating me, just image the scenario's my customer's will bring to the integration of limited all-in-one devices. 

Leaving aside debate over the potential sound quality of computer's as sources, I fundamentally fail to see what MQA has to do with any of this? MQA is simply an attempt to allow online streaming at lower bandwidth for the streaming supplier. No more, no less, except for the small proportion of people interested in online streaming of hi res living with borderline internet connection bandwidth and happy with the artefacts of MQA. Ourptside those in that borderline group everyone can download high res if they want, and online stream from suppliers like Qobuz and Highresaudi if they want.

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
ChrisSU posted:

To suggest that Hi Res is mainstream is just ludicrous. MP3 and AAC are mainstream, CD is for crusties, lossless streaming is off most people's radar, and Hi Res is from another planet as far as most people are concerned. 

Albeit FLAC downloads are certainly slowly creeping into mainstream, especially for younger music enthusiasts... who know that AAC and MP3 is not the be all and end all (which I find really encouraging) 

I've not experienced very much enthusiasm for lossless audio amongst youngsters myself, but I hope you're right! After all, they should really have good enough hearing to appreciate it, unlike some of us... 

Bill Allen posted:

These are all decisions a manufacture like Naim has to take into consideration.

My retail customer's will ultimately vote with their pocket book. None that I talked to so far want the complexity of add on boxes to their upcoming all-in-one device purchase.  My decision on what lines to carry hinge on anticipating my customer needs.  While I have no problem selling them an extra set of cables and phono amp, the problem is I have to "sell them" on this. 

At home my wife has integrated our MuSo into her daily life as a HDTV speaker (via fiberoptic) and Tidal steamer for music. She rarely plays music from our NAS anymore. This little device has not only changed her perspective but also mine on the future of audio interaction.  However she now wanted to play her LP collection (both new & old).  So I bought her a Sony turntable with built in phono amp and plugged it directly into the analog input on the MuSo. Done!

While the new Uniti line offers a way to tie in my hi-end stereo system to the MuSo and whole house network, there is no easy path to hook up my tube phono amp.  Even I don't want to purchase an additional phono amp for the rare times I would steam analog from this location. Without a MQA solution we are talking yet another add on box or worse ... computer audio. This potential complexity is already irritating me, just image the scenario's my customer's will bring to the integration of limited all-in-one devices. 

 Bill-

If you are a member of the trade then it needs to be clearly disclosed in your profile and you need to ask Richard Dane (moderator) for a trade banner on your name.

Moderated Post:  Mark, I have conversed with Bill and I'm happy with his current member status.  Note that only official Naim dealers have Trade Member status on here.

Bill Allen posted:

While the new Uniti line offers a way to tie in my hi-end stereo system to the MuSo and whole house network, there is no easy path to hook up my tube phono amp.  Even I don't want to purchase an additional phono amp for the rare times I would steam analog from this location. Without a MQA solution we are talking yet another add on box or worse ... computer audio.

(Merrily joining in the pile-on without malice...) 

King Size's reply captures my main thinking on this state-of-the-format discussion: full fat red book streaming (intranet or internet) is tiny in comparison to lossy; the bright future being considered for hiRes (which out in the mainstream means red book, not 24/96 or higher as it usually does here) has certainly not arrived. 

But I'm also unsure about this apparent "one box" limitation of the (old and) new Uniti line: there is no built in turntable (nor an internal MM or MC stage)... but so what? You would be adding a second box (a turntable) to enable vinyl no matter what. And if you do, choosing the one with built in preamp/riaa filter might make sense, or going upmarket with something nicer and a pre might be your preference. Either way, though, Naim has covered you off, since multi-room streaming of whatever you put into the analog inputs is now a (built in) feature. This deserves accolades not hollow derision...and it's certainly forward and backward looking. The Janus of home connectivity perhaps?

The creeping note of pessimism and chest beating about what isn't available is harshing my afternoon off... Mark Knopfler to the rescue (FLAC rip from red book streamed from my basement NAS)! 

Regards alan

Bill Allen posted:

I can't image Naim not including MQA decoding with their new line of "Uniti" components, in fact the name itself would be hypocritical without its inclusion.  With HiRes streaming becoming mainstream, I would hope they would include enough foresight and processing power to handle any software adaptable format that may come down the pipe.

While its easy to predict "mainstream" ownership of music becoming a relic of the past with on demand and streaming taking over ... just like it did with video. Coming into focus inside my crystal ball is HiRes radio stations ... both online and terrestrial. With just the smallest amount of imagination sources of revenue abound in all directions. A good thing in a capitalistic world if progress is to take root. 


While there was indeed reason to be pessimistic given 20 years of stagnation in the record industry, there's finally a glimmer of hope for a new business model rising from the ashes. With MQA being just one step on a long road to recovery for the recording industry. 

 

Hi Bill,

At this time we have no plans to include MQA support on the new Uniti platform.

We have looked (and listened) to MQA on numerous occasions with the guys from MQA having been down here to Salisbury towers but at this time it is still on the "being looked at" list - I'm not at liiberty to discuss further the reasons behind that or get involved in the various theories (including the licensing model of MQA) that have been put forward in this thread however the underlying hardware does have the ability to implement MQA support on should we decide to do so.

Phil

Phil,

This is disappointing news, this wait and see decision will parallel my own regarding the product line. I have been streaming Tidal MQA Master files for 2 months now and they are clearly superior sounding to the Tidal HiFi streams on every system I have tried it on. I cannot in good faith offer an all-in-one product that doesn't support the future of HiRes streaming. Couple that with the lack of a built in Phono amp (option) and it becomes a tough sell at its price point to people not familiar with the brand name here in the U.S.  While the MuSu brought excellent market penetration and brand recognition I don't feel the new Uniti line goes far enough to bridge past, present, and future. A missed opportunity IMO. 

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