when is Naim going to update streamers for MQA?

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
Bananahead posted:

Why are people selling highres downloads for more than the un-lossed equivalent? Is it a scam?

It might be just me, but what are you trying to ask here?

There tends to be a strange hierarchy in prices. Lossy MP3 being cheaper than WAV/FLAC(24/96) being cheaper than lossy MQA. I know which way my credit card votes.  

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Oh I see, I was not aware there is any sort of premium for MQA compared to regular lossless hires. I agree if there was a premium it would be bizarre, but clearly some people must be willing to pay it.

Absolutely. Just have a look on highresaudio and there is a difference.

As far as I can tell, the number of MQA offerings on Tidal has not changed much, if at all, since the flurries of the first few days, and am still awaiting Audirvana's Version 3.0 which is supposed to unwrap MQA to level 2. All very quiet on the Western Front.

Bananahead posted:
Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
Bananahead posted:

Why are people selling highres downloads for more than the un-lossed equivalent? Is it a scam?

It might be just me, but what are you trying to ask here?

There tends to be a strange hierarchy in prices. Lossy MP3 being cheaper than WAV/FLAC(24/96) being cheaper than lossy MQA. I know which way my credit card votes.  

I think that one thing a lot of people miss - and this cropped up a lot of times at Bristol - is that MQA is a lossy format ... I know that they're not hiding this fact but it does seem that it's just not being realized. I was trying to explain file formats to someone on the Friday on the stand and referred to MQA as "think of it a bit like a hi-res capable MP3" and they swore blind that MQA was lossless.

Phil

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...

Probably why both Apple Music and Google Play sound better, as far as lossy streams go.

Dafydd Lorryman posted:

Thank you for the response Phil. I just wanted to hear Naim's postion from the 'horse's mouth' as it were. 

I am not ashamed to say I use Muso and Muso QBs as multi-room devices and they do sound really good in my opinion.

I wish you aĺl well. 

At least I got classed as the mouth.

Thanks for the best wishes - we're actually really happy with how the new Uniti range sound. The Nova is the best sounding of the three of course but for me the one that impresses me most is the Atom as, given it's the bottom of the range, it really sings its heart out in my opinion!

Phil

manicm posted:
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...

Probably why both Apple Music and Google Play sound better, as far as lossy streams go.

I would assume that Apple Music doesn't use MP3 either, but that it would use AAC.

King Size posted:
manicm posted:
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...

Probably why both Apple Music and Google Play sound better, as far as lossy streams go.

I would assume that Apple Music doesn't use MP3 either, but that it would use AAC.

Probably, but it and Google Play do sound better. Play uses MP3 320k.

Phil Harris posted:
Bananahead posted:
Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
Bananahead posted:

Why are people selling highres downloads for more than the un-lossed equivalent? Is it a scam?

It might be just me, but what are you trying to ask here?

There tends to be a strange hierarchy in prices. Lossy MP3 being cheaper than WAV/FLAC(24/96) being cheaper than lossy MQA. I know which way my credit card votes.  

I think that one thing a lot of people miss - and this cropped up a lot of times at Bristol - is that MQA is a lossy format ... I know that they're not hiding this fact but it does seem that it's just not being realized. I was trying to explain file formats to someone on the Friday on the stand and referred to MQA as "think of it a bit like a hi-res capable MP3" and they swore blind that MQA was lossless.

Phil

I guess the confusion comes from all the marketing and with terms like 'master authenticity' etc . It would however appear quite different from the subtractive psychoacoustic 'analogue' masking techniques of MP3, AAC etc, but MQA takes advantage of the normally avoided side effects of  digital sampling processes  to compress data... technically from what I understand the 'lossyness' is more through the additive nature of the reconstructed aliases ie the addition of artefacts or digital noise added into the reconstructed previously decimated (compressed) digital signal... Where it surely must be very similar to MP3 and similar, other than data size reduction, is the increased degeneration of the signal over multiple encodings... where as with lossless there is no signal change at all (exc added dither)

But, to be fair it's not all bad, hidef PCM  often has digital noise as well, and some of it added in the form of digital dither that effectively applies across the sample rate frequency spectrum.  This is wasteful and inefficient for lossless compression processes like FLAC. The removal of this outside the audible frequencies  won't detract from the original signal  and allow better compression and signal encoding efficiency, and again from my understanding MQA achieves this....

I also think that part of the confusion arises from lack of clarity on the notion of lossy vs lossless relative to what?! It is clearly lossy relative to 24/192 (and possibly 24/96) but it is not clear that it is lossy relative to 16/44 (and as I read it, it looks "complete" in a "triangle" that includes this region but "selectively incomplete" in two "rectangles" outside). That it sounds like "relative to the original studio masters you should be craving" is where it goes really off the rails for me  

I think hype / marketing language is probably necessary when bringing something emerging to the existing marketplace, but not very useful to those trying to understand what that (indispensable! amazing! life changing! master quality!) something is or how it works. I agree with S-i-S on that score, going further only to include "lossless" "lossy" and "hiRes" in that lexicon of ambiguity. 

Regards alan

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

I guess the confusion comes from all the marketing and with terms like 'master authenticity' etc . It would however appear quite different from the subtractive psychoacoustic 'analogue' masking techniques of MP3, AAC etc, but MQA takes advantage of the normally avoided side effects of  digital sampling processes  to compress data... technically from what I understand the 'lossyness' is more through the additive nature of the reconstructed aliases ie the addition of artefacts or digital noise added into the reconstructed previously decimated (compressed) digital signal... Where it surely must be very similar to MP3 and similar, other than data size reduction, is the increased degeneration of the signal over multiple encodings... where as with lossless there is no signal change at all (exc added dither)

But, to be fair it's not all bad, hidef PCM  often has digital noise as well, and some of it added in the form of digital dither that effectively applies across the sample rate frequency spectrum.  This is wasteful and inefficient for lossless compression processes like FLAC. The removal of this outside the audible frequencies  won't detract from the original signal  and allow better compression and signal encoding efficiency, and again from my understanding MQA achieves this....

Hi Simon,

I agree completely that MP3 and MQA use completely different methods to achieve their final results however the specific analogy was used to illustrate that what you get out isn't what you put in - in the same was as what you get out when decoding an MP3 isn't what you put in to the original encoder - not as part of an in depth discussion on how specific audio formats are encoded.

Phil

Oh where do we go from here ... MQA is coming  ... 30,000 tracks and counting. http://www.whathifi.com/tidalmasters/review

Last night in a single blind controlled environment on my $200K+ system MQA master streams were preferred 3 to 1 vs CD rips streamed from my NAS.  It safe to say even I was surprised by these results, I would have bet money that quality CD rips would have sounded better then current MQA streams. All you bit counters can go take a hike because I don't care to hear your argument about how my experiment was not properly set up and only a double blind test gives true unbiased results. Fact is, it was a royal pain in my butt for just to set a single blind test. Obviously one with an ulterior motive could skew results in one direction or another. Sorry that's just not me, I deal in ultra hi-end audio. Later in the evening we went on to listen to native HiRes audio streams and a whole crop of the new 45 speed LP's that have suddenly hit the market. After that onslaught of quality, nobody ... and I mean nobody, wanted to go back and hear any MQA or CD streams. Enough said!

Tech niggles aside the MQA train has already left the station, even in its infancy MQA sounds superior to any other steaming technology, and I have proven results that it gives CD rips a run for their money. As a player I understand and am willing to give Naim time to sort out and implement this MQA technology.  But as a potential dealer it's frustrating my marketing plans to open a new brick & motor store to bridge the current audio divide.  

That said, I am still extremely impressed with the look, feel, and sound quality of the new Uniti line I heard at RMAF & CES. At the bare minimum one these units will be doing double/triple duty at my house ... with or without MQA. 

I got a Nova on my brain!

Bill Allen posted:

Oh where do we go from here ... MQA is coming  ... 30,000 tracks and counting. http://www.whathifi.com/tidalmasters/review

Last night in a single blind controlled environment on my $200K+ system MQA master streams were preferred 3 to 1 vs CD rips streamed from my NAS.  It safe to say even I was surprised by these results, I would have bet money that quality CD rips would have sounded better then current MQA streams. All you bit counters can go take a hike because I don't care to hear your argument about how my experiment was not properly set up and only a double blind test gives true unbiased results. Fact is, it was a royal pain in my butt for just to set a single blind test. Obviously one with an ulterior motive could skew results in one direction or another. Sorry that's just not me, I deal in ultra hi-end audio. Later in the evening we went on to listen to native HiRes audio streams and a whole crop of the new 45 speed LP's that have suddenly hit the market. After that onslaught of quality, nobody ... and I mean nobody, wanted to go back and hear any MQA or CD streams. Enough said!

Tech niggles aside the MQA train has already left the station, even in its infancy MQA sounds superior to any other steaming technology, and I have proven results that it gives CD rips a run for their money. As a player I understand and am willing to give Naim time to sort out and implement this MQA technology.  But as a potential dealer it's frustrating my marketing plans to open a new brick & motor store to bridge the current audio divide.  

That said, I am still extremely impressed with the look, feel, and sound quality of the new Uniti line I heard at RMAF & CES. At the bare minimum one these units will be doing double/triple duty at my house ... with or without MQA. 

I got a Nova on my brain!

Please publish your data for proper forum peer review.

Same results, obviously MQA streams do not compete with any of the native HiRes formats or quality LP's.

Speaking today with a couple guys involved in the blind listening session, both suspected part of the reason the MQA files prevailed  is because they had better/different masters. Agreed.  These boys were lured over with the promise of a 45 speed LP's session and fine scotch. The test was hardly scientific, level matched, nor verified to be apple to apples masters. Impromptu blind listening tests are not fun for anyone involved, especially yours truly. At best the results reveal MQA streams can compete directly with CD rips ... that's all. 

However for those about to rock, MQA offers a low cost entry into a large library of decent sounding music.

Very interesting Bill.. and thanks for sharing.  Its always fascinating to see some of the responses here... dozens of folks sounding off, with a vast majority having never heard a single note of MQA audio, some apparently not even knowing what it is, but still dismissing it.. very odd indeed. Do us all a favour and at least go to their website.. its not just about easier streaming fgs.

Time will tell if MQA is successful. Typically in the tech business you need to be either half the price or twice as good to make people change! Ultimately the Warners & Sonys of this world will make the market, but sooner or later, Spotify/Tidal et al need to make a profit, they're not Amazon...

 

 

Possibly, but I would have thought a lot here have heard MQA through their Tidal accounts.. I certainly have. My summary it tends to sound nice and 'sweetened' on cheaper audio equipment, but sound processed and artificial on higher end equipment... clearly other views will vary. I personally have no issue with processing sound to sound good on replay equipment, but I certainly wouldn't call it hidef, but instead perhaps 'MQA processed'.. perhaps a bit like Dolby B or Dolby C of the cassette tape era.

Simon

The journo's at The Absolute Sound magazine from the USA have gone to great lengths to promote MQA, and dedicated plenty of time in countering arguments against it. These same journo's ALL have long term loaner's of nearly all of the most expensive gear on the planet, including cables and all conceivable add on's. When questioned about how they can be truly impartial and honest in their glowing reviews of said stuff, they argue it's all above board and legit yet NEVER agree to formal testing against product  So when I read that the brass at MQA held a special demo just for them which included information which had to be redacted when pushed by the punters, the cynic in me sensed something smelled fishy. If audio heavyweights pushed manufacturers to aim for superior sound quality over fast cash, it wouldn't have taken a lifetime before the ability to play real high definition occurred. To think, cd format has been around for 40 years yet we still don't get to truly hear the masters, what a wank.

At RMAF 2016 I was involved in a MQA listening session like you describe, all the music was hard drive based and they went on to show the superiority of MQA. When pressed with questions after the session no hard answers, a lot of mumbo jumbo about how MQA starts at the recording studio and is then properly EQ'd inside your DAC so it replicates the sound at the mixing board. This is supposedly the ultimate expression of MQA. The MQA that is now being streamed talks about unfolding layers, that was not the lingo used at RMAF. Having heard many amazing actual master tapes, I find it unlikely the current crop of audio misers who control the vaults will ever give us a true rendition of the masters. Perhaps when they abolish money 400 years from now and selfish humans are a thing of the past. For now he who dies with the most master tapes wins!  

I think for the players on this forum, the most we would hope for is the Big 3 to release more native HiRes music files "for sale" after the conversion to MQA streaming. 

Innocent Bystander posted:
manicm posted:

HighResAudio still appear to be selling MQA.

The last thing I recall someone saying on one of these threads after apparently having contacted Highresaudio direct was that they would be stopping from end of March.

They replied to me saying at the beginning of March, maybe they're having a change of heart?

manicm posted:
Innocent Bystander posted:
manicm posted:

HighResAudio still appear to be selling MQA.

The last thing I recall someone saying on one of these threads after apparently having contacted Highresaudio direct was that they would be stopping from end of March.

They replied to me saying at the beginning of March, maybe they're having a change of heart?

I checked back, it was you, but you had said, simply, "March" - Having found nothing on highresaudio website a few days ago, I had mentally put two and two togetherr and assumed (wrongly - unless that is whatbthey end up doing!)

I have no qualms about embracing MQA and giving it a chance. I wouldn't even begin to understand all the technicalities (thankfully in many ways, I guess). Some people (not accusing anyone here) seem to act like it's the work of the Devil and heralds the beginning of Armageddon. I'm just in the 'it's a potentially interesting development' camp. Perhaps it's because I inhabit the Meridian world in addition to Naim. I think I might end up tagging a Meridian 218 on to an Atom, so I  will have Sooloos, Roon and UPnP to play with. That would keep me nice and busy.

That may well be true buut I've just played my local file of Fleetwood Mac's Dreams, which is a 24 bit Flac and I would be damned hard pressed to tell it apart from the MQA Tidal version played back to back.  Will be interesting to listen to others back to back over the next week or so and see how they compare.  

Audirvana+ 3.0. Oh dear, what a whole lotta detail! Just listened to Led Zep II and III, Hotel California, Phil Collins, Ed Sheerhan's new one and 90125 by Yes. The detail in 90125 was amazing which is slightly disappointing in that their lyrics were always tripe, but now I can hear every word of their nonsense - musically brilliant though. Well, MQA may not be all you want or expect but it's all I need for the moment. 

dayjay posted:

That may well be true buut I've just played my local file of Fleetwood Mac's Dreams, which is a 24 bit Flac and I would be damned hard pressed to tell it apart from the MQA Tidal version played back to back.  Will be interesting to listen to others back to back over the next week or so and see how they compare.  

For clarity, is that local file 24/96, 24/192 or ? What are the Tiad Master's native and recovered resolutions? And have you compared redbook from the same master?

banzai posted:

The Tidal Master is a mixture of 24/192, 24/96 and 16/44.1, I always up sample to 32/384.

I meant, on the album you mentioned as being very difficult to differentiate between MQA and your local 24 bit file, what was the original resolution of that Tidal Master and what was it reconstructed to by Audirvana, and what was the resolution of the local file as saved? (And have you compared the same album in 16/44?)

And, as Simon asks, why do you upsample?

Also, to put in context, it would be helpful to know details of your system.

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