MQA Again

Having heard many demonstrations of MQA, both for the trade and for the public, I can say that it certainly has merit on both musical and sonic grounds.   The MQA team has embarked upon an even more challenging, and perhaps thankless, task of trying to weave together a community including partners from the music owning community, with the playback companies and the music lovers that both serve.    Many appear reluctant to acknowledge that the needs of the artists and rights holders to not give away their work for free is inevitably one of the attributes of their approach given the scope of their ambition.    Others are troubled by technical and semi technical points, many of which Simon eloquently outlined above.    If you have not read Bob Stuart's comments and interviews on this topic, I would encourage you to do so as there is clearly nobody who can offer more insight on the MQA process than he can and does.

The question I would pose to high end audio fans is this: Do we want another SACD type market failure?    Where a potentially great format is left for dead on the side of the road while many users take a wait and see approach?     It was only in retrospect that many people came to really understand that SACD was the last meaningful chance for a disc format intended for high performance to emerge into the market place.    Although Naim never embraced SACD, if you have ever heard well recorded DSD material, it is quite compelling, particularly on well recorded acoustic music. 

With the current state of the record companies, it appears at least somewhat likely that streaming is inevitable and the question is can it be rescued from being worse than CD?   If you would like to see a better streaming approach succeed, give MQA a listen.    If you prefer to not to, that is fine, but I don't know that if MQA fails that anyone else would be likely to attempt to bring together such a wide community around this shared interest in quality of sound.     To me, it feels like the window of opportunity for MQA to succeed might only be a few years long and if most of us in the high end community don't embrace it, it may not be able to last long enough to allow us to have a second chance to consider it in the future.     Sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good, and I fear this may be the case here as we see a more fragmented market place than ever before.    So, if you care about good sound, at least try to hear what MQA might offer and decide if you like what you hear, and then filter that through your next decisions about the direction you might take in your playback hardware.    If you like it, but the brand or brands you favor have not committed to it, let them know how you feel, as these firms are not charitable foundations by and large.

Good listening,

Bruce

 

   

Bruce, interesting points about the musical community... but I do wonder if MQA is the right vehicle for it.. after all MP3 has been one of the biggest, and will no doubt continue to be now it is outside licensing, enablers for the music community for both positive and negative (in terms of copyright avoidance) reasons. Certainly MP3 at its full bit rate using a quality encoder can sound very effective... the decoder for MP3 need be nothing special for it to sound good.. the hard work and hithero licensing is in the encoding.

I have heard and played around with MQA, and to my ears I would put it in its own class... it's certainly not proper hi-definition or 16/44.1, it  has a slightly artificialness to it.. but it can sound rather attractive and sweetened... I suspect it would sound great for the car.. but for my main audio replay system it's just a passing curiosity. Given a quality DAC then 16/44.1 takes a lot of beating... the trouble is on lesser mass market consumer DACs 16/44.1 can notably sound less impressive.. and even less bandwidth intensive MP3 can sound preferable .. perhaps MQA would benefit more these lesser performance DACs?

I did talk to one of the Naim designers about MQA support... certainly they potentially could see a possible appeal for some of the market.. but the view in Naim was that the licensing is too restrictive currently in terms of the code and the libraries, and their view was the libraries were immature, too inefficient and processor intensive.. and this mattered on the Naim architectures where Naim looks to optimise everything for max SQ and such processor loads would rob devices of performance through increased digital perturbations... so they are keeping watch but as of 6 months ago apparently no plans.

Keler Pierre posted:

the real and unique interest of mqa is streaming music from tidal with a dac mqa capable. It is a real benefit from streaming 16/44 flac , with tidal for the moment. It is a major evolution, just a beginning, but a big step. Perhaps, in the future, we will not be obliged to buy hirez audio downloads but just stream directly from tidal, qobuz or another service, perhaps even dsd files.

I find this a real technical step, much more than all the buzz on roon, which is more a facebook disguised interface...Tell me what are you listening at, i will send you some offers.

 Think you've perhaps missed the point. 'Buying' means buying a download or buying a streaming service. 

It is a technical step backwards. Amazon and Netflix stream multiple 24 bit sound tracks  alongside movies. Therefore any idea of Tidal streaming a mere 2 channels being a challenge that needs a lossy compression format is nonsense.

It is a srep backwards that uses a proprietary format and a licencing fee. Do not fall for the marketing hype. 

It would be nice to stream mqa trough my 272 using tidal for the same price, i am using at work with explorer2 dac at work, it is nice..

Other than that still i dont get it...

Isnt it just a double layer compression file that can be unfolded by dac ör player?

Same file mqa vs 24/196 How does it compare? In theory they should sound same right? With a mqa dac, without a mqa dac the mqa  version will be 16/44...

Am i missing something?

 

Emre posted:
Isnt it just a double layer compression file that can be unfolded by dac ör player?

Same file mqa vs 24/196 How does it compare? In theory they should sound same right? With a mqa dac, without a mqa dac the mqa  version will be 16/44...

Am i missing something?

 

Yes you're missing something!  But Yes, in effect it's a double layer compression, but a very clever use of compression techniques.

On the other hand, it's lossy not lossless (i.e. it's not bit perfect); so no a 24/192 PCM file (or stream) and the MQA encoded stream derived from that file won't sound the same.

Played back through a 16/44.1 PCM dac, there'll be less than 16bit resolution, as 3 bits of the MQA signal won't be interpretable as signal - they'll appear as partially correlated noise.  This will degrade the perceived signal quality to slightly below that of native 16/44.1.

sunbeamgls posted:
Keler Pierre posted:

the real and unique interest of mqa is streaming music from tidal with a dac mqa capable. It is a real benefit from streaming 16/44 flac , with tidal for the moment. It is a major evolution, just a beginning, but a big step. Perhaps, in the future, we will not be obliged to buy hirez audio downloads but just stream directly from tidal, qobuz or another service, perhaps even dsd files.

I find this a real technical step, much more than all the buzz on roon, which is more a facebook disguised interface...Tell me what are you listening at, i will send you some offers.

 Think you've perhaps missed the point. 'Buying' means buying a download or buying a streaming service. 

It is a technical step backwards. Amazon and Netflix stream multiple 24 bit sound tracks  alongside movies. Therefore any idea of Tidal streaming a mere 2 channels being a challenge that needs a lossy compression format is nonsense.

It is a srep backwards that uses a proprietary format and a licencing fee. Do not fall for the marketing hype. 

read some reviews in stereophile, computer audiophile, audiostream, and hifi news, by audio experts. All have tested, compared, listened to, and concluded that mqa is a real benefit in sound quality in tidal streaming. It is a unanimity!   You are sceptical or influenced by some members on the forum who are trying to play specialists!

Emre posted:

It would be nice to stream mqa trough my 272 using tidal for the same price, i am using at work with explorer2 dac at work, it is nice..

Other than that still i dont get it...

Isnt it just a double layer compression file that can be unfolded by dac ör player?

Same file mqa vs 24/196 How does it compare? In theory they should sound same right? With a mqa dac, without a mqa dac the mqa  version will be 16/44...

Am i missing something?

 

you can't stream 24/192 on tidal. So , with an mqa dac, you can only compare 16/44 vs mqa streaming on tidal.  But streaming high rez files from nas is still better than streaming mqa with tidal, from what i understood in the different reviews i read.

Keler Pierre posted:
sunbeamgls posted:
Keler Pierre posted:

the real and unique interest of mqa is streaming music from tidal with a dac mqa capable. It is a real benefit from streaming 16/44 flac , with tidal for the moment. It is a major evolution, just a beginning, but a big step. Perhaps, in the future, we will not be obliged to buy hirez audio downloads but just stream directly from tidal, qobuz or another service, perhaps even dsd files.

I find this a real technical step, much more than all the buzz on roon, which is more a facebook disguised interface...Tell me what are you listening at, i will send you some offers.

 Think you've perhaps missed the point. 'Buying' means buying a download or buying a streaming service. 

It is a technical step backwards. Amazon and Netflix stream multiple 24 bit sound tracks  alongside movies. Therefore any idea of Tidal streaming a mere 2 channels being a challenge that needs a lossy compression format is nonsense.

It is a srep backwards that uses a proprietary format and a licencing fee. Do not fall for the marketing hype. 

read some reviews in stereophile, computer audiophile, audiostream, and hifi news, by audio experts. All have tested, compared, listened to, and concluded that mqa is a real benefit in sound quality in tidal streaming. It is a unanimity!   You are sceptical or influenced by some members on the forum who are trying to play specialists!

One important thing to note in any review is what is being compared to what - e.g. 

Another key factor is the system in which the comparison is made - some people reporting reviews in places like computer audiophile, for example, use lesser kit than the systems frequently encountered on this forum.

And a third factor, but one about which the rader can only guess, is the ability of the reviewer to hear the things that someone else might hear if present at the same session,whether for physical, psychoacoustic or listening skill reasons.

(Keler, this is not knocking what you said as I haven't checked those out, but simply pointing out that there are often glowing reviews of things that turn out to be somewhat less good in the cold light of day.)

Keler Pierre posted:
sunbeamgls posted:
Keler Pierre posted:

the real and unique interest of mqa is streaming music from tidal with a dac mqa capable. It is a real benefit from streaming 16/44 flac , with tidal for the moment. It is a major evolution, just a beginning, but a big step. Perhaps, in the future, we will not be obliged to buy hirez audio downloads but just stream directly from tidal, qobuz or another service, perhaps even dsd files.

I find this a real technical step, much more than all the buzz on roon, which is more a facebook disguised interface...Tell me what are you listening at, i will send you some offers.

 Think you've perhaps missed the point. 'Buying' means buying a download or buying a streaming service. 

It is a technical step backwards. Amazon and Netflix stream multiple 24 bit sound tracks  alongside movies. Therefore any idea of Tidal streaming a mere 2 channels being a challenge that needs a lossy compression format is nonsense.

It is a srep backwards that uses a proprietary format and a licencing fee. Do not fall for the marketing hype. 

read some reviews in stereophile, computer audiophile, audiostream, and hifi news, by audio experts. All have tested, compared, listened to, and concluded that mqa is a real benefit in sound quality in tidal streaming. It is a unanimity!   You are sceptical or influenced by some members on the forum who are trying to play specialists!

The reviews are about functionality and sound. They are not about the business model which is out to make money from absolutely no benefit to the consumer. You're either missing that point or perhaps you're here to promote the product?

Keler Pierre posted:
sunbeamgls posted:
Keler Pierre posted:

the real and unique interest of mqa is streaming music from tidal with a dac mqa capable. It is a real benefit from streaming 16/44 flac , with tidal for the moment. It is a major evolution, just a beginning, but a big step. Perhaps, in the future, we will not be obliged to buy hirez audio downloads but just stream directly from tidal, qobuz or another service, perhaps even dsd files.

I find this a real technical step, much more than all the buzz on roon, which is more a facebook disguised interface...Tell me what are you listening at, i will send you some offers.

 Think you've perhaps missed the point. 'Buying' means buying a download or buying a streaming service. 

It is a technical step backwards. Amazon and Netflix stream multiple 24 bit sound tracks  alongside movies. Therefore any idea of Tidal streaming a mere 2 channels being a challenge that needs a lossy compression format is nonsense.

It is a srep backwards that uses a proprietary format and a licencing fee. Do not fall for the marketing hype. 

read some reviews in stereophile, computer audiophile, audiostream, and hifi news, by audio experts. All have tested, compared, listened to, and concluded that mqa is a real benefit in sound quality in tidal streaming. It is a unanimity!   You are sceptical or influenced by some members on the forum who are trying to play specialists!

Coincidentally, I think the principle HH mentions in another post could also apply here:-

https://forums.naimaudio.com/to...35#70835623911768135

Hi Simon-

As more varied DAC's and streaming players equipped with DAC's are offered with MQA capabilities, hopefully it will become easier to assess the role that MQA plays in the achieved sound quality of the end result.    I suspect that some of the comments thoughtful listeners like yourself may have been responding to are in essence listening reactions to the Meridian approach to sound as Meridian DAC's were used in many of the early prototype demonstrations at audio shows and in dealer's presentations.    For example, the Meridian Ultra DAC and the somewhat older 808 and 818 products have a general style of sound to them, which listeners may or may not like.     Now that firms well outside of the Meridian eco system such as DCS, MSB, Berkeley Audio Design and others industry leaders are working on incorporating MQA capabilities into some of their products, this may tend to allow for a more nuanced assessment of the MQA process itself.

For me, the most impressive results I have heard using MQA processing were with high resolution master files recorded at 24/192 by the classical recording engineer Peter McGrath.     Peter is very uncompromising in his recording approach, and uses no sweetening in his approach.    Microphone choice and placement in the room are paramount for his minimally miked recordings of acoustic music.    I have heard the direct playback of his master files before and after MQA processing, and the MQA processed files were very meaningfully improved in every case.   Piano's sounded more real, more dimensional and full bodied and there was a sense the brain was having to work less hard to allow for the "listening trance" state to emerge.    Now, these recordings are worlds better than most of the MQA content on Tidal that I have heard, and they may not reflect the deliverable experience through a streaming service, but they did seem to really validate at least some of the claims made for MQA by Mr. Stuart and company.     I suspect that some of this is the removal of the artifacts introduced in the A/D converter process, but this is only a semi educated guess.

I agree with your point that well executed 16/44.1 can be far better than many have presumed, or heard, and this is poorly understood in a marketplace with a great deal of confusion about the role of both up sampling and oversampling.     Unfortunately, as CD players become less common and harder for small niche high end firms to support as the transport mechanism supplies dry up, this may become a moot point.     Certainly the number of CD/SACD players on the market is already a small fraction of the number available even five years ago, and this trend does not appear to be likely to change, unfortunately.

Be well,

Bruce

 

 

 

bdnyc posted:

Hi Simon-

.

For me, the most impressive results I have heard using MQA processing were with high resolution master files recorded at 24/192 by the classical recording engineer Peter McGrath.     Peter is very uncompromising in his recording approach, and uses no sweetening in his approach.    Microphone choice and placement in the room are paramount for his minimally miked recordings of acoustic music.    I have heard the direct playback of his master files before and after MQA processing, and the MQA processed files were very meaningfully improved in every case.   Piano's sounded more real, more dimensional and full bodied and there was a sense the brain was having to work less hard to allow for the "listening trance" state to emerge.    Now, these recordings are worlds better than most of the MQA content on Tidal that I have heard, and they may not reflect the deliverable experience through a streaming service, but they did seem to really validate at least some of the claims made for MQA by Mr. Stuart and company.     I suspect that some of this is the removal of the artifacts introduced in the A/D converter process, but this is only a semi educated guess. 

Correct me if I am wrong, but I read this as saying that MQA processing and decoding improved the sound of the music compared to listening to the original hi res files direct.

if so, then that is the effect of the introduced artefacts or missing information being pleasing to you - as I said in an earlier post, that is not unknown as can be the case with other distortions of the original sound. It is not wrong to like it, any more than emphasising aspects of sound that convey PRaT, or rolling off bass through choice of speakers, or tone or loudness controls, all if the listener likes the effect, but it is a digression from true fidelity of reproduction.

sunbeamgls posted:
Keler Pierre posted:
sunbeamgls posted:
Keler Pierre posted:

the real and unique interest of mqa is streaming music from tidal with a dac mqa capable. It is a real benefit from streaming 16/44 flac , with tidal for the moment. It is a major evolution, just a beginning, but a big step. Perhaps, in the future, we will not be obliged to buy hirez audio downloads but just stream directly from tidal, qobuz or another service, perhaps even dsd files.

I find this a real technical step, much more than all the buzz on roon, which is more a facebook disguised interface...Tell me what are you listening at, i will send you some offers.

 Think you've perhaps missed the point. 'Buying' means buying a download or buying a streaming service. 

It is a technical step backwards. Amazon and Netflix stream multiple 24 bit sound tracks  alongside movies. Therefore any idea of Tidal streaming a mere 2 channels being a challenge that needs a lossy compression format is nonsense.

It is a srep backwards that uses a proprietary format and a licencing fee. Do not fall for the marketing hype. 

read some reviews in stereophile, computer audiophile, audiostream, and hifi news, by audio experts. All have tested, compared, listened to, and concluded that mqa is a real benefit in sound quality in tidal streaming. It is a unanimity!   You are sceptical or influenced by some members on the forum who are trying to play specialists!

The reviews are about functionality and sound. They are not about the business model which is out to make money from absolutely no benefit to the consumer. You're either missing that point or perhaps you're here to promote the product?

I am promoting nothing. I doubt all magazines and audio sites have financial interests in giving positive review of a product or technology. It may and even is the case for some, like What hifi or stereo magazine....But when you have unanimity from all serious magazines, as absolute sound, stereophile, hificritic, audiostream, computer audiophile, hifi news, it is rather difficult to not believe in this unanimity.  But if you reject magazines and audio sites reviews, and prefer to believe 2 or 3 forum members,

it is your right and choice.  I think you would be a good candidate for a sect community...

Innocent Bystander posted:
bdnyc posted:

Hi Simon-

.

For me, the most impressive results I have heard using MQA processing were with high resolution master files recorded at 24/192 by the classical recording engineer Peter McGrath.     Peter is very uncompromising in his recording approach, and uses no sweetening in his approach.    Microphone choice and placement in the room are paramount for his minimally miked recordings of acoustic music.    I have heard the direct playback of his master files before and after MQA processing, and the MQA processed files were very meaningfully improved in every case.   Piano's sounded more real, more dimensional and full bodied and there was a sense the brain was having to work less hard to allow for the "listening trance" state to emerge.    Now, these recordings are worlds better than most of the MQA content on Tidal that I have heard, and they may not reflect the deliverable experience through a streaming service, but they did seem to really validate at least some of the claims made for MQA by Mr. Stuart and company.     I suspect that some of this is the removal of the artifacts introduced in the A/D converter process, but this is only a semi educated guess. 

Correct me if I am wrong, but I read this as saying that MQA processing and decoding improved the sound of the music compared to listening to the original hi res files direct.

if so, then that is the effect of the introduced artefacts or missing information being pleasing to you - as I said in an earlier post, that is not unknown as can be the case with other distortions of the original sound. It is not wrong to like it, any more than emphasising aspects of sound that convey PRaT, or rolling off bass through choice of speakers, or tone or loudness controls, all if the listener likes the effect, but it is a digression from true fidelity of reproduction.

sorry, but i have not understood the same: mqa is not better than original  high rez played from nas. Mqa are just better than 16/44 files in tidal streaming.  Original high rez files streamed from a nas or server are still better in sound quality.

But the mqa streaming gives better results in sound quality in streaming from tidal, and perhaps qobuz tomorrow...it is a technical step in site direct streaming.  Sorry for my english...

ChrisSU posted:
Keler Pierre posted:
sunbeamgls posted:
Keler Pierre posted:

the real and unique interest of mqa is streaming music from tidal with a dac mqa capable. It is a real benefit from streaming 16/44 flac , with tidal for the moment. It is a major evolution, just a beginning, but a big step. Perhaps, in the future, we will not be obliged to buy hirez audio downloads but just stream directly from tidal, qobuz or another service, perhaps even dsd files.

I find this a real technical step, much more than all the buzz on roon, which is more a facebook disguised interface...Tell me what are you listening at, i will send you some offers.

 Think you've perhaps missed the point. 'Buying' means buying a download or buying a streaming service. 

It is a technical step backwards. Amazon and Netflix stream multiple 24 bit sound tracks  alongside movies. Therefore any idea of Tidal streaming a mere 2 channels being a challenge that needs a lossy compression format is nonsense.

It is a srep backwards that uses a proprietary format and a licencing fee. Do not fall for the marketing hype. 

read some reviews in stereophile, computer audiophile, audiostream, and hifi news, by audio experts. All have tested, compared, listened to, and concluded that mqa is a real benefit in sound quality in tidal streaming. It is a unanimity!   You are sceptical or influenced by some members on the forum who are trying to play specialists!

Coincidentally, I think the principle HH mentions in another post could also apply here:-

https://forums.naimaudio.com/to...35#70835623911768135

all audio magazines are not only financially interested. Reviews from persons like Michael Fremer, Jason Kennedy, Everardt ....(?), John Atkinson, Jonathan Valin, Martin Colloms, Art Dudley...are always interesting and these audio reviewers are recognized in the audio world community.  They are not always saying " this component is the best i have listened to and can be compared to much more expensive components and bla-bla-bla...".  

I appreciate the naim forum, and other forums too, but in absolute terms, i am more confident in these audio specialists than in forum members. Sorry. But i am honest.

The following taken directly from the official MQA website...

The Sound of the studio in a stream only 15% bigger than a cd

MQA achieves the seemingly impossible – studio-quality sound in a file that’s small enough to stream. In other words, given 44.1k MQA can deliver sound equivalent to 96k. And at CD data rate, MQA is better than 192k today.


I don't have a problem with the technology...  I do have a problem with the way it's being described.

These claims show why I have serious doubts and why I believe the marketing people have had too much of a hand in disseminating the information...


Claim 1   "The Sound of the studio in a stream only 15% bigger than a cd"  (So MQA does require more bandwidth than 16/44.1)
Claim 2   "In other words, given 44.1k MQA can deliver sound equivalent to 96k"
Claim 3   "And at CD data rate, MQA is better than 192k today"
This is technically flawed: CD data rate IS 16/44.1, so these claims are contradictory.

Also from claim 2 "And at CD data rate, MQA is better than 192k today"  they are claiming that MQA from a studio master (typically 24/192) is better than the original file, despite being a lossy format!!!   This just isn't credible, from information theory and mathematical theory, you can't recreate information that has been lost.

Yes these are marketing statements, but
1   the first three claims contradict themselves and show a lack of technical understanding or a deliberate intent to mislead
2   the third claim violates the established principles of information theory
so, they must be considered to be nothing more than marketing hyperbole.

3   From claim 1, the MQA data stream isn't in the same carrier format as CD.  If this is so, it isn't compatible with 16/44.1 LPCM (i.e. CD data stream format) decoders.  So what sort of LPCM decoder is required to extract the 16/44.1 signal, or is the carrier actually 16/44.1?

There are other mathematical / technical issues with information on the website - again I suspect that marketeers have had a strong part to play and interfered with the true engineering information before it was released.

One such is that if there were to be substantially superior digital filers for the AtoD in use for MQA, similar or analogous filters could be designed for 24/192 LPCM, to do otherwise is to not compare like for like.  This would also be surprising since the mathematical trade-off between temporal artefacts and aliasing artefacts has been known for many years.


Despite this I can easily accept that MQA stream 15% bigger than a 16/44.1(CD quality) stream could substantially improve on the audio quality of a 16/44.1(CD quality) stream, particularly improving the temporal resolution by compromising the suppression of stop-band spuriae (this is a known mathematical trade-off of all digital filters).
It should also be noted that this does put very particular demands on the design of the successive analogue amplifiers, so some amplifiers may not cope well with the output from a MQA decoder (I know this because I designed such an amplifier system about 35 years ago, specifically to deal with the ultrasonic spuriae of early CD players).

Keler Pierre posted:

some mqa capable dacs: meridian, dcs, ps audio, mytech brooklyn, chord dave, msb, berkeley audio dac:: it is only the beginning....

Chord Dave is NOT an MQA DAC. (But yes, in common with all DAC I believe, including Naim, it is capable of playing MQA files either fully encoded and thus most different from the original, or just partially uncompressed if presented by an MQA capable renderer.) Chord DACs' designer, Rob Watts, has said that he refuses to incorporate MQA into his designs because, and I quote, "it is technically flawed, with huge and completely unacceptable levels of aliasing". 

Interestingly,  Stereophile did a review of Dave in which they played an MQA file unfolded in a renderer (i.e not fully decoded, so even in Meridian's language not perfect), and played it through Dave, comparing it with the same file from the same renderer passed through Meridian's even more expensive Ultra DAC which does the second stage unfolding, and found DAve made it sound better - but that was NOT a comparison with the original hi res file, or even standard 16/44.

Innocent Bystander posted:
Keler Pierre posted:

some mqa capable dacs: meridian, dcs, ps audio, mytech brooklyn, chord dave, msb, berkeley audio dac:: it is only the beginning....

Chord Dave is NOT an MQA DAC. (But yes, in common with all DAC I believe, including Naim, it is capable of playing MQA files either fully encoded and thus most different from the original, or just partially uncompressed if presented by an MQA capable renderer.) Chord DACs' designer, Rob Watts, has said that he refuses to incorporate MQA into his designs because, and I quote, "it is technically flawed, with huge and completely unacceptable levels of aliasing". 

Interestingly,  Stereophile did a review of Dave in which they played an MQA file unfolded in a renderer (i.e not fully decoded, so even in Meridian's language not perfect), and played it through Dave, comparing it with the same file from the same renderer passed through Meridian's even more expensive Ultra DAC which does the second stage unfolding, and found DAve made it sound better - but that was NOT a comparison with the original hi res file, or even standard 16/44.

i just read the review you refer: john Atkinson said, after adding the mqa decoding with the meridian dac to the chord dave:  " i was a little bit more aware of the developing of the harmonic note...".   

So John Atkinson could not have said that chord dave sounded better. He just added that the little improvement with the meridian/ mqa dac over the chord dave is not proportional to the increased cost of the meridian.

As for chord mqa capable, i was wrong. But not the other dacs are mentioned.    Dcs, berkeley reference and msb  are also ones of the best dacs today.  

i have read that qobuz will have the possibility,  very soon, to stream 24 bit files directly on his streaming service. If it is true, it is better than mqa streaming on tidal.  Anybody knows something sure about this?    Because if it is true and real, mqa will be behind then...( i am talking about streaming from tidal or qobuz, not streaming hirez that were downloaded and stocked on nas).

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Keler Pierre posted:

i have read that qobuz will have the possibility,  very soon, to stream 24 bit files directly on his streaming service. If it is true, it is better than mqa streaming on tidal.  Anybody knows something sure about this?    Because if it is true and real, mqa will be behind then...( i am talking about streaming from tidal or qobuz, not streaming hirez that were downloaded and stocked on nas).

For the web streaming companies, MQA makes sense... there is no hidef AAC or MP3, lossless Hidef, even FLAC, is in efficient to stream due to dither and ultrasonic noise, and lossy hidef MQA is a good half way house. I am not knocking it for that.. I think MQA to my car streamer or my portable streamer would be really great..

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
Keler Pierre posted:

i have read that qobuz will have the possibility,  very soon, to stream 24 bit files directly on his streaming service. If it is true, it is better than mqa streaming on tidal.  Anybody knows something sure about this?    Because if it is true and real, mqa will be behind then...( i am talking about streaming from tidal or qobuz, not streaming hirez that were downloaded and stocked on nas).

For the web streaming companies, MQA makes sense... there is no hidef AAC or MP3, lossless Hidef, even FLAC, is in efficient to stream due to dither and ultrasonic noise, and lossy hidef MQA is a good half way house. I am not knocking it for that.. I think MQA to my car streamer or my portable streamer would be really great..

Simon, I agree but if there is some signal processing going on as Pierre indicates above (I have not kept up with the more recent roadshow news by the small pool of MQA champions), even its ability as a streaming carrier might be compromised.

EJ

Hi Huge, I like your summary, and yes you pick up on the fact that there is scant actual detail on MQA but a lot of marketing hyperbole, some of which you point out is contradictory.

The best honest technical source I can find for MQA in the public domain is Jim Lesurf's deconstruction of it based on analysing the patents, and being a retired reader in physics and electronics at St Andrew's university I find his approach informative and accessible ... a far cry from the marketing approach for MQA.

To that end the only bit of MQA technology that takes us forward sonically, in my opinion,  is the matched encoding and decoding filters... currently one of the 'flaws' with current digitally recorded and played back audio. But even here if the master file has already been digitally encoded before passing to the MQA encoder any benefit will be severely compromised to non existent... and of course this would only work for MQA hardware DACs and not software MQA decoders.... but this benefit albeit partial in most cases seems to be ignored by the marketeers.. perhaps it's too complicated to understand... and if a benefit it is not linked to a higher number such as a sample rate or sample size (which are mostly meaningless anyway) they are seen as too incongruous for the humble consumer..... 

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
Keler Pierre posted:

i have read that qobuz will have the possibility,  very soon, to stream 24 bit files directly on his streaming service. If it is true, it is better than mqa streaming on tidal.  Anybody knows something sure about this?    Because if it is true and real, mqa will be behind then...( i am talking about streaming from tidal or qobuz, not streaming hirez that were downloaded and stocked on nas).

For the web streaming companies, MQA makes sense... there is no hidef AAC or MP3, lossless Hidef, even FLAC, is in efficient to stream due to dither and ultrasonic noise, and lossy hidef MQA is a good half way house. I am not knocking it for that.. I think MQA to my car streamer or my portable streamer would be really great..

I'm not sure that the differnce between CD quality and anything better would be evident in the  compromised environment of a car (other than with headphones when not driving)?

bdnyc posted:

Hi Simon-

As more varied DAC's and streaming players equipped with DAC's are offered with MQA capabilities, hopefully it will become easier to assess the role that MQA plays in the achieved sound quality of the end result.    I suspect that some of the comments thoughtful listeners like yourself may have been responding to are in essence listening reactions to the Meridian approach to sound as Meridian DAC's were used in many of the early prototype demonstrations at audio shows and in dealer's presentations.    For example, the Meridian Ultra DAC and the somewhat older 808 and 818 products have a general style of sound to them, which listeners may or may not like.     Now that firms well outside of the Meridian eco system such as DCS, MSB, Berkeley Audio Design and others industry leaders are working on incorporating MQA capabilities into some of their products, this may tend to allow for a more nuanced assessment of the MQA process itself.

 

....  

Hi Bruce, the flaw with MQA in my opinion is they way they decimate the digital signal and deliberately don't pass it through an anti aliasing filter ( as otherwise the oversampling or 'unfolding' wouldn't work of course).. this just litters the pass band with spurious alias data that Meridian assumes our brains will ignore... it might for some and not for others.. and once that spurious data is there it's effectively there for ever.. you have compromised the master....

Now I do like the matched encoding / decoding filters... this makes sense as it addresses a limitation with current digital audio record and replay... however I do wonder if the primary benefit of using these matched filters has simply to reduce the prominence of the induced  alias errors ... however that aside some concerns that I see are:

  • if the analogue audio has already been digitally encoded the benefits of matched filtering  will be reduced or be none existent  ... this will always be the case unless the  recording desk has a MQA filter built in.
  • i know of no way one can consume MQA without going through destructive decimation / unfolding approach... perhaps there is/will be a MQA Pro that bypasses this?
  • To take advantage of the matched filtering you need to use a hardware MQA DAC, a software decoder will simply dilute or nullify the benefit as you will be using an other DAC filter function.
Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

You might have missed my point earlier, to do CD really well (in my opinion) requires a good DAC, using MQA you can get better sound using mediocre audio components.. I am sure that would suit my so called 'quality' BMW sound system better and I could stream it via mobile..

Ah, yes, get you.

Keler Pierre posted:
Innocent Bystander posted:
Keler Pierre posted:

some mqa capable dacs: meridian, dcs, ps audio, mytech brooklyn, chord dave, msb, berkeley audio dac:: it is only the beginning....

Chord Dave is NOT an MQA DAC. (But yes, in common with all DAC I believe, including Naim, it is capable of playing MQA files either fully encoded and thus most different from the original, or just partially uncompressed if presented by an MQA capable renderer.) Chord DACs' designer, Rob Watts, has said that he refuses to incorporate MQA into his designs because, and I quote, "it is technically flawed, with huge and completely unacceptable levels of aliasing". 

Interestingly,  Stereophile did a review of Dave in which they played an MQA file unfolded in a renderer (i.e not fully decoded, so even in Meridian's language not perfect), and played it through Dave, comparing it with the same file from the same renderer passed through Meridian's even more expensive Ultra DAC which does the second stage unfolding, and found DAve made it sound better - but that was NOT a comparison with the original hi res file, or even standard 16/44.

i just read the review you refer: john Atkinson said, after adding the mqa decoding with the meridian dac to the chord dave:  " i was a little bit more aware of the developing of the harmonic note...".   

So John Atkinson could not have said that chord dave sounded better. He just added that the little improvement with the meridian/ mqa dac over the chord dave is not proportional to the increased cost of the meridian.

As for chord mqa capable, i was wrong. But not the other dacs are mentioned.    Dcs, berkeley reference and msb  are also ones of the best dacs today.  

Apologies, in my swift read of the Stereophile article I misread part of the review, and going back to it I see that the preference with the MQA file was indeed for the Meridien's output not Dave, so indeed the lack of the final unfolding in Dave had a negative effect, as one might expect.

that of course does not alter anything in my first paragraph.

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
Keler Pierre posted:

i have read that qobuz will have the possibility,  very soon, to stream 24 bit files directly on his streaming service. If it is true, it is better than mqa streaming on tidal.  Anybody knows something sure about this?    Because if it is true and real, mqa will be behind then...( i am talking about streaming from tidal or qobuz, not streaming hirez that were downloaded and stocked on nas).

For the web streaming companies, MQA makes sense... there is no hidef AAC or MP3, lossless Hidef, even FLAC, is in efficient to stream due to dither and ultrasonic noise, and lossy hidef MQA is a good half way house. I am not knocking it for that.. I think MQA to my car streamer or my portable streamer would be really great..

i don't understand why you refer of tidal streaming in a car. Do you think or not that tidal mqa streaming is better than tidal 16/44?   

Innocent Bystander posted:
Keler Pierre posted:
Innocent Bystander posted:
Keler Pierre posted:

some mqa capable dacs: meridian, dcs, ps audio, mytech brooklyn, chord dave, msb, berkeley audio dac:: it is only the beginning....

Chord Dave is NOT an MQA DAC. (But yes, in common with all DAC I believe, including Naim, it is capable of playing MQA files either fully encoded and thus most different from the original, or just partially uncompressed if presented by an MQA capable renderer.) Chord DACs' designer, Rob Watts, has said that he refuses to incorporate MQA into his designs because, and I quote, "it is technically flawed, with huge and completely unacceptable levels of aliasing". 

Interestingly,  Stereophile did a review of Dave in which they played an MQA file unfolded in a renderer (i.e not fully decoded, so even in Meridian's language not perfect), and played it through Dave, comparing it with the same file from the same renderer passed through Meridian's even more expensive Ultra DAC which does the second stage unfolding, and found DAve made it sound better - but that was NOT a comparison with the original hi res file, or even standard 16/44.

i just read the review you refer: john Atkinson said, after adding the mqa decoding with the meridian dac to the chord dave:  " i was a little bit more aware of the developing of the harmonic note...".   

So John Atkinson could not have said that chord dave sounded better. He just added that the little improvement with the meridian/ mqa dac over the chord dave is not proportional to the increased cost of the meridian.

As for chord mqa capable, i was wrong. But not the other dacs are mentioned.    Dcs, berkeley reference and msb  are also ones of the best dacs today.  

Apologies, in my swift read of the Stereophile article I misread part of the review, and going back to it I see that the preference with the MQA file was indeed for the Meridien's output not Dave, so indeed the lack of the final unfolding in Dave had a negative effect, as one might expect.

that of course does not alter anything in my first paragraph.

but even, if meridian is better on tidal mqa streaming, it is not necessary better than chord dave as a dac in his totality.  It just proves that mqa streaming on tidal is better than 16/44 streaming on tidal.  The best word would  be 24 real bit streaming from tidal. Qobuz announced that, but it is true?

Erich posted:

Sublime +

  • Maximale Streaming-Qualität

    Audio Hi-Res 24-Bit

    FLAC Hi-Res 24-Bit / bis zu 192kHz

    Hi-Res-Streaming des Großteils des Hi-Res-Katalogs*. CD-Streaming des restlichen Katalogs

  • Dauerhafte Rabatte des Download-Katalogs

    Downloads in Hi-Res 24-Bit zum Preis von MP3

    30% bis 60% Reduzierung auf einen Großteil des Katalogs zum Download à la carte

sorry, i can't speak deutsch.   Can we really stream from qobuz 24 bit?  ( not downloads we buy, but direct streaming from qobuz).

Keler Pierre posted:
Erich posted:

Sublime +

  • Maximale Streaming-Qualität

    Audio Hi-Res 24-Bit

    FLAC Hi-Res 24-Bit / bis zu 192kHz

    Hi-Res-Streaming des Großteils des Hi-Res-Katalogs*. CD-Streaming des restlichen Katalogs

  • Dauerhafte Rabatte des Download-Katalogs

    Downloads in Hi-Res 24-Bit zum Preis von MP3

    30% bis 60% Reduzierung auf einen Großteil des Katalogs zum Download à la carte

sorry, i can't speak deutsch.   Can we really stream from qobuz 24 bit?  ( not downloads we buy, but direct streaming from qobuz).

My understanding is yes, though through their top-level subscription service. I have in mind there is another online hi res streaming service from someone else, though as it holds no interest to me I don't recall who it may be.

Keler Pierre posted:

I am promoting nothing. I doubt all magazines and audio sites have financial interests in giving positive review of a product or technology. It may and even is the case for some, like What hifi or stereo magazine....But when you have unanimity from all serious magazines, as absolute sound, stereophile, hificritic, audiostream, computer audiophile, hifi news, it is rather difficult to not believe in this unanimity.  But if you reject magazines and audio sites reviews, and prefer to believe 2 or 3 forum members,

it is your right and choice.  I think you would be a good candidate for a sect community...

You're still missing the point.  I am not commenting on the functionality nor the sound quality like the magazines have done.  The business model is the real issue, the technology is a very distant second on the list, to the point where the technical issues are not worth discussing until the business model has been understood and accepted.  If you consider being driven to pay a fee to a third party intent on driving proprietary solutions, imposing a levy at every stage of production and with the possibility of applying DRM so that you can't play that content unless you play it on one of their proprietary licenced systems, THEN you can discuss the technology.  I just really don't understand why anyone would accept this business model which brings no benefit over what is possible today using existing and open systems.

I do belong to a sect, one that isn't published very much and doesn't really organise itsself - its members don't like to be brainwashed by marketing hype.

arrogance is to believe that one point of view is more true to the general point of view admitted and tested and proved by real audio specialists recognized in the audio world community.  Perhaps you believe that you are right and meridian, dcs, berkeley audio, msb audio are all wrong.  It is arrogance!

I never said that the Meridian engineers were wrong, just that their marketing people had resorted to hyperbole.

So, there's no excuse for you to accuse me of arrogance (or of being a marketing executive) - please read my posts a little more carefully.

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