Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Axiom05

MQA at CES

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Miska

 

Why not PM Pål for a pre release access to Tidal with MQA :D

How can he refuse ?

 

(I would not mind having one either).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm tempted to explain my personal view on the matter. It is not about technology, it is about media and infrastructure. ...

 

MQA is quite a bit like SACD, which could be produced only at designated Sony factories, which you couldn't rip and on a non-licensed/approved device you could only access the CD quality layer. DVD-A with the MLP (Meridian Lossless Packing) was very much similar, mandatory for DVD-A and HD DVD players and you cannot rip it (unlike PCM if publisher chose to use it instead).

 

What if one day MQA goes out of fashion and new DACs don't include the decoder anymore? You are left with files that you cannot use to full extent...

 

Streaming services are little bit less concern, because you may not worry as much about how to access the content and what you need to use in order to access the content. Or you may...

 

Miska: I completely agree with your analogy. MQA is very much like SACD and I too would much prefer to have a collection of digital DSD files rather than my collection of SACD discs that I have to keep a special player for. But that didn't stop me from buying those SACDs at the time; because they did sound better than the same music on CD. My guess the same may well be true for MQA, except this time I may be smart enough not to buy encoded files that could become obsolete.

 

BUT, if MQA through Tidal/Roon sounds as much better than regular 16/44 files as SACD sounded better than CDs, then I will enjoy listening to MQA content through Tidal/Roon (particularly if all I need is software and not a new DAC to do so.)


Synology NAS>i7-6700/32GB/NVIDIA QUADRO M4000 Win10>Tidal>Roon>HQPlayer>Fiber Switch>Sonicorbiter SE (NAA)>REGEN>Oppo BDP-105D>Bryston SP3>Levinson No. 432 amps>Magnepan (MG20.1x2, CCR and MMC2x6)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
R1200CL

Strange! I clicked the link you provided. Went through the captions 3 times. No MQA files.

Perhaps the provision is area/country related. Just like Linn as regards the 2015 Christmas offer. Not for me even though I received notices as a customer with account.

 

Can't think of any logical reason for a area restriction. Then that must also apply to the webshop. I can ask 2L, but maybe it is a cache issue with your browser. Can you test with another ?

 

The MQA header/captions shall be between Stereo 24BIT/96kHz and 5.1 Surround 24BIT/96kHz

 

Also test this direct link to a download file:

http://www.lindberg.no/hires/mqa/2L-111_15_stereo_DXD_FLAC.mqa.flac

Edited by R1200CL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, very strange.

I was able to download the 111 MQA track via the direct link you provided but unable to see caption of MQA file in the test bench page.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used the iPhone just now instead of the computer to get into the 2L site test bench. Alas, the MQA files are there.

But guidance in this web page is different to the one into which I entered with the computer. The latter requires the viewer to enter the 2L user name and 2L password. The page with MQA files does not have such requirement and one is able to download straight away.

I am puzzled.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Used both an iPad and an iMac to go into the 2L site test bench and got the page showing MQA files on both occasions.

Don't know why 2L once recognising the cookie of my MacBook Pro directs me to its old test bench.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2L High Resolution Music .:. free TEST BENCH

 

This was the link of the page after I clicked into the link you kindly provided.

 

I tried again just now.

When I clicked this link with the registered MacBook Pro I was directed to the test bench without MQA.

When I used the iPad to visit computer audiophile and click this same link above I was directed to the test bench with MQA tracks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I tried again just now.

When I clicked this link with the registered MacBook Pro I was directed to the test bench without MQA.

When I used the iPad to visit computer audiophile and click this same link above I was directed to the test bench with MQA tracks!

 

Have you tried clearing your browser cache?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's always about the money. Who do you think stands to benefit. DSD is a format just like MQA wants to be a format. License fees. Meridian. Roon. Streaming services. They just want users to pay a monthly subscription. Are you kidding. Meridian wants MQA to be the de facto standard since they think they have a better format except the just fucked over one of their biggest early supporters Auralic.

 

Fees? Tidal has said they will provide MQA at no extra cost to users who in any case have a subscription for lossless streaming. As I'm not required to buy into MQA on the HW side to continue streaming - it costs me nothing unless I decide I want an MQA HW device. And BTW, they didn't f**k over Auralic, it apparently was a misunderstanding and a solution has already been worked out that needs to be implemented.

 

I haven't seen anything so far that tells me I have to spend any money because of MQA. I can continue listening with the pre MQA formats and MQA costs me nothing. Even when it is implemented in Tidal it won't cost me anything beyond what I'm paying now.


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup and a RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fees? Tidal has said they will provide MQA at no extra cost to users who in any case have a subscription for lossless streaming. As I'm not required to buy into MQA on the HW side to continue streaming - it costs me nothing unless I decide I want an MQA HW device.

 

It is quite possible Tidal have been given a good deal or even been paid to implement MQA in order to drum up demand for DAC support. In MQA's position that probably wouldn't be a bad move.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is quite possible Tidal have been given a good deal or even been paid to implement MQA in order to drum up demand for DAC support. In MQA's position that probably wouldn't be a bad move.

Yep.All of these moves by Meridian the way I see it is to get in the best position to sell MQA enabled dacs, particularly their own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And BTW, they didn't f**k over Auralic, it apparently was a misunderstanding and a solution has already been worked out that needs to be implemented.

 

Who did misunderstood what, and what is the solution ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Who did misunderstood what, and what is the solution ?

 

My guess is that Auralic interpreted the license they paid for to apply to streaming devices with onboard DACs, and Meridian interpreted it more restrictively.

 

Edit: The solution would be for both to agree on what devices are included at what price.


One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> wi-fi to router -> EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> USPCB -> ISO Regen (powered by LPS-1) -> USPCB -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So we can hopfully conclude that Tidal Redbok streaming quality will be the same with MQA encoded redbok fils. (Without MQA equipment)

 

And Miske can still keep his hi-fi subscription :D

 

As for hi res files we may conclude different, unless you have MQA equipment.

(But still equal or better than Redbok).

 

How did you end up with such conclusion!?

 

The Nielsen recording may be only exception, but it is an old low-res recording anyway. I only compare to my RedBook conversions from the original DXD versus the MQA one.

 

And piano doesn't produce any considerable amount of overtones to benefit from higher sampling rates/bandwidth. So I always consider it sort of joke when someone uses piano as hires test material.


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am dual posting some questions here and in the Tidal MQA thread. Since MQA can have different underlying resolutions how are you going to know what you are getting from the store or streamer? Your DAC can have resolution limits that will be the ultimate determination of the resolution quality you are playing but will MQA label whether the file is simply redbook or the higher resolution quality of the file? Or is all MQA product going to be mastered at some super high resolution?


Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I did a quick FFT analysis of a couple of the MQA samples vs their non-MQA counterparts.

 

And here's 2L-111, the same one Miska looked at in his blog post. The DXD for this one is quite clean, the modulator noise seems to have been filtered out (why bother with DXD then?). No idea what those spikes at 115-120kHz are.

2L-111-MQA-full.png

 

Zooming in on the low region:

2L-111-MQA.png

Again a slight drop in all frequencies starting around 7kHz and a hump of noise in the top few kHz.

 

To claim at the same time that the barely-existent high-frequency content in the original is audible and that these alterations to the low frequencies are not strikes me as contradictory.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And here's 2L-111, the same one Miska looked at in his blog post. The DXD for this one is quite clean, the modulator noise seems to have been filtered out (why bother with DXD then?).

 

You could also run the same source content through conversion to 44.1/16 using SoX and then compare that against the MQA one.

 

To claim at the same time that the barely-existent high-frequency content in the original is audible and that these alterations to the low frequencies are not strikes me as contradictory.

 

Since this is average (?) spectrum of the entire thing, it doesn't give very clear picture of high frequency content, because the HF content is typically on transients (since that is sort of definition of a transient) and thus has very low contribution to the average. So there are two good ways to get a picture of that. One is to use spectrogram and another if you prefer to simple plot, is to use "peak hold" mode that plots the highest peak level of every spectrum bin throughout the recording.

 

I think the low treble alterations may be due to the very slow roll-off digital filter used to decimate to 88.2 kHz in this case (the so there is really just 2x bandwidth encoded using band splitting). Then the final result is upsampled back to for example 352.8 kHz. So I doubt the 115-120 kHz peaks would be retained in the decoded version. This also allows the content to play on any DAC that can support at least 88.2 kHz. So you don't need to have those 176.4/192/352.8/384k MQA variants discussed earlier.

 

What I'm worried is what happens if you try to encode let's say 7 kHz square wave plus 30 kHz sine -3 dBFS @352.8k, they would run out of bandwidth to encode the upper octave? And what happens then? TIM distortion would be back on the map again? Because this whole thing relies on the top octave being very low level. But where is the limit and what happens when it is exceeded? If I record close miced drum solo track, which is not unusual for rock music? If I cannot encode/decode a test track then there's no way to do QA. Using piano track as demo material makes 100% sure such problem is not encountered though... :D


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How did you end up with such conclusion!?

 

The Nielsen recording may be only exception, but it is an old low-res recording anyway. I only compare to my RedBook conversions from the original DXD versus the MQA one.

 

And piano doesn't produce any considerable amount of overtones to benefit from higher sampling rates/bandwidth. So I always consider it sort of joke when someone uses piano as hires test material.

 

But the only correct recording is the Nielsen one to compare. The idea is that old 16 bit redbok should sound better with MQA applied on a non MQA DAC than if the same record has no MQA attached.

 

For the other tracks delivered in 24/352.8, they at least has to be converted to 16/44.1, and then compared with the 24/44.1 MQA file.

Still, not a good test, as you need original 16/44.1 and the same recording also in MQA codec. Agree ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope everyone should realize, at this point, that MQA is really a more sophisticated version of 16/44 Lossless embedded with Lossy Hi-Rez information.

 

 

Basically, it is lossless until 16/44(16/48), and it goes lossy to compress the rest of spectrum.

 

NO. MQA IS NOT TRUE LOSSLESS. Read their advertisements carefully, and you will find their 'lossless' claim is actually 'psychoacoustically lossless,' a very same conecpt which also describes mp3.

 

I believe this can be done by what we already have; how about just use FLAC and use Vorbis to compress the rest of spectrum? The file size would be slightly bigger but this still would give massive file size reduction like MQA does.

 

 

 

Now, to think about it, I believe it is only 2 or 3 years left for Meridian Lossless Packing (MLP) to hold patent status. It will expire soon. This tells us something.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hope everyone should realize, at this point, that MQA is really a more sophisticated version of 16/44 Lossless embedded with Lossy Hi-Rez information.

 

 

Basically, it is lossless until 16/44(16/48), and it goes lossy to compress the rest of spectrum.

 

NO. MQA IS NOT TRUE LOSSLESS. Read their advertisements carefully, and you will find their 'lossless' claim is actually 'psychoacoustically lossless,' a very same conecpt which also describes mp3.

 

I believe this can be done by what we already have; how about just use FLAC and use Vorbis to compress the rest of spectrum? The file size would be slightly bigger but this still would give massive file size reduction like MQA does.

 

 

 

Now, to think about it, I believe it is only 2 or 3 years left for Meridian Lossless Packing (MLP) to hold patent status. It will expire soon. This tells us something.....

 

If MQA were only about more efficient compression I seriously doubt front end partners, engineers etc would have much enthusiasm, conspiracy theories notwithstanding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But the only correct recording is the Nielsen one to compare. The idea is that old 16 bit redbok should sound better with MQA applied on a non MQA DAC than if the same record has no MQA attached.

For the other tracks delivered in 24/352.8, they at least has to be converted to 16/44.1, and then compared with the 24/44.1 MQA file.

Still, not a good test, as you need original 16/44.1 and the same recording also in MQA codec. Agree ?

 

If you look at the file sizes you can see that the Nielsen MQA has the same size like a MQA from a DXD master. So it can be argued that they made first a transfer from the DAT tape to DXD and then applied the "magic" MQA process.

 

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...