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Hi-Res Audio Streaming On The Way - How Many Of Us Couldl Miss Out Because Of Lack of MQA Or Similar Technology Capable DAC's?


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The article in the link below just appeared in my mailbox from Electronic House. It points out the clear fact that Hi Res streaming is on the way and who is behind it. The key point is "A number of data packing technologies are being developed that can support the streaming of hi-res music files to consumers in a more efficient manner, including MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) and MPEG 4 Audio SLS.".

 

My concern is that a lot of us have invested serious money in current DAC technology, and almost none seem MQA capable, and there is virtually no chance of an available/logical/workable upgrade path for the rest. I don't know about MPEG 4 Audio SLS, but I suspect the same issue may be true.

 

I would appreciate the perspective of those amongst us that have greater technological insight into this, and how serious the problem may be. I know I certainly cannot abandon my DAC, given it's cost and purchase a new one simply for this reason. And yes, streaming Hi Res may be the equivalent of the golden goose in the audiophile world if it's done right.

 

JC

 

 

Hi-Res Music Initiative Now Includes Streaming Services - EH Network

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Can the server not convert these streams to a standard format that DACs can play. If MQA is a codec then I would expect this to be possible.

 

TBH, I haven't even considered HQ streaming, I play my own extensive library and can't see that changing any time soon.

 

My internet at the moment probably wouldn't stream hires but it's about to be converted to fibre, maybe that might change my thoughts on this.

 

 

... but, to answer your point I'm not remotely worried about my lovely VEGA DAC... yet.

Source:

*Aurender N100 (no internal disk : LAN optically isolated via FMC with *LPS) > DIY 5cm USB link (5v rail removed / ground lift switch - split for *LPS) > Intona Industrial (injected *LPS / internally shielded with copper tape) > DIY 5cm USB link (5v rail removed / ground lift switch) > W4S Recovery (*LPS) > DIY 2cm USB adaptor (5v rail removed / ground lift switch) > *Auralic VEGA (EXACT : balanced)

 

Control:

*Jeff Rowland CAPRI S2 (balanced)

 

Playback:

2 x Revel B15a subs (balanced) > ATC SCM 50 ASL (balanced - 80Hz HPF from subs)

 

Misc:

*Via Power Inspired AG1500 AC Regenerator

LPS: 3 x Swagman Lab Audiophile Signature Edition (W4S, Intona & FMC)

Storage: QNAP TS-253Pro 2x 3Tb, 8Gb RAM

Cables: DIY heavy gauge solid silver (balanced)

Mains: dedicated distribution board with 5 x 2 socket ring mains, all mains cables: Mark Grant Black Series DSP 2.5 Dual Screen

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Can the server not convert these streams to a standard format that DACs can play. If MQA is a codec then I would expect this to be possible.

 

TBH, I haven't even considered HQ streaming, I play my own extensive library and can't see that changing any time soon.

 

My internet at the moment probably wouldn't stream hires but it's about to be converted to fibre, maybe that might change my thoughts on this.

 

 

... but, to answer your point I'm not remotely worried about my lovely VEGA DAC... yet.

 

 

If I'm correct, MQA or MPEG 4 Audio SLS, being compression techniques that allow the Hi Res to be streamed, will leave all of us with current DAC's out in the cold because what we have cannot convert them. I'm hoping one of the many techno guru's here will chime in with more information.

 

JC

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For me then I would interpret MQA as being a codec, in which case the server should be able to handle/convert it and pass it to the DAC after an update.

 

 

 

If I'm correct, MQA or MPEG 4 Audio SLS, being compression techniques that allow the Hi Res to be streamed, will leave all of us with current DAC's out in the cold because what we have cannot convert them. I'm hoping one of the many techno guru's here will chime in with more information.

 

JC

Source:

*Aurender N100 (no internal disk : LAN optically isolated via FMC with *LPS) > DIY 5cm USB link (5v rail removed / ground lift switch - split for *LPS) > Intona Industrial (injected *LPS / internally shielded with copper tape) > DIY 5cm USB link (5v rail removed / ground lift switch) > W4S Recovery (*LPS) > DIY 2cm USB adaptor (5v rail removed / ground lift switch) > *Auralic VEGA (EXACT : balanced)

 

Control:

*Jeff Rowland CAPRI S2 (balanced)

 

Playback:

2 x Revel B15a subs (balanced) > ATC SCM 50 ASL (balanced - 80Hz HPF from subs)

 

Misc:

*Via Power Inspired AG1500 AC Regenerator

LPS: 3 x Swagman Lab Audiophile Signature Edition (W4S, Intona & FMC)

Storage: QNAP TS-253Pro 2x 3Tb, 8Gb RAM

Cables: DIY heavy gauge solid silver (balanced)

Mains: dedicated distribution board with 5 x 2 socket ring mains, all mains cables: Mark Grant Black Series DSP 2.5 Dual Screen

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The article in the link below just appeared in my mailbox from Electronic House. It points out the clear fact that Hi Res streaming is on the way and who is behind it. The key point is "A number of data packing technologies are being developed that can support the streaming of hi-res music files to consumers in a more efficient manner, including MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) and MPEG 4 Audio SLS.".

 

My concern is that a lot of us have invested serious money in current DAC technology, and almost none seem MQA capable, and there is virtually no chance of an available/logical/workable upgrade path for the rest. I don't know about MPEG 4 Audio SLS, but I suspect the same issue may be true.

 

I would appreciate the perspective of those amongst us that have greater technological insight into this, and how serious the problem may be. I know I certainly cannot abandon my DAC, given it's cost and purchase a new one simply for this reason. And yes, streaming Hi Res may be the equivalent of the golden goose in the audiophile world if it's done right.

 

JC

 

 

Hi-Res Music Initiative Now Includes Streaming Services - EH Network

 

Best way is to avoid services using DRM methods, that will drive the market to stay away from such. MQA is essentially a DRM method, but marketed with sound quality claims.

 

If I would have to choose, MPEG-4 Audio SLS is much better choice. It is an open standard technology, standardized by ISO/IEC standardization organization and not controlled by a single small company like MQA. MPEG-4 Audio SLS can also be decoded in software, so it doesn't require any changes to your DAC hardware or firmware, so it'll work with any current hardware.

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Best way is to avoid services using DRM methods, that will drive the market to stay away from such. MQA is essentially a DRM method, but marketed with sound quality claims.

 

If I would have to choose, MPEG-4 Audio SLS is much better choice. It is an open standard technology, standardized by ISO/IEC standardization organization and not controlled by a single small company like MQA. MPEG-4 Audio SLS can also be decoded in software, so it doesn't require any changes to your DAC hardware or firmware, so it'll work with any current hardware.

 

And there's always PrimeSeat which streams in DSD 64fs and DSD 128fs. No need for a new DSD DAC with PrimeSeat either. :)

PrimeSeat

http://primeseat.net/jp/

Jenna & Alex: Live Concert Broadcast in DSD - Positive Feedback

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And there's always PrimeSeat which streams in DSD 64fs and DSD 128fs. No need for a new DSD DAC with PrimeSeat either. :)

PrimeSeat

http://primeseat.net/jp/

Jenna & Alex: Live Concert Broadcast in DSD - Positive Feedback

 

Reading the link, I found this, which clearly indicates you do need a new DSD capable DAC:

 

"To hear the music in DSD you will need a Digital to Analog Converter (DAC), Digital Music Server or Player that has a DAC capable of playing Direct Stream Digital (DSD) music in 2.8 MHz (Single Rate DSD, the same data rate as used on SACDs) and 5.8 MHz (Double Rate DSD, twice the data rate used for SACDs)"

 

JC

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Reading the link, I found this, which clearly indicates you do need a new DSD capable DAC:

 

"To hear the music in DSD you will need a Digital to Analog Converter (DAC), Digital Music Server or Player that has a DAC capable of playing Direct Stream Digital (DSD) music in 2.8 MHz (Single Rate DSD, the same data rate as used on SACDs) and 5.8 MHz (Double Rate DSD, twice the data rate used for SACDs)"

 

JC

 

To hear the concert in DSD, you will need a DSD DAC. I've tried it here with the iDSD Micro and the NADAC. It appears to work with any DSD DAC.

 

If you don't have a DSD DAC, the music will play in PCM.

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To answer the original question: Yes, I'm waiting to replace my pre-pro until I can source one that handles MQA at the DAC level.

 

My hope is for a Trinnov Altitude32 with MQA-capable DACs.

 

I've been following MQA for over a year, and I am eagerly awaiting content and gear. This is revolutionary stuff, as correcting the temporal domain from errors introduced at the ENcode (master ADC) and also in the DEcode (the DAC) is the next quality frontier and requires a combination of process and a 'smart' container. The fancy folding is cool, but the payoff is the process and ultimately the dynamic adaptation to the MQA-certified DAC being used.

----------

Jonathan

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  • 2 weeks later...
Rather interesting to note that Darko found MQA files sounded better on an non-MQA DAC than the same PCM files in case after case. It will be interesting to see if this pattern holds.

 

Well, he says they sound better. The team at PS Audio says they sound worse.

YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).... :)

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You only need ~ 920 KBps to stream 24/192 as an example uncompressed. So while I laud lossless compression for data of any stripe the ability to stream audio in 'Hi-Res' has been doable for quite some time on a lot of providers.

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Rather interesting to note that Darko found MQA files sounded better on an non-MQA DAC than the same PCM files in case after case. It will be interesting to see if this pattern holds.

 

I find it curious when technically worse solution is said to sound better.

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Rather interesting to note that Darko found MQA files sounded better on an non-MQA DAC than the same PCM files in case after case. It will be interesting to see if this pattern holds.

 

He can even hear the difference in Ethernet Cables. I'll take anything he has to say with a grain of salt.

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He can even hear the difference in Ethernet Cables. I'll take anything he has to say with a grain of salt.

 

While I am not remotely accepting that MQA is truly capable of upgrading sound, I do have to defend Jon Darko on one point. If you truly don't believe there is a sonic difference in ethernet cables, you need to try another hobby!

 

JC

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Finally got to listen an MQA demo. My CDs are not going anywhere. Not impressed at all.

 

Fits with what I've heard from a number of people whose ears I respect! The odd thing is the almost complete love or hate viewpoints on MQA by knowledgeable audio people.

 

JC

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  • 3 weeks later...

MQA maybe the turning point that opens up the idea of better music.

Even just if tidal users say what's this premium option and look into it.

This hobby is like pensions, you need new blood to keep things going..

The more the better...

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Aren't all these streaming sites losing money big time? Like hundreds of millions of dollars per year? How long can they continue to do that?

 

Before spending money on a MQA compatible DAC wouldn't it be prudent to wait until one of these streaming sites actually shows a profit?

I have dementia. I save all my posts in a text file I call Forums.  I do a search in that file to find out what I said or did in the past.

 

I still love music.

 

Teresa

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Aren't all these streaming sites losing money big time? Like hundreds of millions of dollars per year? How long can they continue to do that?

 

Before spending money on a MQA compatible DAC wouldn't it be prudent to wait until one of these streaming sites actually shows a profit?

 

That is a challenge. Spotify is said to be looking at getting into Video as a way to cover their streaming music losses.

Spotify's Financial Results Reinforce How Broken the Music Business Is - Fortune

 

If MQA can be decoded in software only, as Auralic has proposed, than no new DACs will be needed.

That is the most likely way forward for MQA. Putting aside, of course, the fact that some don't care for it's sound.

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That is a challenge. Spotify is said to be looking at getting into Video as a way to cover their streaming music losses.

Spotify's Financial Results Reinforce How Broken the Music Business Is - Fortune

 

If MQA can be decoded in software only, as Auralic has proposed, than no new DACs will be needed.

That is the most likely way forward for MQA. Putting aside, of course, the fact that some don't care for it's sound.

 

Agreed, although it concerns me that, to my knowledge, no other manufacturer has come forward to agree with Auralic that it can be decoded in software. And I believe a few have said it was not possible?

 

JC

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