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MQA is Vaporware


Rt66indierock

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11 hours ago, Rt66indierock said:

 

Chris,

Just tell me when I can purchase and download the following MQA albums in The Valley of the Sun:

1.       Foghat Foghat

2.       Black Oak Arkansas Black Oak Arkansas

3.       Eagles On the Border

4.       Halestorm Into The Wild

5.       Jackson Browne Running on Empty

6.       Chicago Chicago Transit Authority

They are all available on TIDAL in the US and I believe in Europe for download. Why is my side of MQA so hard for you? I can’t buy MQA albums. It is no harder than that.

 

What you really should want to download is the hires files that the MQA files are based on, not the actual MQA files.  It seems to me the usefulness of MQA is being able to stream hires files (folded into MQA files), without requiring more bandwith than would be needed to stream a redbook file.

mQa is dead!

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6 hours ago, mansr said:

Labels don't care about artists, only profits. If they make more money from a small number of vigorously promoted, auto-tuned, no-talent ass-clowns, that's exactly what they'll serve up.

 

Maybe those robot voices will sound better with upsampling? :)

mQa is dead!

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23 hours ago, Sal1950 said:

Chris, we can't forget that there are a few people at labels with ethics.

Remember Linn

https://www.linn.co.uk/blog/mqa-is-bad-for-music

 

The argument at that website location is so flawed, it's ridiculous -- I hope we don't need to go through it?

mQa is dead!

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9 minutes ago, Fitzcaraldo215 said:

The point is I think arguments about what is or is not DRM are not simple, as is the unfounded claim that I am "violating the law". They are complicated and legalistic and beyond anyone's expertise in this forum, including me.  So, the simple-minded claim  MQA  = DRM is not as clear cut as many here want to make it, in my view.

 

If I can copy an MQA file and give it to 100 friends and they can play it fine, including the unfolding on their MQA enabled DAC, then where is the DRM?

mQa is dead!

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35 minutes ago, mansr said:

There's so much room, in fact, that much of it is completely unused, filled with zeroes.

 

Why should the consumer care if the ADC (or other) encoder the producer used leaves a fingerprint within the MQA file? Is anyone suggesting that a (legitimate) seller of MQA files would encode unique information into each MQA file for each individual consumer, before the consumer downloads it, etc.? It seems absurd, but maybe I'm missing something? 

mQa is dead!

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2 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

I'm with you on this one. It really comes down to having self confidence to like what you like. It seems that many people must be validated by measurements or reviews, in order to feel comfortable with a purchase or opinion. 

 

I would really like to correlate measurements into sonic attributes for my own knowledge / education. If something measures excellent, but I don't like the sound, I'd like to know why. I'd never be able to look at data sheets and decide if a product is for me or not.

 

I believe that all real differences are measurable, at least in principle. Of course, whether that measurable difference positively correlates with "better sound" is determined by the preferences and abilities of individual listeners.

mQa is dead!

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40 minutes ago, james45974 said:

  you can be accurate without being real!  Shouldn't we be aiming for realistic reproduction paramount to accurate reproduction?

 

Sorry, I do not follow.  How is "accurate" different from "real"?

mQa is dead!

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5 hours ago, Jud said:

 

It is not even a matter of degree.  Look at my post in this thread yesterday regarding the two versions of "My Favorite Things:" https://www.computeraudiophile.com/forums/topic/30381-mqa-is-vaporware/?page=97#comment-667604 .  Listen to a bit of each version.  Now: How do you know these are two versions of the same song?

 

 

One has no words so it's not a song.  ????  Do you mean to ask if I consider them both the same melody?

 

You yourself have said that they are of different rhythm and possibly different pitch -- that would make them different melodies.

 

 

mQa is dead!

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18 minutes ago, Jud said:

 

So every time someone sings or plays a song in a new key you don't recognize it at all?

 

If the words are substantially the same, it's the same "song".  Yes, I can recognize (sometimes) when a melody is a derivative (another interpretation of a composition).

mQa is dead!

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22 hours ago, james45974 said:

Look at my Steinway recorded with a mic on the floor underneath as an example a few posts ago.  You could fairly accurately reproduce a recording done with that setup.  But how many concerts have you been to where a piano is featured and there is an audience laying on the floor underneath the piano!  Your realistic position is seated in the hall somewhere which in my argument is where the most realistic recording of a piano should be taken from.

 

The situation with the mic on the floor underneath the piano is (at least to me) analogous to the trivial solution in linear algebra.  That is, we can look at accuracy from this point of view, but it is of no interest to anyone.  I think we can agree that when the topic of accuracy comes up (in relation to live performances at least), it can be safely assumed that we mean accuracy in relation to an ideal or realistic position of the listener.  I don't think it helps at all to keep adding more terminology (i.e. realistic vs accurate) to an already confusing discussion. 

 

mQa is dead!

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41 minutes ago, Sal1950 said:

At this point Tidal is giving away the HDA/MQA stream to the lossless level customers but I can only see that in the long term they are going to have to add a third more expensive level tier for this.

 

My (limited) understanding is that the "MQA stream" will replace the CD quality stream, so there would be no need for 3 tiers; this seems to be the only thing that makes sense.

mQa is dead!

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On 2017-05-26 at 4:10 PM, Jud said:

 

Yup.  Now think about this: You can easily have a melody that shares many more of the same notes than do melody "A" and melody "A" in a different key, but your impression is that it's a *different* melody.  Agreed?

 

If by "*different*" you mean that it doesn't 'sound' like a derivative, then agreed; sometimes it takes a computer analysis to demonstrate it is a derivative.

mQa is dead!

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4 hours ago, Jud said:

I'm just pointing out that the way our brains match patterns can sometimes be rather unintuitive.

 

Agreed. But why does this make it silly to seek a little more accuracy in music reproduction?

mQa is dead!

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24 minutes ago, Jud said:

 

I'm sure we agree it isn't silly in the least.  But this goes back to the question @The Computer Audiophile asked about how measurements correspond to what we hear as "accurate," meaning most nearly reflecting what was recorded.  What I'm saying is we should be prepared for non-intuitive relationships there, in other words that the most common measurements (for example frequency response curves for speakers) may not be of the characteristics most important for our brains to think of something as "real."

 

OK. I think the making it "real" part should be done at the mastering level, leaving consumer equipment manufacturers the task of creating equipment that will play the music as the mastering engineers intended (or as close as they can get).

mQa is dead!

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33 minutes ago, Jud said:

 

Don't want to belabor the point, but I think a concrete example may help:

 

Some speakers, mine included, have a crossover design that is linear phase and is not dispersive, that is, time through the crossover filter is constant for all relevant frequencies.  This pretty much unavoidably creates a "hump" in the speaker's frequency response curve.  So which sounds more "accurate" to the brain: The localization and imaging allowed by the linear phase non-dispersive crossover design, or a speaker with a flatter frequency response curve that lacks these localization and imaging characteristics?  If you can't have both, which is the better goal for most realistic reproduction of the recording?

 

Fair enough.  Sometimes (usually) choices must be made.

 

 

mQa is dead!

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36 minutes ago, mav52 said:

 they way I read this, its is a change with a difference if a person has to purchase a new DAC to get the full benefit of MQA.

 

I just don't see the masses ( the normal non-audiophile type that listent to music on their smart phone with ear buds or own their AVR at home going nuts over MQA.

 

I think the point is that the masses can stream the MQA files without owning an MAC enabled DAC (or otherwise with something not too costly like the Audioquest Dragonfly).

mQa is dead!

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9 hours ago, mansr said:

IIUC, the Mytek offers other filter choices if MQA is disabled. If you're playing non-MQA content, you're probably better off disabling the MQA decoder and using one of the other filters that then become available. It's a bizarre design for sure.

 

Yes.  From the manual:

 

9.2.14 PCM Filt Shpe (PCM Filter Shape)

  • MPH (Minimum Phase)
  • SR (Slow Roll-Off)
  • FR (Fast Roll-Off)

Note! When MQA is enabled the filter is fixed at "minimum phase” ...

 

 

Also, for completeness, here are the DSD filters:

 

9.2.15 DSD Filt BW (DSD Filter Bandwidth)

  • AUTO – the filter is selected automatically depending on DSD rate: for DSDx64 - LO, DSDx128 - MED, DSDx256 – HI. It is highly recommended to leave this option enabled.
  • LO - 47,44 kHZ IIR Filter
  • MED - 60kHz IIR Filter
  • HI - 70 kHz IIR Filter

 

When you send the DAC a dsd file, in terms of filter selection, I don't think it matters whether the MQA function is enabled or disabled.

mQa is dead!

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1 hour ago, mcgillroy said:

 

Thx and yes that is an interesting development happening in the audio press. Noticed Dagadan's writing too and she is the only one on Stereophile who managed to sneak in a critical take on MQA into the publication:

 

Jana Dagadan: Any opinions on MQA? It doesn't make you want to revisit digital?

 

Jim Hagemann: No opinion other than it looks like a really clever technology. I don't know how it sounds but it's a clever way to combine everything and be compatible. I've heard some horrible stories about MQA and licensing. They're brutal with their licensing for manufacturers who want to use it and employ it. They sting you. For the small guy like me, I don't think I could afford to get into that business.

 

https://www.stereophile.com/content/industry-profile-jim-hagerman-hagerman-audio-labs

 

That's pretty damming and nowhere on Stereophile any follow up on it.

 

Secondly I think you are spot on with your typology of audio buyers. To expand on your description of #2 (young audio buyer) and my earlier notion that digital audio draws a different crowd with a different skillset I like to add the following observation:

 

There are plenty of well educated MINT-graduates rendered open-floorplan-dwellers by the tech-industry.

 

Their only chance of privacy are their headphones. These are well-paid kids and the explosion of headphone offerings in the past decade not least caters to this demographic with their ample purchasing power and appetite for distinction through gadgets.

 

Once people regularly started to pay $300.- and more for a headphone a subset of these became Head-Fi enthusiasts and/or audiophiles.

 

Now try to think of an audio-"innovation" that would challenge the curiosity, political sensibilities and technical competence of this demographic?! Basically software engineers familiar with tool-chains which are a mix of proprietary, FS and OS-software.

 

Let's see - it should include:

 

1. hyperbolic claims about shortcomings in information theory

2. ditto for the related sampling-theorem

3. obfuscation of the "science" behind these claims with meaningless graphs and numbers published only in high-quality journals like Stereophile and TAS.

4. disavowment of peer-reviewed research

5. ditto for independent listening tests

6. reliance on proprietary and closed source software

7. a licensing regime openly aiming to lock-in vendors

8. DRM hidden in plain-sight

9. NDAs galore to cover 1-8.

 

That's a brilliant marketing strategy to reach digital natives! Especially the well-educated ones with interest in audio-hard & software and enough discretionary income.

 

Bob S. and J. Atkinson really got themselves into some fun here. Let's make sure we all are stocked up well on Popcorn ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow. That's deep cynicism. Well written, though.

mQa is dead!

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