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MQA is Vaporware


Rt66indierock

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just remember- THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE

 

Where?

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In fairness, I have a 24 bit 'remaster' of Led Zeppelin II that sounds terribly shrill versus a many year old CD version I have of the same.  I'd love to hear a MQA vs 24 bit version of the same master, but these things are difficult to verify.

Windows 10 PC, Roon, HQPlayer, SOtM sMS-200Ultra, tX-USBultra, Paul Hynes SR4 (x2), Mutec REF10, Mutec MC3+USB, Devialet 1000Pro, KEF Blade.  Plus Pro-Ject Signature 12 TT for playing my 'legacy' vinyl collection.

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12 hours ago, witchdoctor said:

Fair enough, enjoy your Devialet 1000 Pro. Devialet is a software company as much as a hardware company, they will likely provide a firm ware update with an MQA decoder soon. 

I am enjoying the 1000 Pro enormously thanks!  So no issue there.  At a dealer event last year a number of us were talking to Devialet's chief designer and the topic of MQA did come up.  It is fair to say that he was being very non-committal at the time.  He did use some interesting language though, referring to MQA a 'competitor's protocol', and advising that if MQA became an industry standard they would look at it but at the time (roughly one year ago) Devialet had made no decision with regard to MQA, they were simply waiting to see how it developed.

 

This takes us the original topic of this thread, is MQA 'vaporware'?  For me at least it is, my DAC does not support it, and I do not want to subscribe to Tidal.  So for me, MQA has zero practical influence on my life in any way.  Maybe this will change in time, maybe not, but for now and for me, it may as well not exist.

Windows 10 PC, Roon, HQPlayer, SOtM sMS-200Ultra, tX-USBultra, Paul Hynes SR4 (x2), Mutec REF10, Mutec MC3+USB, Devialet 1000Pro, KEF Blade.  Plus Pro-Ject Signature 12 TT for playing my 'legacy' vinyl collection.

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1 hour ago, james45974 said:

Chris, I couldn't tell if your were serious or sarcastic, you didn't include any emoticon! :)

 

If Tidal is a "have fun" vanity project of Jay-Z then you can start the obit and digging the grave.  The business world is cut throat and littered with the remains of ventures started because someone thought it would be "fun"!  Money has to be made sometime!

 

The only one who seems to have made anything out of a vanity project is Dr. Dre.  He got a deal with Apple!  All Jay-Z has to show is $200 mil from the 4th place US cell company.  Hope it didn't hurt his ego too much!

 

On another note, nobody has really talked about how intertwined Tidal, Roon, and MQA have become.  If Roon went belly up, Tidal would be less desireable.  If Tidal went belly up Roon would be less desireable, and MQA would be up the creek without a paddle.  If MQA went belly up, well, would too many people notice or care?

I have been thinking about this.  Indeed, without Tidal MQA barely exists currently in terms of user accessibility.  Although I have one question here, months ago Roon were stating that software decoding of MQA in Roon was 'days away', or something like that.  This all seams to have gone very quiet now, is it just simply delayed, or is Roon software decoding of MQA 'off the road-map' now for some reason?

Windows 10 PC, Roon, HQPlayer, SOtM sMS-200Ultra, tX-USBultra, Paul Hynes SR4 (x2), Mutec REF10, Mutec MC3+USB, Devialet 1000Pro, KEF Blade.  Plus Pro-Ject Signature 12 TT for playing my 'legacy' vinyl collection.

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Article from the strictly impartial BBC, mainly about Qobuz hi res streaming, Neil Young gets a mention, nothing whatsoever about MQA.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40697475

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I visited the 'Hifi Show Live' yesterday, this is located in Winsor UK (up the road from where the Queen lives).  This show claims to be the UK's biggest 'speciality high-end audio event', which is pretty much true these days I would say.  Anyway, wandering around the various room and demonstrations it occurred to me that I had heard no mention of MQA, and had not seen any MQA logo's on the kit or the very many advertising banners around the place.  By contrast, a couple of the demonstrations were along the lines of 'listen to how good redbook CD sounds with our DAC'.  In one room running Mola Mola kit, they had deliberately used a 15 year old CD transport just to make the point that an old digital transport sounds great with CD.  I always think it is difficult to make clear judgements at shows, but it is fair to say that it did indeed sound pretty decent with Vivid Giya G3's and class D amps.  Onwards to what must have been the most expensively equipped room, dCS Vivaldi One, D'Agostino Progression mono blocks and Wilson Alexia 2's.  Both redbook and SACD were used.  Chatting to the dSC guy, he advised that the dCS One was upsampling redbook to DSD.  OK, all this is one example of a 'high end' show in a sleepy corner of the UK, but lots of vinyl being played, CD's still lurking, and in other demos using streamers nobody was making big noises about if it was 24 bit, DSD or anything else.  I guess the point is that whenever file format was mentioned, it was not a case of 'listen to how good our kit sounds with hi-res' but much more 'listen to just how good out kit sounds with good old CD'. I did spot this at the venue's reception desk though.  Apologies for the terrible photograph, but I did get into trouble with the woman in from of me, who thought I was trying to photograph her credit card.  No sign of the man himself though......

 

 

IMG_0717.jpg

Windows 10 PC, Roon, HQPlayer, SOtM sMS-200Ultra, tX-USBultra, Paul Hynes SR4 (x2), Mutec REF10, Mutec MC3+USB, Devialet 1000Pro, KEF Blade.  Plus Pro-Ject Signature 12 TT for playing my 'legacy' vinyl collection.

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10 minutes ago, witchdoctor said:

Thanks for the report. Did they do any immersive audio demos at the show? What was your favorite room and why? Thanks

I don't like taking threads too far off topic, but this is an opportunity for a gratuitous photograph, so I'll bite.  I think the room per the pic was my favourite, nothing to do with ultimate sound quality, it's just that I go a bit funny when I see a Studer reel to reel tape recorder.  Looking at the material available on reel to reel these days, I would have to say that reel to reel is vapourware, or vaopurtape or something.  I might be wrong but I think the show was more or less 100% two channel.

IMG_0718.JPG

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5 hours ago, witchdoctor said:

 

However they are monumentally important to the ARTISTS! If an artist puts their music out they want it to be heard as intended, period.

 

If only this were true, remember the loudness wars?

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Just remembered, the Vivaldi One has AirPlay too.  They didn’t mention this at Windsor either......

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I actually have a question about MQA.  I have been following this thread more or less from the start, and I would say that I am clear about the folding and unfolding process, 'deblurring' filters and so on, and just how real MQA's claims actually are and how much is marketing hype.

 

One thing I am not clear about is the MQA claim about correcting 'time smearing' in 'historic' analog to digital conversions.  So if the make / model is known for the ADC that was used for the original tape to digital transfer, then MQA have some specific filtering or techniques that can correct for errors / inaccuracies from the original ADC.  Is there anything in this?  I am not sure if this aspect has been fully debated, confirmed, debunked or whatever.  Maybe it has and I have missed it?  If this ADC 'polishing' technology does have any merit, it occurs to me that it could (if allowed my MQA) be used outside of the MQA folding and unfolding nonsense.  You could correct the original ADC to the maximum extent possible and the end result could be straight PCM.

 

So taking a simple case as an example, an 80's digital copy made from a master tape, using a single ADC of known make and model, is there anything in MQA that can improve the digital copy?

 

Mindful that this thread has become a battleground between the trolls, shills and debunkers, I have to make it clear that this is a 100% genuine question!  :(

 

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34 minutes ago, Fokus said:

 

Let me put it this way: if such an ADC displays sins that can usefully be compensated for afterwards, then this can entirely be done outside of the MQA ecosystem, as part of normal and competent remastering.

I think this gets at the key point of my question.  My understanding is that historic ADC 'sins' can indeed be corrected by known, understood & conventional means.  So this leads to the question, do we know for sure that MQA cannot do anything better?  I suspect it cannot, but I am not sure if this has been fully explored?

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Nudging this thread gently back onto the topic of MQA...... 

 

I picked up a rumour that the reason dCS have delayed their promised firmware update to include MQA decoding in some products is due to a dispute over monies with MQA.  Apparently MQA want dCS to pay them a license fee for every unit sold, (or has been sold?) even if the user does not use MQA.  I am guessing this could be tracked by whether or not a user downloads a particular plug-in or something, I'm not sure.  If dSC are effectively absorbing the licence fee costs, the difference between some and all users could be significant.  To be clear, this is just a rumour that I have picked up third hand, I cannot vouch for it's accuracy.  Does anyone know the facts?  I know Roon's MQA implementation is also delayed, so as pure speculation I do wonder if similar issues are involved.  OK, there could be technical issues, but it is not a giant leap to wonder if there is some dispute over the money.

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19 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Zero truth to this one. 

Thanks, I did ask if anyone knows the facts as I was not too sure of the quality of my source for this one.  I have crossed his name of my trusted source list and will have him suitably punished, when nobody is looking.

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17 minutes ago, synn said:

It might just be me, but desiring the MQA LED on a dCS product after plonking down that much cold hard cash is like wanting a “SUPER WOOFER SURROUND SOUND” sticker on a pair of B&W floor standers. Or “TURBO DOHC LIQUID COOLED” decals on a Porsche 911.

I tend to agree, but there are different ways of looking at this.  I do know of some dCS customers that are super keen to have MQA compatibility.  So there is an argument for dCS simply providing an option that some customers want.  I am not a fan of MQA, but I must admit that if I was spending dCS Vivaldi type money on a source or DAC, I would pretty much want it to be compatible with anything that I ever wanted to feed it with.  A case of being there if I need it, if there was a scenario in the future where a piece of music I wanted to listen to was in MQA format only, I would want something that would at least be compatible and make the best of it.  In fact I think this is at the root of why I find MQA so annoying, with how things have developed with PCM / FLAC etc, there is no need to even worry about this kind of stuff, but MQA lurking out there is a different story.

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OK, lets try nudging this back on topic.:(

 

I am not sure if this has been picked up elsewhere, but I spotted this very un-vapourware sounding announcement regarding Oppo and MQA.

 

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/oppo-announces-support-for-mqa/

 

http://www.digitalaudioreview.net/2017/11/oppo-digital-add-mqa-support-to-udp-205/

 

I note that TAS appear to be happy to quote the press release verbatim, probably no surprise based on previous observations noted in this thread.  Good news for fans of Oppo and Tidal I guess, love or loathe MQA, at least it give Oppo users the flexibility to play MQA if they want to.  

Windows 10 PC, Roon, HQPlayer, SOtM sMS-200Ultra, tX-USBultra, Paul Hynes SR4 (x2), Mutec REF10, Mutec MC3+USB, Devialet 1000Pro, KEF Blade.  Plus Pro-Ject Signature 12 TT for playing my 'legacy' vinyl collection.

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