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MQA is Vaporware


Rt66indierock

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Wow, this thread. Why can't both or all sides of an argument or opinion express their opinion in a respectful manner? Without resorting to personal insults and attacks? Both sides were very unprofessional but I'm glad some have taken steps to bring things back to normal.

 

Just my opinion here and I mean all these incredibly respectfully:

 

1. We now have a growing library to listen in our own systems (thanks to Tidal).

 

2. We now also have some clever people doing testing and reverse engineering (including here on CA on another thread) and people are free to respectfully critique or comment on these tests to try and help everyone move forward

 

3. We have more hardware and software decoding coming to make full MQA decoding possible, so that we can do more testing in our own systems and decide whether we want it or not

 

4. From CES it seems there will be more non-MQA Hi-Res streaming options coming, to further do our own listening and testing in our own systems. More options is a great thing.

 

I don't understand where personal insults and attacks need to fit in, in any of the above, whether it's someone instigating the insult or someone replying with more insults? :-(

 

In an attempt to stay on topic, I agree with one of the earlier concerns about MQA purchase downloads and potentially being caught out later if MQA Dacs fade away (and if you don't have a software decoder). However I also agree with one of the replies that it seems MQA is more focused on streaming for now. At least for now (and things can change) a lot of the pop albums that have been released on Tidal in MQA, can't be purchased in the MQA format for downloads, so that's possibly a sign that their focus is on streaming, but I could be wrong.

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Certainly hope you're right. :)

 

Edit: Of course Apple could change all this tomorrow. Let's hope those 24/96 iTunes masters are what they'll roll out if this happens.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

Apple have been sitting on possibly the largest Hi-Res libraries on earth for a while right? As a requirement of the "Materer for iTunes" stamp, from all the labels?

 

 

Sent from my Blackberry DTEK50 using Tapatalk

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Just one other data point / perspective, but has anyone seen these 2 posts by a Pro Engineer:

 

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/12551196-post482.html

 

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/12548751-post460.html

 

I'm still waiting for do a trial myself, to be able to properly test in my system but I still like to read comments by Pro's on both sides.

 

If this has already been linked earlier, apologies in advance, I'm still catching up on the 100+ pages :-(

 

 

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On 6/11/2017 at 0:04 AM, christopher3393 said:

Like so?

05culo_ampliacion.thumb.jpg.15243eb60f1b70b2998ce21785c677fc.jpg

 

My goodness, a late reply here as I catchup on this thread, but this was too funny. Kudos

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Hi all,

 

What's the purpose of the unfold from 96kHz to 192kHz?

 

I've seen the music origami video and my (very basic) understanding,which could be wrong, is that it's only purpose is to allow the DAC do 'less work' by way of the DAC's internal upsampling/oversampling?

 

i.e. it brings the music file's sample rate closer to the DAC's max PCM sample rate. Is that the only purpose or is there any other benefit/purpose?

 

Cheers in advance! 

 

 

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I thought Bob himself has said there's no music content above 96kHz though, so not sure why there is a '96 to 192 unfold' and even a '192 to 384 unfold' if there's no music content in those unfolds (according to him, not me).

 

So what is the purpose of this unfold if he says there's no music content in those unfolds?

 

I'll try and find the links where he said this and add them here later.

 

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11 minutes ago, mansr said:

There is no such "unfold." There is only upsampling, and a poor one at that.

 

Thanks mansr. I had a feeling it was their take on better upsampling (better than the DAC would do internally)

 

Here is the link (for anyone else interested) where he says there is no music information in the second 'unfold' (region C).

 

 

 

I know I'm only going off a YouTube video and that some people here have gone into deep detail in the technical papers and the code itself. But that's from the horses mouth.

 

 

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2 hours ago, mansr said:

They downsampled to 88k sample rate. The resulting 0-44k frequency content was then split into two bands. 

 

Just as an outsider looking in at things simplistically, the idea of splitting into bands sounds clever for reducing file size of Hi-Res streaming. As in, the whole folding of the region B (and region C, for completeness although there's not much happening in there) into region A to get a smaller file size looked clever to me. At least from the marketing origami video lol.

 

I just wish there was there no lossy compression involved anywhere, at all. And it was more open for all to use.

 

But open usually means free and I guess they spent a lot of time and resources that they need to recoup a lot of those costs and want to profit of it longer term.

 

Unless there's no way to do this folding and unfolding without lossy compression somewhere in the process?

 

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9 minutes ago, jhwalker said:

There is a lossless tier defined in the spec, but I suspect it would not save much (if any) over existing compression methods.

 

Thanks.

 

I like reading Rt66indierock's updates and I saw one where MQA have said the real push needs to come from the labels themselves going forward, so we'll see over the next 12-18 months how keen the labels are on pushing this (marketing).

 

Mind you, there's no cost increase with a Tidal subscription, it's part of their 'HiFi' service for no extra cost - I guess that may change potentially when the library gets to a reasonable size. The labels may require streaming services to charge a premium for MQA streaming, when they feel it's reasonable to do so with a large library? My understanding is at present it's the labels that dictate the cost of streaming services. I remember reading that Apple wanted to charge something much cheaper but the labels rejected it.

 

Streaming numbers are continuously growing (if you believe Spotify and Apple Music subscriber numbers) and both of those don't even have a lossless service yet released. I know why MQA themselves are keen to push this as quickly as possible but if streaming numbers are naturally growing nicely, I don't know what the rush would be from labels, unless the labels get convinced that this will lead to an exponential up-kick in subscriber numbers, over the already increasing numbers? Maybe they have access to data that we don't.

 

Nobody likes to see people stealing from the artists and I subscribe to streaming myself for this reason (and still buy albums not available on streaming) but I don't know how this will prevent copying because computers can output the MQA 24/96 streams digitally.

 

It's been interesting to watch the developments and follow the conversations from fellow passionate music lovers.

 

 

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23 minutes ago, rickca said:

If the ultimate motivation of the labels is combating piracy (as some have speculated)

 

Understood but to my very simple mind, this would only work well if they limited the unfolding to only the endpoint, the MQA DAC.

 

But computers can output 24/96 digitally so how can they combat piracy allowing that? Even the Bluesound Node 2 can output 24/96 via SPDIF outputs.

 

If it's to combat piracy, they shouldn't allow any PC decoding and completely limit MQA decoding to only DACs. But I do understand that the PC's power is needed with some DACs to do the first unfold as some DACs aren't powerful enough to do the full decode. If you're going to combat piracy then do it properly. Make it part of the spec for all MQA DACs to have enough processing power to do the full decode and limit any digital outputs to 24/48. I guess that still won't stop piracy though. Unless they encrypt the 24/48 signal from the computer so that only an MQA DAC (that can do the full decode) can read the signal. But then somebody will eventually crack that too lol. Whack a mole like it's been forever

 

Streaming subscriber numbers are continuously growing (so we're told) so that's potentially fighting piracy on it's own, even without lossless streaming, let alone a Hi-Res streaming service (in the cases of Spotify and Apple Music anyway). That's why I don't see why the labels would be so rushed with MQA, even the MQA team obviously want this adopted as quickly as possible.

 

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3 minutes ago, rickca said:

Some have speculated that ultimately MQA may introduce some form of DRM.

 

This is a very fair point. What we see right now with MQA streaming may not be what we see 12-18 months from now.

 

Food for thought.

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1 minute ago, Fokus said:

 

Ironically, that was not even invented by MQA, but by the Japanese, quite a few years ago.

 

LOL classic

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35 minutes ago, mansr said:

The output from a "core" decoder sent to a renderer embeds a simple control bitstream in the LSB. This includes a flag informing the renderer that the audio data is scrambled. Curiously, the Dragonfly doesn't seem to implement this feature and ignores that flag. The rendering code in the Bluesound handles it when called directly, but I don't know if the device can work as a separate renderer in normal operation. If it can, and someone wants to try, I have a test file with scrambling enabled.

 

Thanks. If I still had my Bluesound Node 2 I'd definitely offer to help.

 

So do you mean that (for example) currently with Tidal MQA streaming, the 24/96 MQA digital audio output from a PC  has audio data scramble disabled, but the audio data scrambling could potentially be enabled at any time?

 

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5 minutes ago, mansr said:

Did you ever try playing MQA through it using software decode?

Nope sadly I sold my Bluesound last year well before MQA support came to it. You could try asking someone here: 

 

 

8 minutes ago, mansr said:

Once this feature is in place, they could also start tagging certain tracks with an instruction to refuse decoding unless a descramble-capable renderer is used.

Yep probably will happen exactly as you speculate, especially if fighting piracy is one of label's main drivers for the adoption of MQA.

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51 minutes ago, AJ Soundfield said:

 

Ummm, do you know what all those papers he referenced say about >50kHz content? :)

Did he really say that?

 

I only have access to that one linked and don't understand much of it anyway, but saw this: "high-resolution audio with inaudible high-frequency components induces a relaxed attentional state without conscious awareness."

 

So MQA agrees with parts of what is referenced but disagrees with other parts?

 

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29 minutes ago, AJ Soundfield said:

They all say >20k is inaudible, but may (still speculative) cause a more "relaxed" state.

 

Thanks. Does this mean it's impossible to say who is right or wrong about any of this stuff (importance/effect of >20k), at present?

 

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16 minutes ago, AJ Soundfield said:

Of course, if one is in good mental health, one could conclude this Hyperbolic Effect business is all but a tempest in a teapot and hit play on that 16/44 player

 

Eep! I hope this doesn't turn into a general (non-MQA related)  "24/96 is vaporware" thread.

 

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4 hours ago, soxr said:

I used the open source SOX tool. No code from MQA was used to do this.
I have been following these topics for months, but now the time has come to disclose my findings.

 

Well, this MQA discussion thread here has taken a refreshing new turn with this. Welcome and thanks for sharing this work. I don't have the tools to test the files sadly (I use Roon) but look forward to reading everyone's impressions and discussions. If I can work out a free way to test them out I will.

 

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Hmm Jay-Z released his new album as a Tidal exclusive today.

 

I would have thought he'd release it in MQA, as a bit of a statement, backing this new MQA thing that his streaming service provides (almost exclusively at the moment I think?) But seemingly not.

 

I guess the MQA version could pop up any day or week from now but if it doesn't, it's not a vote of confidence from the Tidal boss? We'll have to see if it does pop up eventually.

 

Some of his older albums have popped up recently in MQA and clogged the main page of the Tidal app, which suggests he is aware of MQA and is backing it. So that suggests his new album probably will pop up in MQA shortly. Maybe they're spending extra time to get it right lol

 

 

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On 6/29/2017 at 7:28 PM, String said:

So maybe you understand how important music is for me now, because it heals me and when the pain have been almost to much the music have helped me, so it's a big part of my life.

I too can relate. Sending positive vibes and best wishes your way, for improved health!

 

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Just now, Sal1950 said:

Got to get that new master tweaked to make the MQA version sound right.  LOL

LOL

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1 hour ago, soxr said:

the sound from CD, which is so good, and so exquisite, that the difference to high resolution is very small."

 

This made me chuckle. And this interview was 2014, when MQA was already in development and he chose to say those words?

 

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39 minutes ago, fas42 said:

It's a quality that one can live with for any length of time, because it doesn't demand of the senses to respond - you can "turn your back to it", and it still sounds "wonderful", heard out of the corner of one's ears ...

 

Very nicely put. I don't have this talent with words. We all search for different things and that's fantastic but this is what I look for.

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7 minutes ago, miguelito said:

I have no idea what the relationship of this conversation is with regards to MQA.

Nice system pics dude ! Very nice setup indeed.

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