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MQA is Vaporware

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I think it is the "gaining acceptance" phase where things may prove to be a bit problematic. ;)

I hope you're right.

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Well actually my question was more about any potential BENEFIT for the end customer to justify any investment in MQA files or hardware.

 

So far, we all seem to think there is little or none.

 

Stereophile raved about the SQ - if true, that would be a big benefit

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This is quoted from an interview with Jim Hagerman just published on Stereophile.com. Interesting...

 

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

 

JH: 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."

Read more at Industry Profile: Jim Hagerman of Hagerman Audio Labs | Stereophile.com


(MPD/Rigelian), Sonore ultraRendu, Sonore ultraDigital, Ayre QX-5 Twenty, Ayre KX-5 Twenty, Ayre VX-5 Twenty, Revel Ultima Studio2, Iconoclast speaker cables & interconnects, RealTraps acoustic treatments

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Stereophile raved about the SQ - if true, that would be a big benefit

Haven't the studios had the ability to record and re-release better quality recordings already. It's not really a mystery, there is no motivation to do so because most of the buying public do not care.

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Stereophile raved about the SQ - if true, that would be a big benefit

I did some listening comparisons using HQPlayer MQA filter and 2L recordings. I don't know how close is Miskas filter to MQA decoding in MQA certified devices, but my result was: HQPlayer MQA filter with MQA recording may sound better than CD quality non MQA recording, but in comparison with hires FLAC I felt 'missing air', missing resolution.

 

Both Miskas blog and Jim Lesurfs article shows that better resolution and thus better signal quality could be reached with the same bandwith by using hires in ordinary FLAC container.

 

MQA applies some DSP on music content but disallows user to use any other DSP. With MQA you have no change to listen to hires recordings created from real masters and no chance to apply DSP of your choice.

 

MQA is not targeted to audiophiles. MQA is targeted to mainstream audience, which doesn't care about hires audio. MQA streamed content (with $300 Meridian DAC) may sound better than typical streamed content on average gear of that audience. But most probably not in comparison with real hires, mastered from production result and listened on higher quality gear.

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MQA was launched on December 2014. It is now January 2, 2017 so let’s see where MQA is at today.

 

There is closed loop: manufacturers for label owners > label owners for exists devices.

 

In my opinion, main problem of MQA that it is closed standard.

 

I don't see reasons for label owners to wide support the format.

 

May be compatibility with traditional CD only. But there exists competitors - hybrid technologies of CD/DVD.

 

 

 

FLAC give about 40-50% compression and it's free and open source.

 

Currently super compression interesting for movie rather than for audio.

 

 

In the future DRM may be will reworked for modern realities. But currently it is not enough suitable for conscientious end users.


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In my opinion, main problem of MQA that it is closed standard.

 

I don't see reasons for label owners to wide support the format.

 

They (Meridian) already managed to lobby MLP codec to the DVD-Audio/Blu-ray spec. From that perspective it is not much different than for example DTS which is also used on Blu-ray etc. On Blu-ray MLP is under label of Dolby True HD competing with DTS-HD MA. Both are surrounded with by heavy DRM.

 

So I see it as a real danger, and I wouldn't like the DRM stuff to again spread from the video side back to audio. DRM always not only restricts copying but also restricts many legitimate use cases how the content can be used (and MQA at the moment heavily focuses on the latter restriction). This is especially tricky for computers and free/open-source operating systems like Linux. Since I use Linux as my main OS I'm very concerned about DRM related things. There are also various audio hardware products out there that use Linux, like microRendu etc.

 

Dolby Digital at least was an open standard (AC-3 aka ATSC A/52).


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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$40 a month including Standard Tidal service - or $40 per month on top of Standard Tidal ?

 

$40 per month including standard is what is was told.

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MQA is another attempt at the Rent Seekers trying to monopolize a format and I hope it goes down in flames like Divx. With room/speaker correction hardware available today, MQA is a solution for the past. And if truth be told, only a small minority have a system capable of high fidelity.

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With respect to content, it will help put this into perspective if we compare MQA to DSD. Not technically, but the amount of content. You said, "As of today there is no music in the genres 80% of American buy, Rock, R&B/Hip Hop, Pop and Country. Add Latin and EDM and you are at about 9 out of ten people buying music in America have no MQA encoded music to purchase." I believe we could replace the letters MQA with the letters DSD and end up in the same place.

Do you feel the same about DSD as you do MQA, with respect to it being vaporware?

 

*Raises hand.*

 

For my taste there is almost no viable music in any digital format that isn't PCM.


If I am anything, I am a music lover and a pragmatist.

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With respect to content, it will help put this into perspective if we compare MQA to DSD. Not technically, but the amount of content. You said, "As of today there is no music in the genres 80% of American buy, Rock, R&B/Hip Hop, Pop and Country. Add Latin and EDM and you are at about 9 out of ten people buying music in America have no MQA encoded music to purchase." I believe we could replace the letters MQA with the letters DSD and end up in the same place.

Acoustic Sounds lists their DSD Downloads by genre/category. They are indeed listing DSD titles in those categories, and more....

 

DSD Downloads By Genre (28)

=======================

Classical (252)

Jazz (244)

Pop/Rock (88)

Blues (44)

Female Vocalists (22)

Folk Rock (21)

R&B/Soul (12)

World (10)

Soundtrack (6)

Guitar (4)

Easy Listening (4)

Country (4)

Folk (3)

Alternative (3)

Vocals (3)

Organ (3)

Christmas/Holiday (2)

Bluegrass (2)

Blues-Rock (2)

Piano (1)

Metal (1)

Singer/Songwriter (1)

Swing (1)

Male Vocalist (1)

Percussion (1)

Sampler (1)

Zydeco (1)

Latin (1)

 

Vinyl Records, SACDs, DVD Audio, Audiophile Equipment|Acoustic Sounds

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2 ch Setup:

Motorola Modem sb6141> Emo Systems EN-70HD > (5) eero > Synology 1813+ (DSM 6.2), 4TB Seagate NAS Drives, 4GB RAM & Zero Surge & APC XS BX1000G/backup to Synology DX513) > Emo Systems EN-60KDS  > Roon > Mola Mola Tambaqui > BSS BLU 50 > (2) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference

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My main thought about MQA is that in the couple of years they have been trying to get their act together computer audio has progressed further and I wonder if their window of opportunity hasn't passed by already. Now I see them scrambling to try and find a use in today's market for their old tech.

The continuing drop in storage costs does make encoding systems like MQA questionable in value and need.

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And then already long ago removed DRM from the music content in order for the iTunes music store to really take off... :D

 

I have purchased new, non-DRM protected hires Pink Floyd, David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler, etc music content, no MQA either, don't need it.

 

I don't need "authentication", especially because I can already see from the few MQA hires files I have that some are plain upsamples of 44.1k content. I also especially don't need technologies that are designed to prevent things like digital room correction, digital headphone cross-feed/3D processing, etc.

 

Plus, comparing the original non-MQA versions to the decoded MQA versions, one can conclude that it is lossy and really obviously not the original. Even more, without decoder there's quite severe quality degradation.

With 44.1k content, that defeats the original purpose of MQA which was said to offer a way to encode and then decode PCM files recorded at resolutions above 44.1k (88.2k, 96k).

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Does this change any views?

 

Now I'm worried if I don't have a way to avoid MQA streams. I don't want it and I don't need it. Since the only DAC with decoder I have (Meridian) performs especially poorly with MQA content and is not great in other ways either, I don't want the quality degradation compared to RedBook when playing it in "compatibility" way.

 

Maybe it's time to cancel my Tidal subscription. I can get quality degraded streaming for cheaper from Spotify.


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Now I'm worried if I don't have a way to avoid MQA streams. I don't want it and I don't need it. Since the only DAC with decoder I have (Meridian) performs especially poorly with MQA content and is not great in other ways either, I don't want the quality degradation compared to RedBook when playing it in "compatibility" way.

 

Maybe it's time to cancel my Tidal subscription. I can get quality degraded streaming for cheaper from Spotify.

 

I currently don't stream so my trouble with this is that it will insinuate itself into physical media somehow. Is that a possibility or am I guessing?


Jim

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Yes, with 30,000 major label tracks available today, I no longer think MQA is vaporware.

 

maybe not vaporware but undecided on whether it is any good or not....


Jim

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Yes, with 30,000 major label tracks available today, I no longer think MQA is vaporware.

 

Fair enough. I still can't find it in TIDAL using Roon. What am I missing?!?!

 

Screen Shot 2017-01-05 at 11.10.03 AM.png


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Do you feel the same about DSD as you do MQA, with respect to it being vaporware?

 

"

 

Chris, do you know the licensing limitations for a label to encode using MQA? Would be interesting to know. My understanding is that it's not readily available for labels to convert to MQA without spending a lot of money. I could be wrong.

 

The difference as I see it between DSD and MQA are this... DSD is a recording format. MQA is not. Those devoted to DSD recording are probably not soon going to give that up. DSD recording was available long before the downloads were available to consumers.

 

Blue Coast is agnostic when it comes to selling formats of music to customers... we sell what they want to buy... but we're clear when recording that Blue Coast Records uses DSD or analog, no PCM. That's my choice.

 

When we're selling a DSD256 file to a customer from BlueCoastMusic.com or Downloadsnow.net it really is a copy of the master. All other formats are converted from the DSD256 master. Conversions are not perfect copies. The question is... does anyone really care about perfect copies?

 

Based on buying habits of our customers, I would say "no". Most people buy on convenience as to what their DAC is. Still, there are plenty of people who seek the quality of DSD256 even at higher prices.

 

Is there a market for DSD downloads? Right now, yes and it's growing.

 

If your company business model is to grow huge and sell off the company, then catalog size matters. Blue Coast is not looking to compete with the biggest catalog of music, just do the best work we can.

 

We won't be giving up DSD anytime soon. :)

 

Thanks, Chris, for all you do!

Cookie Marenco

Blue Coast Records

Blue Coast Music Group


Cookie Marenco[br]founder and producer[br]Blue Coast Records[br]http://www.bluecoastrecords.com/

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Now I'm worried if I don't have a way to avoid MQA streams. I don't want it and I don't need it. Since the only DAC with decoder I have (Meridian) performs especially poorly with MQA content and is not great in other ways either, I don't want the quality degradation compared to RedBook when playing it in "compatibility" way.

 

Maybe it's time to cancel my Tidal subscription. I can get quality degraded streaming for cheaper from Spotify.

 

For me, this is the biggest thing. I couldn't care less about Tidal offering MQA as long as I can opt out and continue rebook resolution streaming. If I can't switch MQA off, I will cancel even though 95% of my digital listening is via tidal.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

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Yes. I think if they charge $40 a month they will get a subscriber base worldwide numbering in the thousands. Maybe not over 10000 in total. My guess is it will sound a little better than Redbook streaming and almost no one will think it is worth the price. Just as relatively few feel Redbook streaming is worth the additional cost over mp3.

 

$40/month is expensive. Apple charges $15/month for a family of 6 people (each person with 3 devices max).


Let every eye ear negotiate for itself and trust no agent. (Shakespeare)

The things that we love tell us what we are. (Aquinas)

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