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MQA is Vaporware

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Is it me, or is that Stereophile article that comment quote was taken from, full of numerous contradictions? One moment it seems to be about preserving stuff just above the audioband, then it seems to go back and forth from what is preserved being lossless or lossy.

 

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But I've recorded and analyzed—or tried to—dozens of MQA files, and have noticed few patterns. I've likely encountered most of MQA's 2000+ encapsulation algorithms [...]

 

Hundreds of dozens? 

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"....I’m not saying they’re all crooked, I’m not saying they’re all criminals, but they’re all trying to do the same thing — they’re trying to sell you on a story, to get you to buy into their narrative...."

 

https://ideas.ted.com/dont-get-fooled-or-conned-again-here-are-the-5-tactics-to-look-out-for/?utm_source=pocket-newtab

 

 

 

Edited by The Computer Audiophile
Added video.

Hey MQA, if it is not all $voodoo$, show us the math!

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34 minutes ago, Dr Tone said:

Now more extensive provenance is the big thing coming from MQA according to Danny from Roon.

 

https://community.roonlabs.com/t/provenance-and-mqa/83875

 

After all of the other outright lies and misrepresentations made by MQA (and parroted by the mainstream media), why would anyone be willing to take their word for it regarding claims of enhanced effort regarding provenance assurance that could then somehow be tied to their BS authentication claim?

 

So Roon's COO is recycling the old authentication story but with provenance added, shall we go all-in and suggest there has been white glove treatment en masse but the "pipeline limitations" at the labels have merely slowed the rollout? 

 

Or are we talking about that hamburger batch processor in the cloud churning out loads of garbage?

 

So now BS is the great protector of provenance, and along with the labels and actual demand by the artists, the poor unwashed masses will finally be saved.

 

I have a bridge for sale, it's in Brooklyn, and it generates toll revenue.

 

 


no-mqa-sm.jpg

 

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I will note this isn’t the first time MQA Ltd has used a term with a generally accepted different meaning to us, and used it with a twist. 
 

MQA’s use of the term provenance is quite different from audiophiles’ understanding. 
 

We’ve always known it to mean a 44.1 master is delivered as a 44.1 file etc... It’s meant to keep the labels honest. 
 

Now MQA is using it to give the labels an out. If they upsample a 44.1 master to 96kHz it will illuminate a blue “provenance” light. 
 

 


Founder of Audiophile Style

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46 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

I will note this isn’t the first time MQA Ltd has used a term with a generally accepted different meaning to us, and used it with a twist. 
 

MQA’s use of the term provenance is quite different from audiophiles’ understanding. 
 

We’ve always known it to mean a 44.1 master is delivered as a 44.1 file etc... It’s meant to keep the labels honest. 
 

Now MQA is using it to give the labels an out. If they upsample a 44.1 master to 96kHz it will illuminate a blue “provenance” light. 
 

 

 

The labels also have a shoddy track record with regard to older recordings on analog tape. There the provenance issue goes back somewhat further still, tape source questions that the labels intentionally dodged early on with their legal disclaimer printed on nearly every disc booklet/case back:

 

816358950_CDdisclaimer.thumb.jpg.30765493ef41e429a9b2efc86a756749.jpg 

 

They made little or no attempt to authenticate anything from the get-go with digital, but now suddenly through the miracle of MQA, the labels will turn over a new leaf and work directly with the content producers to ensure proper end-to-end "authentication"?

 

Failing that, which record label staff will be choosing which existing digital transfers to feed the hamburger batch encoder?


no-mqa-sm.jpg

 

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10 minutes ago, MikeyFresh said:

 

816358950_CDdisclaimer.thumb.jpg.30765493ef41e429a9b2efc86a756749.jpg 

 

 


 

Oh wow, I forgot about that disclaimer. It’s pretty rich. I feel like diving into all the possibilities of that disclaimer could consume an entire thread. 
 

So tape isn’t very good?

overstating the quality of early CD?

etc...

Nobody would be happy in the end 😀


Founder of Audiophile Style

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24 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:


 

Oh wow, I forgot about that disclaimer. It’s pretty rich. I feel like diving into all the possibilities of that disclaimer could consume an entire thread. 
 

So tape isn’t very good?

overstating the quality of early CD?

etc...

Nobody would be happy in the end 😀

 

And don't forget that a number of the early CD's sounded terrible because analog recordings were converted directly to digital from tapes created with RIAA equalization for vinyl. IOW, the lows were attenuated and the highs boosted on playback because the reverse equalization process that takes place on vinyl playback was not applied.


"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted"- William Bruce Cameron

 

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45 minutes ago, Allan F said:

 

And don't forget that a number of the early CD's sounded terrible because analog recordings were converted directly to digital from tapes created with RIAA equalization for vinyl. IOW, the lows were attenuated and the highs boosted on playback because the reverse equalization process that takes place on vinyl playback was not applied.

Actually, the analog recordings were not DolbyA decoded before creating the digital master used to produce the CD.  That is, many (if not most) early CDs and even more recently are just equalized copies of a DolbyA master without proper DolbyA decoding.  That means that many/most pop CDs of earlier material have between 10-15dB of HF compression and 10dB of LF compression.  Usually, there isn't all that much active compression going on between 100Hz and 2-3kHz.

 

Summing it up - many CDs of material created till approx 1990 are a technical mess.

 

John

 

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1 hour ago, Allan F said:

 

And don't forget that a number of the early CD's sounded terrible because analog recordings were converted directly to digital from tapes created with RIAA equalization for vinyl. IOW, the lows were attenuated and the highs boosted on playback because the reverse equalization process that takes place on vinyl playback was not applied.

 

Hi Allan

 You are correct with that statement. This also happened with some CD pressings made by HMV at Homebush in Sydney.

 I was one of those who actually contacted HMV by mail to complain about this.

 In typical Record Company fashion though , they didn't even acknowledge receipt of these complaints .

Regards

Alex


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

 

PROFILE UPDATED 18-06-2019

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1 hour ago, fas42 said:

 

Are we really, really sure about that? ... On reading a few conversations elsewhere, what happens is that EQ is applied to the tape used for the mastering session, to suit the vinyl medium - but the RIAA curve is a completely different thing, and is only brought into play in the chain used in the actual cutting session; it never exists on a tape format.

Actually, I agree with you on this -- RIAA is part of the vinyl creation process.  There is no reason for RIAA to be involved with the 2trk master itself (as I have some and know what they are like.)   In fact, RIAA would mess up some aspects of a master tape.  There MIGHT be an interim tape that has RIAA on it, even though I don't know a good reason for it.

On the other hand, there might be some small amount of EQ on a master tape based on the assumption that the traget was historically vinyl, but even then -- the LF rolloff and the HF limiting only needs to reside in the vinyl master creation itself.

 

John

 

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2 hours ago, John Dyson said:

Actually, I agree with you on this -- RIAA is part of the vinyl creation process.  There is no reason for RIAA to be involved with the 2trk master itself (as I have some and know what they are like.)   In fact, RIAA would mess up some aspects of a master tape.  There MIGHT be an interim tape that has RIAA on it, even though I don't know a good reason for it.

On the other hand, there might be some small amount of EQ on a master tape based on the assumption that the traget was historically vinyl, but even then -- the LF rolloff and the HF limiting only needs to reside in the vinyl master creation itself.

 

John

 

 

The plates used to press records had a life span.  If a record was popular and sold millions there would of course been multiple pressings.  There were Masters ( sub Masters? ) used to make new plates.  I don't know if the RIAA equalization was part of these sub Masters.  I do know that in the past I have run some of my CD's through a RIAA filter and they seemed to have sounded more natural.  This led me to believe that some CD's were pressed with RIAA equalization.

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7 minutes ago, NoisyNarrowBandDevice said:

 

Provenance is a smart move. Reading the tea-leaves they might try to shift the MQA-narrative from audio-quality to artist-approved files/streams.

 

This could allow for a number of marketing and licensing options for music: artist approved streaming exclusives (price differentiation), authorized bootlegs, higher-quality masters etc.

 

Once you manage to establish "provenance" as a valid term in the music context you have an interesting marketing tool at hand. Of course the concept of provenance is highly questionable to anybody familiar with the realities of audio production. But fans do strive for authentic experiences and a connection to the artist. Artist strive for control - just look at Madame Swift and her recent moves on Twitter.

 

"Provenance" is where both desires meet.

 

Of course this reveals ever more clearly that MQA is about rights-management (yes with a big D) rather than audio-quality. But I don't expect for anybody outside of our bubble to notice.

I agree 100% with what you say, but why are so many people so fastidious about 'accuracy' or 'provenance', when the version being distributed is so very messed up anyway?  I don't understand worring about 0.1dB of frequency response and 0.001% distortion when the gain/frequency response is flopping all over the place (like flopping at 10-15dB at freq above 3kHz)  on un-decoded material anyway?

Some kinds of material are properly processed, but I even have a classical CD or two, both aren't decoded either.  This problem is not only a pop-music issue.

 

If I could only produce a more automatic decoder with a nice GUI (I'd do it for almost free if I could), so that people could hear what was actually recorded instead of the mess that is on the CDs.

 

John

 

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