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MQA is Vaporware


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25 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

 

 

 

And, you're being told it's a baker's dozen of 13 of the best eggs you've ever tasted. 

 

But there is fungus on them..B| (maybe also in them)

It's been genetically modified by some great audio master minds to be the most perfect fungus you've ever seen or tasted.. 

It's much better than the old fungus codenamed mp3 and it even emits blue light in the dark so that you knew you have to do with the best fungus ever.. x-D

 

What’s true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well.
It helps men to rise above themselves.
 
  ―  Albert Camus, The Plague.

 

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So in less than a week we have had :

 

1, MQA batch conversion of 1000’s of albums loaded into Tidal via Warner’s which consists of 44.1khz files

2, Some replacing existing true lossless CD files this is without any warning to users .

3, Users playlists and albums from Tidal on third party software applications eg Roon messed around with. 
4, The possibility of future supplied FLAC containers to other sites could be holding the same file 

 

Digigeddon has been rebooted, MP3 Mk2 has not gone away,  let’s hope it the last chance attempt and it doesn’t get any further than the boundary walls of Tidal 

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6 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

I'm unable to stream Bowie's Space Oddity from Tidal through Roon in any other than MQA. All versions from 16/44.1 through the fake 24/192 are all MQA. I have the highest level set to HiFI, not MQA in the Roon settings for Tidal as well. It works this way whether I stream to an MQA enabled device or not.


MQA bit depth oddity ....

First let's set a baseline:

To confirm that LMS 8 latest nightly build + squeezelite is passing bitperfect over USB towards the Mytek from my server, I play this 2L.no file:

2L-050_01_stereo_DXD_WAV.mqa.flac

I use the Mytek as a lab tool, not the DAC I listen to, but the indicators are nice to see some info.

When I have the MQA decoder enabled on the Mytek, I see the 24/44.1 distribution file with max 17/88.2 worth of music content being upsampled by MQA to 24/352.8, and this fake resolution is being shown as expected:

image.png.2a382346c01e05fada5a8d331056b8d9.png

When I disable MQA in the Mytek menu, we see the actual distribution file spec:

image.png.f6400c0dc640795d73ddec77cd89131d.png

When I stream MQA content from Tidal, it also shows the MQA dot, which can be either green or blue.

BT's IMA album in MQA, which I also happen to own in redbook on a physical CD, has a green dot:

image.png.03cca8be93e672cd8240d4232f2374fb.png


Now when I play Space Oddity from Tidal which is marked HiRes, it indicates a 24/44.1 file on the Mytek when you set the volume in LMS to let's say 90%, so because the volume applied. So I was first believing LMS pulls a 24/44.1 MQA file from Tidal - but I was probably wrong.

image.thumb.png.edb1a67e56c7f1db5ef80a54a1d973c9.png

With volume applied, which should prevent the MQA instructions being in the correct bit: no MQA dot.

image.png.099860fbe9ab9ac0aeb4be5886b40784.png

Without volume applied, still no MQA dot:

image.png.43688a7110d4bde32ba808b8e699de5b.png


The same happens with regular 16/44.1 redbook.

To explain this technically, here is what happens: USB receiver chipsets such as in the Mytek and many other USB DAC's usually accept 32 bit samples in a format named S32_LE, even though this is not a 32 bit dac - but it just accepts this format, and marketing names this a 32 bit DAC.

The Mytek is smart enough to figure out the actual bit depth.

When playing a local 16/44.1 file ripped from a redbook CD using squeezelite, it will actually play the 16 bits as 32 bit samples, with half the bits blanked:

# cat /proc/asound/card1/pcm0p/sub0/hw_params
access: MMAP_INTERLEAVED
format: S32_LE
subformat: STD
channels: 2
rate: 44100 (44100/1)
period_size: 441
buffer_size: 1764



Now as soon as we are applying volume control in squeezelite via LMS, it will use the 16 extra available bits as volume control.

So suddenly the Mytek sees non-blanked bits, and changes it's display accordingly to 24 bit.
When you decrease the volume in LMS to almost the lowest setting, the mytek will even claim it's 29 bit ....

So in Logitech Media Server 8 + Tidal via the mysqueezebox.com, it seems we are not getting MQA for this particular album, but we get MQA for other albums including the BT IMA example/

I would need to intercept the physical file which LMS pulls over HTTPS from Tidal to confirm what is in the file, but I have reasons to believe that I am not getting the MQA file from LMS - or the Mytek is broken for some 16 bit MQA files.

This is very odd

Designer of the 432 EVO music server and Linux specialist

Discoverer of the independent open source sox based mqa playback method with optional one cycle postringing.

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Update:

I did add the first Space Oddity track to my LMS favorites, which is marked Hi Res in the search results of the LMS Tidal plugin, and has the following wimp url:
 

URL:wimp://68735594.flac

 

I managed to set the LMS Tidal plugin to debug mode, which gave the exact HTTPS URL towards the flac file, when playing it:

[20-11-18 22:44:26.2239] Slim::Plugin::WiMP::ProtocolHandler::new (74) Remote streaming TIDAL track: https://sp-pr-fa.audio.tidal.com/mediatracks/CAEaKRInY2YzNTVkYTJhMWJjZDE2MTcwZTczOTYxNmFkZDg4MDlfNjEubXA0/0.flac?token=CENSORED

I removed the token by CENSORED, not to anger Tidal by posting tokens. These tokens are not one time tokens, they can be reused with a wget.

Now when playing with metaflac --list, I do not see any MQA encoder tags on the file ...

2L-125_stereo-352k-24b_04.mqa.flac would have these tags:

 

METADATA block #0
  type: 0 (STREAMINFO)
  is last: false
  length: 34
  minimum blocksize: 4096 samples
  maximum blocksize: 4096 samples
  minimum framesize: 6392 bytes
  maximum framesize: 19217 bytes
  sample_rate: 44100 Hz
  channels: 2
  bits-per-sample: 24
  total samples: 4311216
  MD5 signature: 1f280edba56b9f48da3cc7fc43a762bf
METADATA block #1
  type: 4 (VORBIS_COMMENT)
  is last: false
  length: 1328
  vendor string: reference libFLAC 1.2.1 20070917
  comments: 25
    comment[0]: ALBUM=REFLECTIONS
    comment[1]: ALBUMARTIST=TrondheimSolistene
    comment[2]: ARTIST=TrondheimSolistene
    comment[3]: BARCODE=7041888521525
    comment[4]: CATALOGNUMBER=2L-125
    comment[5]: COMPOSER=Benjamin Britten
    comment[6]: DATE=2016
    comment[7]: DISCNUMBER=1
    comment[8]: ENCODEDBY=Merging Technologies Album Publishing
    comment[9]: ENCODER=MQAEncode v1.1, 2.1.0+0 (01450a4), DF77A107-A71F-4e57-A322-872C6D0E99C8, Apr 16 2016 08:37:12
    comment[10]: GENRE=Classical
    comment[11]: ISRC=NOMPP1603040
    comment[12]: LABEL=2L
    comment[13]: ORIGINALSAMPLERATE=352800
    comment[14]: TITLE=Frank Bridge Variations: 4. Romance
    comment[15]: TRACKNUMBER=4
    comment[16]: TRACKTOTAL=22
    comment[17]: EAN/UPN=7041888521525
    comment[18]: CONDUCTOR=Øyvind Gimse
    comment[19]: COMMENT=www.2L.no
    comment[20]: DESCRIPTION=Composers reflect their contemporary world and today’s performers mirror our time. The three works on this album all have a high degree of intensity and a strong personal character, as tributes, visions, fantasies, interpretations. As musical reflections they have these qualities in common, but at the same time they are very different works composed by three distinct musical personalities. Passion. Perfection. Raw intensity. With these fundamentals, the chamber orchestra TrondheimSolistene is carving out its own musical images in immersive audio.
    comment[21]: ENGINEER=Morten Lindberg
    comment[22]: PRODUCER=Morten Lindberg
    comment[23]: RECORDINGDATE=June and August 2015, Selbu Church, Norway
    comment[24]: WEBSITE=www.2L.no

 

The space oddity file which I renamed to space.flac, is just 16/44.1:

# file space.flac
space.flac: FLAC audio bitstream data, 16 bit, stereo, 44.1 kHz, 14025156 samples

and there are no MQA tags in the metadata:

 

METADATA block #0
  type: 0 (STREAMINFO)
  is last: false
  length: 34
  minimum blocksize: 4096 samples
  maximum blocksize: 4096 samples
  minimum framesize: 324 bytes
  maximum framesize: 12947 bytes
  sample_rate: 44100 Hz
  channels: 2
  bits-per-sample: 16
  total samples: 14025156
  MD5 signature: a11b8d3b0f90795dfc0fb6b445d8bf7c
METADATA block #1
  type: 3 (SEEKTABLE)
  is last: true
  length: 576
  seek points: 32
    point 0: sample_number=0, stream_offset=0, frame_samples=4096
    point 1: sample_number=442368, stream_offset=659528, frame_samples=4096
    point 2: sample_number=884736, stream_offset=1413363, frame_samples=4096
    point 3: sample_number=1327104, stream_offset=2280046, frame_samples=4096
    point 4: sample_number=1769472, stream_offset=3263244, frame_samples=4096
    point 5: sample_number=2211840, stream_offset=4251427, frame_samples=4096
    point 6: sample_number=2654208, stream_offset=5258889, frame_samples=4096
    point 7: sample_number=3096576, stream_offset=6267173, frame_samples=4096
    point 8: sample_number=3538944, stream_offset=7263149, frame_samples=4096
    point 9: sample_number=3981312, stream_offset=8410359, frame_samples=4096
    point 10: sample_number=4423680, stream_offset=9541287, frame_samples=4096
    point 11: sample_number=4866048, stream_offset=10676135, frame_samples=4096
    point 12: sample_number=5308416, stream_offset=11809304, frame_samples=4096
    point 13: sample_number=5750784, stream_offset=12942652, frame_samples=4096
    point 14: sample_number=6193152, stream_offset=14060283, frame_samples=4096
    point 15: sample_number=6635520, stream_offset=15201642, frame_samples=4096
    point 16: sample_number=7077888, stream_offset=16273076, frame_samples=4096
    point 17: sample_number=7520256, stream_offset=17421150, frame_samples=4096
    point 18: sample_number=7962624, stream_offset=18592348, frame_samples=4096
    point 19: sample_number=8404992, stream_offset=19732288, frame_samples=4096
    point 20: sample_number=8847360, stream_offset=20871567, frame_samples=4096
    point 21: sample_number=9289728, stream_offset=22036490, frame_samples=4096
    point 22: sample_number=9732096, stream_offset=23210415, frame_samples=4096
    point 23: sample_number=10174464, stream_offset=24369317, frame_samples=4096
    point 24: sample_number=10616832, stream_offset=25540808, frame_samples=4096
    point 25: sample_number=11059200, stream_offset=26664388, frame_samples=4096
    point 26: sample_number=11501568, stream_offset=27796314, frame_samples=4096
    point 27: sample_number=11943936, stream_offset=28976408, frame_samples=4096
    point 28: sample_number=12386304, stream_offset=30164692, frame_samples=4096
    point 29: sample_number=12828672, stream_offset=31314853, frame_samples=4096
    point 30: sample_number=13271040, stream_offset=32340440, frame_samples=4096
    point 31: sample_number=13713408, stream_offset=33151082, frame_samples=4096


Now running @mansrmqascan on this file, indicates it's not MQA:

# ./mqascan  /storage/music/flac/space.flac

-> nothing

Running mqascan on a known mqa file:

# ./mqascan  /storage/music/flac/2Lno/Britten\:\ Frank\ Bridge\ Variations\ -\ Romance/*mqa* | head
00000000: MQA signature at bit 8
00000000: [5] datasync
          magic                     36: 0x11319207d
          stream_pos_flag            1: 0
          pad                        1: 1
          orig_rate                  5: 0x03 [352.8 kHz]
          src_rate                   5: 0x00 [44.1 kHz]
          render_filter              5: 4
          unknown_1                  2: 0
          render_bitdepth            2: 2 [16 bits]



So for LMS, we have the opposite situation: search results do indicate Hi Res (aka MQA), but depending on the album you are either getting MQA or no MQA.

Which now proves the files have not disappeared from Tidal, but the search results are fuzzy?


 

Designer of the 432 EVO music server and Linux specialist

Discoverer of the independent open source sox based mqa playback method with optional one cycle postringing.

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57 minutes ago, FredericV said:

Update:

I did add the first Space Oddity track to my LMS favorites, which is marked Hi Res in the search results of the LMS Tidal plugin, and has the following wimp url:
 

URL:wimp://68735594.flac

 

I managed to set the LMS Tidal plugin to debug mode, which gave the exact HTTPS URL towards the flac file, when playing it:

[20-11-18 22:44:26.2239] Slim::Plugin::WiMP::ProtocolHandler::new (74) Remote streaming TIDAL track: https://sp-pr-fa.audio.tidal.com/mediatracks/CAEaKRInY2YzNTVkYTJhMWJjZDE2MTcwZTczOTYxNmFkZDg4MDlfNjEubXA0/0.flac?token=CENSORED

I removed the token by CENSORED, not to anger Tidal by posting tokens. These tokens are not one time tokens, they can be reused with a wget.

Now when playing with metaflac --list, I do not see any MQA encoder tags on the file ...

2L-125_stereo-352k-24b_04.mqa.flac would have these tags:

 

METADATA block #0
  type: 0 (STREAMINFO)
  is last: false
  length: 34
  minimum blocksize: 4096 samples
  maximum blocksize: 4096 samples
  minimum framesize: 6392 bytes
  maximum framesize: 19217 bytes
  sample_rate: 44100 Hz
  channels: 2
  bits-per-sample: 24
  total samples: 4311216
  MD5 signature: 1f280edba56b9f48da3cc7fc43a762bf
METADATA block #1
  type: 4 (VORBIS_COMMENT)
  is last: false
  length: 1328
  vendor string: reference libFLAC 1.2.1 20070917
  comments: 25
    comment[0]: ALBUM=REFLECTIONS
    comment[1]: ALBUMARTIST=TrondheimSolistene
    comment[2]: ARTIST=TrondheimSolistene
    comment[3]: BARCODE=7041888521525
    comment[4]: CATALOGNUMBER=2L-125
    comment[5]: COMPOSER=Benjamin Britten
    comment[6]: DATE=2016
    comment[7]: DISCNUMBER=1
    comment[8]: ENCODEDBY=Merging Technologies Album Publishing
    comment[9]: ENCODER=MQAEncode v1.1, 2.1.0+0 (01450a4), DF77A107-A71F-4e57-A322-872C6D0E99C8, Apr 16 2016 08:37:12
    comment[10]: GENRE=Classical
    comment[11]: ISRC=NOMPP1603040
    comment[12]: LABEL=2L
    comment[13]: ORIGINALSAMPLERATE=352800
    comment[14]: TITLE=Frank Bridge Variations: 4. Romance
    comment[15]: TRACKNUMBER=4
    comment[16]: TRACKTOTAL=22
    comment[17]: EAN/UPN=7041888521525
    comment[18]: CONDUCTOR=Øyvind Gimse
    comment[19]: COMMENT=www.2L.no
    comment[20]: DESCRIPTION=Composers reflect their contemporary world and today’s performers mirror our time. The three works on this album all have a high degree of intensity and a strong personal character, as tributes, visions, fantasies, interpretations. As musical reflections they have these qualities in common, but at the same time they are very different works composed by three distinct musical personalities. Passion. Perfection. Raw intensity. With these fundamentals, the chamber orchestra TrondheimSolistene is carving out its own musical images in immersive audio.
    comment[21]: ENGINEER=Morten Lindberg
    comment[22]: PRODUCER=Morten Lindberg
    comment[23]: RECORDINGDATE=June and August 2015, Selbu Church, Norway
    comment[24]: WEBSITE=www.2L.no

 

The space oddity file which I renamed to space.flac, is just 16/44.1:

# file space.flac
space.flac: FLAC audio bitstream data, 16 bit, stereo, 44.1 kHz, 14025156 samples

and there are no MQA tags in the metadata:

 

METADATA block #0
  type: 0 (STREAMINFO)
  is last: false
  length: 34
  minimum blocksize: 4096 samples
  maximum blocksize: 4096 samples
  minimum framesize: 324 bytes
  maximum framesize: 12947 bytes
  sample_rate: 44100 Hz
  channels: 2
  bits-per-sample: 16
  total samples: 14025156
  MD5 signature: a11b8d3b0f90795dfc0fb6b445d8bf7c
METADATA block #1
  type: 3 (SEEKTABLE)
  is last: true
  length: 576
  seek points: 32
    point 0: sample_number=0, stream_offset=0, frame_samples=4096
    point 1: sample_number=442368, stream_offset=659528, frame_samples=4096
    point 2: sample_number=884736, stream_offset=1413363, frame_samples=4096
    point 3: sample_number=1327104, stream_offset=2280046, frame_samples=4096
    point 4: sample_number=1769472, stream_offset=3263244, frame_samples=4096
    point 5: sample_number=2211840, stream_offset=4251427, frame_samples=4096
    point 6: sample_number=2654208, stream_offset=5258889, frame_samples=4096
    point 7: sample_number=3096576, stream_offset=6267173, frame_samples=4096
    point 8: sample_number=3538944, stream_offset=7263149, frame_samples=4096
    point 9: sample_number=3981312, stream_offset=8410359, frame_samples=4096
    point 10: sample_number=4423680, stream_offset=9541287, frame_samples=4096
    point 11: sample_number=4866048, stream_offset=10676135, frame_samples=4096
    point 12: sample_number=5308416, stream_offset=11809304, frame_samples=4096
    point 13: sample_number=5750784, stream_offset=12942652, frame_samples=4096
    point 14: sample_number=6193152, stream_offset=14060283, frame_samples=4096
    point 15: sample_number=6635520, stream_offset=15201642, frame_samples=4096
    point 16: sample_number=7077888, stream_offset=16273076, frame_samples=4096
    point 17: sample_number=7520256, stream_offset=17421150, frame_samples=4096
    point 18: sample_number=7962624, stream_offset=18592348, frame_samples=4096
    point 19: sample_number=8404992, stream_offset=19732288, frame_samples=4096
    point 20: sample_number=8847360, stream_offset=20871567, frame_samples=4096
    point 21: sample_number=9289728, stream_offset=22036490, frame_samples=4096
    point 22: sample_number=9732096, stream_offset=23210415, frame_samples=4096
    point 23: sample_number=10174464, stream_offset=24369317, frame_samples=4096
    point 24: sample_number=10616832, stream_offset=25540808, frame_samples=4096
    point 25: sample_number=11059200, stream_offset=26664388, frame_samples=4096
    point 26: sample_number=11501568, stream_offset=27796314, frame_samples=4096
    point 27: sample_number=11943936, stream_offset=28976408, frame_samples=4096
    point 28: sample_number=12386304, stream_offset=30164692, frame_samples=4096
    point 29: sample_number=12828672, stream_offset=31314853, frame_samples=4096
    point 30: sample_number=13271040, stream_offset=32340440, frame_samples=4096
    point 31: sample_number=13713408, stream_offset=33151082, frame_samples=4096


Now running @mansrmqascan on this file, indicates it's not MQA:

# ./mqascan  /storage/music/flac/space.flac

-> nothing

Running mqascan on a known mqa file:

# ./mqascan  /storage/music/flac/2Lno/Britten\:\ Frank\ Bridge\ Variations\ -\ Romance/*mqa* | head
00000000: MQA signature at bit 8
00000000: [5] datasync
          magic                     36: 0x11319207d
          stream_pos_flag            1: 0
          pad                        1: 1
          orig_rate                  5: 0x03 [352.8 kHz]
          src_rate                   5: 0x00 [44.1 kHz]
          render_filter              5: 4
          unknown_1                  2: 0
          render_bitdepth            2: 2 [16 bits]



So for LMS, we have the opposite situation: search results do indicate Hi Res (aka MQA), but depending on the album you are either getting MQA or no MQA.

Which now proves the files have not disappeared from Tidal, but the search results are fuzzy?


 

Is LMS using the newest Tidal API? If so, you won’t get MQA files unless you pay the piper. LMS isn’t MQA certified. 

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18 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Is LMS using the newest Tidal API? If so, you won’t get MQA files unless you pay the piper. LMS isn’t MQA certified. 


LMS is now using a lot of HTTPS calls for Tidal, and they also have a new auth system.

They had to change a lot to comply, and they further reduced access to Tidal via their mysqueezebox.com platform to LMS 8 versions. So all music servers with LMS 7.9.X and older are now blocked.

I did some traffic analysis and the endpoints no longer pull the files directly from tidal, where LMS points them to some HTTP URL (which are very easy to intercept), but instead since LMS 8 they connect to LMS via your home LAN and then LMS makes the HTTPS connection to Tidal's CDN. In a way, it's a kind of proxy.

While this is more secure and Tidal URL's are much more difficult to intercept on the internet, it won't stop those who really want to look at the code or logs. In my case it was to verify what file was being pulled from Tidal.

Long topic about the changes:

https://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?112300-Attention-TIDAL-users-changes-ahead!

LMS does not show if a file is MQA or not, so while it can passthrough MQA files, it does not know anything about them. I'm not even sure open source packages such as LMS do want to embrace MQA.

Designer of the 432 EVO music server and Linux specialist

Discoverer of the independent open source sox based mqa playback method with optional one cycle postringing.

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This is a critical moment in music.  If this scheme is implemented, you will not have a choice.  MQA will control the distribution of music.  Independent music producers are being pressured, like in the bad old days.

If you want the freedom to choose in the future, this scheme must be rejected.

Boycott Warner

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On 11/17/2020 at 2:38 PM, Tintinabulum said:

I pay tax for things I never benefit from every day. Nothing new there. 

 

This is like saying I want a bad product so I will pay more for it. Oh, wait we do it every day. Look at the safety regs on large SUV's compared to cars. Large SUV's do not have to follow the same crash tests and safety regs that cars do, hence why companies, like Ford, are just making SUV's - less development money needed and more profit for them because people think larger cars are safer, and that is not true.

Current:  JRiver 26 on Win 10 PC (AMD Ryzen 5 2600 with 32 GB RAM) or Daphile on an AMD A10-5700 with 8 GB RAM

DAC - TEAC UD-501 DAC 

Amplification - Bow Technologies Wazoo Integrated (great amp - silly name)

Speakers: Wharfedale Linton Heritage - KEF LS50 - ELAC unifi UB5's - Linn Tukans - others......

Cables: Tara Labs RCS Reference speaker cables and DiMarzio Interconnects

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3 hours ago, UkPhil said:

 

Do you think Becky is just an airhead being manipulated or do you think she is just doing what she is told.  Is there actually a Becky?

Boycott Warner

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Seems like there is a generation or two that is incapable of critical thinking.  Whatever is on their computer screen is their belief.

 

We have an operating system that tracks your every move and reports back to the mother ship.  Ostensibly so that they can create a better computer experience for you.

We have a major search engine that tracks your every move.

We have shopping sites and video sites that track your every move so that they can provide buy lists and play lists.

 

And when MQA tells people that it is a better product, there are people that actually believe it.  MQA is telling people that their end product is better than the original that is stored in the vault. AND PEOPLE ACTUALLY BELIEVE IT!

The reality is that no one would ever think of archiving their music on MQA.

 

Apparently Warner and MQA believe that they have enough control that they can dictate to the music consumer how they will listen to music.

Boycott Warner

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