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MQA is Vaporware


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Every time I see a MQA fanboy bring back a point that has been refuted over and over, I think of that scene in Monty Python's Holy Grail. The scene with the Black Knight on the ground with no arms and legs calling for Arthur to come back and fight.

 

MQA has no arms and legs.

Boycott Warner

Boycott Tidal

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13 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

I noticed that the above link was mentioned in the latest eddition of Hi-Fi News and Record Review:

(A link to the full review & measurements can be found on Auralic's website, if anyone happens to be interestd)

 

image.png.70009fddc6a66ef387ef8ac331962170.png

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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https://hsm.utimaco.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/MQA-Case-Study_vfinal_DIN-A4.pdf
 

The motivation: improving the user experience while authenticating the artist’s work
MQA has chosen Utimaco to enable their revolutionary technology that delivers master quality audio in a file that is small enough to stream or download. MQA music guarantees the highest recording quality, as well as the provenance of the file. Utimaco’s role was to provide the hardware backend – the root of trust – in which the cryptographic keys, which are used to sign MQA audio streams, are generated and stored.“

 

The solution: authentication to prove provenance and identify master recordings
To ensure the integrity of the artist’s music from the original source to the end listener, MQA needed a solution for securely signing the music file, to ensure cryptographically that what the listener hears is what the artist approved. Authentication is critical to MQA technology, which must work end-to-end, from the studio all the way to the music fan. An advanced cryptographic solution was the best option to verify the musical file. MQA turned to Utimaco, a leading manufacturer of hardware-based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and authenticate high value data assets.”


Reading the pdf, and we have prove from both Dr. Axis and Niel Young, that they never signed anything, I would expect no artists ever signed anything.

It’s scary reading this pdf, when we know what is being stated, can’t be correct. 


The implementation: hardware to authenticate the end-to-end process of music
recording

In the case of MQA, the Utimaco hardware module will be deployed at the encoding house, as well as at the mastering house where the mastering engineers finalize the product. Once the master recording is finalized, the artist and sound engineers sign off on the musical file and when it is downloaded to the decoder – the user’s playback device – an indicator lights up (e.g. an LED on hardware or an icon on-screen) as proof of the file’s provenance and to ensure that the sound is identical to that of the source material. Only by controlling this entire process can the optimal MQA performance be achieved; with Utimaco’s flexible solution, the integrity of the artist’s master recording can be maintained all the way from the studio to the listener.”

 

Find me a sound engineer that has signed, or artist 😀

(And who signed for the dead artist).
And a studio with the hardware module implemented. 
 

In addition there is a requirement to use the hardware module 2 places. As Chris has said, the encoding house is in the cloud. 

It’s very unclear how an artist can have an unique digital key that really only belong to him/her/the band. 
Here in Norway we have digital keys implemented in SIM cards. It’s used by banks and credit cards companies, as well as digital communications with official departments etc. 
You can read about it here

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42 minutes ago, R1200CL said:

https://hsm.utimaco.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/MQA-Case-Study_vfinal_DIN-A4.pdf
 

The motivation: improving the user experience while authenticating the artist’s work
MQA has chosen Utimaco to enable their revolutionary technology that delivers master quality audio in a file that is small enough to stream or download. MQA music guarantees the highest recording quality, as well as the provenance of the file. Utimaco’s role was to provide the hardware backend – the root of trust – in which the cryptographic keys, which are used to sign MQA audio streams, are generated and stored.“

 

The solution: authentication to prove provenance and identify master recordings
To ensure the integrity of the artist’s music from the original source to the end listener, MQA needed a solution for securely signing the music file, to ensure cryptographically that what the listener hears is what the artist approved. Authentication is critical to MQA technology, which must work end-to-end, from the studio all the way to the music fan. An advanced cryptographic solution was the best option to verify the musical file. MQA turned to Utimaco, a leading manufacturer of hardware-based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and authenticate high value data assets.”


Reading the pdf, and we have prove from both Dr. Axis and Niel Young, that they never signed anything, I would expect no artists ever signed anything.

It’s scary reading this pdf, when we know what is being stated, can’t be correct. 


The implementation: hardware to authenticate the end-to-end process of music
recording

In the case of MQA, the Utimaco hardware module will be deployed at the encoding house, as well as at the mastering house where the mastering engineers finalize the product. Once the master recording is finalized, the artist and sound engineers sign off on the musical file and when it is downloaded to the decoder – the user’s playback device – an indicator lights up (e.g. an LED on hardware or an icon on-screen) as proof of the file’s provenance and to ensure that the sound is identical to that of the source material. Only by controlling this entire process can the optimal MQA performance be achieved; with Utimaco’s flexible solution, the integrity of the artist’s master recording can be maintained all the way from the studio to the listener.”

 

Find me a sound engineer that has signed, or artist 😀

(And who signed for the dead artist).
And a studio with the hardware module implemented. 
 

In addition there is a requirement to use the hardware module 2 places. As Chris has said, the encoding house is in the cloud. 

It’s very unclear how an artist can have an unique digital key that really only belong to him/her/the band. 
Here in Norway we have digital keys implemented in SIM cards. It’s used by banks and credit cards companies, as well as digital communications with official departments etc. 
You can read about it here
 

 

 

 

The majority of files are not classed as MQA Studio (Blue) no approval just batch converted so it’s all just marketing BS, those 16bit files are just upsampled with an apodizing filter selected maybe those keys are potentially there to downgrade the sound of the file in the future so you have to buy into the hardware to get the pseudo lossless version 

Maybe MQA’s long term goal is to have just one file for everybody 

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Some of you has debated DRM. 
 

  • In digital broadcasting, streaming applications require continuous encryption and decryption in real time to ensure content cannot be compromised in transit. A conditional access system (CSA) protects this content by ensuring that certain criteria are fulfilled before allowing access to a film or series. Each segment of the data stream must be encrypted, using a continuously changing “control word”, which itself is encrypted. Keys must be generated and sent ahead of the content. This “unlocks” the next content section (with a permission to decrypt the control word). To provide a seamless experience, latency must be addressed and HSMs are the appropriate high-performance tool to do so. In fact, they quickly generate high-quality keys, store them and use them to secure the related data transfers.
  • True random number generation (RNG) is essential for providing strong encryption keys.
  • A company should set up user identification and authentication to access files and folders. As a result, users only get access to the (part of the) network – production & broadcasting and/or office – they need. The user ID can be part of a public key infrastructure (PKI). A PKI provides digital identities to each user in the network. The related cryptographic keys are stored inside an HSM for maximum security. 2-factor-authentication and strong passwords (one-time passwords, OTP) complement the secure access.

https://hsm.utimaco.com/solutions/industries/media-entertainment/
 

MQA with chosen technology obviously has the option to incorporate a horrible future scenario.

I understand why some like to own their files, and don’t trust any cloud service.

 

I wouldn’t be surprised if future AV products and phones gets iOT chips added that can be used to unlock access to files/apps/services. (LG has developed iOT chips using this company solutions). 

 

MQA requires a chip in your DAC even today. 
 

From a white paper on their site:

The blockchain has also found its way into industries that one might not consider at first thought, like media, marketing, travel, and even music streaming.

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Nice to see Arcams Amps with bullt in ESS chipset DAC’s give you the ability to sound like MQA without having to buy into the proprietary design, looks like the bottle is emptying of their special sauce 😉

 

“Apodizing (SA20 default) – A compromise between phase, frequency response and ringing. Its main advantage is that it removes most of the ringing
that has been introduced upstream in the recording process when the original material was recorded and mastered.”

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  • 2 weeks later...

At this point I have to wonder if MQA was a benefit or a detriment to Tidal Music.

 I have to wonder if getting in bed with the South African Financiers of MQA was a benefit or a detriment for Jay Z.

I have to wonder if drinking the contaminated brandy was a benefit or a detriment for Jay Z.

Boycott Warner

Boycott Tidal

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