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MQA is Vaporware


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11 minutes ago, kumakuma said:

Never heard this expression before. Thanks for sharing.

Me neither, very interesting indeed.

 

23 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

This comes to mind. 
 

Sealioning

That would surely seem to be one of the tactics employed by the MQA adherents.

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Boycott TIDAL

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3 hours ago, Archimago said:

 

How do you know "they've successfully identified" anything?! Is that any different from 320kbps MP3 also "successfully identified" all the content that's inaudible such that in fact in blind tests, most people would not be able to tell a difference?

 

Since MQA-CD is not hi-res or even equivalent to 16/44.1 resolution, the real choice for physical media is actually between CD and vinyl these days for many albums. SACD releases are rather few if you're into new music.

 

If we ever lose the choice of just a standard unmolested CD and only have MQA-CD releases, that would be a rather tragic situation. And one that anti-MQA folks have been warning about since the beginning.

 

 

Show me ONE example of a MQA-CD that has "lossless-like performance up to 96 kHz". If you honestly think this is factually true, you obviously do not know what you're talking about.

 

The difference between undecoded MQA-CD and decoded MQA-CD was shown here years ago:

MUSINGS: On DRM, MQA, the (supposed) Techno-Libertarian opposition, and Honesty... [Plus a quick look at MQA-CD]

As completely predictable, MQA-CD does not actually decode anything of value beyond 22.1kHz (much less up to 96kHz). There's not enough bits to encode even lossy content. All it did was use the poor filters to allow imaging distortion to seep past Nyquist to make it look like there might be something up there in the so-called "rendering" process. Cough... Cough... Scam... Cough...

 

 

What's happening to the sound is simply a good remastering process at best (Radka Toneff's Fairytales might be such an example), and distortion added to the encoding at worst. Nothing here that a 16/44.1 RedBook CD could not achieve with a good playback DAC that doesn't bow to MQA's filter dictates.

 

As for time-domain "correction". First, there is simply no need anyways since standard 16/44.1 resolution already has 110ps resolution. Whether MQA encoding is actually capable of improving time-domain performance then is academic, and even there we cannot get answers from MQA themselves.

 

To believe that 16/44.1 is incapable of complete, perceptually "perfect", time-domain performance for human hearing (when properly decoded with a good DAC of course) is an extraordinary claim. To use a fun analogy, it's like saying that all of us music lovers/audiophiles living in this community did not notice for all these years that in fact Bigfoot has been prowling around our neighbourhood and he's causing us troubles; that's why we don't "love" the neighbourhood as much as we should! Apparently, MQA claims to have captured Bigfoot and even figured out how to "fix" him from causing troubles for us all! :-)

 

As a skeptical paranormal investigator, all I see at best is a system that ultimately is a type of 24-bit 44.1/48kHz PCM-compatible data format with some instructions for a proprietary lossy decode that results in 96kHz PCM output, noise shaping, and dithering. And a "rendering" process that plays with different types of malformed filters with impulse responses as demonstrated here to upsample stuff to 176.4/192+kHz. [At worst, it looks like 16/44.1 MQA-CD that wasted at least one of our bits in the 16-bit data and still used those malformed filters in playback!]

 

Notice that NONE of these impulse responses show linear phase behaviour. So by definition, we are looking at phase shifts (time-domain anomalies) being introduced into the playback in the "rendering" process. How MQA then achieve even better time-domain performance out of doing this is a mystery that MQA (aka the "Bigfoot fixers") will need to provide evidence for.

 

For years, all I've seen from MQA are badly degraded bear/deer/moose/mountain goat footprints in the snow. But MQA and folks like Peter Veth among the neighborhood still insist that Bigfoot has in fact been caught and "fixed"!!! Yet they refuse to even release a high-res photo of Bigfoot much less a strand of hair for DNA analysis! I think they're just wishing that the skeptical paranormal investigators would give up at this point...

 

"MQA-CD is going to be the only high-res format available" - Again, MQA-CD is not hi-resolution. By definition it cannot be. I don't know why you don't seem to (or want to?) understand this.


Thank you for linking to your post. It looks like not decoding/“unfolding” MQA CDs allows for using a steep linear filter, thereby avoiding aliasing (and phase issues).


What I’d like to know is what differences exist between the same mastering in Redbook versus undecoded/“unfolded” MQA CD? How much resolution are we losing?

 

Are there any MQA CDs out there that also exist in a Redbook version so that this can be compared?

 

Right now, I’m just disturbed and frustrated that there are some really good masterings of Steely Dan, Dire Straits, and a few other artists I like that seem to only exist on MQA CDs. 
 

I have an MQA CD of Donald Fagen’s Nightfly coming in for one of my TBVO columns, and I believe it’s from an existing mastering. The question is whether it’s a mastering that’s been released on Redbook CD to allow for a comparison. We shall see...

 

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If you want the best mastered recording, then you should get the best mastered recording.

MQA is a lossy format. The original recording will be damaged.

It is utterly ridiculous to remaster a recording and then damage it by applying MQA.

Boycott Warner

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17 minutes ago, KeenObserver said:

If you are accepting a MQA recording as the best that can be had, then you are accepting the contaminated brandy.

So very true. 

The Truth Is Out There

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9 hours ago, JoshM said:

Are there any MQA CDs out there that also exist in a Redbook version so that this can be compared?

 

Yes - there are some free individual track downloads that you can compare (as well as 'standard' hi-res MQA & other formats/resolutions), available from 2L's hi-res test bench:

http://www.2l.no/hires/index.html

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On 2/8/2021 at 9:26 AM, Cebolla said:

 

Yes - there are some free individual track downloads that you can compare (as well as 'standard' hi-res MQA & other formats/resolutions), available from 2L's hi-res test bench:

http://www.2l.no/hires/index.html

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Very interesting. I’m going to have to investigate these in @pkane2001’s software and some other tools.

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On 2/8/2021 at 9:01 AM, KeenObserver said:

If you are accepting a MQA recording as the best that can be had, then you are accepting the contaminated brandy.


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What happens when the only version of a mastering is an MQA version? It’s a horrible reality. 

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5 hours ago, JoshM said:


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What happens when the only version of a mastering is an MQA version? It’s a horrible reality. 

Typically that’s what’s happening with Tidal, let’s hope it doesn’t migrate anywhere else 

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7 hours ago, UkPhil said:

Typically that’s what’s happening with Tidal, let’s hope it doesn’t migrate anywhere else 

 

Well, if I was ever considering subscribing to Tidal, I certainly would not be considering it now!

 

And I certainly would be cancelling my subscription to Tidal now!

 

I simply refuse the contaminated brandy!

Boycott Warner

Boycott Tidal

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On 2/10/2021 at 10:43 AM, KeenObserver said:

 

Well, if I was ever considering subscribing to Tidal, I certainly would not be considering it now!

 

And I certainly would be cancelling my subscription to Tidal now!

 

I simply refuse the contaminated brandy!

Good luck trying to "cancel" Tidal. I  "cancelled" my subscription in July of 2019. Suddenly last Friday, I see a PayPal notification that "I had sent a payment to Tidal".  Huh?? Contacted Tidal support and explained what happened. It took till Wednesday for a reply, and of course, they take no responsibility, just referring me to their TOS, claiming someone must have had unauthorized access to my account. And of course a refund wasn't going to come from them.  And here I thought "cancel" meant "cancel". Maybe this is SOP for streaming services, but wouldn't it make sense to at least send an email requiring confirmation of account reactivation before charging the account? Or how about just requiring re-registration to reactivate an account? 

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25 minutes ago, jmsent said:

but wouldn't it make sense to at least send an email requiring confirmation of account reactivation before charging the account?

How about an email confirming online cancellation of the account? I was left guessing.
 

I quit Tidal Christmas day and so far, so good, but I'm checking CC bill for Tidal for a while. Sorry for your pain...

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13 minutes ago, MarkusBarkus said:

How about an email confirming online cancellation of the account? I was left guessing.
 

I quit Tidal Christmas day and so far, so good, but I'm checking CC bill for Tidal for a while. Sorry for your pain...

See if you can unlink your CC bill account from Tidal. PayPal did that for me. That way, they have no further access to your account.  Customer service at Tidal support is limited to emails, and they take 3 days to respond. No phone support. I can't even change the password now without first getting an email link from them. 

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2 hours ago, jmsent said:

Good luck trying to "cancel" Tidal. I  "cancelled" my subscription in July of 2019. Suddenly last Friday, I see a PayPal notification that "I had sent a payment to Tidal".  Huh?? Contacted Tidal support and explained what happened. It took till Wednesday for a reply, and of course, they take no responsibility, just referring me to their TOS, claiming someone must have had unauthorized access to my account. And of course a refund wasn't going to come from them.  And here I thought "cancel" meant "cancel". Maybe this is SOP for streaming services, but wouldn't it make sense to at least send an email requiring confirmation of account reactivation before charging the account? Or how about just requiring re-registration to reactivate an account? 

 

Perhaps they are desperate to up their subscription numbers in anticipation of a sale?

Boycott Warner

Boycott Tidal

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Apparently, someone does have "unauthorized" access to your account.

 

Tidal's claim to fame is that they recompense the artist at a higher rate than other music distributors.  Have any of the artists actually been paid?  Other than perhaps Beyonce?

Boycott Warner

Boycott Tidal

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20 hours ago, jmsent said:

Good luck trying to "cancel" Tidal. I  "cancelled" my subscription in July of 2019. Suddenly last Friday, I see a PayPal notification that "I had sent a payment to Tidal".  Huh?? Contacted Tidal support and explained what happened. It took till Wednesday for a reply, and of course, they take no responsibility, just referring me to their TOS, claiming someone must have had unauthorized access to my account. And of course a refund wasn't going to come from them.  And here I thought "cancel" meant "cancel". Maybe this is SOP for streaming services, but wouldn't it make sense to at least send an email requiring confirmation of account reactivation before charging the account? Or how about just requiring re-registration to reactivate an account? 

 

The day I decided to quit I tried to remove my credit card info from my Tidal account, but it was not possible. I did manage to update my card profile with an incorrect expiration date and CVV code. I haven't seen a charge from Tidal since then.

 

I never use PayPal. I've heard bad stories about PP from both buyers and sellers. The credit card companies are always willing to answer the phone.

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On 2/7/2021 at 8:52 PM, JoshM said:


Thank you for linking to your post. It looks like not decoding/“unfolding” MQA CDs allows for using a steep linear filter, thereby avoiding aliasing (and phase issues).


What I’d like to know is what differences exist between the same mastering in Redbook versus undecoded/“unfolded” MQA CD? How much resolution are we losing?

 

Are there any MQA CDs out there that also exist in a Redbook version so that this can be compared?

 

Right now, I’m just disturbed and frustrated that there are some really good masterings of Steely Dan, Dire Straits, and a few other artists I like that seem to only exist on MQA CDs. 
 

I have an MQA CD of Donald Fagen’s Nightfly coming in for one of my TBVO columns, and I believe it’s from an existing mastering. The question is whether it’s a mastering that’s been released on Redbook CD to allow for a comparison. We shall see...

 

 

Hi @JoshM,

I don't know about exactly how much "damage" has been done between a regular CD and MQA-CD other than the fact that at least 1-bit would be needed for the control data. I suppose if they embedded that data into the least-significant bit especially in a live/pop/rock album, it would not be problematic since it'd merge into background noise and dither. As I recall, MQA allows the control stream to be in other bits higher up which would be more damaging so I think this one would need to look at specific albums and check.

 

Would be curious about your Fagen Nightfly MQA-CD impressions. Remember that the album is an early digital recording done with 3M digital tape machines... Source 50kHz sampling rate and not true 16-bit resolution (12-bits primary + 4-bits from a secondary converter for the lowest levels).

 

As such, Nightfly is not really a "high-res" album and I think a good 16/44.1 would be more than adequate. Since the resolution is limited, if the MQA-CD embedded the control stream in those lower bits, that should not be a problem; even with crappy MQA filters ;-).

Archimago's Musings... A "more objective" audiophile blog.

Free The Music - No MQA!  :nomqa:

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This popped up yesterday in my google news feed:
https://darko.audio/2021/02/global-feedback-mqa-in-2021/

"The results tell us that the two aforementioned extremist positions make up a mere 25% of responses. Clearly, the pro-MQA and anti-MQA groups have some work to do if they are to convince others of their position: 34% of respondents identified as being more pragmatic in their MQA stance (‘Sometimes but not always’) and a whopping 40% claimed to have never heard of MQA at all (‘MQ what?’). Now, that’s interesting"
John Darko, 2021

I have hoped for him he would have a better judgement. This sounds to me  like he turned into FOX network anchor comparing pro-Trump and anti-Fascist activists. And hey, he may see very fine people, on both sides.

Surpressing voluntarily the fact that one side is in it, supported by MQA/TIDAL/Warner marketing, thus driven by money, supported by halftruth and phantom science while the opponents are defending "audiophile" grounds with objective reasoning, sounds to me like a cardinal fault when trying to handle these statistics reasonably.
His credibility (for me) has now shrunk back to the level "influencer". Sorry, John. Middleground times have passed since RMAF 2018.


 

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Am not sure I agree with your comments about Darko's post. Here it is in full, hope Darko won't mind me posting it here, full apologies if I am transgressing with posting this - please remove this post if I am doing so:

1231344655_Screenshot2021-02-13at16_18_05.thumb.png.94974703c4f4767d717d9a36048aa8a8.png

 

That seems like a reasonable appraisal to me. Describing the two views as "extremist" seems fair - many hold a view that there is nothing to recommend about MQA and with the evidence fully shared in this thread. Others think the opposite. In the middle are those who really don't care and use it sporadically while the rest do not know of it. That looks like a relatively normal distribution curve, especially in early adoption of an innovation/technology?

 

When he says that "clearly, the pro-MQA and anti-MQA groups have some work to do if they are to convince others of their position" that feels like hitting the nail on the head. 

 

In this thread the most objective evidence of the true technical limitation and concerns around MQA have been expressed clearly and repeatedly. Similarly, the concerns around DRM, licensing and the nature of white glove and re-mastering processes have been opened out repeatedly. 

 

That has not swayed the pro-MQA folk and has not reached those who do not even know of MQA. It may or may not have reached the 34% who use MQA sometimes - we simply don't know.

 

MQA has put together arguments that convince many of its benefits. Certainly for the labels and streaming services. Less so, in fact not at all, for those in the audiophile community or those who care to look more closely at their strategy, especially looking back at the lessons learned (by BS, I suggest) with MLP / DVD Audio. Nor for musicians - hats off from me to Neil for his stance.  For those who look deeply, MQA has armed its opposition.

 

My own position is clear. MQA is unnecessary technically, lossy in delivery, a donkey smuggler with DRM, playing to the labels and not the artists and detrimental to the audience/consumer, who are being targeted as if it is to their advantage. The various arguments braid together all of these factors but, AFAIK there has not been a narrative that lays it out in a compelling way to those in the rump of Darko's survey, in language and concept that can land with them. It feels that maybe it is time for such a narrative. I use "compelling" deliberately. It should be a narrative that compels i.e. makes change something that must happen. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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