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MQA is Vaporware


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On 6/17/2021 at 2:28 PM, Fokus said:

 

Well ... that's not at all how MQA works.

 

For hi-res sources MQA uses three basic techniques:

1) downsampling/upsampling with very lazy filters to turn 192/384k sources into 96k.

2) folding to house a 96k source in a 48k container

3) all-pass filtering at the cut-off of the original anti-alias filtering to move any original pre-ringing behind the main impulse.

 

For lo-res sources only 3) is done.

 

 

 

Aside from that, there is clearly some DSP applied to many MQA files and albums (not, say, the old jazz albums that are bass-boosted). The effect is much more than you'd get just switching digital filters.

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8 hours ago, Currawong said:

Aside from that, there is clearly some DSP applied to many MQA files and albums

 

But that amounts to the use of a different master, perhaps even a different mix, and is not an innate part of the MQA technology.

 

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6 hours ago, Fokus said:

 

But that amounts to the use of a different master, perhaps even a different mix, and is not an innate part of the MQA technology.

 


Nope, Bob Stuart told me it changes the sound at the Los Angles Audio Show in 2017.

 

In any case, there are no alternate masters or mixes with thin sounding edges and a thicker middle of Dr Dog’s B Room yet they are in the MQA version.

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On 6/16/2021 at 7:24 PM, Currawong said:

 

Thank you for taking the time to do this. If your professional friend is willing to share any more impressions, they would be most welcome. I've been waiting for such a person to do something like this for some time. I had guessed that a seasoned professional would be able to take a good guess at what was being done to the music.

 

 

It's rather like tweaking a photo to make it pop I guess. It's very visible to me when people oversaturate the colours in photos to make them pop. Looks impressive to the untrained eye, but the experienced one can see it isn't representative of the reality.

 

 

If you want to kill MQA dead, you'd reverse-engineer whatever processing they were actually doing and make something similar freely available. Hence my comments on it sounding like it has been run in through a 3D plug-in. nycaudiolistener provided a better potential analysis.   Lately people have been talking about pre-upsampling music with software that uses a million tap or better sync filter. Why not something similar for people who want an "MQA effect" on any music they choose? Might require some serious programming effort though.

You're welcome! If you want to play with some unrelated, but rather advanced DSP, might check out Neural Mix™ Pro - Algoriddim and, in particular, the drum, bass, guitar, and vocals separation AI. Pretty impressive stuff! I suspect MQA was built using similar "black box" AI techniques, and MQA doesn't really know what it's doing to the music, exactly, either. Other than to say it is using that compressor / exciter concept, sidechaining it, and not questioning the results too much. More likely than not, this technique was borrowed from Meridian's DSP speaker line of products and repackaging into a file format. Anyway. Check out Neural Mix Pro for some fun times with AI!

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11 hours ago, Fokus said:

 

But that amounts to the use of a different master, perhaps even a different mix, and is not an innate part of the MQA technology.

 

DSP is an innate part of the MQA technology. If your ears can't discern the rather obvious differences between the DSP that literally sits at the heart of the MQA remastering process (the outcome of which sits in a lossless FLAC file container) and plain old unprocessed Lossless FLAC (which also sits in a lossless FLAC file container), maybe you should rely on the opinions of people who can discern the differences. Respectfully. 

 

I mean, my god, look at Meridian's $20,000 speaker systems, that go on and on and on about the DSP used in the speakers. DSP is literally this company's core competency. The notion that MQA isn't using DSP to tinker with the timing of music is ridiculous. That's exactly what it does. Love it or hate it, that's what it does. I happen to like it. But, I am not living under any delusion that it's what they heard in the studio. It's not. It's "enhanced" sort of. If you like that sort of thing.

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1 hour ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Some interesting mQa info. 
 

I’m out in Los Angeles this week and had an opportunity to talk to a “civilian” who recently got interested in HiFi. He has some very basic but wisely selected gear. 
 

Out of the blue he asked me about mQa. Wanted to know my opinion. He said he was looking at differences between Qobuz and Tidal, and that sparked his interest in researching mQa. 
 

He found @GoldenOne’s videos right away. Unsurprisingly he didn’t connect the Chris in the RMAF snippet with me. Nonetheless, he wasn’t thrilled with mQa, after doing a little online research. 

You can hit all of the boulevards in “I Love LA” and fun places for children.

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12 hours ago, nycaudiolistener said:

DSP is an innate part of the MQA technology. If your ears can't discern the rather obvious differences between the DSP that literally sits at the heart of the MQA remastering process (the outcome of which sits in a lossless FLAC file container) and plain old unprocessed Lossless FLAC (which also sits in a lossless FLAC file container), maybe you should rely on the opinions of people who can discern the differences. Respectfully. 

 

I mean, my god, look at Meridian's $20,000 speaker systems, that go on and on and on about the DSP used in the speakers. DSP is literally this company's core competency. The notion that MQA isn't using DSP to tinker with the timing of music is ridiculous. That's exactly what it does. Love it or hate it, that's what it does. I happen to like it. But, I am not living under any delusion that it's what they heard in the studio. It's not. It's "enhanced" sort of. If you like that sort of thing.

 

If you want to embark on the very praiseworthy endeavour of criticising MQA then you'd better educate yourself on what exactly it does do and what it does not do, instead of muddying the waters. These things are not exactly a secret anymore.

 

Your allegations that the MQA codec itself wilfully tampers with macro-aesthetical properties of the music signal such as dynamics and imaging are evidently wrong. If such effects are observed then they are the result of additional remastering, performed concurrently with the creation of the MQA version.

 

Also you might do well not judging from afar the listening abilities or technical knowledge of people you don't know, people who have been studying this in detail since, oh, 2014.

 

 

I am sure the MQA cabal is very happy with noise sources like you.

 

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On 6/19/2021 at 4:26 PM, Fokus said:

 

But that amounts to the use of a different master, perhaps even a different mix, and is not an innate part of the MQA technology.

 

Have a listen to some of the more recent recordings, such as Jack Johnson on TIDAL. MQA is definitely screwing with the timing information as it sounds weird through something like an Yggdrasil, which uses an uncommon filter. I'm not aware of multiple masters of this music.  Likewise all the old jazz, which universally just seems to have boosted bass.

I think that MQA genuinely does have a processing system for music that they are using, based on the AES whitepapers and existing Meridian tech which, if they hadn't attempted to sell it alongside a load of lies about the origami compression etc. would have ended up as Dolby Atmos has with Apple. 

 

If you want to consider a fascinating tidbit of information I picked up: If you go through the MQA company history, you'll find that they previously had someone from Dolby on their board of directors, who left.  IIRC Bob Stuart previously sold tech to Dolby, who then went on and made millions from it. It's almost the same thing over again, but in this case, they've taken the idea, sold it to Apple, and Bob gets nothing except the prize of having spent millions of dollars of his investors' money without any profit at all.

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16 minutes ago, Fokus said:

If you want to embark on the very praiseworthy endeavour of criticising MQA then you'd better educate yourself on what exactly it does do and what it does not do, instead of muddying the waters. These things are not exactly a secret anymore.

 

I think this is unwarranted. We don't know exactly what MQA does when it processes a file, except what GoldenOne has shown us when he had files processed by TIDAL with MQA. Having an industry professional with extensive experience of the effects of different processing methods listen to the output can give us a hint as to what is being done.

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Keep confusing matters.

48 minutes ago, Currawong said:

We don't know exactly what MQA does when it processes a file,

 

Wrong. We do know. But if someone wants to turn a different set of - unrelated - knobs while preparing a new release, then that is entirely outside of MQA proper, the two only connected by the occasion.

 

 

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14 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Some interesting mQa info. 
 

I’m out in Los Angeles this week and had an opportunity to talk to a “civilian” who recently got interested in HiFi. He has some very basic but wisely selected gear. 
 

Out of the blue he asked me about mQa. Wanted to know my opinion. He said he was looking at differences between Qobuz and Tidal, and that sparked his interest in researching mQa. 
 

He found @GoldenOne’s videos right away. Unsurprisingly he didn’t connect the Chris in the RMAF snippet with me. Nonetheless, he wasn’t thrilled with mQa, after doing a little online research. 

This reminds me of something I wrote a while ago, last year I think.  I mentioned that if you go to Google, type MQA, pretty much all the links on the first page were links to very positive material with respect to MQA.

 

It is not the case now, search just with the term "MQA" and half way down page 1 you get this:

 

image.thumb.png.49990216bd9f044bbe6c0e21d9e1e4c3.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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On 6/20/2021 at 5:48 PM, Fokus said:

Keep confusing matters.

 

Wrong. We do know. But if someone wants to turn a different set of - unrelated - knobs while preparing a new release, then that is entirely outside of MQA proper, the two only connected by the occasion.

 

Ok then, if we know, please explain exactly what software and settings are used that results in, say, the changes in perceived soundstage Jack Johnson MQA recordings vs. the high-res originals. 

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On 6/24/2021 at 6:53 AM, Currawong said:

 

Ok then, if we know, please explain exactly what software and settings are used that results in, say, the changes in perceived soundstage Jack Johnson MQA recordings vs. the high-res originals. 

 

How could I, without access to that recording and its alternative versions?

 

But if you want to manipulate imaging you'd typically work on equalisation, reverb, and matrixing stuff like K-stereo. This can be done at the level of the pre-existing master, but you can effect more if there is access to the stems or even the individual tracks.

 

MQA does not macro-affect the signal in the audible band. Neither does it introduce reverb, or inter-channel timing differences. But whoever prepares the MQA version may well decide/be ordered to add these effects too. But again, this has nothing to do with MQA proper.

 

 

As for the Yggdrasil: despite all their claims its digital filter is really nothing very special.

 

 

 

 

 

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Reaction to an all analogue recording from 1974, my question how is this at all possible it cannot be that much better, (oh we seem to have forgot to include Cassette / 8 track and 7.5ips reel to reel as well as Mini Disc to the list……..sheeesh

Quote:

“One of the most convincing examples how good MQA streaming on Tidal sounds. This is my all-time-favourite rock album and I own Vinyl, CD, MoFi CD, 24/96 and 24/192 download versions. But the MQA version literally floored me. So much more detail, clarity, slam, silence and soundstage improvement". 

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10 hours ago, Confused said:

Does this help with deblurring and time domain distortion?

 

It might explain a lot about mQa....

Current:  Daphile on an AMD A10-9500 with 16 GB RAM

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Cables - Tara Labs RSC Reference and Blue Jean Cable Balanced Interconnects

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On 6/16/2021 at 7:24 PM, Currawong said:

 

Thank you for taking the time to do this. If your professional friend is willing to share any more impressions, they would be most welcome. I've been waiting for such a person to do something like this for some time. I had guessed that a seasoned professional would be able to take a good guess at what was being done to the music.

 

 

It's rather like tweaking a photo to make it pop I guess. It's very visible to me when people oversaturate the colours in photos to make them pop. Looks impressive to the untrained eye, but the experienced one can see it isn't representative of the reality.

 

 

If you want to kill MQA dead, you'd reverse-engineer whatever processing they were actually doing and make something similar freely available. Hence my comments on it sounding like it has been run in through a 3D plug-in. nycaudiolistener provided a better potential analysis.   Lately people have been talking about pre-upsampling music with software that uses a million tap or better sync filter. Why not something similar for people who want an "MQA effect" on any music they choose? Might require some serious programming effort though.

Front-of-house mixer. Live sound for artists at venues like Madison Square Garden. At age 23.


Great ears.

 

On an unrelated note, Neil Young is probably one of the few artists who has heard his own work in MQA. Most others probably don’t bother listening to their own work, in new compression formats. Have better things to do. Just my two cents..

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On 6/20/2021 at 3:42 AM, Fokus said:

 

If you want to embark on the very praiseworthy endeavour of criticising MQA then you'd better educate yourself on what exactly it does do and what it does not do, instead of muddying the waters. These things are not exactly a secret anymore.

 

Your allegations that the MQA codec itself wilfully tampers with macro-aesthetical properties of the music signal such as dynamics and imaging are evidently wrong. If such effects are observed then they are the result of additional remastering, performed concurrently with the creation of the MQA version.

 

Also you might do well not judging from afar the listening abilities or technical knowledge of people you don't know, people who have been studying this in detail since, oh, 2014.

 

 

I am sure the MQA cabal is very happy with noise sources like you.

 

Appears I pinched the nerve of some crank on the internet! You made my day! Lol.

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