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Tidal, MQA, and the future of our digital/musical ecosystems...


crenca
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For now, I don't have the options to "force" 16/44 (Redbook), so it is shoving DRM down my throat (right now on a grand total of 199 albums). All genres have been included - so albums by Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, Rokia Traore have had the 16/44 version removed and are albums I have streamed in the past.

 

What now? For myself, I will not be going down the DRM road. While I think the DRMing of our digital music software is probably inevitable, I won't be $supporting$ it. While I do simply "stream" music for listening enjoyment, Tidal's primary function for me is artist/music/album discovery (I almost always end up purchasing the 16/44 or Hi Res version if I end up playing it more than once or twice), so I will be switching to Spotify 320 in the near future, unless Tidal is actually going to ensure the REAL 16/44 of any and all music is available.

 

I have also decided I will not be $purchasing$ any equipment from a manufacturer that supports DRM by "supporting" MQA (e.g. Mytek - just one example). As consumers our only leverage is our wallet. As individuals even this does not matter, but in the aggregate if we can not stop the ruination of our digital music, perhaps we can slow it down a little...

 

Update: Tidal (and others) are software decoding MQA - so NO, the 16/44 versions of DRMed albums are not and will not be available from Tidal any longer...by by Tidal Flac service - hello Tidal as a DRM service.

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

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What now? For myself, I will not be going down the DRM road. While I think the DRMing of our digital music software is probably inevitable, I won't be $supporting$ it. While I do simply "stream" music for listening enjoyment, Tidal's primary function for me is artist/music/album discovery (I almost always end up purchasing the 16/44 or Hi Res version if I end up playing it more than once or twice), so I will be switching to Spotify 320 in the near future, unless Tidal is actually going to ensure the REAL 16/44 of any and all music is available.

 

 

You just got access to the 30k tracks in higher resolution without a price increase and your response to that is to switch to a 320k streaming service? Wow.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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For now, I don't have the options to "force" 16/44 (Redbook), so it is shoving DRM down my throat (right now on a grand total of 199 albums). All genres have been included - so albums by Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, Rokia Traore have had the 16/44 version removed and are albums I have streamed in the past.

 

What now? For myself, I will not be going down the DRM road. While I think the DRMing of our digital music software is probably inevitable, I won't be $supporting$ it. While I do simply "stream" music for listening enjoyment, Tidal's primary function for me is artist/music/album discovery (I almost always end up purchasing the 16/44 or Hi Res version if I end up playing it more than once or twice), so I will be switching to Spotify 320 in the near future, unless Tidal is actually going to ensure the REAL 16/44 of any and all music is available.

 

I have also decided I will not be $purchasing$ any equipment from a manufacturer that supports DRM by "supporting" MQA (e.g. Mytek - just one example). As consumers our only leverage is our wallet. As individuals even this does not matter, but in the aggregate if we can not stop the ruination of our digital music, perhaps we can slow it down a little...

 

Update: Tidal (and others) are software decoding MQA - so NO, the 16/44 versions of DRMed albums are not and will not be available from Tidal any longer...by by Tidal Flac service - hello Tidal as a DRM service.

 

Not that I'm predicting it will last, but currently (for example) Tidal has both the MQA and vanilla versions of Led Zeppelin I Deluxe Edition available.

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You just got access to the 30k tracks in higher resolution without a price increase and your response to that is to switch to a 320k streaming service? Wow.

 

Not anymore "wow" than "DRM". Have you tried *legally* ripping, backing up, or streaming your Blue Ray today?

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

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Not that I'm predicting it will last, but currently (for example) Tidal has both the MQA and vanilla versions of Led Zeppelin I Deluxe Edition available.

 

But that is just an artifact of the multiple "Deluxe" versions of (mostly strong selling) albums. Most albums don't have multiple versions (which is driven by an effort to milk more sales of certain popular releases).

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

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I’m really confused about how this alarmist thread relates to the news I’m reading that Tidal (I’m not a subscriber) is now streaming using MQA 24/96. That, at least, is what I’m seeing in postings at What Hi Fi, the Verge, and other sites.

 

Of course I’m read a bunch of stuff about how controversial MQA is, and about whether it reperesents the return of evil copy-protection DRM. But how does DRM become a moral problem with Tidal streaming of files you don’t own? Isn’t the key question, Does it sound as good or better than vanilla 16/44 streaming? Aren’t Spotify and Apple Music also bastions of DRM in that you can download/borrow copy-protected files but you don’t own them and they’ll disappear as soon as you stop subscribing?

 

I’m asking sincerely.

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I’m really confused about how this alarmist thread relates to the news I’m reading that Tidal (I’m not a subscriber) is now streaming using MQA 24/96. That, at least, is what I’m seeing in postings at What Hi Fi, the Verge, and other sites.

 

Of course I’m read a bunch of stuff about how controversial MQA is, and about whether it reperesents the return of evil copy-protection DRM. But how does DRM become a moral problem with Tidal streaming of files you don’t own? Isn’t the key question, Does it sound as good or better than vanilla 16/44 streaming? Aren’t Spotify and Apple Music also bastions of DRM in that you can download/borrow copy-protected files but you don’t own them and they’ll disappear as soon as you stop subscribing?

 

I’m asking sincerely.

 

There is the question of whether MQA is actually improving the sound quality. I've been trying out a number of selections from the roughly 180 albums available and my (very) initial reaction to listening is mixed and uncertain. I think we'll have much more info in the next few days. I particularly look forward to reading what Chris Connaker learns at CES.

1070957250_Imprimatur.NihilObstatSepia3Crop(2).jpg.2162a44365e84a5df7d456bf8026ed67.jpg

 

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There is the question of whether MQA is actually improving the sound quality. I've been trying out a number of selections from the roughly 180 albums available and my (very) initial reaction to listening is mixed and uncertain. I think we'll have much more info in the next few days. I particularly look forward to reading what Chris Connaker learns at CES.

I clearly need to get on with my reverse engineering project.

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I’m really confused about how this alarmist thread relates to the news I’m reading that Tidal (I’m not a subscriber) is now streaming using MQA 24/96. That, at least, is what I’m seeing in postings at What Hi Fi, the Verge, and other sites.

 

Of course I’m read a bunch of stuff about how controversial MQA is, and about whether it reperesents the return of evil copy-protection DRM. But how does DRM become a moral problem with Tidal streaming of files you don’t own? Isn’t the key question, Does it sound as good or better than vanilla 16/44 streaming? Aren’t Spotify and Apple Music also bastions of DRM in that you can download/borrow copy-protected files but you don’t own them and they’ll disappear as soon as you stop subscribing?

 

I’m asking sincerely.

 

Today the news is Tidal and just Tidal. As a Tidal and Roon subscriber, I pay $20 a month for Tidal and $10 a month (billed yearly) for Roon. My concern is that if the non-MQA equivalent versions of MQA titles disappear, I may be stuck with inferior sound quality (not saying it's inferior, I'm saying I don't know yet). There's still much to be understood about how MQA adulterates sound quality. If Tidal committed to always having the non-MQA version of an MQA title available (i.e. the plain, vanilla 16/44 version), and made MQA completely optional to "HiFi" subscribers, my concerns about MQA vanish.

 

I also use HQPlayer to upsample Tidal content to DSD. We know that decoded MQA is not identical to the PCM that created it. I'm concerned that the improvement in sound quality offered by HQPlayer will be compromised by decoded MQA. And if Tidal gives me no choice with regards to MQA content (maybe I won't want it after a time), I've lost the only lossless audio streaming service available in the U.S.

 

In summary, it remains to be seen if MQA is a Good Thing.

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I’m really confused about how this alarmist thread relates to the news I’m reading that Tidal (I’m not a subscriber) is now streaming using MQA 24/96. That, at least, is what I’m seeing in postings at What Hi Fi, the Verge, and other sites.

 

Of course I’m read a bunch of stuff about how controversial MQA is, and about whether it reperesents the return of evil copy-protection DRM. But how does DRM become a moral problem with Tidal streaming of files you don’t own? Isn’t the key question, Does it sound as good or better than vanilla 16/44 streaming? Aren’t Spotify and Apple Music also bastions of DRM in that you can download/borrow copy-protected files but you don’t own them and they’ll disappear as soon as you stop subscribing?

 

I’m asking sincerely.

 

As I promised others I need to write my "What is DRM and why is MQA a good example of it?" blog post I have been putting off for a while now. In short, because by supporting DRM whether it has copy protection or not is to support a fundamental change to your current digital music ecosystem. DRM is NOT about this or that particular technological implementation, rather it is about the legal environment in which you operate - in this case the legal environment in which the software and hardware you use to play music lives. Unfortunately, most people don't really bother to understand this until they wake up in a DRM world and just assume that there is some technical reason they can't play, store, copy, stream, backup or otherwise incorporate their Blue Ray video into their digital ecosystem as they wish...

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

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As I promised others I need to write my "What is DRM and why is MQA a good example of it?" blog post I have been putting off for a while now. In short, because by supporting DRM whether it has copy protection or not is to support a fundamental change to your current digital music ecosystem. DRM is NOT about this or that particular technological implementation, rather it is about the legal environment in which you operate - in this case the legal environment in which the software and hardware you use to play music lives. Unfortunately, most people don't really bother to understand this until they wake up in a DRM world and just assume that there is some technical reason they can't play, store, copy, stream, backup or otherwise incorporate their Blue Ray video into their digital ecosystem as they wish...

+1 I would love to have a link to this available to share with all kinds of folks :)

Aries Mini -> Audioquest Forest -> Musical Fidelity M6si -> Nordost White -> Ascend Acoustics Sierra RAAL tower

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Not anymore "wow" than "DRM". Have you tried *legally* ripping, backing up, or streaming your Blue Ray today?

 

Every one of the albums made available for on Tidal today in MQA format are available on CDs that can be ripped.

 

All the music that Tidal streams has been protected by a rights management system since day one. Without a confirmed subscription, their music isn't playable. Same for all of the streaming services.

 

All the hyperventilating over DRM as it pertains to MQA just seems insane to me.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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You just got access to the 30k tracks in higher resolution without a price increase and your response to that is to switch to a 320k streaming service? Wow.

 

It sounds great to my ears and this is day one, wait to they have version 2.0 and more music is recorded natively in MQA. The artists want their music to sound good, not like compressed rubbish.

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Every one of the albums made available for on Tidal today in MQA format are available on CDs that can be ripped.

 

All the music that Tidal streams has been protected by a rights management system since day one. Without a confirmed subscription, their music isn't playable. Same for all of the streaming services.

 

All the hyperventilating over DRM as it pertains to MQA just seems insane to me.

 

Plenty of threads here at computer audiophile where you can catch up. Perhaps first you should start with Harley's article over at Absolute Sound about the what the industry is concerned about and what motivates them around digital and high res. Hint: It's not about streaming - or rather streaming is just the wedge for market/consumer acceptance...

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

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All the music that Tidal streams has been protected by a rights management system since day one. Without a confirmed subscription, their music isn't playable. Same for all of the streaming services.

 

Yes, but the content is not protected in any shape or form. You need account to access it, but the content itself is unprotected. Except the MQA "hires" part which requires license payments (and probably signing some legal documents) to the MQA company to be playable without falling back to sub-RedBook quality.

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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It sounds great to my ears and this is day one, wait to they have version 2.0 and more music is recorded natively in MQA. The artists want their music to sound good, not like compressed rubbish.

 

MQA will not fix music that is deliberately mastered to be "compressed rubbish". ("Loudness Wars")

 

You know something's wrong when a heavy metal album ends up less compressed than a semi-acoustic soul/blues album. (Iron Maiden, "The Final Frontier" versus Tom Jones, "Praise And Blame". Both mastered in 2010 by Bob Ludwig.)

"People hear what they see." - Doris Day

The forum would be a much better place if everyone were less convinced of how right they were.

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Yes, but the content is not protected in any shape or form. You need account to access it, but the content itself is unprotected. Except the MQA "hires" part which requires license payments (and probably signing some legal documents) to the MQA company to be playable without falling back to sub-RedBook quality.

So, if I understand you correctly, the 16/44 streams that you listen to with your paid Tidal subscription can somehow be saved and burned to a CD, but the MQA/Master files cannot? Is this the major issue with DRM?

 

Sent from my LG-V410 using Computer Audiophile mobile app

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So, if I understand you correctly, the 16/44 streams that you listen to with your paid Tidal subscription can somehow be saved and burned to a CD, but the MQA/Master files cannot? Is this the major issue with DRM?

 

Sent from my LG-V410 using Computer Audiophile mobile app

 

 

Well, technically any think data that enters into your digital ecosystem can be copied, reversed engineered, etc. no matter the level of DRM. You don't even need to be a programmer - all you need is Google and a credit card.

 

This is one of the issues with DRM - are technical road blocks actually effective in curbing piracy? I and many others answer "no" but the "the industry" always says "yes". Really, all DRM does in the end is inconvenience or hamstring legal users as the criminals always find a way (and really, it is trivial in almost every case) to accomplish their criminal ends...

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

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There is the question of whether MQA is actually improving the sound quality. I've been trying out a number of selections from the roughly 180 albums available and my (very) initial reaction to listening is mixed and uncertain. I think we'll have much more info in the next few days. I particularly look forward to reading what Chris Connaker learns at CES.

 

So far they have all sounded awful to me personally, now I know why, based on this thread it seems that the MQA versions are also compressed with DRM? (is this the consensus?), I've back to back listened to the MQA stream showing 24/192 and 24/96 in my DAC vs my own personal 16/44 CD rips and my rips all sound much better so far to me!

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So far they have all sounded awful to me personally, now I know why, based on this thread it seems that the MQA versions are also compressed with DRM? (is this the consensus?), I've back to back listened to the MQA stream showing 24/192 and 24/96 in my DAC vs my own personal 16/44 CD rips and my rips all sound much better so far to me!

 

. . . and others are coming to exactly he opposite conclusion. Which makes it great we all have a choice.

John Walker - IT Executive

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