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Is MQA a Friend of the Devil? A sonic evaluation...


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I'm sorry if what I have posted is misunderstood. Yes there is a lot of "talk" about MQA; there has been a lot published in the last 2+ years about how it is (essentially) the second coming of digital audio. Now two years later there are a handful of titles available for purchase and in the last week (finally!) a few hundred titles available for streaming (admittedly and happily a number growing by the day). My posts reflect what has actually happened, and pardon me for being skeptical of "big talk" by the principals involved. Given the rather ill-founded comments and comparisons regarding the sound of MQA all over the forum in the past few days (really! comparing it to CD's, with no idea of comparable masterings much less hi-res or not) I'm a bit surprised with the response to my comments which are in fact directly on point with that topic, and of this moment are not demonstrably false (although I acknowledge, in fact hope, that may change over the next few days, weeks or months)

Well, at least look at it this way: At some other forums (like Hoffman), any post even slightly negative about Warner would be instantly deleted. Yours is still up there!

 

Hang in there dude!

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If you can , can you show me a MQA album that resides outside of the MQA masters, this is interesting

 

Search for "Simon Rattle" - there is *1* ("Pictures At An Exhibition") under the "Masters" section, but I've found at least 5 in the search results. There is no flag that allows you to search for them, but if you start playing them, you see the "MASTER" label in the bottom right light up.

 

Almost all of the 24/96 hi-res downloads made available over the past few years are in MQA format on Tidal *right now*.

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Search for "Simon Rattle" - there is *1* ("Pictures At An Exhibition") under the "Masters" section, but I've found at least 5 in the search results. There is no flag that allows you to search for them, but if you start playing them, you see the "MASTER" label in the bottom right light up.

 

Almost all of the 24/96 hi-res downloads made available over the past few years are in MQA format on Tidal *right now*.

 

Interesting for sure. I'm a Tom Petty fan,. The Masters only shows a 6 , but if you bring them all up in search, all of them a lot more than 6, they all have the bottom right MASTERS light on when you play a track, not sure that means they are in fact MQA or not. But Tidals Masters section leaves a lot to be desired as far as what is there.

The Truth Is Out There

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I look forward to your review of MQA. I'll be using this helpful guide you provided as a critique template. :-)

I purposely left off my personal thoughts on MQA because I gave a method to find out for yourself. There's no reason to further color people's expectations when we now have an easy method to compare MQA/Non-MQA in a blind test.

 

If you really want the results of my testing, I can send a PM.

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If you really want the results of my testing, I can send a PM.

 

Without available encoder and decoder either MQA is lossy or lossless is unknown exactly.

 

If MQA is lossy, it may be compared by ears only.

 

Though there it is need to have encoder too.

 

Because no 100% sureness in identity available original file and MQA-file.

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You already know how to find it or you wouldn't be listening to it. Whats there is there, if its not in the Masters area its not there, yet.

 

Interesting for sure. I'm a Tom Petty fan,. The Masters only shows a 6 , but if you bring them all up in search, all of them a lot more than 6, they all have the bottom right MASTERS light on when you play a track, not sure that means they are in fact MQA or not. But Tidals Masters section leaves a lot to be desired as far as what is there.

 

Apology accepted. :-)

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I purposely left off my personal thoughts on MQA because I gave a method to find out for yourself. There's no reason to further color people's expectations when we now have an easy method to compare MQA/Non-MQA in a blind test.

 

If you really want the results of my testing, I can send a PM.

 

It's easier to critique a review than write one. I was hoping to see what I assume are some awesome review writing skills.

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Search for "Simon Rattle" - there is *1* ("Pictures At An Exhibition") under the "Masters" section, but I've found at least 5 in the search results. There is no flag that allows you to search for them, but if you start playing them, you see the "MASTER" label in the bottom right light up.

I found that trick yesterday. They should use some label, it's a mess this way.

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Search for "Simon Rattle" - there is *1* ("Pictures At An Exhibition") under the "Masters" section, but I've found at least 5 in the search results. There is no flag that allows you to search for them, but if you start playing them, you see the "MASTER" label in the bottom right light up.

 

Almost all of the 24/96 hi-res downloads made available over the past few years are in MQA format on Tidal *right now*.

 

I am not following this search trick - I don't see a "masters" section for which to find a "1" under...I must be misinterpreting your method.

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

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I am not following this search trick - I don't see a "masters" section for which to find a "1" under...I must be misinterpreting your method.

 

I found one with any mention of the words Picture At An Exhibition in the Album title . All I'm doing is adding Simon Rattle in the general search area for albums , and thats what pops up.

The Truth Is Out There

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MQA needs to be transparant and tell us what source/mix was used to make the MQA/MASTER. This should be in the Metadata so that Roon and Tidal can display it for us and eliminate all the speculation as the source.

 

Apart from this pet peeve I am enjoying the MQA/MASTER tracks through my Explorer2 DAC. Thanks Tidal.

 

I don't think they should be required to tell us, but it would make for a nice story in the album notes section. More content about an album is rarely a bad thing and has the potential to bring the listener closer to the Artist.

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The only thing I'm saying is this - You're comparing Apples to Oranges. You have no idea if the MQA version sounds different because of MQA or because of different mastering. Thus, there's no way to make a technology judgment. The only conclusion supported by your listening experience is that two versions sound different.

 

It's possible this is a new master and MQA made it sound much worse or much better than the straight PCM. We have no clue.

 

Exactly.

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It's easier to critique a review than write one. I was hoping to see what I assume are some awesome review writing skills.

 

Actually, it's easier to do primitive listening tests and then come on to a forum and write a few paragraph "conclusion".

 

I took the time to write a detailed method to objectively and thoroughly test for yourself. If you don't like it, don't want to do it, and/or prefer to read anecdotal conclusions based on primitive testing, it's totally fine by me.

 

I've given my thoughts and results of testing to anyone who PM'd me, but, AGAIN, anyone can easily do the test themselves. It's not rocket science and it doesn't take that long.

 

I prefer finding out for myself versus reading opinions on a forum, but to each his own.

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  • 1 month later...

American Beauty and Workingman's Dead both sound like different mixes to me (IIRC the HD versions that were on HDTracks a while back were similar). I notice some increased reverb on drums and vocals, and I don't think it is MQA "magic", but the mix. Conjecture at this point, pending more detail comparisons. But these albums just sound different.

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I don't think they should be required to tell us, but it would make for a nice story in the album notes section. More content about an album is rarely a bad thing and has the potential to bring the listener closer to the Artist.

 

Agreed. And nicely put.

David

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jerico: For what ever I think they(Beauty and Workingman) sound almost as good as or even better than my old oh so old DVD-A discs in 7.1 but then again maybe it is my 'primitive' ears different maybe but definitely 'better'. If one likes it fine if you don't like it don't listen to it and all of you stop being so critical.

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I understand there are the same/different MQA/16-44/24bit masters questions that make the sonic comparison of Tidal streams apples vs oranges matter. I have no MQA DAC and I have no Tidal (for a couple of reasons) so I can't make the listening test myself, however I did undecoded MQA/16-44/hi-res sonic evaluation (and posted the results here http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f8-general-forum/mqa-testing-31514/index4.html) using 2L site: http://www.2l.no/hires/ (definitely the same masters) Why don't you guys owning MQA DACs do the same.? I'm not that excited about MQA as I don't stream music at all (and the MQA catalogue at the moment is waay too small for me) but I believe such a comparison could say a lot about whether MQA is really a friend of the devil. Or an angel :)

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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If you can , can you show me a MQA album that resides outside of the MQA masters, this is interesting

Here are a few more I've found from the Red Hot Chili Peppers - By the Way, Stadium Arcadium, I'm With You, The Getaway, Californication.

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@pdickerson You are a relative newbie on CA so welcome! Seems that you've registered here just to praise MQA (and Aerial 5T - just a little bit). Your posts sound almost like ads.. You must really love it!

@djd Welcome too!

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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