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What a REAL journalistic evaulation of MQA looks like


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Archimago's Musings: COMPARISON: Hardware-Decoded MQA (using Mytek Brooklyn DAC)

 

Like Tweety Bird I thought I saw a "con" and a questioning of one or two marketing claims. In fact, I did, I did see a few questions...

 

One thing I take away is that MQA thought of as anything other than a compression implementation (a rather good one according to the author) and of course an IP/DRM delivery mechanism is pure marketing fluff...

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

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That's one take away. This, quoting from the author is another:

 

"I do believe MQA achieved what they set out to do in terms of the files sounding as good as 24/96 or 24/192+ "high resolution"".

 

Admittedly that falls short of MQA claims to superiority, but it still means audiophiles who rely on streaming are getting a pretty friggin good deal with MQA/Tidal for a $20 subscription sound indistinguishable from $15-20/album downloads.

 

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FLAC -> Jplay-> Jkeny Mk3 -> Audio-GD Ref 5->Hornshoppe Truth -> Music Reference EM7-> Hornshoppe Horned Heils

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That's one take away. This, quoting from the author is another:

 

"I do believe MQA achieved what they set out to do in terms of the files sounding as good as 24/96 or 24/192+ "high resolution"".

 

Admittedly that falls short of MQA claims to superiority, but it still means audiophiles who rely on streaming are getting a pretty friggin good deal with MQA/Tidal for a $20 subscription sound indistinguishable from $15-20/album downloads.

 

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

 

But but but...in today's bandwidth environment (ever cheaper and ever more) a FLAC stream of 24/96 (or higher) is not materially different than MQA for the consumer. When you consider the fact that MQA's advantage here brings with it the DRM/proprietary elephant along with it, then MQA is not a "good deal" at all...

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

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But but but...in today's bandwidth environment (ever cheaper and ever more) a FLAC stream of 24/96 (or higher) is not materially different than MQA for the consumer. When you consider the fact that MQA's advantage here brings with it the DRM/proprietary elephant along with it, then MQA is not a "good deal" at all...

 

Aside from the DSP issue your DRM elephant is a hypothetical, as is your FLAC alternative. MQA in Tidal's implementation is better than Redbook sound at no cost to the subscriber. When someone offers unlimited 24/96 FLAC streaming for a $10/mo premium over mp3 let us know.

 

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

FLAC -> Jplay-> Jkeny Mk3 -> Audio-GD Ref 5->Hornshoppe Truth -> Music Reference EM7-> Hornshoppe Horned Heils

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Aside from the DSP issue your DRM elephant is a hypothetical, as is your FLAC alternative. MQA in Tidal's implementation is better than Redbook sound at no cost to the subscriber. When someone offers unlimited 24/96 FLAC streaming for a $10/mo premium over mp3 let us know.

 

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

 

For all the reasons already discussed, MQA as DRM is real and not "hypothetical" (see my blog post).

 

I actually don't think anyone else will offer non-DRM'd 16/44 or higher streaming - it will all be MQA or something like IMO because the labels won't allow it, though I hope I am wrong....

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

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For all the reasons already discussed, MQA as DRM is real and not "hypothetical" (see my blog post).

 

I actually don't think anyone else will offer non-DRM'd 16/44 or higher streaming - it will all be MQA or something like IMO because the labels won't allow it, though I hope I am wrong....

For all the reasons also discussed the definition of DRM is so inclusive to be devoid of much meaning. I'll enjoy actually listening and look forward to articles as referenced here which also address MQA's actual implementation rather than speculate on Bob Stuart's satanic quest.

 

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

FLAC -> Jplay-> Jkeny Mk3 -> Audio-GD Ref 5->Hornshoppe Truth -> Music Reference EM7-> Hornshoppe Horned Heils

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I actually don't think anyone else will offer non-DRM'd 16/44 or higher streaming - it will all be MQA or something like IMO because the labels won't allow it, though I hope I am wrong....

 

I don't think there is any DRM being used by Naxos for their online streaming service (the successor to the ill-fated ClassicsOnline). They have 16/44 to 24/192 files available streaming without MQA at $19.95 per year. Admittedly, it's only approximately 20,000 albums, and all material owned by Naxos, which is not exactly a Sony or a Warner. But it leaves open the hope that others might do something similar.

 

https://www.naxos.com/membership/subscribe.asp

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When someone offers unlimited 24/96 FLAC streaming for a $10/mo premium over mp3 let us know.
Does a free internet radio 16/96kHz Ogg FLAC stream count?

Jukebox Radio JB Radio2

 

Source:

https://jbradio.eu/options

 

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I don't think there is any DRM being used by Naxos for their online streaming service (the successor to the ill-fated ClassicsOnline). They have 16/44 to 24/192 files available streaming without MQA at $19.95 per year. Admittedly, it's only approximately 20,000 albums, and all material owned by Naxos, which is not exactly a Sony or a Warner. But it leaves open the hope that others might do something similar.

 

https://www.naxos.com/membership/subscribe.asp

 

Klaus Heymann who started Naxos 30 years ago, has grown it into one of the two largest classical music companies with a brilliant and unconventional business model. He aims to offer a very broad range of primarily classical music performed almost exclusively by lesser known artists who are willing to be paid a flat fee (at least that is what his model started as and I think it is the same today) with no royalties. Therefore, in addition to knowing his costs of producing an album, he knows that if he gets a big seller, he doesn't have to pay anything beyond the marginal cost of the CD or whatever he sells. Since he owns the rights to everything on his label, he can move into streaming, etc. without having to worry about artists taking a cut. One can argue whether that is fair (since they were paid for the job already), but it certainly puts him in a very different position than just about anyone else.

 

Certainly the big 3 in classical music - Universal, Sony and Warner - have royalty and rights issues with just about everything in their catalogue. For those albums that are old enough to go into public domain, Heymann offers those, too, though not in every country, since copyright rules are different. Of course, he doesn't pay any royalties for those albums either.

 

My guess is that it will be extremely difficult for any company with a reasonable back catalogue to do the same thing that Heymann and Naxos has done. Don't think it works outside of classical music.

 

Larry

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Aside from the DSP issue your DRM elephant is a hypothetical, as is your FLAC alternative. MQA in Tidal's implementation is better than Redbook sound at no cost to the subscriber. When someone offers unlimited 24/96 FLAC streaming for a $10/mo premium over mp3 let us know.

 

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

 

Qobuz unlimted mp3 streaming for about $10.50 a month. For about an added $8.50 a month you get Redbook quality streaming and you can stream hi-res of anything you've purchased. In addition you also get substantial discounts on purchases of Redbook and hi-res downloads thrown in. So apparrently streaming hi-res flac isn't impossible. I don't think the bandwidth is a technical limitation these days.

 

And no, Qobuz isn't available everywhere. And neither is Tidal.

 

I assume that the compression aspects of MQA are attractive to streaming companies as it probably saves them some storage and serving costs over other methods of having large numbers of hi-res files on hand to steam.

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Aside from the DSP issue your DRM elephant is a hypothetical, as is your FLAC alternative. MQA in Tidal's implementation is better than Redbook sound at no cost to the subscriber. When someone offers unlimited 24/96 FLAC streaming for a $10/mo premium over mp3 let us know.

 

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

 

That is exactly the hope however. FLAC is free. There is going to be a cost savings somewhere.

 

That means that a streaming service using FLAC will keep the pricing the same as MQA'd services but could offer a better user experience since they will have more $$ for R&D&D

 

Or they can provide a similar experience for less $$.

 

I would be willing to bet MQA is almost being given away for free at this point to spur adoption. But they are a profit motivated business and will have to start earning on MQA at some point.

 

Archimagos write up is the best I've seen yet. This is something that should have come from the likes of Stereophile but we know why that isn't the case.

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That is exactly the hope however. FLAC is free. There is going to be a cost savings somewhere.

 

That means that a streaming service using FLAC will keep the pricing the same as MQA'd services but could offer a better user experience since they will have more $$ for R&D&D

 

Or they can provide a similar experience for less $$.

 

I would be willing to bet MQA is almost being given away for free at this point to spur adoption. But they are a profit motivated business and will have to start earning on MQA at some point.

 

Archimagos write up is the best I've seen yet. This is something that should have come from the likes of Stereophile but we know why that isn't the case.

 

John Atkinson at Stereophile and Archimago came to quite similar conclusions re what the measurements implied for audible transparency of the MQA process.

 

 

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One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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John Atkinson at Stereophile and Archimago came to quite similar conclusions re what the measurements implied for audible transparency of the MQA process.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

 

I think Archimago's two blog posts went for a much deeper dive than Stereophile. When Stereophile announced "I've heard the future of Streaming" in 2014 in regards to MQA, it simply showed me a bias that I can't discount.

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I think Archimago's two blog posts went for a much deeper dive than Stereophile. When Stereophile announced "I've heard the future of Streaming" in 2014 in regards to MQA, it simply showed me a bias that I can't discount.

 

Again: *Atkinson's measurements*. And yes, I agree that Archimago showed measurements Atkinson didn't. The reverse, though to a lesser extent, is also true.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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