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Article: MQA: A Review of controversies, concerns, and cautions

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Just now, miguelito said:

Very true. And we often are firstly drawn to over-sharpened, over saturated images - and one can similarly characterize this in sound. But all those artifacts get old because IMHO they don’t represent reality.

 

Exactly. The whole HDR trend in photography is the visual equivalent of raising the pitch and volume and emphasizing the midrange in audio. But, all of that done subtly is there in every professionally printed image you see, the same way that production of music tweaks sound to be more appealing. Even guys like Jay Maisel, who shoots JPG and claims he doesn't do any post processing... well, HE doesn't do his printing, and that's where it happens. Other than bootleg concert tapes, what we hear can be very much the result of artful post processing.

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43 minutes ago, realhifi said:

Yes!  I would too!  This MQA discussion is going in circles. Wayyyy more interesting to talk about new irons, etc. 

 

You got the wrong guy. 1985 Ping Eye 2 irons with the original square grooves identified by a raised pat number and others pending in the cavity. These are grandfathered and still legal for me to play in USGA events except the US Open. They have the WRX leading edge grind and were retumbled a slightly darker color with black paint fill instead of white. Lie and loft are custom fit and adjusted by the factory. Shafts are new Dynamic Gold without seams. Grips are old school Royal V Sandwrap grips ribbed.

 

And no the new stuff is not better. Don't get me started on putters and metal woods.

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8 minutes ago, Rt66indierock said:

 

You got the wrong guy. 1985 Ping Eye 2 irons with the original square grooves identified by a raised pat number and others pending in the cavity. These are grandfathered and still legal for me to play in USGA events except the US Open. They have the WRX leading edge grind and were retumbled a slightly darker color with black paint fill instead of white. Lie and loft are custom fit and adjusted by the factory. Shafts are new Dynamic Gold without seams. Grips are old school Royal V Sandwrap grips ribbed.

 

And no the new stuff is not better. Don't get me started on putters and metal woods.

But, the real question is, how do they SOUND.

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45 minutes ago, ednaz said:

You do realize that most studio albums where some performers were in soundproof booths have reverb added? I've heard the raw tapes (a big part of my photography was for jazz and blues musicians for CDs and PR shots) in the studio. "Dry" sax or trumpet doesn't sound pretty.  I've watched the sound engineer add slightly different reverb to different instruments because just adding it overall sounds artificial.  And that's just one of the normal things done in the recording and production process.

I think the only place you'll actually get raw music is in the performance itself. And, most of what's done in production is to make it feel more real and more alive. Psychoacoustics is a real thing.

That is not accidental I have used quotes around “raw”. 

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6 minutes ago, ednaz said:

But, the real question is, how do they SOUND.

 

Actually an excellent point. With a Titleist Pro V1 they sound great to me. What should sound better my Titleist 660 blades (Endo forgings) and Callaway X forged wedges both forged out of 1025 carbon steel sound a bit soft.

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5 minutes ago, Rt66indierock said:

 

Actually an excellent point. With a Titleist Pro V1 they sound great to me. What should sound better my Titleist 660 blades (Endo forgings) and Callaway X forged wedges both forged out of 1025 carbon steel sound a bit soft.

 

But can they decode DSD? :D What about MQA? (DUCKS)


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3 minutes ago, Rt66indierock said:

 

Doesn't matter Spotify is the choice for music on a golf course. Q: do you mind if I play music? A: yes if you don't turn it up.

 

I was a caddy for a while in high school (at Cog Hill Golf Course in Lemont, IL) and it turned me off on golf. 

 

What about Tidal? Then you can get that WONDERFUL first unfold :D


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8 minutes ago, botrytis said:

 

I was a caddy for a while in high school (at Cog Hill Golf Course in Lemont, IL) and it turned me off on golf. 

 

What about Tidal? Then you can get that WONDERFUL first unfold :D

 

Caddying would have turned me off too. A poorly paid pack animal.

 

Out in the world nobody has heard of Tidal much less use it. I've asked all I get is quizzical looks. 

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2 minutes ago, Rt66indierock said:

 

Caddying would have turned me off too. A poorly paid pack animal.

 

Out in the world nobody has heard of Tidal much less use it. I've asked all I get is quizzical looks. 

 

Like this? :D

 

image.thumb.jpeg.2ad55c9e20d47992ebd6aa4d34f39bed.jpeg


Current:  JRiver 24 on Win 10 PC (AMD Ryzen 5 2600 with 32 GB RAM) or Daphile on an I5-2500K with 16 GB RAM

DAC - TEAC UD-501 DAC 

Pre-amp - Audio Research SP-16

Amplification - Kenwood L-07M Monoblocks

Speakers: Wharfedale Linton Heritage

Cables: MIT speaker cables and DiMarzio Interconnects

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I sympathize with the case for alarm and distress that MQA might be imposed from above, that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom, etc. But I'm convinced the MQA worm has turned. 

 

In fact, I'd be willing to make a substantial bet with favorable odds* with any of you MQA Winter Is Coming guys that the major record companies and their constituent labels are NOT going to "switch on" MQA and make it an unavoidable, hegemonic, de facto standard; that it's NOT going to make significant inroads beyond Tidal and a smattering of DACs; that in fact over the next three or four years it's going to peter out and at most linger as a minor codec option, but nothing more than that.

 

* For entertainment purposes only. Kids, don't gamble with strangers on the Internet!

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11 hours ago, astromo said:

@Archimago thank you for the "cut through". You saved me the effort of pointing out the flaws that I could spot in the HB presentation. Leaves me at this point with the thought of "bring on the McGill Uni study".

 

If the analytical work by Meyer and Moran are any guide:

Audibility of a CD-Standard A/DA/A Loop Inserted into High-Resolution Audio Playback

we'll see confirmation of the ABX work you've reported on in your blog.

 

Interestingly, the Meyer Moran paper points to this commentary from another AES Journal Paper as part of the motivation for their study, dating back over ten years now:

The similarity of language used to describe MQA by it's co-inventor with the description above is no coincidence (but it's certainly amusing to reflect upon). I've not fully read the paper that the above quote is extracted from yet but a quick skim made me notice this comment:

 

From my own technical background, I know that modelling can only take you so far (George Box's advice is often quoted, "all models are wrong, some are useful" or something along those lines). Without empirical testing and validation, theory and models can quickly lead you down the garden path to leave you dancing around the magic mushrooms with the pixies and the fairies. To take Box's point, if you don't test your models empirically, it's not possible to understand the strengths and weaknesses and ultimately their reliability.

 

If MQA had been subjected to the rigour that Moran and Meyer applied (here's the testing detail from their paper that the abstract above alludes to):

We would already have an answer that would put all this angst and debate from the last couple of years beyond doubt to even the greatest proponents of the format.

 

Thanks again for your efforts.

 

A pleasure @astromo. As some of the respondents noted, unfortunately the M&M study unfortunately did not take into account the provenance of those SACD / DVD-A samples they used, thus although we can say perhaps the results could apply to those albums, one has to look elsewhere at test that utilized true hi-res audio to tease out the audibility compared to standard CD.

 

By the way, over the years, I've added to a list of SACDs I've found that were simply PCM usamples here.

 

Regardless of M&M, you're right though... It would have been interesting if MQA did subject the codec to some kind of blind study right from the start as evidence instead of vague opinions in the audiophile press - assuming that these voices experiencing MQA in an uncontrolled fashion were credible enough to satisfy audiophiles !

 


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

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9 hours ago, FredericV said:


I already busted Hans for spreading misinformation. He is one of the key opinion makers and just takes their marketing BS for granted, copying it into video's and website articles.
 

 

Those who understand MQA's bit allocation, will know this is a lie:

image.thumb.png.bf3475fed1dbd3b535d6361600a4fd26.png

 

 

 

Good job on the refutation FredericV.

 

Listening to Hans, I get the idea that he's probably a nice guy and "means well". But man, talking about MQA like this and sitting behind him is his oscilloscope as if to imply measurements inform his claims / opinions is simply too much!


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

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11 hours ago, astromo said:

 

From my own technical background, I know that modelling can only take you so far (George Box's advice is often quoted, "all models are wrong, some are useful" or something along those lines). Without empirical testing and validation, theory and models can quickly lead you down the garden path to leave you dancing around the magic mushrooms with the pixies and the fairies. To take Box's point, if you don't test your models empirically, it's not possible to understand the strengths and weaknesses and ultimately their reliability.

 

If MQA had been subjected to the rigour that Moran and Meyer applied (here's the testing detail from their paper that the abstract above alludes to):

We would already have an answer that would put all this angst and debate from the last couple of years beyond doubt to even the greatest proponents of the format.

 

 

Well stated.


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

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15 minutes ago, Archimago said:

I presume Jim Austin still has more to say as does John Atkinson, even though I can appreciate his openness to have this AWSI published.

 

 

Avionics Weapons System Integration?

 


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

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35 minutes ago, Archimago said:

There's also a good "Letters" from Grammy winning classical audio engineer Tony Faulkner

 

Now we know that no less than Faulkner and Hansen were PMing Atkinson for some time re: MQA. I get that JA thinks his personally recorded files sound better via MQA but it mystifies me why he dismissed the many criticisms out of hand (I'm too lazy to find the relevant posts on AA). Regardless, kudos to John Atkinson for allowing Iverson to dissent from his view.

 

Any idea when the McGill study will be finished and published?


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1 minute ago, beetlemania said:

 

Now we know that no less than Faulkner and Hansen were PMing Atkinson for some time re: MQA. I get that JA thinks his personally recorded files sound better via MQA but it mystifies me why he dismissed the many criticisms out of hand (I'm too lazy to find the relevant posts on AA). Regardless, kudos to John Atkinson for allowing Iverson to dissent from his view.

 

Any idea when the McGill study will be finished and published?

 

Yet, JA admits that it was a coin toss when choosing which was which unsighted.   I think it comes down to not knowing how to save face after digging themselves in initially...


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

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4 minutes ago, beetlemania said:

 

Now we know that no less than Faulkner and Hansen were PMing Atkinson for some time re: MQA. I get that JA thinks his personally recorded files sound better via MQA but it mystifies me why he dismissed the many criticisms out of hand (I'm too lazy to find the relevant posts on AA). Regardless, kudos to John Atkinson for allowing Iverson to dissent from his view.

 

Any idea when the McGill study will be finished and published?

 

I'm sure we're all waiting with bated breath for the McGill results.

 

However, I would not be surprised if we never see anything come of it other than the tease...


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

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1 hour ago, crenca said:

JA admits that it was a coin toss when choosing which was which unsighted. 

 

Not correct, as you can see from reading my article on Listening to MQA:

https://www.stereophile.com/content/listening-mqa

"I scored four out of seven correct; though this is insufficient to prove formal identification, I feel that it is relevant information," adding in the comments that "it was the Steely Dan track that I got wrong—twice. Without it I would have scored 4 out of 5."
 
The reason I misidentified the Steely Dan track was that under blind conditions I preferred the sound of the 24/96 PCM version  and assumed it must have been MQA, based on my experience with the other blind comparisons.
 
I have no problem with you guys criticizing what I write but I am becoming weary of people putting words in my mouth, as in this case.
 
And on the subject of Jon Iverson's "As We See It in the April Stereophile," which was also mentioned in this thread, please note that I never tell my writers what to say. I hire them because of what they think and believe, not what I think and believe.
 
John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
 

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@John_Atkinson do you still stand by this? Is it still the birth of a new world? Or is it just a still birth?

 

In almost 40 years of attending audio press events, only rarely have I come away feeling that I was present at the birth of a new world. In March 1979, I visited the Philips Research Center in Eindhoven, Holland and heard a prototype of what was to be later called the Compact Disc. In the summer of 1982, I visited Ron Genereux and Bob Berkovitz at Acoustic Research's lab near Boston and heard a very early example of the application of DSP to the correction of room acoustic problems. And in early December, at Meridian's New York offices, I heard Bob Stuart describe the UK company's MQA technology, followed by a demonstration that blew my socks off.

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37 minutes ago, John_Atkinson said:

 

Not correct, as you can see from reading my article on Listening to MQA:

https://www.stereophile.com/content/listening-mqa

 

 

Hi John,

 

There's something important about these MQA files of yours that were never released to others, at least publicly. Are these the files that Charles Hansen consistently referred to on AA that were made with his 24/192 ADC?

 

Doug Schneider
SoundStage!

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