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Thread: Is it time-up for MQA

  1. #11
    Join Date: Aug 2011

    Location: Coventry, England UK

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    I'm Simon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StanleyB View Post
    If MQA is supposed to be for streaming, what is its purpose as far CD reproduction is concerned?
    Sounds like they're trying to do some sort of newer 'sacd' format whereas it will play in all CD players as standard redbook, but then hook it up to an MQA capable DAC and you'll get a higher resolution and all other gobbledygook.

    Really hope this doesn't become the standard. We already have 16/44 redbook which is perfectly fine and for lossless & higher-res we already have Flac which has been around for many years and is fine. This all just smells of a money grab to me, they'd make a killing just on licensing costs around the world. Can never trust the big labels to give a damn other than to line their own pockets.

  2. #12
    Join Date: Feb 2017

    Location: Sussex

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    It's not worth it for me, nor hi res really as there isn't much out there in decent hi bit rate formats for new music anyway. Formats are rubbish against the bits that do the sound in speakers and amps, and frankly these can yield much bigger benefits than worrying if you have or haven't got the latest kit to decode mqa or dacs to do it etc.

  3. #13
    Join Date: Apr 2008

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    I'm Neil.

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    You'd think that proprietary digital formats would've gotten the hint by now. SACD did. HDCD did. DVD-A did. MQA will fail simply because it'll never become a defacto standard. Doubtful that DSD will either despite the massive push after SACD has failed. IMHO the major push will be towards 24/96 files, which in itself is contentious.
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  4. #14
    Join Date: Jan 2013

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yomanze View Post
    You'd think that proprietary digital formats would've gotten the hint by now. SACD did. HDCD did. DVD-A did. MQA will fail simply because it'll never become a defacto standard. Doubtful that DSD will either despite the massive push after SACD has failed. IMHO the major push will be towards 24/96 files, which in itself is contentious.
    Contentious because a lot of 24/96 doesn't sound any better than 16 bit.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 28-03-2017 at 07:21.
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  5. #15
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Forest of Dean, Glos & Cambrian mountains, Wales

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    I'm Jerry.

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    Ha!
    So Golden Ears* Justin user211 was right when he said he could hear no difference with MQA.
    And all those folks who trotted out with 'major hike in sq" - it was just down to expectation bias.
    Sweet.

    --
    * Actually, not really Golden Ears, just totally honest with himself. Not a guy who goes in for self-delusion
    Last edited by jandl100; 28-03-2017 at 07:28.
    Jerry

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  6. #16
    Join Date: Oct 2012

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    Doesn't the technical spec actually show that it degenerates to an equivalent of 17 bits due to using the lower bits to 'fold in' the extra bit depth?

    Sweet indeed Jerry

  7. #17
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

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    I'm Martin.

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    That won't make a blind bit of difference to the sound though. The only USP I can see is the so called 'digital deblurring' which would seem to be some form of eq. People reporting tighter bass and a cleaner sound overall, but only on some recordings. I'm guessing this is similar to what they do to old music when used on film soundtracks, just dial in a bit of extra punch. Not very purist of course.
    Martin



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  8. #18
    Join Date: Feb 2017

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    As regards to mqa I don't think it will take off in current climate as the music industry has been on a decline for some time with the demise of good cd sales from about 2000 and Internet xoming in from around 2000, rise of file sharing and free steaming music. It's hard enough for streaming in conventional mass market formats let alone in mqa. Also most streaming firms operate at a loss so willingness to invest in new formats is doubtful. I hope mqa does though.

    The thing that will take mqa and great formats get up to speed, is having a foundation of more people into streaming such there is more money in the industry to invest in niche formats and ensure these are distributed and available. I'd like to see a market where nearly everyone has a music streaming service. It would help all of us wanting these great hi res formats.

  9. #19
    Join Date: Aug 2009

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebottle View Post
    Doesn't the technical spec actually show that it degenerates to an equivalent of 17 bits due to using the lower bits to 'fold in' the extra bit depth?

    Sweet indeed Jerry
    Yes. Here's Charles Hansen (Ayre Acoustics) thread at 'the other place'. And, to quote:

    << >>If you play a Tidal Master and do not have software decoding enabled it is still delivering a high quality 24/48 stream.... which is better than CD quality.<<

    Actually this is not the case. MQA is delivered in a 48/24 FLAC container. However the seven or eight Least Significant Bits (LSBs) of the container are used to store the "folded" dual-rate audio data (encoded losslessly) and the quad-rate audio data (encoded with lossy compression). They *replace* the low-level bits in the original 24-bit file. reducing the resolution of MQA below 24 bits.

    If one starts with a full 192/24 true high-res source file, MQA encoding/decoding allows three possibilities:

    1) Hardware decoding of MQA can perform both unfolds. The result is 192 kHz sampling rate but with a resolution of something less than 17.2 bits maximum. It appears that the number of lower bits required to store the dual- and quad-rate information is dependent on the signal levels in those upper bands. The MQS AES paper specifies that program material of a string quartet results in only 17.2 bits of resolution after the first unfolding (dual-rate source).

    However according to James Boyk of Caltech, the string family (violin, viola, cello) has the lowest amount of signal power above 20 kHz than any other orchestral instrument besides an oboe. Boyk's article measures cymbals as having 30 dB (1000x) more power than a violin. Without further information it seems that the baseband audio resolution could be reduced as much as 6 bits fewer than the example of the string quartet.

    2) If using a non-MQA DAC, the Tidal app allows for a single unfold via software, delivering up to 96 kHz sample rates, but again the resolution is still limited to a maximum of 17.2 bits (depending on the levels of high-frequency energy in the track).

    3) If no decoding is used the 192/24 source file will be delivered with at a 48 kHz sampling rate, again with a maximum of 17.2 bits (depending on the levels of high-frequency energy in the track). For the published example of a string quartet, this potentially about 1 extra bit over Redbook. It is unknown at this time, but possible that music with high levels of high-frequency energy (eg, lots of cymbals, percussion, synthesizer, even brass or piano) would have *less* than 16 bits of resolution in the baseband - possibly even as low as 11 bits.
    >>

  10. #20
    Join Date: Mar 2010

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    I'm Simon.

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    Mqa only exists to give labels a chance to sell the same shit again, to sneak in DRM by the backdoor, to generate hardware and software sales due to tech churn, and to line mqa's patent pool pockets.
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