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I received my occassional post from Dr AIX which I thought would be worth a bit of a follow up.  On the train this morning I listened to part of the youtube interview and thought it was worth posting for those that may be curious. I'll listen to the rest of the session a bit later.  For those that don't have the time the presenter did a prepare a little summary.

 

For those that are time-challenged, here are the main takeaways:

  1. MQA is NOT lossless
  2. MQA adds unwanted noise and distortion
  3. MQA is not usually sourced from a high-sample rate master
  4. MQA 'authentication' does not authenticate/guarantee anything (NOTE: the blue light is nonsense)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is MQA_Red_Circle.jpg
 
 

GoldenSound created an audio track that included a variety of audio tones, ultrasonic frequencies, and other test components and then had the files converted to MQA and uploaded to TIDAL. He reached out to the people at MQA ahead of his posting and they responded by having the file removed from the TIDAL platform. It seems MQA doesn't want the world to know that it is perpetrating a hoax on the music and consumer electronics industries. They're acting like bullies.

I have been in a conversation with an individual at Warner Music Group regarding the AIX Records catalog and distribution through streaming services. Just this morning I received an email that made mention of my request to remove ALL AIX content from TIDAL because they insisted on using MQA to encode my high-resolution masters. He wrote:

"I read your comment about MQA and Tidal.  Our former CEO for WEA, Mike Jbara, is the CEO of MQA.  Have you ever had a conversation with MQA about your concerns?  Perhaps it would do some good."

I sent him the link to this video. It's amazing that so many people in positions of influence have been fooled by the MQA juggernaut. Watch the video, read the articles, and I'm confident that you'll come to the same conclusion I have

 

 

 

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I received my occassional post from Dr AIX which I thought would be worth a bit of a follow up.  On the train this morning I listened to part of the youtube interview and thought it was worth posting

At the risk of repeating an opinion which I have previously posted, MQA is not and never has been, anything to do with enhanced sound quality for the music consumer. Its aims are purely to enhanc

My plan; - transfer my Tidal music to Qobuz - list all the albums that qobuz doesn’t have - buy those albums - cancel Tidal 

Why does this not surprise me? Explains why there are people have said that Qobuz sounds better than Tidal. They use FLAC not MQA..... Though I believe Tidal Hi-Fi is FLAC? I dunno.

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That vid is quite a takedown - articulate and dispassionate. A very good argument to sign up for Qobuz if you want a streaming service.

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If Roon made it easier to change between I'd do so in a heartbeat, but unfortunately I seem to have an issue exporting playlists much above 600 tracks  :(

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5 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

My plan;

- transfer my Tidal music to Qobuz

- list all the albums that qobuz doesn’t have

- buy those albums

- cancel Tidal 

I have a similar plan.

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1 hour ago, MattyW said:

If Roon made it easier to change between I'd do so in a heartbeat, but unfortunately I seem to have an issue exporting playlists much above 600 tracks  :(

Not sure what your Roon issue is. I don’t have much in the way of playlists, but I have no problem with Roon dealing with   all of local file content (NAS) and both Tidal and Qobuz

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1 hour ago, ThirdDrawerDown said:

@sir sanders zingmore are your reasons to do with the issues the OP described in posting the GoldenSound item?

 

Or do you have other reasons?

 

 

For me, hi-res Qobuz for me is better than MQA Tidal, and don’t want to pay twice

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1 hour ago, ThirdDrawerDown said:

@sir sanders zingmore are your reasons to do with the issues the OP described in posting the GoldenSound item?

 

Or do you have other reasons?

 

 

I object to the DRM by stealth and to the fact that Tidal seems to have all but removed the ability to select non-MQA recordings. 
I have no comment on sound quality yet as I signed up to qobuz two days ago but haven’t been able to listen yet (don’t you hate work?)

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I similarly object to DRM by stealth, can’t fully utilise MQA without appropriate MQA capable gear from which MQA extracts a licence fee

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Good watch, and sort of what I expected. I always felt it sounded different, but its hard for the brain to pinpoint what and why.

 

Think I'll give Qobuz a go!

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Posted (edited)

It is interesting that the mods have moved the topic to the great audio debate. I'm guessing that they didn't have a look/listen to the youtube clip because if they had, they might have left it in the digital section.  I actually thought the video was unbiased and also supported by measurements.  These type of exercises/clips are very informative and help audiophiles make more balanced judgements.

Edited by PKay
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Been listening to Qobuz for last two days and it is definitely better then Tidal. But hate that Qobuz does not have radio station feature based on a song that you like or auto generated queue or recommendations. Anyway, so far I like the Qobuz for its sound quality, will be cancelling Tidal soon.

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I scrapped Tidal the second Qobuz was available in Oz. Whether MQA is good or bad making people buy new DAC's that are MQA compatible is just a poor show. Especially is you have an expensive non MQA DAC. 

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Great video - very disappointing to hear about the hostility from MQA and Tidal. I'll be going elsewhere. 

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Tidal subscription cancelled and uninstalled. Moved all my music from Tidal back to Spotify (what the family uses) and will check out Qobuz. "Soundizz" makes it easy to just transfer everything across.

 

tidal.jpg.84ccfa6c99cf19a85ceacf18760f8b69.jpg

Edited by Bengineer
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I've never really been a believer in MQA or software in general but more the DAC. Hell I used wav files till I started a sub with Tidal and more for their library and user interface than anything else. I was using Amazon but the interface is such super PITA that I switched back to Tidal, that and a few months free....

 

As for Goldensound,, wants to be too much like Zeos who I'm also not a big fan of. Seriously take the cam of ya head mate.

 

TBH Passion for sound is my go to for info. And probably more so @BlueOceanBoy but he don't make vids at present.

Edited by Tarzan
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My suspicions are confirmed; in a very nice and polite objective way.

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3 hours ago, mjs said:

Not sure what your Roon issue is. I don’t have much in the way of playlists, but I have no problem with Roon dealing with   all of local file content (NAS) and both Tidal and Qobuz

Yeah, I don't know whats causing it either.  My playlists are mixed local file (TrueNAS fileserver) and Tidal. Seems to fall over exporting the playlist anywhere between 600 and 700 tracks. Quite frustrating as I'd like to get off Tidal.  :(

 

Due to the DAC's I run, anything over 16 bit 44k FLAC is straight out unnecessary however a move to FLAC would be an improvement in sound quality based on this.

Edited by MattyW
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5 hours ago, PKay said:

Is MQA a Fraud?

 

I thought the “Great Audio Debate” forum was for controversial topics?

;)

 

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34 minutes ago, Tarzan said:

I've never really been a believer in MQA or software in general but more the DAC. Hell I used wav files till I started a sub with Tidal and more for their library and user interface than anything else. I was using Amazon but the interface is such super PITA that I switched back to Tidal, that and a few months free....

 

As for Goldensound,, wants to be too much like Zeos who I'm also not a big fan of. Seriously take the cam of ya head mate.

 

TBH Passion for sound is my go to for info. And probably more so @BlueOceanBoy but he don't make vids at present.

Has nothing to do with him though. It's more someone took the time to appropriately measure the MQA effect. Couldn't care less who did it!

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13 minutes ago, Steffen said:

 

I thought the “Great Audio Debate” forum was for controversial topics?

;)

 

Me too!  That's why I posted it in the DIgital Music section. 

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Just watched it very interesting little bit over my head but I too canceled tidal as soon as Qobuz was available, I’m also a roon user and have a Chord Dac 

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3 hours ago, Steffen said:

 

I thought the “Great Audio Debate” forum was for controversial topics?

;)

 

It is and the moderators determined that this thread belongs here. 

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Seemed pretty clear cut from the video. MQA is simply not lossless,  not to mention it's DRM.

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Having read a few of these types of threads over the years, I’ve never heard anyone here try and support MQA and swear black and blue that MQA is high res and sounds better than CD quality, let alone High Res which pretty much says it all!

 

MQA is trying to be a 2ch version of DTS-MA and DOLBY TRUEHD and currently succeeding it would appear, although if Tidal decide one day they agree with the facts, MQA would probably almost die overnight like a beta video player!

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Beta lived for a long time for professional use. It had both better picture and sound quality to VHS and so TV stations used them almost exclusively.

Edited by MattyW
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9 hours ago, MattyW said:

Beta lived for a long time for professional use. It had both better picture and sound quality to VHS and so TV stations used them almost exclusively.

But not even superior quality could save it.

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I’ve been under a rock, is Qobuz available to Au yet?

 

Nevermid, just saw the thread. 

Edited by Sime
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50 minutes ago, Hi-Fi Whipped said:

But not even superior quality could save it.

It was never used by mainstream consumers true, though until digital cameras and medium came along it remained the standand for broadcast use. In that sense every standard has its time and then fades.

Edited by MattyW
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11 hours ago, Hi-Fi Whipped said:

Having read a few of these types of threads over the years, I’ve never heard anyone here try and support MQA and swear black and blue that MQA is high res and sounds better than CD quality, let alone High Res which pretty much says it all!

I guess you haven't read all threads relating to MQA; there are at least one (very respected) member here who've said MQA sounded better to their ears. I am not suggesting you go back and read them all, but they do exist. 

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12 minutes ago, LHC said:

I guess you haven't read all threads relating to MQA; there are at least one (very respected) member here who've said MQA sounded better to their ears. I am not suggesting you go back and read them all, but they do exist. 

I think that was one of the points of the analysis. He did say musical taste was subjective and some people may prefer the sound with MQA. 

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26 minutes ago, LHC said:

I guess you haven't read all threads relating to MQA; there are at least one (very respected) member here who've said MQA sounded better to their ears. I am not suggesting you go back and read them all, but they do exist. 

There was a number of members including mods on multi threads who said the MQA is better and I remember the host here promoting MQA and made the comment that manufacturers will be left behind if they didn’t take MQA aboard becuase of the uptake in one HiFi show he was at, in that thread I challenged MQA as a money grabbing incentive that implements alterations rather than improvements, if it were to take off it was in the wrong time of release, it should have taken off in the late 90s.   

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On 16/04/2021 at 10:38 AM, PKay said:

For those that are time-challenged, here are the main takeaways:

  1. MQA is NOT lossless
  2. MQA adds unwanted noise and distortion
  3. MQA is not usually sourced from a high-sample rate master
  4. MQA 'authentication' does not authenticate/guarantee anything (NOTE: the blue light is nonsense)

Although I don't tend to follow commentary on MQA all that much, I can remember  seeing the first 3 of those points being presented in the past. Also I have often seen mentioned that the blue light merely shows that a recording has been put through MQA processing, not that it is inherently high resolution or of outstanding high quality.

To my mind, where the video in the opening post really shines is in its presentation of objective testing of real life MQA performance. It persuasively and credibly shows that the practical application of MQA can lead to some quite poor outcomes.

 

The video highlights the secrecy that shields MQA from being properly tested in its operation by consumers. Consumers are not allowed access to software that would encode using MQA. This is quite different to other encoding schemes. I note that at home we can encode to lossless FLAC, to HE-AAC, or to mp3.   We can then evaluate for ourselves whether the encoding has diminished the apparent quality of the sound.

 

Theoretically, MQA can enhance a recording by correcting for adverse filter characteristics in the ADC used to make the digital master. That to my mind is its greatest (and perhaps its only truly useful) advantage. However as is pointed out in the video, the days of using a single ADC to convert a fully mastered analogue recording to digital lie in the past. Recording studios don't use multi-track analogue tape recorders these days to prepare an analogue master and then convert the finalised analogue mix to digital using a single ADC.  In any case, as the author of the video pointed out, he was not asked what ADC or ADCs had been used for the digital files he submitted. Thus the special processing MQA can theoretically apply to correct for the filter characteristics of "the" ADC used for the digital recording submitted, would have been unavailable. 

 

Another matter I recall from the video is the mention of file size. It appears that the file size was not reduced for at least some of the digital audio files submitted. In any event, in a world where everyday people routinely stream Netflix video, there is no reason high resolution audio cannot be streamed intact. 

 

It really is hard to pinpoint what advantage MQA provides. There seem to be more minuses than pluses.

Edited by MLXXX
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2 minutes ago, MLXXX said:

It really is hard to pinpoint what advantage MQA provides. There seem to be more minuses than pluses.

I would agree with that.

 

IMO the worst part is that Tidal are taking away the option of choosing. 

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19 minutes ago, MLXXX said:

 

 

The video highlights the secrecy that shields MQA from being properly tested in its operation by consumers. Consumers are not allowed access to software that would encode using MQA. This is quite different to other encoding schemes. I note that at home we can encode to lossless FLAC, to HE-AAC, or to mp3.   We can then evaluate for ourselves whether the encoding has diminished the apparent quality of the sound.

.

This is my biggest gripe....  unless a product has transparency I’m out!  
the whole process was to revenue raise as pointed out from an audio manufacturer that refuses to participate....  for it to work the licensing has to extend from ADC to DAC...     And even if a manufacturer were to take it on the mystery remains on what it did to the original recording, the whole process was to reduce size so it was easily access on line,  it’s a bit  late as we enter the age high speed connections.  All this so that little blue led is turned on!  ?

Edited by Addicted to music
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31 minutes ago, PKay said:

I think that was one of the points of the analysis. He did say musical taste was subjective and some people may prefer the sound with MQA. 

I guess you are referring to the content of the OP video. Sorry, I confess I have not yet watch the video.

 

The written commentary in the OP were taken from Dr AIX's blog post. I have followed a little bit Mark Waldrep's saga with MQA and Bob Stuart; it went from an initial curiosity about the new technology, and over time soured into a toxic relationship between the people involved. I respect Waldrep as someone who has intellect and integrity; but it doesn't mean he can't be influenced by his own bias towards the MQA brand. One could detect from his comments some faint hints of him taking this personally. While I am not arguing his conclusions are all wrong, but I think he already had those conclusions established way before he watched that video. 

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Occasionally there is a 'hi-fi' and 'MQA' album ; have done the A/B blind test?

 

I picked up the faintest distortion on my Tidal tracks but wasn't sure if that was a source issue or just psychological (used different headphones and different players/DAC's). Overall, are we finding the quality on Tidal still acceptable? 

 

I agree there is a lot of hidden mumbo jumbo in MQA unfolding etc... and for the most part, don't really see the point of a final unfold when many quality DAC's don't yet support the format, yet it sounds just 'fine'. Perhaps it's a bandwidth or business decision by TIDAL and MQA (their servers still have to meet demand - and we all know they're buggy at best)

 

The cost of QOBUZ and TIDAL hi-fi is not insignificant when you add on ROON. So I'm yet to subscribe to both. 

 

I suppose there's always Spotify and Apple Music (flame suit on). 

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Wow this is a massive takedown ....I haven't got an MQA capable DAC and thought it would only matter if I wanted better than 44.1Khz....but it looks like MQA actively degrades everything.  And MQA the organisation seem to be in the same pathetic, dodgy category as other fine examples such as Monster!

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