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Guest Eggcup the Dafter

Wasn't the mystery part of the sales pitch though? The patent, the original sales pitch sold something different

 

I do feel a bit dumb. concentrating a lot of my criticism on the reduced bit depth below 20kHz when it turns out there is a higher level aliasing artifact than any distortion from the loss of those bits across at least part of the audio spectrum.

 

However... could it be that the poor measurements here are a byproduct of the actual product's technique to "improve" the sound? The designers may have known that they were accepting a lot of bad looking stuff to create their "good" result in attempting to reduce smear, etc. back when MQA was first developed. They must have known that the bad parts would eventually be discovered and exposed, but may simply have decided to gamble that the supposed subjective improvement would win the battle first. After all, they launched at what may have been the high tide mark for relativism and subjectivism in the audio market.
 

The "unfold" is there, and it is raised above the aliasing noise. So the impulses from the first unfold at least may be produced by speakers that work to those frequencies and a supposed improvement may be there -at least in the minds of the original designers and for high resolution masters. Remember, back when Tidal first had a small number of MQA encoded files, at least some of them were from higher resolution, apparently "better" masters.

 

My takeout on this is that some of the early claims of MQA are still not disproven, believe it or not - we can still see some process of "unfolding" and that may still have to be worked through with blind testing. However, it does appear that at least one claim, that MQA encode/decode of 16/44.1 files would improve the sound, is pretty clearly disproved now (for the product, not necessarily for the techniques described in the patent - but it's the product we have today).
It's also pretty clear that what is happening at Tidal now is that they are shovelling standard resolution files and a deal of "crap" through a process that says "Master" at the end of it all. If there was a group of people intending that MQA could be an end to end process with special algorithms to improve musical reproduction (and a lot more respected UK faces than Bob Stuart were in at the birth), they don't appear to be in control of their monster any more.

 

Time to march on Castle Frankenstein with the torches and pitchforks?

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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 

 

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 enhance, corporate profit by means of controlling music releases into an anti competitive proprietary formula and this is only the beginning of the most egregious scam ever foisted on the music industry.

If Tidal choose to be a partner in this fraud, it will come back to bite them on the arse and Qobuz will be the beneficiary of an exodus from Tidal. 

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@Eggcup the Dafter  gives a good explanation of the "original" intent of MQA. In the early days, bandwidth was (and still can be) a problem. Many people got around this by using locally sourced FLAC from CD rather than streaming. I have been a proponent of MQA in the past. I have done extensive A-B of CD vs Local FLAC vs Tidal (MQA and FLAC). I've found varying results. Some sounded better or the same and the results weren't consistent, for or against MQA. But, and it's a big but(t)....all listening is subjective. Does the MQA file artificially increase volume or distortion in the audible bandwidth that somehow subjectively "improves" the sound? Much like the distortion from valve amps making things "sound" warmer. 

I am really concerned about the upsampling of 44.1KHz files by Tidal master - that I had missed.

I'm trialling Qobuz vs Tidal through Roon. I will do some detailed A-B of FLAC vs Tidal Master both within Tidal and against Qobuz. More to come.... 

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46 minutes ago, rantan said:

 

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 enhance, corporate profit by means of controlling music releases into an anti competitive proprietary formula and this is only the beginning of the most egregious scam ever foisted on the music industry.

If Tidal choose to be a partner in this fraud, it will come back to bite them on the arse and Qobuz will be the beneficiary of an exodus from Tidal. 

The more I see of the evidence from people like Archimago and GoldenSound, the more I see this point of view to hold true.

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It weren't me that moved the thread ;) -but I agree that this is where it belongs.

I watched the video yesterday when posted elsewherez. Really intetesting but would love to see some balance in this thread. Are there any similar vids that pose the argument for MQA?

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9 minutes ago, wolster said:

It weren't me that moved the thread ;) -but I agree that this is where it belongs.

I watched the video yesterday when posted elsewherez. Really intetesting but would love to see some balance in this thread. Are there any similar vids that pose the argument for MQA?

MQA were given the chance to review and respond.  It should be up to MQA to respond. 

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On 16/04/2021 at 11:03 AM, MattyW said:

Though I believe Tidal Hi-Fi is FLAC? I dunno.

 

Yeah, I thought this a few months ago too as I have had adverse experience with MQA so just wanted 44.1/16 FLAC. It transpired that around the same time that Neil Young kicked Tidal to the kerb, many noticed that there was a mass exercise to pull the FLACs where MQA bulk-batch conversions had been done. Skeptics were suggesting it was so that comparisons of formats would be harder to perform and to protect MQA from the scrutiny a free-market demands.

 

I've tried to come at MQA with an open mind and have tested numerous streamers and DACs. I have found some truth in a short and easily miss-able quote in the Goldensound video where he says the best experience is doing the first software unfold and then having a non-MQA DAC do the rest.

 

My epiphany came on the day that Square decided to buy a stake in Tidal. It coincided with my discovery that pretty much the entire Led Zeppelin catalogue was solely MQA. I killed Tidal on the spot and wrote to them to ask for all personal data to be deleted.

 

I lived with lossy Spotify for a few months until Qobuz arrived this week. Spotify is still a decent tool for on-the-move audio esp with Bluetooth to headphones and to in-car audio too; it's "good enough". But the HiRes streams on Qobuz through my Bluesound into the RME ADI-2 FS DAC are glorious.

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3 minutes ago, wolster said:

I watched the video yesterday when posted elsewherez. Really intetesting but would love to see some balance in this thread. Are there any similar vids that pose the argument for MQA?

Here's some:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejTOe7s1r30

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cy58d5Y4J_s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7mq_RDiROI

The last is Bod Stuart, the inventor, being interviewed by Darko. 

 

There are NO videos on the technical aspects of MQA. MQA (the organisation) have chosen to keep things well hidden. 

 

GoldenSound's video was the first one who have done a detailed spectrum analysis. Archimago's review' was the other comprehensive look.  In both cases, MQA declined to give a written response; there was a phone chat after Archimago's article.

-------------

Interestingly, the normally chatty Amir, and big MQA supporter,  did not respond to GoldenOne (GoldenSound)'s lengthy post on ASR

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/mqa-deep-dive-i-published-music-on-tidal-to-test-mqa.22549/

There were a few who attempted to undermine GoldenOne.

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29 minutes ago, wolster said:

Are there any similar vids that pose the argument for MQA?

Interesting request. What's the argument for MQA now? That it subjectively sounds better on sighted listening when the blue light is lit? I haven't seen any fact based argument for it that remains. "It uses less bandwidth" goes for mp3 as well, so perhaps MQA should be compared to high bitrate mp3/aac/ac3/opus/vorbis? It might sound or measure better on that comparison, but it will lose big time in the bitrate stakes.

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9 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

Here's some:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejTOe7s1r30

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cy58d5Y4J_s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7mq_RDiROI

The last is Bod Stuart, the inventor, being interviewed by Darko. 

 

There are NO videos on the technical aspects of MQA. MQA (the organisation) have chosen to keep things well hidden. 

 

GoldenSound's video was the first one who have done a detailed spectrum analysis. Archimago's review' was the other comprehensive look.  In both cases, MQA declined to give a written response; there was a phone chat after Archimago's article.

-------------

Interestingly, the normally chatty Amir, and big MQA supporter,  did not respond to GoldenOne (GoldenSound)'s lengthy post on ASR

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/mqa-deep-dive-i-published-music-on-tidal-to-test-mqa.22549/

There were a few who attempted to undermine GoldenOne.

 

Thanks @Snoopy8

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On 16/04/2021 at 1:03 PM, MattyW said:

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.

No, No No,   FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio codec, it is open source,  and  independent on its own. If Tidal choose to use Flac that is great, as can anyone. FLAC was created by Xiph.org      who state their objectives as being   https://xiph.org/

 

" The Xiph.Org Foundation is a non-profit corporation dedicated to protecting the foundations of Internet multimedia from control by private interests. Our purpose is to support and develop free, open protocols and software to serve the public, developer and business markets. "

https://xiph.org/flac/comparison.html

 

Tidal is music artist owned.  Tidal  can just like you and me choose to use FLAC - such is the power of software, when it is not proprietary.

The very best case for software is as being free, not as in cost but having the four essential freedoms https://www.fsf.org/

Second best is open source which FLAC complies with, ideally FLAC need to progress or  graduate to be free software too, but we

should be thankful for their present open source ability.

 

 

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53 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

Interestingly, the normally chatty Amir, and big MQA supporter,  did not respond to GoldenOne (GoldenSound)'s lengthy post on ASR

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/mqa-deep-dive-i-published-music-on-tidal-to-test-mqa.22549/

There were a few who attempted to undermine GoldenOne.

There a fair bit of irony in someone presenting objective evidence on ASR and getting undermined because of it...

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8 minutes ago, stereo coffee said:

Tidal is music artist owned. 

I'm not sure what this means.

In any event Tidal is now majority owned by Square

Square, Inc. is an American financial services and digital payments company based in San Francisco, California. The company was founded in 2009 by Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey and launched its first platform in 2010. It has been traded as a public company on the New York Stock Exchange since November 2015 with the ticker symbol SQ.

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12 minutes ago, stereo coffee said:

 

 

 

  Tidal  can just like you and me choose to use FLAC - such is the power of software, when it is not proprietary.

 

 

 

 

So why are they in bed with MQA, which is the zenith of proprietary control of music?

 

Also, FYI, Tidal is no longer artist owned.

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1 minute ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

I'm not sure what this means.

In any event Tidal is now majority owned by Square

Square, Inc. is an American financial services and digital payments company based in San Francisco, California. The company was founded in 2009 by Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey and launched its first platform in 2010. It has been traded as a public company on the New York Stock Exchange since November 2015 with the ticker symbol SQ.

If so then it suggests the music artists that Tidal is owned by,  also have input into Square with respect to how Squares services are used.  - its complex for sure. The named artist ownership is stated at Tidal's  website https://tidal.com/whatistidal       "TIDAL has the commitment of artist-owners who believe in creating a more sustainable and practical model for the music industry. The artist-owners are Alicia Keys, Arcade Fire (Win Butler and Regine Chassagne), Beyoncé, Calvin Harris, Claudia Leitte, Clifford “T.I.” Harris, Coldplay, Daft Punk, Deadmau5, Jack White, Jason Aldean, J. Cole, Kanye West, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Shawn “JAY Z” Carter, Damian Marley, Indochine, Lil Wayne, and Usher."

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4 minutes ago, rantan said:

 

So why are they in bed with MQA, which is the zenith of proprietary control of music?

 

Also, FYI, Tidal is no longer artist owned.

If that is so,  their website needs to be updated.

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2 minutes ago, stereo coffee said:

If so then it suggests the music artists that Tidal is owned by,  also have input into Square with respect to how Squares services are used.  - its complex for sure. The named artist ownership is stated at Tidal's  website https://tidal.com/whatistidal       "TIDAL has the commitment of artist-owners who believe in creating a more sustainable and practical model for the music industry. The artist-owners are Alicia Keys, Arcade Fire (Win Butler and Regine Chassagne), Beyoncé, Calvin Harris, Claudia Leitte, Clifford “T.I.” Harris, Coldplay, Daft Punk, Deadmau5, Jack White, Jason Aldean, J. Cole, Kanye West, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Shawn “JAY Z” Carter, Damian Marley, Indochine, Lil Wayne, and Usher."

I suspect the reality is that just like any other company, the majority shareholder has the majority of the say. I reckon the artists are listed to give the impression that you are getting an artist centric platform. 

The farce that is MQA shows how far from reality this impression actually is 

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1 minute ago, stereo coffee said:

If that is so,  their website needs to be updated.

 

Or perhaps, Square Square and MQA prefer to fly well under the radar of music lovers.

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Guest Eggcup the Dafter
29 minutes ago, stereo coffee said:

No, No No,   FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio codec, it is open source,  and  independent on its own. If Tidal choose to use Flac that is great, as can anyone. FLAC was created by Xiph.org      who state their objectives as being   https://xiph.org/

 

" The Xiph.Org Foundation is a non-profit corporation dedicated to protecting the foundations of Internet multimedia from control by private interests. Our purpose is to support and develop free, open protocols and software to serve the public, developer and business markets. "

https://xiph.org/flac/comparison.html

 

Tidal is music artist owned.  Tidal  can just like you and me choose to use FLAC - such is the power of software, when it is not proprietary.

The very best case for software is as being free, not as in cost but having the four essential freedoms https://www.fsf.org/

Second best is open source which FLAC complies with, ideally FLAC need to progress or  graduate to be free software too, but we

should be thankful for their present open source ability.

 

 

Tidal is now largely owned by Square, a financial services. I know, sometimes it's hard to keep up... artists do still own a part of the company, and they keep repeating the claim that it is artist owned. (For the record, Qobuz pays more per stream than Tidal, and that is a key reason I will be switching in the next few days.)

 

FLAC is a container format. MQA as delivered by Tidal is itself delivered using FLAC. I guess one could argue that if Xiph.org beleives in its mission status, they should stop Tidal using FLAC to deliver a non-lossless format that its seems now bent on allowing Internet music distribution to be controlled by, um, a private interest. Tidal also uses FLAC for its CD quality files. Then again, Richemont probably has better lawyers.

 

21 minutes ago, speedgod66 said:

100% Fraud Meridian founders retirement plan funded by the gullible

From what I can make out from second hand sources, MQA is still standing on a lifetime loss of $30million US. What's more, a large part of its asset base is intangible - goodwill, a value assigned to its name, a value assigned to the Stuart patent, etc. It's hardly a retirement plan for anyone just yet.

 

Also the late Allen Boothroyd, Meridian's other founder, had little if anything to do with MQA.

 

MQA has little to do these days other than promote its one product, though, so should be profitable in the near future if it doesn't get derailed by bad publicity. With that in mind, don't expect a response from them soon. I predict an advertising campaign headed by their "Trusted Partners" in a couple of months to counter this latest attack without answering it.

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2 minutes ago, Eggcup the Dafter said:

MQA has little to do these days other than promote its one product, though, so should be profitable in the near future if it doesn't get derailed by bad publicity. With that in mind, don't expect a response from them soon. I predict an advertising campaign headed by their "Trusted Partners" in a couple of months to counter this latest attack without answering it.

 I guess they should get into selling MQA-certified premium power cables to make up their losses.

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Just now, Ittaku said:

 I guess they should get into selling MQA-certified premium power cables to make up their losses.

A lot easier to license the name to AudioQuest?

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I had this debate years ago and when pressing Mr Stuart on technical details and how MQA is better we got an analogy on how "Washing your windows removes the grime " thus improving the sound -oh camera lens filters were also thrown into the mix. I of course was immediately convinced and sold my ex into prostitution/slavery so I could purchase the worlds most expensive MQA playback chain.

I wonder why she left me? ?

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1 hour ago, Snoopy8 said:

That said, the ones who attempted to undermine his work were also saying his measurements are meaningless unless someone does an ABX blind test of MQA against a banana to confirm it sounds worse.

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6 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

That said, the ones who attempted to undermine his work were also saying his measurements are meaningless unless someone does an ABX blind test of MQA against a banana to confirm it sounds worse.

Surely you know how ASR works...?  Measurements are the only evidence you need.  That is until they disagree with your world view.  Then you need expensive and non-existent DBT or ABX listening tests on top of the measurements.

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4 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

That said, the ones who attempted to undermine his work were also saying his measurements are meaningless unless someone does an ABX blind test of MQA against a banana to confirm it sounds worse.

Um. Did I just do something similar? The thing is that elements of his analysis suggest that it does unfold and contain modified high frequency information, so some of the pretext for their claims for the product does still stand.

However, it's for MQA to do the blind test and show us that it stacks up, not the critics.

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12 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

That said, the ones who attempted to undermine his work were also saying his measurements are meaningless unless someone does an ABX blind test of MQA against a banana to confirm it sounds worse.

 

Banana FTW!:party

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1 hour ago, wolster said:

I found this video useful:

 

 

Yes, I was going to suggest this as a 'balanced' video on the subject. 

 

IF what Paul said is true, then MQA have deviated a lot from their original business model. This certainly undercut their potential to delivery sonic benefit for consumers as previously claimed. Still, it is not possible to know if they had always intended for their business to evolved this way. 

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Some posts hidden as I'm sure the OP would rather we discuss MQA...

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3 hours ago, Snoopy8 said:

GoldenSound's video was the first one who have done a detailed spectrum analysis. Archimago's review' was the other comprehensive look.  In both cases, MQA declined to give a written response; there was a phone chat after Archimago's article.

MQA did provide a written response to GoldenSound - it was discussed in their OP video starting from the 28:58 min mark. 

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2 hours ago, Ittaku said:

That said, the ones who attempted to undermine his work were also saying his measurements are meaningless unless someone does an ABX blind test of MQA against a banana to confirm it sounds worse.

I think those people are missing his point. He isn’t saying anything about whether MQA sounds better or worse, he’s analysing their claims and finding them misleading. 

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Just now, sir sanders zingmore said:

I think those people are missing his point. He isn’t saying anything about whether MQA sounds better or worse, he’s analysing their claims and finding them misleading. 

Exactly.

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'Misleading' is subjective, and that in itself is another problem in these type of discussion. Some people may be 'misled', but others are not because they interpreted things differently. 

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It would seem that they are fraudsters yes.

I really quite liked the early promises that they would have access to the best masters and that you would know that the file hasn't been molested.

 

I didn't like the middle man aspect or the attempt to control hardware. I never thought there was much/any need to compress the files for internet streaming at all unless coming from DSD.

Since then some of the industry comments on MQA grew doubt and the interaction with Computer Audiophile was truly weak.

 

I haven't really thought much of MQA listening. It hasn't been a night and day difference and any benefit I put down to a better master. This though might be affected by my small interest in Hi-res. My experience has been that better hardware and a better master trumps formats and bitrates. Even MP3 has impressed at times

Let's hope the format and it's greasy tentacles die soon. Internet speeds are better in most places now so bring on native 44/16 and above

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Worth reading what Bob Stuart had to say about MQA:

 

https://www.stereo.net.au/features/inside-track-bob-stuart-mqa

 

Managing the provenance of the original recording is obviously worthwhile. How well that is being done must be under question after the test tracks were published by the creator of the video.

 

MQA is clearly a lossy codec. Whether or not the information lost is audible, appears to be hotly debated. Clearly, as audiophiles, we would or should prefer a lossless codec.

 

Many of us would have purchased music in a variety of formats over the years, records, cassette tape, DAT, CD, DVD-Audio, BluRay, DSD etc. Many of these formats required different technology to play them back, requiring further investment.

 

Record companies and artists complain about piracy but are happy for consumers to pay them over and over again for the same copyrighted material in another format. These other formats are generally marketed as having improved sound quality to justify a further purchase.

 

The whole world is becoming digital. As consumers, we expect a seamless digital experience. Many of us have made further purchases of equipment and software to have that experience.

 

My personal point of view, is that the last thing I want is to pay, yet again, for a format that will be out of date and superseded in a couple of years. Just sell me or charge me to stream lossless, hi res files. 

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17 minutes ago, Telecine said:

Worth reading what Bob Stuart had to say about MQA:

 

https://www.stereo.net.au/features/inside-track-bob-stuart-mqa

 

Managing the provenance of the original recording is obviously worthwhile. How well that is being done must be under question after the test tracks were published by the creator of the video.

 

MQA is clearly a lossy codec. Whether or not the information lost is audible, appears to be hotly debated. Clearly, as audiophiles, we would or should prefer a lossless codec.

 

Many of us would have purchased music in a variety of formats over the years, records, cassette tape, DAT, CD, DVD-Audio, BluRay, DSD etc. Many of these formats required different technology to play them back, requiring further investment.

 

Record companies and artists complain about piracy but are happy for consumers to pay them over and over again for the same copyrighted material in another format. These other formats are generally marketed as having improved sound quality to justify a further purchase.

 

The whole world is becoming digital. As consumers, we expect a seamless digital experience. Many of us have made further purchases of equipment and software to have that experience.

 

My personal point of view, is that the last thing I want is to pay, yet again, for a format that will be out of date and superseded in a couple of years. Just sell me or charge me to stream lossless, hi res files. 

Have to laugh his public relations team have obviously had him polish his speil about MQA, now omitting cleaning windows and camera lense filters -however still incredibly thin on actual details other than moguls in the music industry can make lots of money selling us Lossy music instead of the High res files we should have benefitted from back in the year 2000.

The masters they did for the original DVD audio and some SACD titles were stunning. Sony soon abandoned using the full sacd process due to it costing many multiples of pcm to record and produce music to fully realise the benefit  -MQA pass, nothing has impressed me 

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23 minutes ago, LHC said:

'Misleading' is subjective, and that in itself is another problem in these type of discussion. Some people may be 'misled', but others are not because they interpreted things differently. 

Somebody, somewhere, is misleading Tidal customers if the thrust of current allegations (which go beyond what is in the video referenced here) are true. What we have iare 16/44.1 files taken from 24 bit master  and supplied to Tidal (as in the Neil Young incident) -  bulk processed with presumably an MQA supplied codec - and now we know that there is an aliasing artifact from the processing, and no apparent magic retrieval of additional timing information - and when you play that through an MQA equipped DAC, it assures you that what you are listening to is "Master Quality Authenticated". It isn't the master, it won't sound like the master to anyone with sufficiently high frequency hearing, yet it is "authenticated" as such.

 

Go back and read all the claims for MQA - that they would assure us the best masters were used, that they could retrieve more information than conventional PCM or DSD playback, that they were compensating for ADCs used in the digital mastering process. In fact, the blue light simply means that the MQA file hasn't been altered since it came out of the encoder. For 16/44.1 masters, at least, that means nothing, assuming that the video referenced here is correct, because the sound is tainted.
 

43 minutes ago, Telecine said:

Worth reading what Bob Stuart had to say about MQA:

 

https://www.stereo.net.au/features/inside-track-bob-stuart-mqa

Here's a quote from the article

'He notes that some analogue master tapes from the nineteen fifties, pre-Dolby, are absolutely superb sounding. “It’s a wider bandwidth than CD, and is human-friendly…”'

 

Is that true? I'm not sure that there were any 1950s recorders claiming to be flat over 20kHz. Can someone enlighten me? And if it's true, then can MQA playback meet that quality, with the apparent notch caused by its standard filter?

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