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Lossless Bit Perfect TIDAL Tracks


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With all the hysteria in the MQA threads from damning findings in GoldenSound's MQA Technical analysis, I thought I'd put up step-by-step instructions on how to get lossless bit perfect tracks from Tidal. 

 

DISCLAIMER: I'm not affiliated with any of these companies. I just read and researched GoldenSound's findings to try and understand them. I was originally neutral about MQA but it's now clear they were misleading and deceptive. A legal class action is probably not unreasonable to recover damages. Tidal may still survive and provide important competition in the music streaming space. It all depends on what they do next.

 

If I'm incorrect in my interpretations of GoldenSound's results, feel free to correct me as I'm not an expert. 

 

Background

 

1. GoldenSound stated he used the "DeltaWave" tool to check that his uploads were bit perfect with his tracks downloaded from Tidal.

 

2. All MQA tracks were NOT bit perfect. No doubt about that, it's clear and conclusive.

 

3. GoldenSound confirmed TIDAL and Qobuz redbook 16bit 44.1khz tracks were indeed bit perfect lossless from the same master. TIDAL was NOT completely lying about providing lossless tracks. Still misled us with lossless hi-res (eg. 24bit, >44.1khz)

 

Instructions for listening to bit perfect lossless TIDAL

 

1. Under your TIDAL client settings, set your maximum streaming quality to "HiFi" (Not "Master")

 

2. Many albums still have the Non-MQA version which are bit perfect lossless. MQA versions are marked with "master". When playing TIDAL music, select the album without the "Master" or "M" tag.  See picture attached.

 

3. Enjoy Redbook CD quality lossless bit perfect music. Still no option for HiRes until TIDAL dumps MQA.

 

Call to action

 

GoldenSound noted that a lot of albums are currently being converted to MQA and all new albums are going up as MQA only. You see this as albums that only have a "master" version.

 

Write a short email to TIDAL support asking them to put the non "master" album back since MQA is not high quality lossless audio. Link to GoldenSound's video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRjsu9-Vznc

 

 

Hopefully TIDAL will get the message and dump MQA.

 

 

Tidal.png

Edited by myhifiacct
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...Or just use a streaming service like Qobuz or Deezer who don't use MQA.

 

Why you'd waste the time to get around this when you are paying for a service is beyond me.

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TIDAL might Lossless yes but Bit Perfect?

I question whether Loudness Normalization can be switched off, see here: https://www.avsforum.com/threads/unwanted-tidal-volume-changes.3155158/

image.png

 

I question Qobuz too; see here for a thread I created recently regarding the Loudness Normalisation & Bitperfect regarding streaming services.

 

Edited by Satanica
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1 hour ago, myhifiacct said:

2. Many albums still have the Non-MQA version which are bit perfect lossless. MQA versions are marked with "master". When playing TIDAL music, select the album without the "Master" or "M" tag.  See picture attached.

Can we can know for sure that the non-MQA version is actually the original lossless. It’s quite possible that it’s a hobbled version of the MQA track (I think GoldenSound may have mentioned this in his video, not 100% sure)

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6 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

Can we can know for sure that the non-MQA version is actually the original lossless. It’s quite possible that it’s a hobbled version of the MQA track (I think GoldenSound may have mentioned this in his video, not 100% sure)

 

GoldenSound did confirm and test that non-MQA TIDAL tracks were original lossless. Here is a quote from his ASR post.

 

"The first thing to do was to check whether the Tidal and Qobuz redbook/non-MQA files were actually the same. ie: Are tidal and qobuz using the same master for the song. To do this I downloaded the Redbook 16 bit 44.1khz version from Qobuz, and then the same from the release on tidal that was not marked "Master".

Deltawave showed that these two files were 100% absolutely bit for bit identical. So we can conclude that Tidal and Qobuz are using the same master for the song. Perfect."

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I think when it comes to digital audio files or streams, there’s bit perfect and “bit perfect”. The former is easy to understand – all bits in two audio files or streams have to be exactly the same, just like with data files on a computer. This is easy to determine (as long as one can find the same playback location in both samples) by applying a checksum algorithm.

 

For audio, “bit perfect” makes more practical sense. It means that two audio files or streams represent the same waveform, but possibly at different volumes. That’s much harder to determine, and the series of bits in both streams or files will look completely uncorrelated. This is however a feature of the DeltaWave tool (as used by GoldenEars), which can compute and compensate for volume differences in otherwise identical streams or files.

 

For streaming services it makes sense to adjust the volume of tracks to match them to a loudness profile, because original masters vary wildly in loudness. This is usually still considered “bit perfect”, as long as no other modifications are detected, such as compression or decompression, EQ, sample rate conversion artefacts or even lossy encoding/decoding (MQA!).

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9 hours ago, myhifiacct said:

 

GoldenSound did confirm and test that non-MQA TIDAL tracks were original lossless. Here is a quote from his ASR post.

 

"The first thing to do was to check whether the Tidal and Qobuz redbook/non-MQA files were actually the same. ie: Are tidal and qobuz using the same master for the song. To do this I downloaded the Redbook 16 bit 44.1khz version from Qobuz, and then the same from the release on tidal that was not marked "Master".

Deltawave showed that these two files were 100% absolutely bit for bit identical. So we can conclude that Tidal and Qobuz are using the same master for the song. Perfect."

He also said this:
 

Quote

Moby is MQA.
The problem is that the 'hifi' version is simply MQA but with MQA flagging removed. meaning any tools to check for MQA flagging will say it is not MQA. But actually it is.

Here is the deltawave comparison between the MQA version and Hifi version of Moby - Porcelain:

 
1619023025146.png



The audio content of the file is 100% bitperfect identical.
The only difference is the "Master" track has MQA flagging. That's it
But the hifi version is still the MQA release just disguised as regular FLAC.

The same happened with my tracks, the "HiFi" version had no MQA flagging at all and nothing would recognise it as MQA. But it was 100% bitperfect to the MQA release and was not the same as my master.

@Glasvegas @snowsurfer Tidal is serving MQA and falsely describing it as "Lossless CD Quality"


 

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3 hours ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

Moby is MQA.
The problem is that the 'hifi' version is simply MQA but with MQA flagging removed. meaning any tools to check for MQA flagging will say it is not MQA. But actually it is.

Here is the deltawave comparison between the MQA version and Hifi version of Moby - Porcelain:

 

 

I just checked the catalogue and all the Moby - Porcelain tracks are marked "master" with all non-MQA (real lossless) tracks gone. I think they are actively converting them as we speak.

 

Some of my other favourite tracks have also just converted. They must have a strong incentive to save storage space and remove duplicate non-MQA versions.

 

This is a damn shame. I was hopeful TIDAL would pause MQA conversions and address the controversy before it destroys their business.

 

I'm holding out until the end of my current Tidal subscription before I give them the boot.

 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, myhifiacct said:

 

I just checked the catalogue and all the Moby - Porcelain tracks are marked "master" with all non-MQA (real lossless) tracks gone. I think they are actively converting them as we speak.

 

Some of my other favourite tracks have also just converted. They must have a strong incentive to save storage space and remove duplicate non-MQA versions.

 

This is a damn shame. I was hopeful TIDAL would pause MQA conversions and address the controversy before it destroys their business.

 

I'm holding out until the end of my current Tidal subscription before I give them the boot.

 

 

 

My subscription is monthly (is there any other kind?). I already gave them the boot and my access will end at the end of the current period. 

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15 minutes ago, myhifiacct said:

 

I just checked the catalogue and all the Moby - Porcelain tracks are marked "master" with all non-MQA (real lossless) tracks gone. I think they are actively converting them as we speak.

 

Some of my other favourite tracks have also just converted. They must have a strong incentive to save storage space and remove duplicate non-MQA versions.

 

This is a damn shame. I was hopeful TIDAL would pause MQA conversions and address the controversy before it destroys their business.

 

I'm holding out until the end of my current Tidal subscription before I give them the boot.

 

 

 

 

Yep - the destruction of lossless and removal of choice is now their modus operandi.

 

I discovered that all the Led Zeppelin lossless content had been removed and left with only MQA files (sound hazy at the top end) on the same day that Square announced the purchase of their stake in Tidal. Double whammy for me. I killed my subscription right there and then (make sure you write to them and request all personal data is deleted).

 

I lived with Spotify for a couple of months until Qobuz arrived. Job done.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was looking at The Fleetwood Mac catalogue on Tidal, 20 out of 24 albums have all been converted to MASTER i.e. MQA sadly, the most popular album/tracks, pretty much everything. 

 

Led Zeppelin - 100%

 

Luckily none of the albums from Pink Floyd it seems.

Edited by Willmax
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1 minute ago, Willmax said:

I was looking at The Fleetwood Mac catalogue on Tidal, 20 out of 24 albums have all been converted to MASTER i.e. MQA sadly, the most popular album/tracks, pretty much everything. 

Yep. Tidal and mqa passion fingers.

 

D1ckheads.

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