Author Topic: Why I don't give a **** about MQA...  (Read 968 times)

Offline dBe

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Why I don't give a **** about MQA...
« on: November 06, 2017, 12:23:25 AM »
This is not my first rodeo.  I've been 'doing audio' since the mid 60's.  That, in itself, should qualify what I am going to say.  I've been involved in every phase of music production that can be done with the exception of that of a mastering engineer.  Musician, recording engineer, live sound FOH mixer, producer, mixing desk. Been there done that.  I think that is why my quest is now the music and its enjoyment.

In video, I went through all of the formats from film, through the VHS/Beta wars to have learned to be wary of new formats.

I went from analog audio (records, 2-24trk tape) into digital in all of its guises to realize a few things.  Everything is at best a picture (analog) or a reconstruction (digital) of something that happened in real space at real time using transducers to capture that or those moments.

I have heard symphonic music recorded on wire recorders in Germany in the early through late thirties
that were reconstructed by an amazing engineer that were among some of the best mono recordings I have ever heard.  Analog, in whatever format, captured the emotion, the humanity of those recordings.

Enter digital.

Does anyone here know that Sara K's first album was done on a Sony U-magic 14 bit recorder?  What we captured there were amazing performances by Sara, Bruce Dunlap and many others in a tiny little studio here in Albuquerque.  No one really cared that the strings sounded too woody.  There were just masterful performances by talented musicians recorded on the format at hand.  The producer, Eric Larson, was a wizard.

I have terabytes of Redbook recordings.  Some are stunning, some suck.  That is the music industry.  There is either talent there or not.  It doesn't matter how a performance is encoded or decoded to me.  It is either good work, or it sucks.  I can either enjoy it or not.  It doesn't matter to me whether the recording was sampled at 3.7645231 terahertz.  If it sucks it just sucks in technicolor.  Couple this with the fact that every new format that comes along tends to trade colorations for colorations.  I particularly like this quote: " It was like a veil had been lifted...  Blah, blah, blah". How many times have I hear or read that crap?!?!

Now MGA.  When I read that MGA is a form of lossy compression I was completely out.  What we get with this approach is someone else's idea of what we (I) want to hear upon reconstruction.  Seriously?

I get lied to enough by watching the news.  I don't need it in my enjoyment of real music.

Grumpy, out.

Offline rollo

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Re: Why I don't give a **** about MQA...
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2017, 12:13:04 PM »
 You ain't grumpy you are 100% correct. Just back from CAF. Talked to several DAC designers. They were against it. AQUA the line I carry has yet to embrace as well.
Who wants to re-buy their library all over again. The CD was enough cost to get what I liked on vinyl.

charles
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Offline P.I.

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Re: Why I don't give a **** about MQA...
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2017, 03:59:25 PM »
You ain't grumpy you are 100% correct. Just back from CAF. Talked to several DAC designers. They were against it. AQUA the line I carry has yet to embrace as well.
Who wants to re-buy their library all over again. The CD was enough cost to get what I liked on vinyl.

charles
Time and experience has taught us that the encoding end of Redbook cxrammed a bunch of data into the data files.  It has always been the decoding end that has been suspect in extracting everything from that file.  For whatever reason we have chosen to look for new, instead of better ways to "fix" digital.  Everytime I listen to the latest and greatest, I hear a different presentation that is represented by advocates as better. 

To me music is best compared to food.  I have eaten both simple and extravagently prepared dishes.  Too many 'chefs' overcome the shortcomings of the base component with a variety of spices, additions etc and then a stunning visual presentation.  All of that is just window dressing when it comes to the enjoyment of the meal.  The most memorable meals I have every had were some of the most simply prepared using the highest quality foods. 

Diferent is only different.  More is merely more.  Better is better when it comes to serving the music. 

A lot of what goes on with audio is the GAS syndrome.  There comes a point to where newer, more technically acclaimed gearjust stops being better, becomes more expensive and is simply more gear to feed GAS while shorshifting the enjoyment aspect.  I have several DACs here.  One is 24bit 384KHZ.  Another is a 64X oversampling  DAC and my favorites are both 16bit 44.1KHz NOS DACs.  Those are the ones that crank up the emotion and enjoyment for me.  In audio it is KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid.  Simple electronics without a lot of bells and whistles feeding or being fed by a simply designed minimilistic DAC is what floats my goat.  Then again I'm in the geezer realm and have learned that a simple, fulfilling life is the most rewarding. He that dies with the most toys missed the point.
"A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument." - Hilmar von Campe

Offline malloy

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Re: Why I don't give a **** about MQA...
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2017, 11:23:51 PM »

When I read that MGA is a form of lossy compression I was completely out.  What we get with this approach is someone else's idea of what we (I) want to hear upon reconstruction.  Seriously?


Funny how they left out this very important bit (no pun intended) of information in the marketing spiel. Or have  they stated this from the start?

Offline Nick B

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Re: Why I don't give a **** about MQA...
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2017, 10:14:46 AM »
As I only have 16/44 CDs and  no hirez material, I知 happy where I知 at. Tidal allows me to play with upsampling and I could give a rat痴 a.. about MQA. Must be nice to have money coming in via licensing fees.
When the dust settles with my current single driver and amp projects, I知 going to test the nos dac  waters.....
McCormack DNA 1.0 Gold amp
KEF LS 50 speakers
Antelope Audio Gold dac
Auralic Aries Mini - Tidal
Roon Labs (upsampling to 24/192
Don Sachs phono
Basis Ovation turntable
Graham 1.5 T tonearm
AT-ML150 cartridge
PI Audio Uber
All cables by Gary A

Offline rollo

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Re: Why I don't give a **** about MQA...
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2017, 02:39:03 PM »
As I only have 16/44 CDs and  no hirez material, I知 happy where I知 at. Tidal allows me to play with upsampling and I could give a rat痴 a.. about MQA. Must be nice to have money coming in via licensing fees.
When the dust settles with my current single driver and amp projects, I知 going to test the nos dac  waters.....

 If and when you want to play with NOS chip DAC I have a Promitheus transformer output DAC that still kicks some butt that you could use for awhile.

charles
Home demo.
 contact me  at rollo14@verizon.net or visit on Facebook
Lamm - Aqua Acoustic Formula & La Scala DAC- INNUOS  - Rethm Speakers - PI Audio Uberbuss - Triode Wire Labs- Kuzma - Furutech - Audio Hungry Qualiton - Fritz Carrera speakers -Gigawatt

Offline Nick B

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Re: Why I don't give a **** about MQA...
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2017, 07:27:18 PM »
As I only have 16/44 CDs and  no hirez material, I知 happy where I知 at. Tidal allows me to play with upsampling and I could give a rat痴 a.. about MQA. Must be nice to have money coming in via licensing fees.
When the dust settles with my current single driver and amp projects, I知 going to test the nos dac  waters.....

 If and when you want to play with NOS chip DAC I have a Promitheus transformer output DAC that still kicks some butt that you could use for awhile.

charles

Thanks, Charles. I appreciate that very much
Nick
McCormack DNA 1.0 Gold amp
KEF LS 50 speakers
Antelope Audio Gold dac
Auralic Aries Mini - Tidal
Roon Labs (upsampling to 24/192
Don Sachs phono
Basis Ovation turntable
Graham 1.5 T tonearm
AT-ML150 cartridge
PI Audio Uber
All cables by Gary A

Offline P.I.

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Re: Why I don't give a **** about MQA...
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2017, 10:31:56 AM »

When I read that MGA is a form of lossy compression I was completely out.  What we get with this approach is someone else's idea of what we (I) want to hear upon reconstruction.  Seriously?


Funny how they left out this very important bit (no pun intended) of information in the marketing spiel. Or have  they stated this from the start?
I found out about this by cruising on the net reading as much as I could.  It's VHS/Beta/HDCD/DVD-A/SACD/MSMFT/LSD all of again.

The worst thing that can happen to Redbook is when it is decimated to 96K or above.  88.2 sounds infinitely better than 96.  Whose moronic idea was that anyway... oh, yeah: video guys  ](*,)
 
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Offline richidoo

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Re: Why I don't give a **** about MQA...
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2018, 09:49:32 AM »
Because of all the negative comments in the online audiophile echo-chamber about MQA, I had ignored it until last Thursday when my friend called to ask me what I knew about Masters on Tidal. I had to say, geez I don't know anything about that, because I had read that it's the devil's spawn. He said, man you gotta try it, it's awesome.

So I did, and it is. My DAC is proudly antiMQA but Roon recently updated to decode MQA and sends the unfolded PCM 24/96 to my DAC. I understand there's even more potential for MQA than this, up to 8x unfolding for DACs that can count that high and don't have philosophical resistance to change, but for me MQA 1x still sounds better than the standard 44k flac files from Tidal. What I thought were cheap caps on my tweeters sound fine on MQA streams. That makes me question just how "uncompressed" Tidal Hifi tracks really are.

Surprisingly, there is some excellent music to be found in Tidal Masters that sound divine, even compared to the non-master Hifi versions on Tidal.

Masters are included in Hifi level subscription to Tidal, so it doesn't cost me anything extra. It seems like there's about 100 Master albums on Tidal? Maybe 10 classical, maybe 20 of jazz. I hope they add many more, or I hope to find out there are 20,000 Masters on Tidal and I'm just looking in the wrong place.

As I grow accustomed to this level of high resolution files I would consider buying hirez downloads of those recordings I really love and listen to a lot, if they are available. If MQA allowed me to store hirez files in significantly smaller space then I'd do it.

At this point, without reading much about MQA technology, I still hold the simple belief that it MQA is a new form of compression on same principle as flac, but either sounds better, or compresses smaller, or some other advantages over flac. Am I wrong?

I can see a future for MQA, if kids can hear the improvement over 192k mp3. And with national(ized) 5G coming, we'll need much bigger files to justify all the spending. We have a right to MQA! Every poor child deserves equal access to high resolution audio files! It's not fair! Check your audiophile privilege!

Listening to "Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson" on Tidal Masters now. Magnificent!  :thumb:
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Offline _Scotty_

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Re: Why I don't give a **** about MQA...
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2018, 01:15:04 PM »
The chances are good that the streamed MQA tracks are from a different master than their flac files. Also they are paying for the privilege to stream MQA content so it is in their best interest to have the MQA files sound better than the flac files.
 There is a real possibility that it is not the apples to apples comparison that it may seem to be.
Scotty

Offline dBe

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Re: Why I don't give a **** about MQA...
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2018, 11:49:58 PM »
The chances are good that the streamed MQA tracks are from a different master than their flac files. Also they are paying for the privilege to stream MQA content so it is in their best interest to have the MQA files sound better than the flac files.
 There is a real possibility that it is not the apples to apples comparison that it may seem to be.
Scotty
I may get a lot of FLAC for this, but I don't like it either.

Aw, come on.  Somebody had to say it... :rofl:  I'm killin' me here, but it's late.

Offline richidoo

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Re: Why I don't give a **** about MQA...
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2018, 10:24:28 AM »
The chances are good that the streamed MQA tracks are from a different master than their flac files. Also they are paying for the privilege to stream MQA content so it is in their best interest to have the MQA files sound better than the flac files.
 There is a real possibility that it is not the apples to apples comparison that it may seem to be.
Scotty

I can accept that, especially because I naively thought that MQA was by definition higher resolution playback. Just a more efficient compression that allows streaming hirez content at similar bitrate as the Tidal hifi flac stream.

I assumed MQA starts with a higher resolution master, compressed by MQA small enough to stream. Isn't that what MQA claims?  Or does MQA claim to make hirez silk out of redbook sow's ear?  Like all the other resamplers we see that are intolerable in the long run.

Roon says it is streaming 24/96 to my DAC when I play Tidal Masters. I have upsampling turned off. Tidal Hifi streams to my DAC at 44.1/16. It sounds like 24/96. It does not sound like upsampling/resampling. So I assume it is legtimately 24/96 master taken from analog original. 

My question is: Should I not expect MQA to always be a high resolution master? Or can MQA just be a redbook master? Thanks for your insight.
"The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it." - Abe Lincoln

Offline dBe

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Re: Why I don't give a **** about MQA...
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2018, 10:24:07 PM »
The chances are good that the streamed MQA tracks are from a different master than their flac files. Also they are paying for the privilege to stream MQA content so it is in their best interest to have the MQA files sound better than the flac files.
 There is a real possibility that it is not the apples to apples comparison that it may seem to be.
Scotty

I can accept that, especially because I naively thought that MQA was by definition higher resolution playback. Just a more efficient compression that allows streaming hirez content at similar bitrate as the Tidal hifi flac stream.

My question is: Should I not expect MQA to always be a high resolution master? Or can MQA just be a redbook master? Thanks for your insight.
Rich, I think that is THE question a lot of people are asking.  I have seen some "MQA" titles that I know cannot possibly me more than 44.1/16 natives recordings.  I am such a curmudgeon in my old age [having been ripped off all to often in audio] that I just wonder. 

I have had discussions with more than a few people that are wondering what MQA is all about.  I remember getting direct to tape and half speed master vinyl back in the day.  There was no question about those technologies (thank you Clark Johnson, et al), but when I heard something these days that is supposed to be better and all it does is sound brighter and pumped on thr bottom I wonder.

I used to be cynical when it came to audio BS.  Now I'm really, REALLY cynical.

I really do hope that it is more than these old ears can hear  :roll:  kinda sucks getting older in more ways than diminished HF.

Offline _Scotty_

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Re: Why I don't give a **** about MQA...
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2018, 05:59:30 PM »
Rich, I don't know if you read any of the posts in the Bryston Circle on AC but James Tanner posted a lot of links to some good information on MQA.
 http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=151245.0
https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/mqa-op-ed.3817/page-3#post-166101
Scotty

Offline tmazz

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Re: Why I don't give a **** about MQA...
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2018, 08:48:13 AM »
The chances are good that the streamed MQA tracks are from a different master than their flac files. Also they are paying for the privilege to stream MQA content so it is in their best interest to have the MQA files sound better than the flac files.
 There is a real possibility that it is not the apples to apples comparison that it may seem to be.
Scotty

I can accept that, especially because I naively thought that MQA was by definition higher resolution playback. Just a more efficient compression that allows streaming hirez content at similar bitrate as the Tidal hifi flac stream.

I assumed MQA starts with a higher resolution master, compressed by MQA small enough to stream. Isn't that what MQA claims?  Or does MQA claim to make hirez silk out of redbook sow's ear?  Like all the other resamplers we see that are intolerable in the long run.

Roon says it is streaming 24/96 to my DAC when I play Tidal Masters. I have upsampling turned off. Tidal Hifi streams to my DAC at 44.1/16. It sounds like 24/96. It does not sound like upsampling/resampling. So I assume it is legtimately 24/96 master taken from analog original. 

My question is: Should I not expect MQA to always be a high resolution master? Or can MQA just be a redbook master? Thanks for your insight.

Logically one would think that any MQA file should start with some kind of high res master. After all, what would be the sense of going through extra steps to encode a redbook signal so that it can be transported within a redbook signal?

But unfortunately logic does not always rule the day, especially when marketing folks are involved. What are the odds of somebody upsampling a redbook file and then encoding that upsampled file using MQA and trying to sell us, once again, something we already own under the guise of this version is "better"?

I would like to think that this kind of thing would not come out of major sources, but this would be just too easy to do in some kind of backroom piracy operation. We already have all kinds of "audiophile" 180g LPs coming out of Europe that are benig mastered off of commercial CDs due to some loopholes in the new EU copyright laws, I just can't imagine that nobody will try to sell scam MQA files as well. As far as I know, at this point MQA is pretty much limited to streaming services,  but once they start selling MQA files for download to your own hard drives, like anything else, we will need to be careful of where we buy them from.
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