Authentication: The need for MQA or other similar idea?

I didn’t say ‘noise shaping and filter’, did I? I said ‘noise shaping and bit reducing’. And I do give up you know. I think this is the right time.

Please can we move on. Moderators on the loose.

“Authentication” is commonly defined as “the act of proving/certifying that something is genuine”. In my opinion, that’s why a recording can only be authenticated by the people directly involved in making it…


So much of this audio hobby is hype and nonsense and most likely MQA is just like designer cables, break in, vinyl, etc. But if you like what you are hearing you are fine.

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Normally I ignore discussions in the Roon community that involve the word MQA because more often than not they deteriorate into vitriol and name calling. But I have to say, after taking a chance on this one I’m impressed that, with the exception of a couple of outlier comments, this one has been enjoyable, interesting and civil. Thanks to the participants for making it so. I have no idea what will happen from here, but so far so good.


I’m not sure why but I found myself reading some of the posts on this tread . It would be interesting if the posters had described how they are listening to MQA . What equipment gives rise to their opinions and often outright hostility to MQA ? I will confess to be an unusual case in that my playback systems are very good and can better reveal the benefits of MQA than that available to most Roon/Tidal/MQA users . My primary system - - Aurender W20SE/ QNAP 8 bay with all SSDs , dCS Vivaldi system , Levinson No.52 preamp , two pair of MBL 9008A amps, Transparent Reference XL cabling and MBL Xtreme speakers - - makes MQA my preferred playback alternative in most cases . For example , versus CDs , always ; versus SACDs , sometimes ; versus DSD or high resolution files , I’ll call that a draw . I subscribe to both Tidal and Qobuz , own hundreds of SACDs and I have several thousand DSD , 192/24 and 96/24 files and various other file formats and resolutions , e.g. , MQA encoded discs , DSDx2 , etc. I’m not doing any sophisticated measurements , just listening to multiple versions of the same recording . My conclusion is that MQA is like sex - - there’s some of it great but there ain’t none of it bad .

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Are you really sure there’s no such thing as “bad sex”? Have you never heard of the biggest faux-pas in (German) drinking etiquette and its catastrophic long-term consequences…? :joy:


Since MQA is a proprietary technology that charges royalties, it’s not a draw if it sounds the same; it’s just a way to make more money.


Let’s keep this thread on topic and discussing the need, or lack there of, for authentication……


A nice, extremely expensive system there. Yes, some including me aren’t as fortunate to be able to afford such wonderful kit. We can only use our own current systems to compare formats etc and give personal opinion based on that.

Am I right in saying your speakers cost in the region of £200k?!

Totally agree with this.

With the recent Sony releases of MQA’d music to Tidal, I’m only a little puzzled how some albums got the “A” as some of the artists are no longer with us. As the music rights, as Danny Dulai stated, tend to be with the labels, it is them that must be signing of on the “A”. Or are these records being given, or were given the white glove treatment?!

My view is that “A” can only really be achieved if the encoding A to D was direct to a format such as MQA at the time of production to truly be authenticated. Also, only by the artist and mastering engineer.

Some of these releases do sound great. But, I’m still on the fence as to whether they sound better in comparison to their (where available) 24/48-192 versions. Based on my equipment. Others may have greater resolution from their systems.

What I know is that artists/labels submit their digital music to streaming services, including Tidal. While other services publish the bits unchanged, Tidal applies MQA to them. This means the “A” only applies to the MQA process and has nothing to do with artists/labels and their mastering. Whether “A” is desirable or not, MQA is, once again, not the solution.
It’s worth noting that Neil Young removed his music from Tidal because he didn’t want his music MQA’d and there was no way around it.

No, the labels supply MQA to TIDAL. TIDAL is not involved in MQA processing.


Thanks @joel. I admit don’t really know how this works so I may be wrong. Does this mean though that Tidal only accepts MQA? And what was the issue with Neil Young? It doesn’t seem to me he was involved in MQA’ing his music.

I don’t think so, but it’s definitely pushing Masters as a differentiator.

I would love to know, but I can only speculate… Neil Young definitely has “history” with MQA. As I understand it, Pono (perhaps not Young himself, but his team) requested exclusivity to MQA technology and were turned down. Love MQA or loath it, ultimately the Pono players didn’t have enough storage space to handle 2x and 4x rate FLACs, and MQA would have provided a good solution. Or perhaps it was that MQA on TIDAL was competing directly with the Neil Young Archives? Or both. I suspect cynical motives rather than altruistic ones.

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Those are valid points, and I can buy the revenge part. But Tidal competing with NYA? Aren’t all hi-res streaming services competitors? He definitely didn’t remove his music from Qobuz. I don’t think NYA is meant to be the exclusive Neil Young source.

They are. Perhaps the MQA’ing was done by the label(s) without his prior agreement? And here we get into the complexities of rights ownership; which brings us right back on topic :smiley: .


The ‘A’ means nothing as long as we all have different setups to play music…

?? I have 512 GB of memory in my Pono.

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In part I agree, however if the music is a constant then it’s only our personal input into what systems we have or can afford.

Streaming services would just have to find other ways to compete in terms of app functionality, recommendations etc

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