Although I have a fully MQA enabled DAC (Mytek Brooklyn DAC+) in my 2nd system, I do listen to MQA content on Tidal in my main system (Linn Klimax DS/1) which does not have an MQA enabled DAC. I find that MQA Masters on Tidal using Roon’s 1st MQA unfold sound very good on both systems to the extent that when I choose to add an album to my music library that is available on Tidal in both CD and (‘hi-res’) MQA, I invariably add the MQA version. Most of the time, I no longer bother to compare the two because the sound quality of the MQA version is invariably good to my ears on both my MQA enabled and non MQA enabled systems.
In fact, my Linn Klimax streaming DAC is better than my microRendu/Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ set-up whatever the source material (MQA or otherwise).
However, I do understand that this may not be the case with other systems/DACS, and to get specifically onto the main topic of this thread, I can understand the feelings of non MQA enthusiasts if it is indeed the case that Tidal are removing existing 16 bit content versions of albums and replacing them with MQA versions rather than adding an MQA version and offering both format versions on their streaming service.
For me it’s less to do with the MQA format than with the loss of certain versions of albums. After much listening I’ve come to the conclusion the MQA vs. PCM hi-resolution does not sound very different at least in my system. Others in the forum have reached the same conclusion. There is a big difference, however, in various remasters and sometimes a “CD version” is a different remaster than what is being streamed in MQA. That’s one drawback of streaming services. Even before MQA came out you would see certain albums go away and be replaced by a different version…whichever the label licenses for streaming (sometimes sadly the album would not be available at all). So, the issue for me is more with what the streaming services get from the labels than the format itself. That’s why when I find an album I really like I usually purchase the album and add it to my library.
@anon55914447 warning if you use Roon radio alot it’s absolutely awful feeding from Qobuz. I am getting consistent repeats of same artists and albums after seeding. Tried seeding from same tracks I used when had both services and it looks like all variation comes from Tidal and not Qobuz.
Be interesting to hear back if it changes as it has significantly for mine and looking back at my history on some seeds it’s clear that radio for some reason favours Tidal over Qobuz for certain genres even though albums and artists exist in both. Radio now had become so dull and nothing new in over a week. This never happens normally.
Advanced system? No, just different and proprietary. There is no objective or subjective concensus it sounds better. The (sometimes, not always) smaller file size is irrelevant today. We are not in 1995.
Record companies - you demostrate how it enables you to prevent the release of true authentic hi-rez masters. That’s what it’s about.
Musicians - a few. Others say it sounds terrible.
Listener enjoyment is in large part a result of expectation bias from reading the lies and PR. And lots of listeners don’t like it or are indifferent.
Again, no objective test has shown a listener preference for MQA.
If people think MQA sounds terrible, they have either cloth ears or an agenda, as it clearly sounds great. Expectation bias or not…
if people want to release a old fashioned High Res release, I don’t see anyone stopping them. It will of course, limit their audience to those with high res decoders or those that down sample.
Data costs especially at scale, so you as an individual may feel the costs are irrelevant, but for a major streaming company, I expect this is a large standing cost.
You could always take these issues up with MQA LTD, Tidal and Warner Music as rattling on here just makes no difference to the reality of things. I have no influence, only a preference for MQA.
So indulge me here for a second…
Is there any reason why Tidal/labels might have an incentive to retire a certain master ever? Meaning that they make some amount more (maybe marginal, but nonzero) per stream on one master vs another?
If that were the case, I can imagine a situation where I like a recording/mastering which is less economically optimal for the label. They then “upgrade the sound” by releasing an MQA version of a worse master (or at least one I think is worse, not because it’s MQA but because I like the master less); they retire the 16/44 version of the master I prefer. So for anyone who prefers HiRes/MQA at nearly all cost, the situation is sonically better. From the label’s perspective it is economically better. And if I have some reason for preferring the other master, I’m audibly worse off. But it wouldn’t be in that case that MQA was worse, just that there was a selection bias to release MQA on masters I don’t like, and retire redbook on masters I do like. I might actually prefer MQA on some/many albums if/when I was incredibly confident that it was the exact same master.
If course if that were the case, we’d have to explain the reasons for the bias.
I’m just trying to explain the phenomenon that I personally prefer MQA on some, but definitely not all, albums; especially smaller scale music like… chamber music and jazz trios. But I also hate it on a lot of music. And there are many here who hate it with a passion, that while it may be engendered by the copy protection / DRM concerns and the “you are throwing away data” principle, it also manifested in a clear audible preference in many systems.
What do you all think of my attempt to explain the situation?
So I’m not trying to say MQA is good… I get the fear, and the concern. I’m more asking the question “if there are some MQA recordings that I find equivalent or in some cases better, but many I find clearly audibly worse, and many find them consistently audibly worse” is there a way to reconcile / explain that through incentives. What I can’t buy is that the DRM concern (“sum of all fears”) means that all MQA is worse, when I believe that in some cases it results in audibly better recordings. In other words if the “null hypothesis” is that “all MQA recordings are audibly worse” and I reject that (subjectively) based on some (definitely not all) counter examples, how do I explain the evidence I see.
Life is never black and white. MQA is not, per se bad IMHO. I do think it’s too bad they don’t live up to their promise and release the technical information about their releases – did it come from the actual masters, who did the transcode/transfer, was the artist involved, etc – so they can pay off the “as the artist intended” marketing position. Without this you have no idea where the MQA files came from… I do agree that some MQA releases are very good – likely because it was actually created with care from an actual master by someone who didn’t overcook it. Of course some are not… The key issue from my perspective is that if the rise of MQA means reduced choice for consumers, that is a terrible situation and that is what many people who don’t like MQA are concerned about. Tidal’s actions are not helping that concern.
On an added note, my sources tell me that Tidal will soon be acquired by a deep-pocketed, but very unlikely buyer. We’ll see if their strategy changes if that indeed happens…
Many reasons. Simplifying legal distribution rights tracking.
Avoiding consumer confusion.
On the latter count, keep in mind that nearly zero music consumers care or even know about multiple masterings. Any “Hotel California” is “Hotel California” to them. And the same as it always has been. No questions asked about Steve Hoffman vs Ted Jensen vs Bernie Grundmann.
So this is where my problem lies. MQA is great if you bought into it buying MQA dac with full decoding. People can argue whether it’s better than true hires but the people who own these setups tend to love them. But what about the rest of us?
Some claim they like MQA with roon unfolding the first part but others don’t. Some claim MQA folded sounds the same as the cd version but others don’t. I happen be one of those who think MQA sounds worse on my setup, Chord mscaler/Dave. So what’s my options? Before I could use Tidal and still have access to original cd versions which sound best with the mscaler but now just left with MQA versions. Or I go for slightly smaller catelog from Qobuz but get better sound quality. If Tidal still offered all the cd quality version, I might have stayed with them.
My worry is what if Warner Bros decides to pull their cd versions from Qobuz and only offer MQA like the 2L label. Then I’m left without a choice. Does this try to influence people to sell their dacs for full MQA decoding ones?