Interview with Mike Jbara on MQA


Nice call! There is so much unexplored potential in music reproduction. But apparently no one cares. How about offering individual tracks of multitrack recordings, what about dynamically moving on a stage, being in the classical orchestra at the position of the 1st violin, audio seems to sleep in the mp3 misery, no innovation, no year 2018 experience, only reading news about Mick Jagger turning 75. What a misery :slight_smile:


Of course not. Not unless that thing is supposed to be the main purpose for the technology… maybe Mqa Ltd. is trying to change what MQA is? Less focus on quality and more on quantity?
The single MQA album I own sounds very good, but the master was meticulously restored so that is probably part of it. The original promise of MQA to ‘remove’ the AD converter from the transfer to digital was very appealing to me. How this is done when the recording is done digitally is not that clear, but for all the good analog master tapes out there this is certainly interesting.

(peter jasz) #23

ogs: When you state:

" related to the original MQA goal of enhancing quality of transfer from master…"

In the year 2015-2018 (current) we have Stuart & Co. introducing a (audio) algorithm that “enhances” the transfer (original recording) ?

Too funny. What Mr. Stuart failed to realize/recognize is what century we’re in.
His Mostly Questionable Audio is nothing more than a complicated, convoluted system that exchanges the superior Linear Phase digital filtering with his distortion inducing, so-called Minimum Phase approach.
His (MQA’s) “Hi-Rez” folding/unfolding is as complicated as it is unnecessary; freebie existing FLAC (if desired could implement 20-24/88-96 (or higher) with virtually identical bandwidth requirements -for transmission. And, most importantly, allow the user (or DAC/CDP designer) to select the digital filtering (if any at all) of his choice.

But no, Robert shoves the highly flawed MP filters at both recording and playback equipment -and then goes on to claim his “system” superior !

A feeble, failed attempt (for reasons no one really understands) that has been (rightfully) criticized by men of equal (and superior) technical credentials. In other words, he (Stuart) has NOT won the recognition/respect of peers. In fact, the exact opposite has occurred.

Summed up in one word: Arrogance. MQA failed before it began. The funeral appears to be a very long, drawn out affair.



The revelation came to the fact that MQA core output sample is limited to 88.2/96k at 17 bit, subsequent ‘rendering’ is simply just up-sampling with MP filters. Ironically, the bandwidth will not go any further irregardless it is from 176.4/192k or even 352.8/384k masters.

I believe what he meant is it sounds good even though MP filter is flawed. Ironically, the aliasing and distortion introduced by this type filter is the main cause of this typical sound characteristics.

It is niche market product… given a few more years it will fade away.

(Henry) #25

I doubt it. Too many manufacturers going with it not to mention chipsets being produced with it in. It is growing still. A long way from death and relative to other big roll outs it compares well. An interesting question is have we had any MQA only releases yet? That will be an interesting moment.


The restored version of Fairytales by Radka Toneff is only released as MQA AFAIK. I searched for a normal PCM version before I bought, but couldn’t find any. The original transfer was done to 24/192 so I was hoping to find the finished album in this resolution. I only found it in MQA (and lossy MP3 320)

(peter jasz) #27

Hi MF: (RE: MQA) Once a signal is bandwidth limited and Fs altered, irreversible signal damage occurs. MQA (as any other chop-'n-serve) format impairs time domain resolution (magnitude and phase) causing a ‘blurring’ of signal -aka MQA style.

With respect to your assertion that:

" I believe what he meant is it sounds good even though MP filter is flawed. Ironically, the aliasing and distortion introduced by this type filter is the main cause of this typical sound characteristics."

I doubt it. Simple preference for both unaltered Fs/extended bandwidth signal (96-192 KHz Fs) is easy to ‘hear’, as is the fatally flawed Minimum-Phase/Apodizing digital filtering as used (and heard) in some CDP’s/DAC’s.

I prefer LP/Brickwall hands down, time-and-time again and can pick it out (filter type) every single time, particularly when the music gets ‘busy’ or has quick transients. I’m not the only one who understands/hears its superiority
MP filters are so obviously ‘colored’ it’s disturbing to think some audio systems can sound better using MP filters (slow and blurred) for digital music listening.


(peter jasz) #28

Mr. M: Seriously:

" … Clearly in terms of eloquence and the ability to engage their audiences …"

Clearly? Eloquence? Engage (audiences) ?

Please explain what is ‘Clear’, “Eloquent” and ‘Engaging’ in anything Stuart or MQA represents ?


(Henry) #29

Jbara communicates positively about MQA better than virtually all anti MQA exponents communicate negatively. He doesn’t get personal, he doesn’t impune his opponents. He just talks about his product. It is good PR. If you want to challenge his views it pays to recognise strengths as well as weaknesses! They’ll stay on message. The question is can the opposition?

(peter jasz) #30

Mr. M: This (discussion) goes beyond personal opinion regarding MQA SQ. There is no argument in that it’s a flawed (and unnecessary) format. The technical data confirming is there -and obvious. As are listening tests/interpretations.

The most troubling aspect is that one Englishman’s assertion he has a better formula when in fact it is proprietary and deeply flawed, is cause for industry-wide concern, concern tat has been raised from the get-go.
He (Stuart) has absolutely NO peer support. Think about that for a moment. In fact, he’s lost considerable respect for his slight-of-patent efforts.

Claiming superior sound and “correcting” past ADC/DAC systems (professional/consumer alike) is arrogant, delusional and inaccurate. The entire ‘Chop-n-Serve’ system with the double jeopardy of employing his (Meridian/Stuart) MP filters is icing on the cake that will never be consumed -mercifully.

A bright mind that lost his way, will be his legacy. An embarrassing end to a very capable (and once deeply respected) chap. A real shame -on so many levels.


(Henry) #31

And I’ll stop you at your very first sentence and say, no it doesn’t go beyond personal opinion! People will listen and they will make up their minds. Better, no different, worse. The very small percentage of people who care beyond those parameters won’t determine the success or indeed failure of MQA. We are but a noisy minority. Jbara, Stuart and their cohorts know there is no converting us. Few begin pro and become anti. Even fewer go the other way. So what is said is directed at those who just want to listen, the vast majority of whom consume MP3 or AAC. And they will say what they have to without decrying the old, obsessive stuck in the mud audiophiles that so many of us are. We will trade insults. They won’t.

(peter jasz) #32

Henry: When you say:

" … no it doesn’t go beyond personal opinion! …"

tells me you have a very rudimentary understanding of the technical details related to Mostly Questionable Audio. It’s very concerning to the music recording/playback industry -and they’ve voiced their objections.

It (MQA) carries the high-price of a one-pony show that believes (despite evidence to the contrary) his self-serving format is worthy of support when in fact nobody ‘in-the-business’ agrees. Please name me one professional (respected) group that advocates this flawed system? In fact, the majority (if not all) disapprove vociferously.

But since the depth of your knowledge is clear, perhaps (if I’d be interested -I am not) I should speak with Jabba (The Hut) and seek Chewy, R2 and 3 P.O. for some ‘out-there’ answers !

BTW, “consuming” MP3/AAC is a great thing ! I can’t believe how great some Streaming Stations (96 Kb/s +) sound. It’s incredible.

You’ll enjoy it much more when you use a Linear-Phase digital filter -for playback. (i.e. Non MQA). Listen for “speed”, clarity, definition and natural dynamics (not to mention tonal shadings). LP filtering offers up the finest in all performance measures.

Enjoy …


(Henry) #33

Few people know how any lossy codec works. They are busy listening to it, not exploring it’s scientific merits. And pointers about how to listen are just breathtaking. Thanks for the entertainment.

(peter jasz) #34

" Breathtaking " -is your knowledge and listening skill.

But then again, with a Super-Hero your avatar, it’s understandable.

You’re welcome.

(P.S. You don’t join a conversation -and then off-load it to another (i.e. Jabba ‘The Hut’)


There we are! 96 Kb/s MP3 (or AAC) with linear phase filters! :grinning:


MQA is like a dead fish in the water right now. Just semi dead Tidal supporting it.
If no major streaming player ( Apple, spotify, google, amazon) adopts it, even the water will evapourate soon.
Dead fish, no water.
They tried to sell a lossy strategy to the highres audio freaks with some really bad marketing.
That whole MQA thing reminds me on Monty Pythons: The Life of Brian.
Their whole strategy seems to be directly from that movie.

(peter jasz) #37

RE: “There we are! 96 Kb/s MP3 (or AAC) with linear phase filters!”

Lol !



(peter jasz) #38

miklats: I loved the Monty Python reference.

“…They tried to sell a lossy strategy to the highres audio freaks with some really bad marketing.”

Well, if this were 1988, you point perhaps valid -but I doubt it given digital (CDP’s) were FAR from musically acceptable, let alone desirable back then.

Since the turn of (this -lol) century, and certainly today as we speak, great knowledge of digital music is clear -and most welcome.

I’m not sure, who exactly (at MQA) felt it was NOT necessary to have strong (professional industry) peer support before proceeding, but I can tell you, as a result, it was dead before it began.

The Mostly Quaky Algorithm is easily bested by existing (FLAC) encoding: easily achievable 20-24 bit, 96/192 ‘spec’ can easily be implemented with FAR superior performance measures -with NO special processing, equipment, royalties -or industry outrage.

But no, Stuart & Co. decide something different. In the year 2015 ! OMG, the arrogance.

And Tidal ? They ripped me off for 5-months of subscription (taking monies from my account that I was unaware), never knowing -or using their service- and then telling me ‘too bad/get lost’ when I requested (demanded actually) a refund. Right, THAT Tidal will do well moving forward.

Finally, it’s ‘evaporate’ ! lol



They claimed it is lossless process (end to end analog!) another BS from them. If they are truthful in their forthcoming and explain that it is lossy codec but able to deliver near to the master copies musically then the situation will not turn out so bad. This is good example of a bad marketing strategy.

The perception of the word ‘lossy’ is normally associated with MP3 and AAC codecs, this is unfortunate as it came to late.

(Henry) #40

I agree with you to the point where you say it is turning out badly. I don’t see any slowing of product coming to market. And the mobile and portable market is starting to build now too. We need to remember that the industry (as in the labels and rights owners) want this, and this is barely 3 years into what is likely a ten year project. This isn’t dead, far from it.