MQA, 2L and Qobuz

Also, if the main man at 2L who produces and masters all his music decides his format of choice is MQA, then that is a valid artistic as well as business decision.

It is also a bad business decision to not label your product; a customer has a right to know what he/she is getting to make an informed purchase. For example, the number of MQA CDs without indication on the packaging is growing.


OK, that is a different point. I was reading this thread without the intent to post until I got to this one, Chris.

If 2L made the decision based on it being too expensive to release or maintain parallel file formats, and thus chose MQA as a lowest common denominator, it could very well be a business decision OVER a potential artistic objection. Not like that hasn’t ever happened before.

And this is really my concern. I think decoded MQA sounds somewhere between fine and pretty good and occasionally as good as I have heard for a given title. But if labels decide that MQA is going to be the only format they will release in, I’m going to hate that. Because it means trashing a whole bunch of otherwise perfectly good gear to hear new releases from favorite artists.

(You’ll say but you can still listen to it without MQA decoding…and I will respond that is an adulterated version that has several less bit depth than standard redbook).


Now this is a legitimate argument and one that I respect.

(You’ll say but you can still listen to it without MQA decoding…and I will respond that is an adulterated version that has several less bit depth than standard redbook).

Again - a legitimate argument and one with which I might agree, although I haven’t done any meaningful comparisons of MQA encoded files without MQA decoding vs standard redbook files to know if it is something that would really worry me.

On top of this, Qobuz has a problem in that they sell themselves as real hi res providers.

I personally don’t think that Qobuz knew or checked the files that 2L gave them.

Recently, I had a Springsteen flac download that had 1 MQA track, as a 24/192 flac file and as such could not play. Got that from the Springsteen site. So, confusion from both sellers and buyers is definitely happening about the difference.

And they can do so genuinely, whatever your opinion of MQA. Qobuz currently at least majors almost exclusively in ‘standard’ hi-res content streaming. I purchase hi-res downloads from them and choose not to subscribe to their streaming service simply because their catalogue doesn’t meet my musical tastes quite as much as that of Tidal.

By the way, I do not contest your description of MQA as a proprietary format, and I do recognize why that may be of a concern to you and others. On the other hand I do not accept [moderated] that
_ “MQA sits at the bottom of our digital music ecosystems”_

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This is true. How can they? They don’t have the staff and/or infrastructure in place to verify the encoding of all the tracks they recieve. This is yet one more of the ways MQA has strained the normal trust relationships of this industry.

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The guy just think it sounds better, he had no other reason to spend so much time on it. Don’t like it, don’t buy it.

In terms of consumables, music is second only to food in my world. Don’t buy it would be fatal, figuratively speaking.

I don’t know any artists on the 2L label. But if The Smiths got back together, and for some reason released only in MQA, I would be pretty darned PO’d. That would mean I would either have to (1) acknowledge that not every one of my audio systems is compatible with important content, or (2) buy a whole bunch of MQA gear (some of which doesn’t exist - car audio?) and line the pockets of the patent holders.

Have a look here. I think you can buy in any physical format but MQA seems to be his preference

In a thread in this forum, but I don’t recall which one, I think the owner of this label posted that MQA was their only distribution format going forward. That’s what triggered my neurosis.

And when you consider he has been nominated for some 34 American Grammy awards, his opinion on MQA and it’s sound may have some weight.


At the risk of looking like I am defending 2L’s stance, the “distribution” to which you refer is to streaming companies - ALL of them. This means that 2L has distributed MQA CD to Spotify, Apple, Amazon, etc. in addition to Tidal and Qobuz (two small and largely insignificant streamers within a much larger industry). This means that even the big boys are streaming MQA, albeit after running it through an MP3 and/or AAC compression algorithm.

So far, actual, real hi res (i.e. PCM > 16/44 and DSD) of 2L is still available at the usual digital download sites. That said, the logic of 2L’s stance, that MQA is the one ring of hi res to rule them all, would lead one to believe that they are at best being inconsistent, and probably have plans to stop selling their real hi res offerings altogether. Of course, nothing says they have to be logical or consistent. They probably would sell you an old shoe if you would buy it.

Still, the basic questions remain, like why would Qobuz not simply put some backbone in their hi res marketing strategy and refuse 2L’s MQA’s lossy and compressed presence.

Oh - so that means that you can still buy a non-MQA version but just not stream it. I feel bad…I kind of reamed that guy in the other thread. Oh well I’ll probably never meet him in person :flushed:

For production quality?

And so you must admit he knows and understands quality, which is where MQA comes in. Quality…

I have no idea what he knows - I asked a question as to whether the Grammy nominations were for production quality. Maybe he knows album covers, or how to pick out all the green M&Ms for Van Halen.

I’ll admit that when you admit that no matter what the argument your response will be “I love MQA!” :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


It is odd is it not. Throw out a few facts, like MQA is a lossy compression codec, or Roon privileges MQA over 16/44 in Tidal, and MQA itself is jealousy defended.

Some Seem to enjoy specs and I listen to music. It’s different but that’s OK.