MQA and Digital Rights Management


I just read what you wrote, suggesting Roon are forcing MQA on their customers, quite an accusation really?

(Martin Kelly) #51

Yes, and ‘Video killed the radiostar’, and other wild conspiracy theories. Tosh! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

(Steven Beckhardt) #53

I simply don’t understand why anyone cares about this form of “DRM”. I put “DRM” in quotes because we experience this type of “DRM” in hundreds of products. I pay to download apps onto my iPhone; I can’t share them. I can only use them in the Apple ecosystem. I pay to stream tracks on Spotify; I can’t share them. I can only play them on a licensed Spotify player. What you call “DRM” I call a licensing fee. But let’s not split hairs over terminology. Why should I care about this form of “DRM”?

I get MQA tracks delivered via Tidal. They play, but I never actually have a copy of the bits; so I can’t share them even if I wanted to. MQA is primarily a streaming format but if you buy files encoded with MQA, you can share them. Yes, you don’t get full fidelity unless you have a licensed decoder, but if you don’t want to pay for a decoder, don’t buy MQA encoded tracks.

Please don’t tell me about the master plan to have all labels distribute only MQA encoded tracks, which will limit my choices. That seems pretty far-fetched. The only people who seem to want to limit my choices are the people who want to kill MQA.

I can’t get excited about MQA being lossy either. Lossy is not in quotes because the format is lossy. But that’s another “who cares”. I’m not into collecting reference quality master types. I’m into playing music that sounds good on my system. And having access to virtually any track I want. As far as I’m concerned we’re living in audiophile heaven.

(crenca) #54

Because encodings such as MQA and PCM are at the bottom of your (musical) digital ecosystem. Using your examples, your fine with an Apple ecosystem. I am fine with an MS Windows ecosystem. However, the Apple and MS Windows ecosystem is built upon a deeper layer of standards and formats that are not Apple or MS specific. The reason you can “download” anything is because Apple is built upon things like HTML, TCP/IP, and even hardware such as the ubiquitous x86 architecture.

MQA is a play at this deeper level. It’s an attempt to patent, control, and $manage$ “end to end” (they fully admit this - they explicitly sell it as an advantage). ’

So yes, it is a “master plan” as you put it and it does not matter if you don’t understand it or discount it, it is what it is and again, MQA themselves admit this and try to sell it. Folks within the industry recognize this as well, such as the editors of the two largest Audiophile trade publications in the USA, Robert Harley of “The Absolute Sound” and John Atkinson of “Stereophile”. Folks in IT such as myself saw it from day one, as these aspects and understandings are part of our everyday job.

MQA is not about sound quality or end user “choice” - on the contrary, it is about DRM “end to end” and the management of the end users digital ecosystem. The sound quality play is just that, a play which interestingly enough outside of eccentric audiophiles is usually seen for what it is - a play.

(Music and Shawarma Lover) #55

It took a fairly long time for the record labels to completely lose control over their distribution. They certainly are not incapable of playing the long game to reestablish control.

If you look at the history of their efforts to stuff the genie in the bottle, including unlabeled DRM on CDs, having buyers of blank cassettes pay a premium because it was assumed they would be used to copy an LP, and that flag on SPDIF outputs from the DAT and Minidisc days, it is clear the record labels are not incapable of degrading their own product in the name of protecting copyright.

This is not about wanting to participate in piracy. Every one of those DRM attempts had collateral damage. When HDCP came out, I had to ditch a bunch of gear perfectly compatible with high definition video. But even then at least the standard was more or less everywhere and video technology leaped forward so quickly that in the end I would have replaced a lot of it anyway. I do not see that with audio - gear I had in 1985 still works pretty well and does what it does. MQA isn’t necessary, there is no problem that needs it as a solution (although I don’t mind if it streams), and I believe that the labels are adopting it for the long game, and don’t care about the collateral damage.