MQA CDs? Hell, yeah!

(paolo) #1


(Richard Robertson) #2

Personally I do not see a need for MQA encoded CD’s. I think there may be an advantage for using MQA with streaming services and limiting the file size. I would much rather see the studios produce high quality Masters recordings and put them on the existing CD’s we already have. I have taken well produced 24-192 recordings and converted them to 16-44.1.

IMO there are no differences in the sound quality.

It is such a treat to hear well produced recording in any format.

A good example: Have a listen to Halie Loren’s album “Simply Love”

(paolo) #3

definitely! 9 out of 10 tracks in my “Wow sounding” playlist are 16/44 :wink:

(Chris ) #4

A CD has a specification of 16/44 and MQA can be folded to this so it is backwards compatible with ANY CD player.
You get better sound with MQA due to studio de blurring and all you need is an MQA DAC to upgrade.
People also wish to OWN media alongside streaming. (I do for one)
Shops and businesses and musicians wish to SELL Media. (They need to make a living that streaming won’t provide)
Equipment manufacturers will be able to open a new market of MQA CD players at many price points. It’s All good commerce.

So Yes, MQA CD is very welcome and long overdue IMHO. For those that can’t hear the difference, just don’t buy them although overtime it may be the only hard copy available New as it fits the ‘One File’ criteria the industry wants and needs. The High quality file ‘Authenticated’ is wrapped in the MQA wrapper.
There are no downsides.


Who really care about CDs these days? This encoded CD can only playback via Meridian DVD audio player with full decode.

Not sure this can playback on a normal CD player as the file required to decode back is FLAC then followed by MQA decoding which is not conformed to Sony/Philips RedBook CD standard.


No. FLAC is just one possible container for MQA. MQA CDs will (I’m fairly certain) comply with the Red Book spec.

(Geoff Coupe) #7

The Stereophile article linked above states:

• Can be played back by conventional CD-players with higher quality sound.
• With an MQA decoder, listeners can get a master quality hi-rez from CD.


But will there be a price premium for a MQA CD? If yes, then if you only want to hear the the 44/16 data on a standard CD player are they going to offer two versions of the CD at different price points?


Even MQA can be wrapped on another container MQA is always encoded in 24-bit/44.1k/48k, given that Sony/Philips RedBook only allow 16/44.1k only playback it is going run into incompatiblity issues especially for older CD players.


I’ve never heard of CD player with built-in MQA decoder. Even using an external MQA DAC, one has to connect via coaxial or optical digital output from the CD player. All CD players in the market conformed to SPDIF standard and all output 16/44.1k. So how you going to decode MQA at 16/44.1k to a external MQA DAC via coaxial or optical digital output?


I’m all into streaming but I still like to purchase CD’s, specially those where the artist/producer/label put the effort into making the physical product worth owning such as when they include extensive liner notes, photos, lyrics, etc. Take a look at Jethro Tull’s anniversary CD/DVD-A albums for a great example of a well-done product. Using MQA could even help consolidate the number of disks as you no longer need separate media for the various music standards.

Now, I usually end up ripping the music and listening through my Roon setup anyway so I’ve always thought the best of both worlds would be for labels to forgo the cost of the CD and simply give you a download code for the music. MQA helps with this distribution model as you get smaller downloads and save on storage. Otherwise, yeah, you’ll need a CD player with MQA decoding to get full advantage of the high resolution music and I’m not really looking to buy one.

That said, playing a CD stamped with MQA without MQA decoding at least gives you an indicator as to which master it is and you get the (minor) benefit of the studio deblurring.


Based on the advertised business model from MQA, I expect the cost will be the same as a regular CD. MQA is supposed to simplify the mastering process and make it more standard for various distribution channels. This should translate to some savings for the labels and should be enough to offset the initial cost of remastering the back catalog (not to mention the increase in sales from reissues should help the bottom line).

(Chris ) #13

The MQA DAC does the decoding. The CD player only outputs the compressed MQA file. Simples.


No it’s not. MQA has a 16-bit format.

(Paul Dickerson) #15

Thanks for passing on that album reference. You’re it wonderfully produced and recorded.

Over 40 years of music playing and listening it’s pretty clear you can’t reproduce good music that starts out as distortion. Acoustic music just comes across better of $$ audio systems.

(Richard Robertson) #16

Great recording can make most of us come closer to our emotional side. It is nice to hear tracks that will raise the hair on my arms even on my modest system.

I can only emagine what tracks from Haile Loren would sound like on Paul Mcgowan’s Infinity IRS speaker system.

I can only dream

(Geoff Coupe) #17

Techmoan has a review of the experience of playing MQA-CDs up on YouTube:

It’s worth a listen… The road to getting sound out of them is not straightforward or not cheap (choose one). The two other things that struck me is that a) one CD seems to have quality issues (it switches between MQA and non-MQA frequently mid-track), and b) whilst this allows Techmoan to do an A/B comparison between MQA and CD quality on the fly, the MQA reproduction seems to be at a higher db, and Techmoan seems to be confusing this with higher quality…


True! I have downloaded a 16/44.1 MQA Master of ‘Fairytales’ by Radka Toneff and Steve Dobrogosz. This is obviously redbook. Decodes to 88.2 “Authenticated” in Roon and is tagged as 176.4.
The interesting part will be if the MQA identifier will survive ripping from the MQA CD. I guess very few with Roon will buy a MQA CD player.

(Jeff) #19

It will survive, no worries there.


Good. Let’s hope the best MQA CD’s are made from multiples of 44.1-PCM and not 48kHz multiples. Re-sampling between the two frequency families is still problematic.