MQA disappointing

I was wondering did you ever test MQA file authenticated at 44.1/48kHz and check the output resolution (after it gets decoded)? My understanding is the output resolution will depends on the sample rates. For instance…

24/44.1/48kHz authenticated MQA file will give near 24 bit resolution when compared to a hires PCM file 24/44.1/48kHz. In the case 24/88.2/96k or above MQA authenticated file will give near 16 bit resolution when the last 8 bit is used to approximate re-construct (lossy) information above the audible range. In the case of MQA CD, due to limit of 16 bit 44.1k standard, MQA CD will only give near 16 bit resolution with no high frequencies re-construction above the audible range.

With noise shaping then in theory it may be difficult to tell the difference no doubt but it’s related to the type of music its attempting to reconstruct some say it’s inferior in compressed form. I have listened to sources with or without MQA processing and I wouldn’t want to try and A/B test because I don’t think I would be able to tell in most cases so to me it seems pointless, you might as well just have a Red Book CD. An interesting read but based on a theoretical review some early patents, not sure if this is what ended up as the final solution though, but why should we doubt that it didn’t 88.2 onto CD

Really? Most of the MQA files I have (not many), just sound better when comparing the same non-MQA files. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere and I’ll keep repeating this, at the end of the day it’s about how the file was recorded, mixed and mastered. These are critical part of the process so any files that meet these 3 requirements, MQA files are just going to sound better.

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MQA is a lossy format and the quote you cite is completely deceptive:

“MQA Studio authenticates that the sound you are hearing is exactly as played in the studio when the music was completed…”

If so, why not simply present the original high-res studio file? Why encode it in MQA at all?

Oh yeah… Because MQA is cheaper for Tidal to stream, not because it is better for audiophiles.

See Qobuz

And the ‘herd’ comes rushing in!

For goodness sake. A forum member has encountered a problem and an answer has been provided. A simple little thread that can be successfully closed down. Why bother raising your vendetta against MQA here? There is an existing specific thread which allows you to collectively criticize MQA and propagate whatever conspiracy theories you want to your hearts’ content.


Because MQA is better and eliminates the blurring, delivers over lower band width, is authenticated.

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Well said, just try and mention MQA in the ‘What are you listening to’ thread and see what happens. :joy: People are very touchy and hostile in a way that has absolutely stunned me.

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Same “deblurring” can be done at playback side for any source, you don’t need MQA for that. If you optimize encoding, you can have both lower bandwidth and higher resolution without MQA. Not that bandwidth would be any issue in first place with audio, just compare to 4K video streaming!

Authenticated junk, like authentic poorly done upsamples in MQA. Or a little bit more compressed versions to make it sound louder.

And no, MQA doesn’t guarantee anything more about “what was heard in the studio”, unless you have studio’s loudspeakers and acoustics at your place.


Clearly you didn’t witness the backlash I experienced with many messages to moderators for the simple of sin of mentioning an album I was listening to was in MQA. This being a fully supported format in Roon.
That was so over the top it was unbelievable to me.
I expect I would have had no reaction should the album have been in MP3 or DSD and I mentioned it.


they’re unhappy people. too busy playa hating.

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Clarifying, and speaking only for myself:

I guess I would agree with Mr. Parker that I am definitely unhappy because MQA is NOT the high res studio source file. Once you correctly understand this, the logical consequence is that both MQA and Tidal are deceiving the public in their marketing. And why are they being deceptive? MQA: to make money. Tidal: to save money (on bandwidth costs).

It would be one thing if it were an optional encoder that folks could select on their own, ie, I like MQA and therefore I choose to buy that file (totally fine!). It is an entirely different matter for MQA to go to the recording studios and essentially try to force them to release the music in this sub-standard format (not okay!).

In my humble opinion, there is no purpose to a high res lossy codex (MQA). There is great purpose–and joy–from a high res recordings with a high res lossless codex. IMHO, that is what high res audio should be about, pure, unaltered (to the extent possible) from the artist.

Very fortunately, Amazon High Res is Not supporting MQA at this time. Hopefully this will soon mark the end of this format.

A great video on MQA from the CEO of PS Audio:

So most of the releases of a given album use the same recordings with the same mixes. Most. What’s left is the mastering and the format. Of these two, mastering is the one that affects the sound quality the most.

It seems like we go over this ground again and again: the biggest difference we hear has to do with the mastering. MQA is NOT what makes the music sound good or bad. MQA because of its filtering has, at most, a subtle effect on sound quality. That subtle effect could be for the better or for the worse.


I listened to that jazz album, it’s a nice find. Out of curiosity I tried both the MQA and regular versions. The non-MQA version has a reasonable sense of depth to it, but the MQA version pushes all the music forward, and the sense of depth is lost. It sounds compressed and distorted. At least manufacturer created an MQA-like filter on their DACs, and the result is that instruments are pushed forward, which can make the music sound more exciting, but, like the MQA tracks, you lose the proper sense of depth in the music. This is easily correlated by looking at the close-up of the waveforms of a track using a suitable audio program, before and after different filters are applied. MQA-style short filters clearly wreck the timing information. Heck, audio file visualisers actually explain this in the settings when you choose how the sonic spectrum of a file is shown!

Could not agree more with the above.

Tried to figure out the album you’re referring to from the thread but couldn’t. What is it?

Driftglass by the SEED Ensemble.

Completely agree with your assessment. The second track, for example, sounds much more natural in the redbook version than the MQA version to me. Specifically, the bass at the beginning is markedly different, and the wahwah pedal has ambience in the redbook version whereas it is mechanical in the MQA version. For the record, I am listening with a dCS Rossini DAC (system: so it is a full-decoding MQA DAC of fairly good quality.

There are a few albums that in my opinion sound best in their MQA incarnation. For example Aretha Franklin’s “I never loved a man like I loved you”. I bet this is a better transfer from the original tapes, that’s all there is to it (btw I own many versions including the HDTracks’s high res versions, mono and stereo).

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That is really a candidate for understatement of the year :laughing:


@miguelito 's system is amazing:

Dcs Rossini DAC + Clock
Audio Note amp (!)

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