MQA disappointing

I often hear the argument that bandwidth limitations are a thing of the past… then there is this.

Netflix to cut streaming quality in Europe for 30 days

Wow! Use a world crisis as a reason to promote MQA. Tidal, Qobuz etc should follow suit and disable their high bit rate streaming if network bandwidth is getting congested in Europe.


Not really, I’m just saying things may not be as permanent and stable as we are used to believing, world crisis happens…

Which is why I will ALWAYS keep my large local library of CDs and SACDs ripped and handy!!


I’d call this a Netflix crisis, most people staying at home just watching Netflix. I bet just the Netflix traffic alone has increased massively, in addition to all the remote working. Network will catch up though.

I have not heard of Google lowering bandwidth usage for 4K YouTube though.

But even at lowered bandwidth, Netflix uses so much more bandwidth than audio that it is poor excuse for MQA. Especially because MQA doesn’t really save bandwidth - instead it increases the bandwidth usage a bit because FLAC compression of the encrypted data performs badly… If you make an equivalent FLAC of 96 kHz and ~17 bit, it is smaller than the MQA version.


It’s not just Netflix though, it will be the whole structure.

So, companies, if they did before, cannot assume bandwidth limitations is not an issue to consider in their planning.
We all hope this is a short term, one off event though, but… stuff happens.

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OK, good reason then for not using bandwidth increasing MQA… :wink:

We know that MQA only encodes twice the sampling rate of the container, so max 96 kHz rate worth. And reduces word length to roughly 17 bits depending on content. At lowest of the MQA files I have, the word length has been reduced to 15 bits by the MQA encoder.

In the past I did comparison for one of the 2L test tracks. Where the MQA version at 44.1 kHz base (so 88.2 kHz unfold) is 16 MB in size. Encoded into 96 kHz 18-bit completely standard FLAC size of the file is 12 MB. Optimizing further and encoding to a standard 120 kHz 18-bit FLAC to contain all the actual content the file size is still just 13 MB. If we encode to standard 176.4 kHz 18-bit FLAC the file size is now 17 MB while contains twice as much information as the MQA version…


I’ll add this here for completeness

How does that relate to MQA? Jussi has been trying to explain to you for 2 posts now that MQA doesn’t save bandwidth with the amount of musical data it delivers. He has even included technical backing.


It relates to MQA as MQA does save bandwidth and the assertion that this saving is not required is often proffered.
So this is not only relevant to the general topic and also of wider interest as we all use the Internet.

I’ll add this quote from MQA here

MQA goes beyond the flawed measures of digital containers (data rate, losslessness) directly to a ruthless (but ethologically correct) end-to-end analogue definition, modelled on the most transparent sound distribution we know – which is the air around us. Common digital metrics of sample-rate and bit-depth are almost meaningless, instead, we focus on end-to-end delivery with minimal time ‘blur’ and maximum ‘clarity’ of dynamic range (by reducing pervasive errors such as modulation noise).

We have established that the sonic benefits of even the highest sampling rates can be significantly exceeded by using a more modern approach to digital sampling (we call it encapsulation). Combined with an ingenious hierarchical encoding scheme, MQA can deliver all the information at appropriate (lower) rates; for example, using 1.5Mbps to safely render all the sound in a 352.8 kHz 32-bit master (22Mbps). This is not a lossy process, just appropriate efficient packing.

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This is simply not true, this is even easy to measure and analyze from the decoded output which I have done. From 352.8k source, MQA encodes 88.2 kHz sampling rate worth of content which is done by shaving off necessary number of LSB’s in order to encode the upper half bandwidth. When you actually have more content there it means that lot of bits end up being cut, like on one album I have where MQA leaves only 15 bits.

Without folding and dithering to a dynamic range matching word length, like 18-bit in my example, the FLAC compression performs much better and saves huge amount of bandwidth compared to MQA version which makes FLAC encoder suffer because it cannot analyze and split the real audio content.

In my example, there was also musical content up to 56 kHz while MQA fades out before 44.1 kHz Nyquist frequency of 88.2 kHz sampling rate. Thus my alternative encoding of 120 kHz sampling rate (and thus 60 kHz Nyquist band) preserved all the musical frequency content while MQA version didn’t. Even 96 kHz sampling rate version of the same track preserved more high frequency content than the MQA version.

Can you describe this in technical terms instead of vague marketing babble?

It doesn’t. It in fact increases the bandwidth used compared to information content it delivers. One reason is that the folding process includes encryption which looks like noise. And noise always compresses badly. With MQA this noise is then fed to the FLAC encoder. If you instead encode pristine equivalent resolution PCM you get much lower bandwidth usage as I have shown before. And in addition it is completely standard without requiring any additional decoders or other special means.

This makes me laugh. :smiley:


I mean not here to have a stand up argument. Take it up with MQA…

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Don’t you hate it when you can’t defend your position on technical merits?


I don’t need to, I am a music lover not an IT specialist. I read what MQA say and know they have peer reviewed papers to back it up.
I listen to MQA and it sounds amazing and am happy to join in where I can with the discussion and post items of wider interest.
So bandwidth, is an issue to be considered, especially in these troubled times.



Well, if you unwilling or are unable to defend a position on technical merits when someone is able to refute what you say, maybe you shouldn’t continue to defend MQA using the MQA marketing material. As you say, you are a music lover and not technical. If your only argument is “The MQA folks say this is true so it must be true”, maybe you should stop arguing that.


I think it is time to stop MQA BS. thank you!


We all get it, you don’t like MQA and don’t like the fact that many of us do and yes, I respect the integrity of the MQA team knowing they have achieved more in the field of digital audio than all the detractors put together.
I look for the fruit on the tree when I take advice and Bob certainly has plenty of that with all he has achieved and developed in the industry.
Suddenly it is implied he has become some sort of conman? Hmmm I don’t think so even if you do, and my ears are my final arbiters on the subject.

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Amen Brother, Amen!

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Too funny. If you like MQA albums, I say you should listen to them as much as you want. When I had Tidal, I listened to a lot of MQA albums. I just don’t buy into the hype that you seem to buy into and I think MQA is a solution in search of a problem.

Bob Stuart is trying to make money. I don’t think that makes him a con man. But I don’t think he is altruistic either…

And in the next breath people say the MQA finances are about to crumble. If making money was his motivation, I expect there were a lot of easier ways to do it. So, no I don’t buy that assertion at all.