MQA disappointing

(Mark) #282

This is another big issue with online anecdotes about how x sounds better than y, especially in the world of MQA where it’s been shown that a good proportion of titles on Tidal are actually different masters to the redbook version.

Having the choice of different masters is fantastic, but I am less impressed by having the sonic differences attributed to MQA in every case.

(Martin Webster) #283

I agree … and I’m unconvinced that having this choice necessitates a new format and hardware.

(Henry) #284

But if those new masters are only available because of MQA?

(Music and Shawarma Lover) #285

This is what I’ve been saying - I think it is hard to do an apples to apples comparison because most of the MQA versions I have heard feel louder, and that alone could feel more pleasing but in the long run it could be more fatiguing like compressed audio.

That is not to say it cannot be enjoyed. I just wonder it it really adds anything that could bt done some other way without end to end control, added royalties to non-artists, and the future potential for DRM.

(Martin Webster) #286

That’s the one area MQA could/ should have excelled. But alas, provenance needs more than a blue light. Often we simply don’t know much about a recording.

Take this post by @Chrislayeruk:

It does sound great using Roon’s core decoder, but is the MQA version any different to that on HD Tracks? They both share the same catalogue number: 4050538429510. So, I remain unconvinced about the merits of MQA (as a technical solution) but will continue to enjoy some fantastic TIDAL Masters with my non-MQA DAC.

(Jeremy) #287

I listened and quickly compared David Crosby track Glory on Tidal FLAC 44.1 KHz 16 bit and compared it to Glory MQA 88.2KHz.

I am sorry to say it isn’t even close. The redbook CD version is far superior to MQA. Delicate details and timbre and imaging on the CD redbook version are lost on the clearly more compressed, wider soundstage (imaging loss) and incorrect timbre of the MQA version.

How anyone can prefer MQA continues to amaze me. MQA has poorer image and sounds slightly louder due to subtle but clearly audible compression.

(Jeff) #288

An Ayre DAC and regular PCM would be one way, very similar filter without all the extra BS baggage.

(Music and Shawarma Lover) #289

(1) People probably hear differently. I am not an audiologist but I assume the shape of the ear and a lot of brain structure are involved.

(2) People just like different things. That includes having different preferences among the finer things.

(3) Louder / compressed can be very pleasing to the ear on an immediate basis. It takes a lot of sustained listening to miss the dynamic range. (And personally, I do enjoy some compressed remasters for certain types of music, or just a change of pace.)

(4) Expectation bias.

(5) Stubbornness. Someone who eagerly anticipated and vociferously supported MQA may not be willing to admit anything else.

Just a few random thoughts…


How anyone cannot appreciate the benefits of MQA continues to amaze me. Must be expectation bias and stubbornness I quess they must have bought into all the anti MQA stuff on the internet that it involves compression and other such things and aren’t willing to admit that it can sound better.


Sounding good is very subjective considering the fact many were able hear the difference between the original masters (Hi-Res uncompressed FLAC) and the processed MQA.

Because of the SQ difference, the additional processing of MQA does actually alter the sound characteristics of the original recording. This will become the ‘typical sound signature’ to come. We have no control what is going to sound like without accessing to the original masters Hi-Res.

This exactly what the studios and record companies want to sell you. A lesser quality of their ‘crown jewels’.

(Peter Lie) #292

A blind comparison between CD, HiRes and MQA from the same master:

As shown by the test results, people do hear differently or having different sonic preferences, as suggested by @James_I .


With a comment like that I can see why some people are so anti MQA. I read your post a few times hoping to see a hint of sarcasm…

(Henry) #294

Is that new though? If you want their Crown Jewels you pay through the nose for a double speed copy on tape. You will never be allowed to own a straight unadulterated digital copy of the same because as you describe them yourself, it is their Crown Jewels. Why is that a surprise to anyone?


My argument is Hi-Res PCM and DSD are actually derived from the unadulterated original masters and you can still get it via streaming like Qobuz and digital downloads. Their intentions are to sell you a lower quality version if MQA, CD and MP3/AAC are an alternative. Besides if you have a Hi-Res PCM and DSD offerings would go for a lower quality?


Here’s is video from Steve Guttenberg and why MQA actually change the sound characteristics from the original mastering…


I’d hardly consider him an authority on anything, he’s just a chap earning some dough putting nonsense up on YouTube.

Why the need for the endless debate re mqa, it is what it is, let the fanbois revel in it and the rest of us carry on with lossless.


(Jeremy) #299

I would add critical listening skill. If you have not cultivated this skill then you just hear a slightly different sound without any ability to discern which one is more accurate. Choice becomes what is pleasing rather than a critical evaluation of the recording quality. I agree most people choose a modest amount of compression over uncompressed files however highly compressed eventually becomes objectionable to most.

MQA processing to my ears has both apodizing effects and phase distortion - it certainly sounds OK but less good than the original.

(simon arnold) #300

I thought he was in Police Academy? Looks nothing like him.

(simon arnold) #301

IYO. Same can go for PCM hires. On the whole recently I have preferred MQA over hires PCM time after time, I have no bias towards any format, it just sounds better to me. Everyone can have their own opinion but saying what you saying comes across as rather elitist. No one and I repeat no one should have to train their ears to appreciate music in what ever format it comes in. If you don’t like MQA fine, but its about time to get of your high horse and let others enjoy it.