MQA disappointing




All I did was turn around this from a few posts earlier

and this

I hope the the earlier post enabled you to see why some people are so pro MQA :slight_smile:

Apologies I’ll have to try harder on the sarcasm (or is it irony?) next time. :wink:

(Jeremy) #303

I understand your perspective fully. Just enjoy the music.

However this thread is titled “MQA Disappointing” and the OP has tried to like MQA but like many folks he finds it just sounds flat with poor imaging. There are obvious technical reasons why MQA sounds terrible - minimum phase and apodizing filters do not preserve the original waveform and muck up amplitudes as well as phase. Technically trained listeners will recognize these forms of distortion quite easily. In fact almost everyone hears a difference which proves the original high resolution has been modified (distorted) by the MQA process. So this really isn’t a debate about the added distortion but whether you prefer the sound of added distortion. I like the sound of a tube preamp despite knowing it adds pleasant harmonic distortion. What I hear from MQA are only unpleasant forms of distortion.

MQA is indeed a huge disappointment.

It is unfortunate that without education and training even the most enthusiastic music lovers are wildly in the dark as to what is going on and what they are hearing. Music is no different from other hobbies - be it scuba, flying, soccer, cooking, painting, sculpting, wine tasting etc. - there is a huge rabbit hole to investigate if you choose to.

You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.


It must be difficult to enjoy your music with your Tin Foil Hat protecting you from “the sky is falling” position you are taking. I find it overly pompous to state that you must be a trained listener to hear the flaws in MQA.

What seems to annoy the anti MQA crowd is that they have absolutely no control over whether MQA is successful or not.


Kind of scary that MQA files contains cryptography security keys just for authenticity? I believe there’s more to that otherwise why MQA goes such a length to engage to Utimaco.

(Jeremy) #306

I love music. I didn’t actually say the “sky is falling”. I am just saying that MQA adds audible distortion and is a huge disappointment - especially if you compare it to other competing lossy compression formats like MP3 and AAC (which also degrade quality but are extremely effective) and non-lossy compression like FLAC.

I am not annoyed that I can’t control MQA. Just disappointed that as a consumer I may end up having to accept second rate recordings instead of the original PCM files should MQA be widely adopted. As for other consumers, well you get what you deserve. So far CD digital music has seen a great headlong rush towards CD loudness wars. In fact from the first CD Brothers in Arms it has largely been downhill - because most consumers like crap. Finding good digital recordings that aren’t victims of Loudness Wars is part of my routine necessitated by the generally poor quality of pop/rock recordings. I would bet many folks have several versions of their favourite music for these reasons.

(Henry) #307

MQA is derived from those masters too. But I have heard enough bad transfers and intentionally hobbled releases to know that they still make sure they are holding something back. Where MQA may be somewhat different is that what they do is at least consistent. What I will say is that I wouldn’t replace vinyl or high res with MQA, but in the absence of anything else I would be OK with it. That isn’t a choice made specifically with MQA in mind. I tend to have one copy of music. I wouldn’t replace CD with SACD, I wouldn’t replace vinyl with digital copies. I just buy music.

(Chris ) #308

People who say MQA sounds flat are welcome to pop round and listen to Gregory Porter (as one example).
I really think there is something wrong with their systems as it sounds amazing and lifelike to me.

I spend a lot of time close up with quality live music and know what to expect and what sounds real. CD can and does sound amazing on my system, which apodises and MQA sounds stunning.


Yeah, all of Porter’s albums do sound really good, but this has nothing to do with MQA. They sound good on CD and as (high resolution) downloads, too. What matters is the quality of the recording, not so much the playback format…

(Chris ) #310

Clearly this is so, so why do people say MQA sounds flat? It doesnt. It cannot and will not improve a poor master, and why on earth should it?

I wonder how many people listened to Bo Stuart’s Pod cast that was recently linked here?
He talks about rock music and MQA cleaning it up. The engineer appreciated this and expressed the music lost something. That’s ok, just add back the distortion you need for the sound you are looking for. Was the reply.
This tells me MQA is a very flexible thing and the resultant sound is down to the mix and master.


I can’t comment on that, because I hardly ever listen to MQA. I only stream music to discover new stuff. Whenever I really like an album, I buy and download it. I occasionally buy CDs, too. I’ve never bought an MQA download, though.

(Jeff) #312

I have to assume very few. If you have listened to one of his promotional marketing videos you’ve listened to them all.

(Chris ) #313

Clearly the voice of an open mind which is why this discussion becomes pointless. That was a great hour long considered discussion.
Think I’ll get back to my AM radios lol

(Jeff) #314

So when he won’t disprove the objectivists when given multiple opportunities you should just have faith and believe? Eventually you realize it’s just BS and move on.

No one is arguing your sound preference, in fact I admit that I didn’t mind Ayre’s minimum phase apodizing filter through headphones.

I’ll add in that Jeremy doesn’t like my Yggdrasil, I obviously look for something else in my sound just like you.

(Kevin Ketterle) #315

Would anybody of the posters here with a strong opinion into the one or the other direction mind to bring up some Tidal tracks to compare CD vs MQA? Maybe with some hints why he thinks so?

This discussion is interesting regarding rhetorics, but unfortunately not helpful for those with untrained ears like me to improve the own listening experience.

(Chris ) #316

Does it make you, Smile, Sing Dance. Toe Tap, Think… etc. That is all music has to do.

Comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable they say… For get analysis unless it’s your profession

(Jeff) #317

You don’t want hints, it could/will instil expectation bias.

Just enjoy your favorite music, critical listening sucks the fun out of it.

(simon arnold) #318

Try Etta James At Last. I bought the pcm hires, and prefer the MQA version as to my ears it sounds less artificial.

(Kevin Ketterle) #319

Surely I will continue to lean back and just enjoy music.

Nevertheless it would be interesting where you see the difference between amazing and stunning.

Why not. The entire thread is full of strong opinions, but with few concrete examples to support the arguments. I’d just find that interesting.

Agreed, if critical listening becomes a religion. In my case, it surely would not get that far.

(Jeremy) #320

Try Etta James At Last. I bought the pcm hires, and prefer the MQA version as to my ears it sounds less artificial.

Just listened to the CD version on Tidal versus the MQA and it isn’t even close. (Choose to compare the 14 track versions with the same cover and NOT the original version with 10 tracks as this is a different master)

The CD version is far superior. The MQA version is out of phase and splits Etta James in half. I listened to Trust in me and I want to make love to you. It just wasn’t worth continuing MQA sounds so bad - totally destroyed the imaging - no soundstage depth - no fine details.

If folks can’t hear how bad MQA is then it might be worth checking their DAC or setup.

(Chris ) #321

That’s OK, listen to that then…