MQA disappointing

(Mark) #322

The point I made earlier in the topic is that this of limited utility unless you can also the verify the provenance of the masters you are comparing. If the two masters are the same, then go ahead, but it’s already been shown in a significant proportion of cases that the 16/44 master and the MQA master are from different sources.

This is what makes all this arm-waving about whether MQA is better/worse/indifferent moot, because there’s every chance you’re listening to a different master. It also goes a considerable way to explaining such diversity of opinion, and frequently you’ll see on forums that all but the most one-eyed advocate/detractor say it sounds good on some material, bad on others and exactly the same on others still.

(simon arnold) #323

Did you read my post you can’t compare the cd it’s a different master all together. I compared it to the hires VersionI own which was bought from Qobuz so you can stren it from Qobuz. Apple’s and oranges are not the same fruit. The reason I posted it for comparison hires to MQA hires. And yes I agree the cd sounds better but that’s not the point here.

(Henry) #324

I did wonder at one point if you were perhaps better at hearing things than I was. I am now comfortable that my hearing is just fine!

(Music and Shawarma Lover) #325


And you’re right, if some day MQA results in DRM, we’ll always have AM radio, won’t we?

(Henry) #326

Why is DRM a problem if your music is obtained legitimately? It should only be an issue if you steal or share music.

(Music and Shawarma Lover) #327

That’s never been my concern. It’s been said in the forums before, but DRM has very unfortunate side effects for tweakers and power users.

Take HDMI - I had to retire several thousand dollars worth of perfectly good video distribution equipment, otherwise compatible, because it didn’t support HDCP.

Same’s been true of many DRM schemes - copy protected CDs that won’t play in car stereos or on computers to audible watermarking.

There are plenty of perfectly legitimate things that DRM interferes with.

MQA firmware in DACs can be updated over the web so MQA controls their hardware at any given point. Just don’t like it.

(Mark) #328

At the risk of going off-topic, it depends on whether you think personal format shifting is legitimate or not.

(Music and Shawarma Lover) #329

It was perfectly legal until DMCA in the US. The mix tape was a proud cultural tradition.

(Jeremy) #330

I didn’t find a hi-res FLAC version on Tidal. So I compared what I had. Glad you agree that the Tidal CD version with 14 tracks sounds much better. So perhaps we agree after all. I have too many HD tracks so called high resolution garbage that I will never buy from HD tracks anymore. Not tried Qubuz as I don’t think it is integrated with Roon.

(simon arnold) #331

I agree that in this case the cd sounds better but it also sounds better than the hires pcm which costs way more to buy or stream, so this is not MQA specific, which you assumed. And listening to either the MQA or PCM hires on my system MQA sounds the better of the two in this case, this does not make my listening skills or equipment inadequate. I have mentioned in other posts that some MQA does not sound as good as CD, but also in some cases it does, Christ I have two different releases of the same album on cd and it sounds different, which one is the better one here?

(simon arnold) #332

This DRM stuff is just scare mongering. The music business went this way before and look what happened, it nearly went under and really has never recovered from it.

(Andrew Cox) #333

Making a copy in a different format is legal in Australia for personal use (last time I looked).

I’d like to register a mild opinion about MQA. I like to have Roon do the first decode and then upsample in HQP or Roon. I haven’t got an MQA renderer and am not convinced about the virtues of the second unfold.

If a TIDAL album is available in an MQA version I’ll probably prefer it. I prefer native HI-Res at resolutions > 88.2/98 kHz to MQA when available.

I’m suspicious of the quasi DRM aspects of MQA and if I had unlimited funds I’d be filling in my library with native Hi-Res while it remains available to purchase. The comment by the MQA marketing manager about recording companies giving away the “Crown Jewels” and promoting MQA as an alternative made me quite uneasy.

I also have to confess to being puzzled by 44.1/48 kHz sampling rate MQA. I’m not sure what it means to decode that to 88.2/96 kHz. Although I quite like the sound I’m not controlling for volume and suspect the MQA versions are a bit hotter.

So I’m not disappointed because my expectations weren’t great. I’m pretty pleased about having access to effectively 88.2/96 kHz content for no extra cost.

In the philosophical debate between “sounds good” and “sounds accurate” I am an utter sybarite.

This is my pick of an Album I think sounds better in the TIDAL MQA version than my local CD rip or TIDAL Redbook versions:

(Henry) #334

A couple of red herrings in there. MQA can’t have direct access to machines. They can only issue updates to manufacturers. The notion that an MQA DAC has internet access with third party control would be the biggest security red flag in history. Also the whole point about MQA is that it is transparent to the hardware it is played on. MQA FLAC will play, MQA CD is fully Red Book compliant. When I see real world examples of MQA simply failing to play on something I might sit up and take notice.
I don’t think anyone in the industry is just hankering to get back to the bad old days of DRM. We know it encouraged rather than prevented piracy. I would like to think any future implementation would be more subtle and that if your gear and music are sourced legitimately you have noting to be concerned about.


MQA filters tends to sound good especially when it comes to vocals; I find listening to Jazz music with MQA sounds thick and lush especially in the midrange. Pop and orchestra music, I prefer PCM filters; it reveals the ‘air’, imaging and spatial effects of the recording. DSD on the hand, simply blows away MQA and PCM.

How do you compare live music and recorded MQA of the same performance? All recordings from studios are sent to MQA Ltd in house for processing. The artists, recording engineers as well as we the consumers have no control of how is going to sound like. This is perplexing issues which is daunting the music industry right now.

(Chris ) #336

Long live AM Radio… :joy:

(Chris ) #337

MQA have stated that there is no DRM in MQA.


Yes, in some way there’s DRM embedded inside the file in the form cryptography keys (fingerprint) not just for authenticity alone. MQA uses Ultimaco which you can read here:


They also claimed it’s lossless :money_mouth_face:


I know I’m repeating myself, but I really wonder how you guys come to such conclusions. Seriously, HOW do you test this? HOW do you compare “vocals” played back via MQA, PCM and DSD? And what do you understand by this “thick” and “lush” sound that you seem to prefer when listening to “jazz”, but not so much for “pop and orchestra music” (sic!)? What does or should jazz “sound” like in your opinion (“especially in the midrange”)? In what way does or should jazz “sound” different from pop or orchestral music? Are you seriously suggesting that music lovers should use different playback formats for different musical genres? :thinking:

(Henry) #341

I don’t think there is anything wrong with trying to describe how something sounds to you. The thing that many forget is that is to them, on their hardware, in their room. For instance I agree with the impact of DSD because I have a DAC that does it well. I also have another DAC, of similar specification and price that sounds OK. It’s sweet spot is 96/24 PCM. Of course to my ears, in my system. We just need to remind ourselves that there are no hard and fast absolutes here although some work very hard to try and tell you their reality is absolute. Not necessarily because they believe that but because they want to influence others who may not be confident about deciding for themselves.