MQA disappointing

(Henry) #383

It isn’t capacity that is the issue, it is cost. Providers pay for bandwidth.

(Chris ) #384

:joy: Autofill is the culprit…

(Martin Webster) #385

Interesting choice of album for comparison. I listened to the new MQA release and my 1987 CD last night, and the MQA version was definitely louder and different. Not sure I liked it as much as the Red Book, but can’t put a finger on why just yet. Bass more evident at times but overall not as crisp.

I’m happy to stream TIDAL Masters but I certainly wouldn’t by MQA.

(Chris ) #386

It is also worth considering that a sound will be different to what one is familiar with and you may be so used to the ‘normal’ (Non MQA sound) that something different is perceived to be wrong. That doesn’t mean it is wrong, but you may need time to adjust. Of course, you may not want to do this and you still consider it wrong… that’s ok.

(Martin Webster) #387

I intentionally said different because it comes down to personal choice. That said, I think I’m coming off the fence with regard to MQA as there is definitely something not quite right or natural with the sound on some recordings–i don’t make a habit of comparing different releases to the extent I have lately.

Going to follow up @Rhythmatist’s suggestion and listen to Nora Jones tonight.

(Music and Shawarma Lover) #388

I didn’t try the original CDs or the previous remasters, only the same remaster from the CD box set that just came out. The originals would likely sound quite different, I would imagine.

(Jeff) #389

I don’t see that as an issue either. The Hi-Res market is so minute, the minimal increased cost can be passed on to the subscriber and they won’t blink an eye. Qobuz is obviously doing it already.

MQA has not benefit to mobile listeners, no matter how much marketing MQA throws at. The compressed to shit music that 99% of people are listening to on their phones is just as fine delivered via MP3.

(simon arnold) #390

They do as it’s a completely new version they had to try and recreate what they originally did in the 60’s. It’s nothing like the previous releases in cd or mqa or hires pcm. You have to compare apples to apples not to oranges. I have already commented on another thread I prefer the new version but that could be just thr new mix.

(simon arnold) #391

Another album to try is LA Women by the doors. Available on Qobuz in hires and MQA master. This one I preferred thr pcm version although both did not sound anywhere as good as the vinyl copy I have. There is something artificial about both the hires recordings. Especially Riders on the Storm. Overall the cd version is better to me than both the hires version and not as good as vinyl period.

(Andrew J Shepherd) #392

Which CD version? “LA Woman” has at least three different masterings (1984 PolyGram West Germany target, 1988 Bruce Botnick, 1999 Bernie Grundman HDCD) that all are under the same/similar catalog number.


(William Allbrook) #393

Wow what a long thread! MQA is a solution looking for a problem. Fidelity is dependent on the source and the provenance of the original master. Best to use your ears before you buy.

(simon arnold) #394

No idea which one as I don’t own it on CD only vinyl but i prefer the cd stream on Tidal compared to hires pcm or mqa. l was really referring to comparing the hires pcm and mqa not the cd quality one as this is a fairer comparison and they are from the same master according to the release notes and both are 96/24. I prefer the pcm in this instance but not by much, they both sound off to me.


It is not about what is ‘normal’ or ‘wrong’ but more important what is original recording and performance sounds like? If MQA deviates from this (which sound so different), we have a typical sound signature across all music genres! It does not play well here. What we want is a recording as transparent to the original performance and when this is playback on music equipment we all have a choice whether or not to apply EQ or change the setups to suit our taste. With MQA, the typical sound signature is already ‘baked’ into the music, we have little choice but to ‘accept’ and ‘adjust’ to it. The so called ‘MQA sound’…

We shouldn’t be buying in to it and accept this is the holy grail of music reproduction.

(Daniel Lundh) #396

It is what it is. A lossy format. To me it sounds great, as does most of my old MP3 collection.
I’ve started ripping my CDs to FLACs and they sound great too.
Since MQA has the potential to go DRM whenever they feel like it I wont invest in the format but that doesn’t stop me from Tidal listening which, again, sounds great to me.

(Chris ) #397

MQA have stated there is no DRM. I believe them and don’t see how or why they would or could ever change this. Can you imagine the uproar if they did? :joy:
But I’d agree, Music first before format. Most of my music is not in MQA as it isn’t mainstream but when I get an MQA option I am very pleased. The sound on my system for me is phenomenal. I am really enjoying a lot of the MQA that has arrived in the back catalogue and the latest Jeff Goldblum album is a sensation if you like that Jazz. Also, I have not spent any money on MQA. My Bluesound and Roon (First unfold) have it built in as standard.
The MQA sounds very real and natural to me across the board.

(Henry) #398

Two things Chris, there is the potential for DRM in the form of tracking and identifying sources of files in MQA. This is transparent however and doesn’t necessarily include the ability to restrict playback like DRM of old. Secondly it isn’t up to MQA to decide upon the use of DRM, it is the labels and distributors. And they can do that to any format, any time they feel like it. So DRM is a red herring purely in the context of MQA. It is part of a wider discussion about how streamed music will be monitored and tracked.


MQA has built-in so called cryptography fingerprint and it uses Utimaco HSM security.

This is already a ‘ready’ DRM platform in built into it. This allows music publishers and artists to incorporate future DRM easily.

(Music and Shawarma Lover) #400

I think this could be naive. True they are not using it as a form of DRM now. And they’d have to have a much bigger footprint in the market. But I am pretty confident that the labels, taking the long view, would love to have MQA become dominant because of its DRM possibilities.

Either way, I am fine with a software decode of streaming MQA. I just don’t want it to become a dominant format for non-streaming.

(Henry) #401

James, I am anything but naive! The point I made is DRM isn’t just a threat to MQA users, and you can be assured that if the industry decides to risk DRM again, it won’t just be reserved for MQA.

(Music and Shawarma Lover) #402

OK I think I misunderstood. You might be right that DRM in music might create an uproar. But I’m not so sure - it depends on whether the newest generations of listeners really care. I mean, it’s not likely to affect streaming, and so there may not be enough non-streamers to make the necessary noise.