MQA Finale: Both Anti- and Pro- Forces Have Their Successes and Failure

That’s how it works. It’s all explained in full detail on the MQA website. Simply put, there is information buried in the file that tell the MQA DAC what to do in order to deliver the approved sound.

Pretty neat that they can fit the additional hardware in a tiny little $69 DAC like this.

Yes, and even more impressive that a $69 DAC is all you need to get the music as the artist intended! :rofl:


Yes, in relation to the particular play back system… ain’t it great… For almost no money at all (in hi Fi terms) people get access the an authenticated music file to play back at the quality they choose or can afford… Clearly a better system will offer greater rewards and growing your system over time is a lot of fun… Well done MQA, great source material for all…

Weird how the spec sheet for the AK4499 used in the Topping D90 doesn’t mention MQA support.

Guess Topping is doing it in firmware… :thinking:

Trust the green “authentication” light :laughing:

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No one ever said that the quality of playback equipment doesn’t affect the overall sound you achieve. That doesn’t mean the digital chain hasn’t been done according to MQA specs, just that other things outside the processing chain matter. On the other hand there are some very good MQA-capable DACs at non-extreme price points. No idea how the HiBy stacks up.

For the MQA finale…the Sony Catalogue is starting to come through, including BMG, Living Stereo.

This is a very promising development.


Still trying to fathom the ‘why now’ aspect of Sony releasing MQA versions of their catalogue. And as this is not just a trickle, but thousands of albums every day, one might think this would have been better done a few years ago.

I can’t think it is is simply a matter of contractual obligation.

Curious, but very welcome, with some favourites sounding very good indeed.

They’ve been working on it since 2017. A guess and nothing else, but it could relate to the Square acquisition of Tidal. Contracts, funds, pressure, any of those. Or none of them.

I appreciate the speculations, and when behemoths like Square or Sony act, the rest of us can only watch…but if that is supportive of MQA…that is quite an endorsement.

We have so many MQA studio releases just now, from Sony I believe that I can’t keep up. The sound quality on those I have had time to listen to has been remarkable… I seem to be on a Van Morrison run just now…

I completely agree @Chrislayeruk…it’s getting a little overwhelming!!! I’ve rather decided to wait for a while, so I can go through the Hitchhikers spreadsheet for each artist. But then I check out ELO, Billy Joel, Paul Simon and down the rabbit hole I go again.

One of the great aspects of the Sony catalogue is its vast classical catalogue, with gems from Gould, Bernstein and Rubinstein to newer voices like Yoncheva and Kaufmann.

Quality, so far, is excellent.

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2 posts were split to a new topic: Tidal 10,000 track favourites limit

As let’s say 10,000 artists intended. That’s probably how many tracks in one batch processing to get the MQA versions… But you were joking, right?

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No joke, at all. The quality of the Sony catalogue that comes through, thousands of albums every day, is such that I want to favourite more and more. Today, I discover Perahia, Abbado and Eurythmics are starting to trickle through.

I’m not sure I really understand the batch conversion concerns - I know it is not ‘white glove’, but I reassured myself some time ago that the quality was still good (see MQA Rethink thread). I am assuming intelligence in the MQA process, where others see only a maniacal business model, mainly through listening to the end result.

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Your assumptions about the encode process are certainly going to be accurate. There is an astonishing level of ignorance in the opposite assumption that encoding is a blind batch process. Not much has been written about the encoders but there is no reason encoding cannot be partly automated, especially after years of experience with it (including white glove). What Bob Stuart did say was that even the most automated versions assume significant interaction with the user, and that encoders given to labels allow many more options on the part of the user. Again, if you are biased enough to want to find fault, then everything becomes a target. If you know the reputations of the designers (Stuart/Craven), you know they are fanatical about the quality of what they do.


audiophools expected all catalogue would be white glove treatments.

this is just my experience, I notice a sonic difference between MQA and MQA Studio encodings.

I would prefer everything in Studio if possible, but still prefer (usually) 44.1K MQA to it’s PCM twin if given the choice, given, what for me, is superior timing and tunefulness…I find them sweeter, snappier.

One thing that I cannot fathom is that many labels (at least in the classical field) appeared to be remastering their catalogues in 24bit/96k two decades ago, but they haven’t found their way into even PCM releases. What is it with these people? Many of the performers are dead.

Still, much of the Sony catalogue does appear to be in Studio form - currently enjoying Eurythmics “Savage”, and “Thriller” (also in Studio) is fantastic.

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they are consistent even in 16/44.1 unlike Warner and UMG where the 16/44.1 are mostly in MQA only.

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