MQA General Discussion

This thread is for general discussion of MQA, there are other threads relating to:

MQA Support by Roon
MQA Music What’s Availability and Listening Experiences
MQA Tidal to launch MQA Hi-Res audio streaming in 2016

References to papers, articles, reviews and personal experiences or opinions about MQA are welcome. Personal attacks on other people (whether other Roon users or industry figures) will be moderated. Try not to argue about who killed who’s brother …

UPDATE: this thread has been closed due to the creation of the MQA section of this site.

What a mess. Now Auralic have removed that statment.

Is Auralic a copy of Meridian Sooloos Media Core 200 that also have MQA ?

Latest news from MQA madness

Correction to previous posting RE: MQA, written by someone not at CES.) During CES, MQA discovered that wireless high-resolution Music Streamers without built-in DACs (i.e., AURALiC’s ARIES, ARIES LE & ARIES MINI) require a slightly different implementation of its technology.
MQA has not yet completed finalizing the definitive version of the technology; no MQA partner has yet to receive the actual final version of this emerging technology, which will be downloadable to any product in the very near future.) Because of this, AURALiC’s original plan to include TIDAL/MQA capability in the v3.0 firmware being issued today will not occur.
Xuanqian Wang
President & CEO

I stopped by the MQA room at CES and I didn’t “hear” any big deal. They were running MQA files through a Meridian demo system (Soolos front-end) and what was coming out of the speakers sounded ok I suppose, but nothing that made my wallet start wiggling out of my pocket. They weren’t A/B’ing MQA files with other formats, which tells me straightaway that the SQ difference is minimal at best (or maybe only appreciated by the proverbial “golden eared” listener, which I make no claim to be).

Sure, if they can reduce bit-rate while maintaining / increasing SQ when streaming over cellular networks to mobile devices, then great. The file provenance is interesting considering the troubles that HD Tracks has had with up-converted tracks sold as “Hi-Res”, but that is more of a label / vendor integrity issue than a reason to buy a new DAC and re-buy your music collection. At least with HDCD I can rip those discs to 24/44.1 and play them on my non-HDCD DAC and get the benefits of the increased dynamic range. If I buy a bunch of MQA files, MQA dies and DAC mfg’s quit including MQA support, it doesn’t sound like I’ll have that luxury.

Thanks for sharing your listening experience this is where the rubber hits the road. Frankly I don’t expect night and day improvements as what we can achieve already is very good but I do hope for something noticeable that improves our enjoyment of the music. I have been at the incremental improvements stage in developing my system for quite a while but I still keep trying to make things better whilst trying not to get obsessive and just enjoy the music :smile:

This is of course why the barriers to entry and the regrets will have to be low as you point out or MQA will fail commercially even it does have some sound quality improvements. I thought they were going a sensible route that had a chance of working but I’m not so sure now after the Auralic mess. Being able to find some improvements without needing a whole new DAC is important, though MQA streaming from Tidal was the killer enabler for me as I am not going to buy many of my Albums a third or fourth time except for exceptional improvements which seem unlikely.

One of the biggest selling points is exactly the opposite of what you say. It is essentially a 24/48 file, so if you don’t have an MQA DAC, you get at least redbook performance. That way all the non-audiophiles can use the same file as all those who are keen for improved performance and get an MQA DAC.

Yes but you are being charged DSD 256 or PCM 24/192 prices for your redbook play back.

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@NickB, Hi Nick, do we know there will be a price premium? MQA seems to be in an awfully confused place at the moment, regarding MQA and Meridian’s CES marketing, ‘Couldn’t run a bath’ comes to mind :wink:


“Seen better organised chook raffles” is an old Australian saying …

2L are pricing MQA the same as 128DSD.

Edit: Actually it varies according to album/track. But it is certainly a premium to redbook (as you would expect).

I would never buy a lossy MQA file if a lossless file is available. I sincerely hope MQA does not become exclusive.

MQA isn’t lossy - Bob Stuart is on record saying it is ‘fully reversibly lossless’.

MQA is lossy. It is NOT fully reversible. I listened to a 24/192 file followed by it’s MQA version at a Meridian demo in NYC. The MQA’d version sounded better. Clearly not reversible. Meridian has been notoriously dodgy about everything.

It is lossy, but what is lost is under the noise floor.

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MQA isn’t created form previous hires files, it’s created from original masters, so your conclusion is a complete non-sequitor.

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You are incorrect. The MQA version in this case was created from the same 24/192 file according to Meridian. And if you read carefully you will find that this is the case in many instances. The argument is that by knowing the recording chain they can reverse the damage in the digital file. This might well be true in some cases (certainly the one played at the demo). Still not lossless.

Your understanding of MQA and high res is extremely patchy, regardless of your Maths PhD. I suggest you read some more about it, and maybe find a moment to discuss it with Bob Stuart or Peter Craven. Your facts are in many ways wrong.

Or maybe you just enjoy collecting psychoacoustically redundant data. In which case I can send you all mine, if you’d like? :wink:


Reading that debacle over the weekend from Darko on Twitter, between AURALiC and Meridian, was a case study in horrific product management on the part of Meridian. Meridian basically threw their first H/W partner under the bus, at CES of all places. I’m sure some folks will be looking for a new job in 2016.

Anyway, my take-away is that Meridian will only support end-to-end solutions. Period.

So, for Roon, that may mean MQA-enabled only for devices that are already MQA-enabled (i.e. MQA DAC embedded in a Roon Ready streamer, for example). And in this case, I’m not sure how Roon figures into that equation.

So, when @miguelito says “I’m confused…”, I think a lot of people are confused and not just about the “Maths” part.


MQA is not Meridian. They are two different firms even if Mr.Stuart is “the member” of both.

Are you sure about that? Wasn’t MQA technology development by Meridian? Yes, I’m sure they are now 2 separate corps. but that doesn’t really mean anything.

Also, if you look at the original MQA logo design it has the exact same branding treatment as the Meridian logo.

It was, but has been spun out. They’re both still incorporated at the same address mind you and share some directors.

It makes sense to be spun out (as Roon also was) as why would other hardware companies want to buy into a technology directly controlled by a competitor? MQA need to be seen to be treating other hardware manufacturers equally to Meridian with respect to publishing SDKs and the like. This is why all Meridian equipment sold as “MQA ready” is still waiting for firmware updates to enable the technology.

Roon would have faced this issue whilst the team were still part of Meridian; they needed to be seen to be independent of Meridian and agnostic regarding manufacturer and platform in order to maximize the number of potential users of their licences.

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