MQA software decoding in Roon

[quote=“ncpl, post:142, topic:20611, full:true”]
If you download an MQA album from any of the stores that sell then you will see the same info. e.g. The 2L demo files will show this info.

The DR is managed entirely by Roon as it scans the flac files. This is normal and the DR isn’t a key feature that distinguishes MQA. DR is the least of your concerns about MQA isn’t it ?[/quote]
Ok, sorry. I must have misinterpreted the argument. My question was how you got the Roon DR value - the one shown there would only apply to the undecoded file.

No extra bandwidth required past 96KHz sample rate. Plus some other people’s signal analysis on software decoded MQA vs full MQA capture and digitization.

No I am not. Not that you need MQA to stream anything, Qobuz et al have been streaming 24/96 for some time now.

Correction, you can stream your bought 192kHz albums directly from Qobuz so bandwidth is really no issue at all.

Ok, let’s examine one particular Thesis in the Article from Linn…as it’s the one area where we can really examine the facts and arrive at what is the truth…i.e. are we, the Users really paying “more” for MQA / High Res content??..or to quote directly from the article

Let’s examine what would be the “status quo” if we had simply relied upon Linn et al to provide us with High Res content…then all we have to do is look at the screenshot below and that is the price we would have had to pay for high res content just 6 weeks ago in December 2016…i.e. approx $120 for access to just those 5 albums

For a “new” user in February 2017, looking for high res content…he can choose to spend the $120 as above…OR he can pay Tidal $20 a month for six months…during which he can play the same high res content from those same 5 albums…but he also has the ability to listen and critique another 1,500 high res albums for 6 months…readers here can debate which of the two options is more desirable or has more “value” to them

And it’s easy to make the argument that existing Tidal users from December [and before] are actually paying NOTHING for the increased access to those same 1,500 high res albums, as they are paying the same per month now [with MQA access available] as they were in 2016 [with no MQA or High Res available]…something the Linn article claims “users will pay a higher price for”

So, we could still be in an era promoted by Linn et al…or in the MQA era

There are many areas covered in that article, that we don’t KNOW what the real truth is…i.e. how much MQA’s Licensing charges REALLY are…how much, if at all, the Recording & Mastering Engineers are having to pay …and all the myriad other claims in there about how MQA is allegedly “coining it”

But in the one are we do KNOW what the truth is…i.e. does access to High Res content cost us more in 2017 than it did in 2016…then the article is obviously false…and if it falls at that first verifiable fence, then how can we be expected to accept the veracity of the rest of the claims made??


And why shouldn’t any company ‘Coin It’? Apple Do, Linn Do as an example. That’s how the world works.

You may have the bandwidth but I have friends who can’t get enough bandwidth to subscribe to Tidal.

15 posts were split to a new topic: Streaming/Purchase debate

I agree, not the same thing at all. I just finished reading that Linn article and I believe it does raise some very valid concerns and worth thinking about. But hey, I care more about music rather than a new format… to the MQA fanboys, some are just asking some serious questions about the format going forward, not some attack at you and your perspective on the topic (this is my impression on this thread and some posts on both sides make you sound like children).

So, are you saying that, despite the data folding /unfolding process that has been clearly explained in several docs, there is nothing in MQA beyond 96k ? And that the only info there is to select specific upsampling “algos” in the DAC?

I am referring you one of your earlier statements

So, when a record label issues a 44.1 file packed with 352k or a 44.1 packed with DXD then they must be committing some sort of fraud?

We perhaps all recall the storm created when folks realised that HD Tracks were selling upsampled files as genuine hi-res samples.

What we wanted was natively sampled 88/96/176/192. Am sure we can agree on that.

What do you think of the examples I posted?

Is it possible that unpacked MQA does in fact deliver these native resolutions? If so, would you not want access to them ?

To regain relevance to this thread it is about how Roon might handle decoding MQA. Will they get the first unfold only or the full unfold?

That other services can and do sell hi-res to download or stream is of no relevance. That is just an existential argument.

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Do not feed the trolls.


I am saying that the plot from MQA indicates that regardless of a file being decoded to 96, 192, or higher, the bandwidth is the same. There’s no more data required past 96KHz, which indicates that the rest is not original-data-driven but upsampling. That is the entirety of the argument. And quite frankly I don’t see anything in what MQA has said that categorically contradicts this.

Those are YOUR words not mine. What I am saying is that you get to 352KHz by upsampling. I also said that the upsampling is possibly better informed than a generic upsampling by a little bit of data in the 96KHz PCM stream. For example it could chose on the aggressiveness of the min phase filter for upsampling - and I said that is not without value. But upsampling and reconstructing actual higher frequency information are two very different things.

No. What they say is that there is plenty of room below the noise floor in a 24/48 file to pack in the information required for the higher frequencies, using their selection and compression technique.

Bandwidth is information theory. Can’t get something out of nothing. Neither you nor MQA nor the Trump administration can get around this fact.

You might be saying, however, that in those cases where the file can render to 352KHz there is less information for lower rendering sample rates? That is certainly possible.

Absolutely! I do the same. It’s a bit weird since I often end up playing/downloading (to my mobile) the TIDAL version. Nonetheless…

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This article explicitly says it does not address the technology, which is what we have been discussing there.
But the arguments about the business model seem weak.

  1. “MQA will hoover up lots of money from the supply chain”. That’s a theoretical argument. Let’s look at real-world pricing. I know of two places to buy MQA files, and one place to stream (“rent”) them. I checked some examples.
    2L Magnificat:
    MP3 $9
    16/44: $14
    24/96: $19
    24/192, DSD64: $23
    DSD128, MQA “original resolution”: $24
    DSD256, 24/352: $30

Two classical albums:
24/96: $16.60
MQA: $17.60

Two jazz albums:
24/96: $20
MQA: $20.90

16/44 and MQA: same price

  1. DRM
    This is a hypothetical argument that something could magically lock up the files that you can play on your DAC. How could that happen? Some update download with unannounced capabilities? Lawsuits everywhere. Companies generally don’t survive that.

  2. Middleman stifling creativity
    This technology will be successful in the marketplace, or it will not. Consumers and artists can choose whether to use it or not. If few artists or few consumers choose to use it, it will die. Like some others have.

Linn seems to have a strange view of pricing power.

In my view, a waste of pixels.

EDIT: the choice between owning and renting is unrelated.

The paper I referenced above calls out on pages 8 and 9 non-Shannon sampling which contains, per sample, more information than Shannon sampled audio. It doesn’t take a great leap to imagine that the 192k and higher unfolds reconstruct the original 4x/8x sample rate from the fully backwards-compatible and playable 96k “Shannon” samples.

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Again, this is well explained in their papers.

They argue that the rectangular approach to information transfer is inefficient. “Rectangular” means that all frequencies, up to half the sampling rate, are granted the full 24-bit information content. But in practice they don’t need that: we never have (and can’t accept) full scale signals at high frequencies. And the noise floor is well above 24 bits. So they can save a lot of bandwidth by not granting all that space to the total rectangle, and passing through only the interesting data range.

So only a few of the 24 bits at the higher frequencies need to be transmitted, and those can fit under the noise floor.

This is not new. It was part of the original explanations in 2015.

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I remember Bob Stuart saying that MQA is a Flac file and as such, know one can stop it. If you can play flac/Wav you can play undecoded MQA.
So Linn or anyone else cannot block it. Consumers will eventually decide with their ears. Perhaps they don’t like this aspect and feel the need to lash out a bit.

They are. And nowhere in the MQA documentation have they claimed that they do upsampling. In fact, they explicitly denied (CA, I think?) the suggestion in a reader question that MQA unfolding uses the apodizing upsampling that Meridian used early, that the same engineering team developed.

I find it odd that you persist in these statements that have no basis in any of the documentation, and are quite explicitly denied.

Including in the data stream hints about upsampling approach is a clever idea. Maybe you could patent it. But it is not MQA.


And Linn Records pricing is $24 for 192/24 files and $13 for CDs. So given they have no costs for MQA they must be extracting more $$$ from the supply chain than MQA is for hires files. An additional $11 for not chopping the file down to 44/16 who is really has the high margins on hires content and is making the “outright grab” they accuse MQA of!


Maybe if we all stopped using the marketing term “unfolded” and stuck with upsampling/oversampling etc. we could be more objective about things?