New TIDAL tiers and MQA



I don’t believe you. This needs to be tested. We should test this a lot. I’ll bring the first case in support of our testing. Do you like WA wines? Do you think the region for which the wine comes from will impact the testing? We should test that too. Where are we conducting the first test?

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This is excellent news. It means every MQA DAC will sound the exact same. It means I can buy the cheapest MQA DAC and it will sound the same as the most expensive MQA DAC. You just saved me a ton of money.


… but wouldn’t it be good if it were so?

(Nice idea. Not as good as the wine testing idea though… )

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Clearly not, but you are getting the genuine file unadulterated played back to the best capability of the particular DAC and hi Fi system.
You can always build better but diminishing returns kicks in fairly quickly.
A cheap MQA DAC and a pair of IEMs will never sound as good as a full blown MQA capable DSP Hi Fi System.
On the other hand, it will sound bloody good and a whole load better than MP3 and even CD streaming… You pays your money, find your level and enjoy the music. It’s great to have something to aspire to as well.

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No it does not.
This is only true for their “White glove” recordings. Of which there are only a very small handful.

Regular MQA has nothing to do with correcting for ADC behaviour at all and is just another piece of marketing that has gotten mixed up in the promises as to what MQA does.


Not a thing.

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It really depends on what the MQA was encoded from. If from a high-resolution source, that is > 16/44.1, then yes (ignoring for the moment why I just don’t stream the high-resolution). But if it’s encoded from the 16/44.1 then that’s just EQ and tricks trying to match psychoacoustic research to a broad acceptance of “better” and I, personally, don’t like what its doing. There are much better ways to accomplish that, suited to my personal taste, than what MQA is doing. Their processing doesn’t work for me, sorry. I’m glad it works for you though.

It’s loosely like Bose. No one in their right mind considers Bose “accurate” but plenty of people love that sound. Go forth and love it but don’t call it accurate. If Tidal applied a “Bose” curve to everything I’m sure plenty would love it. I wouldn’t pay for it.

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Who says that all MQA DAC implementation sound the same? Surely not MSB, dCS, Meridian nor Brinkmann.

Unfortunately you are just banging your head against a brick wall, at least your video has brought a lot of those issues to the streaming public it’s up to them to either believe the hype or not, Tidal also needs to put back the 1000’s of PCM files that were replaced if they are to deliver a PCM HIFI tier correctly

MQA has always actively tried to remove all other choice in the marketplace. Listen to the RMAF panel that I moderated, where Bob explicitly says MQA enables record labels to have a single deliverable file for all services. Getting rid of all other formats is a selling feature for MQA and has long been spoken out loud by MQA Ltd.


I was making a logical conclusion based upon another poster saying that “MQA is lossy by definition in the digital domain BUT is lossless analogue to analogue.”

I should have thrown some kind of sarcasm tag around my post. I do believe all DACs sound different. That’s kind of the point. We all prefer to choose our own tradeoffs in design to find sounds that reward us. And, that’s really the “flaw” with the MQA argument since their whole end-to-end vision has effectively eroded to nothing at this point.

EDIT: Except for 2L. I guess if all you listen to is 2L recordings, which are excellent, you should go all-in on MQA.


So why isn’t there an Anti Bose forum in the same way there is an anti MQA agenda? If someone does not like Bose, don’t buy it. Same with MQA. Just move on instead of wasting time here… Bose would love to be the only Hi Fi supplier in the world along with nearly every other mainstream company, but they aren’t, they never will be even if the ambition remains. They all compete on price, quality, style, innovation etc…

Well so do streamers and formats. MP3 have nearly dominated the online space for many years but things are changing. (Lossy, dominant and poor quality but people didn’t seem to complain.)

Now in steps MQA and of course, traditional, dare I say old fashioned format supporters and suppliers run scared. They feel the need to stamp out the interloper, the boat has been rocked and they don’t like it. I understand.

Well, they have no need to be scared as there will always be competition as stated earlier. If they had any sense they would raise awareness of their preferred system and further develop something new even to raise the bar once more. But human nature doesn’t seem to work that way and here we are, endlessly repeating the same arguments which just become boring frankly.

People should find their tribe, stream their preferred format and support them with their loyalty. More suppliers do not stream MQA than do, if a label or artist decides to use MQA, that’s their choice, not ours.

I would love Neil young to stream in MQA, but he doesn’t. Nothing I can do about this other than not listen to his music so much anymore because of the poor sound quality I have to put up with when compared to what I could enjoy with MQA. I don’t want to pay for equipment to decode really high res content. But that’s ok, life isn’t perfect, we all make choices and contrary to belief, we can’t have it all. Just idle thoughts.

[Moderated: References to 2rd person and now plural to avoid misinterpretation]


Was that from Bob Stuart’s “I have a dream speech”? I forget. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Bose doesn’t claim something that isn’t true - i.e. lossless – nor does Bose represent an attempt by the record labels to reintroduce DRM into audio reproduction.

My real beef with MQA is the latter. Not that I appreciate false marketing claims, but it would really be terrible if new music was released only in MQA which would require buying only MQA capable equipment to be able to listen at the best available quality. This alone is reason enough to try to keep it from gaining popularity. When there is a sufficient MQA install base (if ever) I’m quite confident that the record companies will release music only in that format (or worse).

For example, I want to watch my one DirecTV receiver on the other side of my house. The DRM that runs over HDMI (HDCP) doesn’t play well with my Cat 6 baluns that convert the video signal from HDMI to Cat 6 back to HDMI, even though they are supposed to be HDCP compliant. DRM always causes these kinds of issues. The video signal isn’t the issue, it’s the darned DRM signaling that causes the problems.

And when HDCP first came out, I was forced to replace a whole bunch of perfectly good video distribution stuff I had in my house because it wasn’t HDCP compatible. I’m not stealing any content by trying to watch something using internal distribution gear.

Same with audio. I don’t look forward to the day when my existing content works fine throughout my network and audio gear, but something newly released, only on MQA, only works on MQA gear, or the sound quality is drastically degraded.

Consider when record companies tried to make audio CDs that didn’t work on computer CD drives so that they couldn’t be ripped. So then these CDs didn’t work in many car stereos, or actually in a number of home CD players either. They want to protect their content so bad they are willing to ruin it.

That’s my point. I’m not enthralled with MQA sound…it’s OK but sounds mostly like it was pumped up with mild compression to make it more initially pleasing (like adding salt and sugar to a consumer food product, or having all the TVs with their brightness up at an electronics store)…but the real issue is that MQA is clearly, clearly an attempt by the record companies to stuff the genie back in the bottle and obtain permanent programmatic control of their content at the cost to the consumer. And to add patent licensing fees to boot!

I haven’t stopped listening to Tidal. But I’m irritated with them. And irritated that Roon always proposes the Tidal version as the one to add to your library.



You already have. There is literally no MQA DAC on the market that is not capable of also playing high res without MQA.

Yes there is, my Meridian system tops out at 96/24 on normal files.

I’m sorry to hear that. So you cannot actually compare MQA to a 24/192 file on your system?

I wonder if this is deliberate by Meridian…i.e. producing gear that requires the user to source MQA files as the best quality that gear will produce. Sounds like what Keurig did to exclude third-party coffee pods!

Meridian have long regarded 96/24 to be enough in their architecture and they do sound amazing. MQA support was added FOC on SE speakers when it became available. They have never been believers of extra high resolution as the content isn’t there much anyway. This content is on CD and has been on MP3 even.
I always remember a friend telling me that Meridian always seem to get the best from any format after hearing various things on my system over time. They have a passion for the sound at the output and not always following the trends. They led the trends it seems now and active and DSP systems are everywhere at this time. Think Bluesound, Sonos, soundbars from many manufacturers amongst others.
The thing is, when you are right from an engineering and design perspective, you don’t really need to worry about competing too much.

I don’t think you’d find many people who manage engineering companies who’d subscribe to that business philosophy, much as they’d like to.