Provenance and MQA

Hello Kenneth

Sorry if the term “fake MQA file” misinterpreted what you meant by “pretty much what you could do at home with a FLAC converter, if MQA was in fact lossless”.

Interesting that the truncated file still lights the Mytek light. Perhaps that is a flaw with the Mytek Design. I would suggest that these details be sent to Mytek and or MQA to see if there is an answer.

You probably realize that MQA is by definition lossless and lossy. MQA claims to go back to the analog microphone feed which apparently exists in many cases, and compare that with the output of the DAC. They are usually never the same. So that means that the so called lossless digital files of the feed are not the same, so should be really classified as lossy. The digital process withing this loop is lossless–ie there is not manipulation of the digitals in normal Hi Rez. So how come the analog coming out of most DAC’s does not agree with the analog signal going in?

So what MQA does do, is change the digital inside to make the analog to analog signal agree and by definition is truly lossless. So since the digital inside is manipulated, its clearly lossy. However the analog signal that comes out to most all ears, is clearly superior. I don;t expect all ears and all systems to agree–afterall nothing in audio is in completely agreement. However MQA gives my very high resolution system the best music reproduction I have every heard. How is the SQ of MQA you have auditoned?


My name isn’t Kenneth.

I will let the respective companies, as well as the people who worked on the exploit, explain what is going on. There is no reason I know of to believe your interpretation is correct, nor that either of the companies has responded in a way that would indicate it is.

I’m not going to start litigating talking points. I will just say that this sentence is a contradiction in terms and that you might want to learn computer science vocabulary before reading talking points.

Lossless: File a, compressed with method *, and made into file a’, can be decompressed, to the bit, as file a. Common examples are FLAC and .zip.

Lossy: File a, compressed with method **, and made into file a’’, cannot be decompressed, to the bit, as file a. Common examples are .mp3 and .jpg.

MQA can skirt around this all they want: the algo is not lossless, i.e, it is, in computer science terms, lossy. That it is “audibly lossless” or other such bullshit can also be said of .mp3 under certain conditions.

The rest of your attempt at MQA Ltd talking point fanfiction is of equal quality in its understanding of the processes at play as is your use and understanding of computer science vocabulary, and therefore of equal interest and value to me.

I’ll leave it to the mods to decide whether it, or my response, are on-topic and belong in this discussion at all.

In the interest of innocent readers, I will state that the processes you attempt to describe might seem to apply to the so-called “white glove” recordings, but in no case apply to the infinitely more common “batch-encoded” releases.

To circle back on topic, that you were so deeply mislead in your understanding despite your clear efforts at grasping the issue at hand is not an indictment of your intelligence or knowledge, but rather one of MQA Ltd., and Bob Stuart in particular, as a broker of trust.


Sheesh… like you said earlier, the small print is important.

The Christopher Cross album was recorded 16/50, not 24/44.1 as was posted earlier, but no-one complained. People say mixing when they mean mastering. Maybe they’re just being lazy.

But hey - maybe you just have to get used to doing your own fact-checking these days…

(But thanks to this thread, I found the ‘white glove’ write-ups interesting, re-read some Sound-On-Sound articles that I had forgotten about, found some new music, and rediscovered some that I have on LP… )

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Hi Andy,

you are correct concerning the resolution, I should have googled it before posting. My source for the assumption was the notice in the HDtracks description for this album “Digital recordings mixed analog, mastered to 192kHz/24bit”.

The intention of my post was to show that an album, digitally recorded in a lesser solution anyway if 16/50 or 16/24/44.1 will never be true 24/96/192. It will always sticks at the original resolution and max. frequency regardless if the new edition has been remixed with analog equipment. That it has been mastered and digitized to e.g. 24/192 then is my perception upsampling.

This is truly “the sky is green” stuff. No, this is not the way digital sampling of sound works, not at all…


This is where I’m getting stuck with the thought process…

I think you are assuming that analogue mastering is adding nothing of importance above the filter for the original capture sampling rate. I think the plots show that there is ‘content’ present - whether it’s musically important is another question, but the engineer doing the mastering (not MQA, before anyone jumps in on that misconception again) evidently think its important enough to capture at (eg) 24/192, and that’s what’s used to create subsequent release formats, including MQA.

Maybe what we can say is that we shouldn’t generalise from specific cases.

I’d like to make it clear though that I’m not arguing for or against MQA - I doubt my ears or playback equipment are good enough to resolve the difference…


Is there anything about this topic that hasn’t been said?

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Probably not…

When all is said and done… all is, said and done… :joy:

Me, I’m just enjoying the music. Loving MQA too and it’s all the provenance I need right now.


Exactly (10)

Not much, but actually I do think that AndyR has recently posted some interesting comments and introduced a new perspective to the thread.

Hello Crenca

This is what I have read about what MQA does do. If you know otherwise, please post a few words to describe what you know. I would be happy to hear more. I am sure that there are many variations. However, I was not talking about digital sampling here, I was talking about what I have read that MQA claims to do. I must say, that its about music, not bits, and computer speak, and I am focused on the end product, ie the musical experience. For me MQA does it better than any other I have heard–I trust my ears and live concert experience.

It seems to me that making the analog signal coming out of my DAC agree with the analog microphone output or the record engineers/artist’s mix down of same from the studio or record venue is what we should strive for. The fact that all most all of the music hyped as Hi Rez and associated DAC’s is clearly disingenuous at best if lot a clear lie. I accept that it may not have been known how to do this, but now that better processes are known, they should be made available.


Hello Gary.

Some crib notes I quickly put together on what MQA really does (as opposed to its marketing claims) can be found here:

These are based on a several year disambiguation by consumer and engineers (and NOT industry insiders such as the trade publications, software/hardware supplies and/or others in “the industry”, etc.). The “MQA is Vaporware” thread over at has been a central meeting place for this consumer disambiguation and pushback for quite a while.

As far as hype and promise of “Hi Res”, yep I agree there are more than a few problems all along the recording/mastering/consumer playback chains. Whatever it’s real though limited value, it has been hyped and oversold. That said, it’s largely a failure in the marketplace as only “audiophiles” even pay attention to it.


You’re off topic guys…

For the first part, I agree wholeheartedly. For the second part, I must remark that it is a subjective experience. If you like the “sound” of MQA and experience “natural” sounding real lossless HiRes music, you should listen to a non MQA DAC with superior minimum phase filters like e.g. Ayre DACs, compared to those MQA DACs are using.

You should know from earlier posts that the nearly all MQA albums are based on this “Hi Rez lies” delivered from the labels to be encoded by MQA in an automated batch process. So you seem to prefer a lie based on a lie over the best possible digital image of a recording, even if a few, primarily reissued between 2013 and 2016, may be suspect.

I may have solved the provenance problem!

I can hear this in my head in perfect fidelity…

(if only I could read music… )


Actually I did have a Naim ND555 streamer (their best) before my present setup. I listened to music on it for about a year, so was pretty familiar with what it offered–no MQA. I purchased a Mytek Manhattan II to try MQA–about the same cost as an Ayre DAC. The Mytek showed that MQA it was worth it. Same room, same ears, same system, both in the room at the same time. The Mytek on MQA was better. That raised the question–why do I need the ND555? What if I put those assets in to a high end MQA dac. So I demoed a very high end MQA DAC costing what I thought the ND555 would bring in sale. I auditioned an MSB, dCS, & Meridian Ultra Dac. That was in dealers showrooms. They were all good. I ended up demoing one in my room, my system. First it was much better on ripped cd’s than what I had. Then when I put the MQA to work, it was clearly superior. It took me no time to hear what I was looking for. It was the sound of music in my room. For me nirvana. The clincher was my wife who plays piano, was on another floor in the house and immediately heard the difference. So I think I have done my homework. Sold the Mytek and the Naim. I am sure the Ayre is a very good unit also.


Some people seem to be more interested in provenance than what the music actually sounds like. I’m only interested in what sounds good to me. I was not present for the recording sessions, so I could not care less about provenance. MQA is superior on some recordings but not others. I would say if you don’t like MQA, don’t subscribe to Tidal.

Respectfully, no it did not. All it showed is that you preferred the Mytek over the other dacs. I have dacs that make 256mp3 sound better than the equivalent (same master) Hi Res through another dac. Also, that Mytek is known to be one of the most tipped up dacs around - you sure you just don’t like a tipped up source in front of your possibly warm system and/or Old Man Ears? Also, did you account for mastering when comparing MQA vs. fill_in_the_blank? How did you confirm that it was the same mastering? Also, did you level match? Did you know that many MQA encodings are 1 or 2 db louder (i.e. they cheat)?

MQA is a pretty good and transparent SuperMP3, that suffers just a touch of HF “digititus”. Perhaps you like the “grain” of this digititus? OR perhaps you and/or your system prefers slow roll off min phase filtering that (standard playback) MQA enforces.

Respectfully I don’t see where you did your homework, or even are aware of how to do it in the context of a digital audio world…


To be fair, the thread does have ‘provenance’ in the title…