Roon Decoding MQA Listening Impressions

(Peter Lie) #41

If some day you would like to do a vinyl vs digital (MQA / Hi-Res) comparison I would love to read about it.

(Ged) #42

Now you’ve opened a completely different can of worms. Before you know it we we will have tubes Vs transistors and cheap Vs expensive cables putting more worms in the container! :slight_smile:

(John B) #43

This sounds like a different remix to the redbook (Tidal) to me. A bit too much bass for my liking but pleasant nonetheless.

I can;t say I’m noticing huge differences between MQA and redbook- it’s more akin to different filters in HQP to my ears, some sounding very good others no better or worse than the redbook


(Harold Novikoff) #44

I discovered a good example yesterday of what MQA can do well – listen to the TIDAL MQA 24/96 version of Workingman’s Dead. It blows TIDAL’s CD version away, though I suspect they are sourced from different masters. The MQA version actually produces a better detailed acoustic guitar string sound (listen to Uncle John’s Band) than my early Warner Brothers vinyl pressing (though the vinyl has better dynamics). Just when I thought MQA simply wasn’t worth the effort, this comes along…

(steven kornreich) #45

I’m still a total newbie when it comes to MQA. So I purchased a few albums from in MQA format. I am running Roon Rock directly connected to my Peachtree SONA DAC via USB.
The SONA DAC does not support MQA so I assume ROON is handling the conversion?
My question is should I be thinking about getting a MQA DAC or the end result will not be that much different / noticeable. I realize there are a thousand variables here.


(danny2) #46

Comparing different masters is just that, it doesn’t prove anything good or bad about MQA.
In any case a better comparison would probably be to the Workingman’s Dead hi-res version released a few years ago in a “box set”.

(Henry) #47

Valid comparisons are few and far between. Comparing something out of print with MQA is equally futile if you don’t already own it.

(Chris ) #48

MQA may or may not use a different master? Different to what? I don’t know, but consistent reports of the great sound quality and my own experience means a couple of things to me.
First; They (The Relevant people) consider this the master and have authenticated it as such. Second; the MQA process is doing no audible harm to the said master.
If you have to compare it to ones favourite high res version of this and that only to find minor differences based on individual preference from what one is used to, then we are missing the point.

The point is, high res is not available to everyone and never will be without MQA or a similar technology being adopted and rolled out over time. This has stimulated a music quality debate which has to be good and a rising tide raises all ships.

Just thoughts… don’t get mad at me :joy:

(Henry) #49

I think there are many who consider the good ship MQA fatally holed below the waterline! I don’t agree personally as there are so many people on board now but we will need to wait a while to see if adoptive brands go to generation 2 and 3 of the MQA revolution.

(danny2) #50

How can you say MQA sounds “better” if you are comparing two different masters? To know if MQA sounds “better” you’d have to compare it to the master it was produced from. Do you not understand that there can be several “masters” of the same album - and that each one can sound different?

Consistent reports of great sound quality? Apparently you haven’t read the many reports of MQA reducing sound quality or making no positive difference. No matter what your personal opinion, there is certainly no consensus that MQA results in improved SQ. If the vast majority of listeners don’t agree that MQA sounds “better”, then it is hard to claim that it does, no matter what your personal opinion.

You apparently haven’t read much about who is doing the “authenticating” of the master. In many cases it is just a record company employee who had zero to do with producing the original. There are artists, mastering engineers and producers on record as saying they had nothing to do with the MQA version of a record they worked on - and they aren’t happy with how the MQA version sounds. The whole “authentication” thing is largely meaningless - it’s just a marketing ploy to get consumers to think they are getting something special. It’s even been shown that you can do digital alterations to an MQA file and the “authenticated” light still glows on an MQA DAC. So how is it “authentic”?

How is hi-res not available to everyone? It’s as available as the record companies want to make it. It can be bought on a disc, downloaded, or streamed. There are streaming services right now that stream hi-res with no problem. In spite of what MQA says, streaming hi-res it isn’t an issue and you don’t need MQA to do it.

I have no argument with you if you like the sound of MQA. But base your arguments for it on facts and not on marketing claims from MQA that sometimes have a dubious connection to facts and truth.

(danny2) #51

Interesting, as I thought the MQA version of “Astral Weeks” noticeably inferior to my 24/96 download of it.
What is for sure is that Van Morrison had nothing to do with the MQA version - he’s out of the loop as far as Warner’s is concerned and has been quoted as saying he has nothing to do with any of the remasters and that they wouldn’t be released if it was up to him.

(Harold Novikoff) #52

My remarks about Workingman’s Dead (as an example of an MQA file on TIDAL that sounds quite good) was intended to point out that it had excellent sound quality. Essentially, MQA allowed it to sound like a good quality hi rez file. Obviously there are different masters involved, but the TIDAL MQA version played through Roon on my system – which, I should mention, is set to upsample to 24/392 – sounded better than (a) the TIDAL CD version and, remarkably, better than the recent MFSL 45 RPM vinyl version (which is a bit of a dud). Some aspects of the MQA version sounded better than my early Warner Brothers vinyl (particularly the detail in the acoustic guitar sounds) but overall the original vinyl was better (better dynamics and imaging). I don’t have a hi rez box or download of Workingman’s dead for comparison.

However, I do have a 24/96 download of Who’s Next – a file that other posters have identified as sounding good on TIDAL MQA – and I did a comparison of my download and that MQA 24/96 version. I THINK the masters are the same – I don’t know how to prove it – but they certainly sound the same, and I doubt that there are many 24/96 versions out there. But that’s the real point; I really can’t hear much difference. The MQA folding technology seems to work and the files are so close in sound quality (I doubt that I could reliably tell them apart in a blind test) that I wouldn’t buy a download to obtain better sound quality were the MQA version available at the time I purchased the download.

On the other hand, the MQA version is certainly not any better. The fact that it is not any worse (or, at least, not appreciably worse) is pretty important to me. I use the Roon/TIDAL combination for music discovery and to listen to new recordings. If I can persuade myself through additional comparisons that I don’t have to go out and purchase downloads to get true hi rez sound (at least while TIDAL is still around), that is a huge economic benefit to me even if MQA does not provide any correction/sound improvement on a particular file.

(Larry Post) #53

Some seem to be ‘better’, or just different. MQA isn’t really doing much for me in my system. Often the MQA choice just sounds a bit louder but not better, other times it is better but I suspect its a better master or transfer than what I’m comparing to.

At the end of the day, MQA seems to be solving a problem that doesn’t exist.

(Chris ) #54

Did I say that? Nope, I don’t spend my life comparing… I am finding plenty of favourable reports about MQA’S sound and find I am liking what I hear. Now that’s a good thing. Plenty of people also seem against MQA and as such are unlikely to admit to likeing it. The arguments will go on as we gainsay each other.

As I type I am listening to Elton John, Funeral for a friend in MQA and it just sounds great. It’s been a long time since I heard this so how and why would I compare? I am just enjoying it. So, I don’t care who authenticated it, it’s great to hear again in such great quality.

I could comment on the rest of your reply but I cannot see the post as I am replying. That’s a feature request for the forum perhaps. Anyway, life is too short…
If I do have comparisons, mine are with 1960’s pirate radio stations AM broadcasts to a background of Soviet jamming signals. Everything we have today is a bonus… MQA Marvelous Quality Audio…


MQA seems to be solving a problem that doesn’t exist.

I agree for storage-based Redbook and high-res tracks. But for streaming, MQA makes a lot of sense.

(Jeff) #56

That’s been proven wrong as well. You could deliver the same musical content in a 18bit 96Khz regular PCM file and it compresses down to the same size as the equivalent MQA file. Bonus it doesn’t require end to end licensing.

MQA makes sense for people that get it for free from their Tidal subscription or need the softer sound of MQA to match their system, “make it Analog like”. That’s about it.

(Larry Post) #57

How so? I understand the bandwidth reduction is not much if any, and I don’t really care about bw for audio, 4K HDR video is a whole bunch more…

With my system, I just don’t hear any significant difference except that some of the MQA sounds to be a different master or handled better. Unfortunately, we can’t know which it is, a better master or the MQA process.

Alas, I’m beating a dead horse. They’ve done a good job convincing people we need this to be happy.

(Anders Vinberg) #58

Cool. Which streaming services offer 18/96?

(Jeff) #59

No need, it’s not 2014. Just stream all the original content.

(Anders Vinberg) #60

Ah, so the 18/96 point wasn’t real.
Cool. Which streaming services offer the original high res content?