Signal path : Enhanced v Lossless

Mac mini 2012 Mojave USB to Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ latest firmware

Tidal Masters

MQA files 48/96/192 etc appear correctly decoded but the Signal path is never described as ‘Lossless’ (always enhanced) (Never get a purple star - always white.) Why? Is Lossless impossible to achieve?

Once MQA starts decoding, the playing signal is different from the original signal and is no longer ‘bit perfect’. It’s the same way with many (all?) digital signal processing operations.
Putting a value on which is better, enhanced or lossless is sort of pointless. You are modifying the signal with the intent of improving the sonic outcome. If you like it better that way, good. If not, don’t do it.

Never mind that MQA itself is a lossy codec…


Not in analog terms, what you actually listen to. MQA is MQA, like it or not, the digital bit is not relevant to the listening experience.

I have yet to hear anyone isolate the bit in MQA that’s supposed to be lost. But I have heard astonishing MQA recordings many many times. So, if that’s enhancement, bring it on.

Thank you to you all.

I’m going to put logic away and rely on my jugs.


Forget MQA. Use FLAC

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MQA comes in a FLAC wrapper. It’s all PCM when decoded

You cannot recover a lossy format, even if you wrap it in gold plated FLAC files. Start with FLAC in the first place if you want true lossless.

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Let’s not make this another MQA slag fest please. But understand, no musical information is lost. That’s the whole point, and it sounds so clear and great on my system.

Its not lossless. there is a 44 page scientific paper onthis. MQA is lossy and DRM protected. Two no-goes to start with.

Its a marketing fad. if you buy MQA files you buy something that in the end you dont own.

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Listen with your ears, come over let me play you something and then tell me what I am missing.
I have had musicians round here listening and their jaws drop with the quality. It’s astonishing and the best sound I have ever heard from recorded material.
So, if you want to get caught up on some technicality, that’s a choice for you to make. All I can say is you are missing out on some of the best produced and presented music available today.

If, you enjoy it, fair enough. Keep doing so. There may be less informed buyers of music that should just know what they‘re getting and what not.

Other DRM attempts in music since the 1990s have died, this will as well IMHO.

Here we go, there is no DRM in MQA please don’t miss lead people. You can play MQA files any how any where with no restriction.
And yes, I enjoy them along with many many others.
Your view is stated and so is mine. Can we stop please.

MQA is not lossless, thats why the little purple star can’t shine, but MQA is “enhanced” which is why the little blue star is shining. Whether lossless or enhanced is better or worse is another discussion… fact remains, MQA may sound good, but its not lossless. Signal Path has more information about the colors.

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MQA files are „signed“ call that DRM or whatever you like.

You mean authenticated to be the genuine article and you will clearly know if the file is damaged in any way. Hmmmm?

I know all this stuff, but you are defining lossless in the digital domaine and I am talking the analog domaine.
No actual sound is lost.
Further to that, I have some very good Hi Fi and the sound is amazing in my experience. So, for me, nothing else matters.

Exactly :slight_smile:


The OP’s level of knowledge has been significantly increased. And I thank you all. I was just interested in names and star colours in Roon and that is all much clearer now.

Connected q please:

All my rips for iPod were made as mp3s years ago. Can you turn an mp3 into a FLAC? Or indeed an ALAC or AIFF? Is there a way of doing this in a big batch?

Thank you again?