The terms are complicated and not worth going into, but simply put: if you don’t core decode, we don’t pay.
When we introduced MQA support, we didn’t raise the price, so MQA has always been a cost center for us. If you core decode, we make less profit. If you don’t core decode, we make more profit. It’s almost that simple.
But it seems there is a better new way to avoid the tax… Just stop subscribing to TIDAL “HiFi+”. Drop to the new middle tier of “HiFi” and you won’t get MQA capabilities.
Consumers are, on the whole, gullible. Give them a ‘reason’ to spend their hard-earned-money on something new and shiny, and you’ll get takers. For example, does the average consumer really benefit/appreciate from 4K programming over 1080/HD? Does MQA sound that much better than MP3 via your smartphone on a noisy train? Of course not.
But then the ‘herd effect’ takes over, especially when mainstream publications like ‘What Hi-Fi’ push MQA as the new must-have. Suddenly, an idea has momentum, and consumers view something like MQA as absolutely essential in their next purchase, even though the vast majority probably won’t even use it.
MQA is just another way to extract money from people. Does it have any advantages for someone like me? Of course not. I stream High-Res from Qobuz. I don’t have a need for MQA.
MQA is just another way for manufacturers to try and differentiate themselves from the pack. And just another way to extract even more money from the gullible masses on the promise of something better.
For very well done 4K, and those shot using the latest high resolution professional grade camera (such as RED Digital Cinema), I assure you this is very apparent on a 65" TV. I always look at the blood vessels in the actors’ eye iris to check focus and sharpness (this is visible even without HDR).
While I’m not a fan of MQA, Roon currently only support two streaming services and one of them features MQA heavily. Plenty of users do like it and they’re Roon customers as well. Interestingly the setup advertised is an alternative to a Roon endpoint on a Pi. The new lossless services coming online this year would appear to make Roon’s and its supported services’ futures more precarious. I’m happy enough to see Roon pick up customers where it can.
Fair enough Chris, but they do take the “party line” when it comes to critically evaluating MQA:
Those of you who read audiophile forums and magazines may have heard some critical things about MQA. But for us all that really matters is what our ears tell us, and the emotional response we have to the music. Our ears give it two enthusiastic thumbs up.
For those of us who like to understand WHY we like something/lack ear-thumbs…
Thanks Peter. But I bet your TV is an OLED, or something equally capable of realising the full benefits of 4K/HDR programming?
A similar comparison can be drawn with MQA. Lumin has been MQA-capable for a long time, and is IMO one of the few manufacturers who are able to fully exploit any perceived benefits from this format, because your products are world-class.
BUT will the ‘average’ consumer investing in a $400 SMSL DAC really appreciate any benefit from MQA? I very much doubt it. In these such cases, MQA is just being used as marketing BS, to help shift more units and increase the prices of hardware.
I can think of millions of consumer products that do exactly this across every field of enterprise and I don’t hear much complaining. It’s the way of the world and how consumer society works. As far as MQA goes, to date it has cost me exactly nothing over and above what I would have paid anyway.
Youngsters buying MQA DACs on the promise of better sound will not be disappointed along with the whole industry as they learn to expect and appreciate more than the MP3 that has long outlived its usefulness in the main stream. A rising tide raises all ships. The constant harping and negativity is just tiring.