MQA Review - Technical Analysis

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by Woland, Apr 15, 2021.

  1. Woland

    Woland Facebook Friend

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    SBAF Moderator Comment: This is quite important - very important. @GoldenOne / Goldensound has performed an excellent analysis of MQA answering many questions in how MQA works and providing insights to the resultant sound quality from a technical point of view. Most important, it addresses many preconceptions with MQA.

    @purr1n: TBH, I was so sick of this MQA stuff that I really didn't want to revisit this - it was like who cares, let Bob Stuart continue with his quest for world domination or the production chain from mastering to playback if people really wan it - that is until @zerodeefex suggested that I comment on this video. After catching up on MQA after ignoring it for a good period of time, I'm even sicker now. Unfolding? Audio origami? PCM is now lossy? o_O This is unbelievable. I advise everyone who has asked about MQA on SBAF or has been worried about being left in the stone ages because they didn't adopt MQA, to watch this video.

    --- original post starts here ---

    It's live! Go watch!

     
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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2021
  2. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    ^ was just watching this. Now that’s what I call a takedown. Incredible work @GoldenOne ! :bow:
     
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  3. mimart7

    mimart7 Friend

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    The comments on this video are priceless. I had subbed to his channel about a month or so ago.
     
  4. perogie

    perogie Facebook Friend

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    Yes, it is one the better all-in-one presentations on MQA and their associated claims. Im hoping Spotify high res is legit so I can drop tidal as a source for the limited amount I use it.

    I just became aware of his channel about a month ago and I have been happy with the content so far.
     
  5. schnesim

    schnesim Rando

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    I think I'm gonna give deezer a try. I like the way they pass the royalties to artists based on the tracks actually listened to and it's cheaper than Tidal.
     
  6. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    In a sane world, this video would end MQA and Tidal. Both are outright lying in their claims. Hell, Tidal’s whole business model is based on offering lossless audio, there could even be a class action lawsuit waiting for them if enough people cared.
     
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  7. Pancakes

    Pancakes Facebook Friend

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    Awesome video. Gives me some idea of why I couldn't listen to Tidal. Had to cancel it after 3 days of "what unnatural alien shit is this????". This was a non-MQA DAC btw.

    Qobuz is where it's at.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  8. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    MSmuckA
     
  9. bboris77

    bboris77 Friend

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    Damn it, I cannot believe that any Master-grade files are not lossless even in Hi-Fi mode. I have to look for an alternative to Tidal now unless they fix this pronto.
     
  10. MisterRogers

    MisterRogers Ethernet Nervosa

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  11. bboris77

    bboris77 Friend

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    I tried using various VPN services to do it from Canada and I am getting blocked. It looks like Qobuz got smarter about blocking us Canadians.
     
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  12. imackler

    imackler Key Lime Pie Infected Aberdeen Wings Spy

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    I've not been able to find online, but does anyone know what file Tidal uses if I have a dac that doesn't do MQA but I pick an MQA album... In an ideal world, I'd be "diverted" to a flac version, but something tells me it's probably not that simple...
     
  13. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    I guess you need US billing address and payment method to have membership.
     
  14. bboris77

    bboris77 Friend

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    GoldenSound is specifically saying that in this scenario, Tidal streams the MQA version even if we select the "HiFi" option which should stream the FLAC version. I am not sure if he tested using a non-MQA supporting DAC or whether this would make a difference.
     
  15. bboris77

    bboris77 Friend

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    It is not even letting me get to that stage. When I try creating an account with my email address only, it says "not available in your country" even if I use a VPN extension or "no VPNs" when I use a different Chrome VPN extension.
    It is smart :)
     
  16. Azteca

    Azteca Friend

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    Well, I watched the whole thing.
    I totally forgot about the MQA people at the RMAF panel asking for Archimago to be unmasked. :p
    Great, methodical approach to the topic and while I'm sure MQA will continue to dispute things point by point or rant about being under attack, it's so clear that they reject any attempt to question their methods or look under the hood.
    I've never watched GoldenSound but I will be subscribing to see what else he cooks up.
     
  17. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    I am going to do something strange here and appear to defend MQA/Tidal: I have yet to watch the video, but it should be noted that MQA is only lossy in the ultrasonic (so frequencies above the 20-20 audio band) region (assuming an actual 24/48 or higher PCM source was used). In the audio band MQA is essentially 14 bit (or there abouts) 44.1 PCM played back through a "minimum phase" filter if you are using a software/hardware decoder/renderer solution. If all you have is a non-MQA aware dac chain then see then see the next question...

    Like Bob Stuart said once, MQA is just PCM (and in this he is correct despite his other fantasy assertions of 'post-shannon' and the like) . So to a non-MQA aware DAC and chain, MQA plays through a standard PCM dac as essentially a 14/44.1 file. This is why you and every other Tidal user have been playing MQA through your system for a while now and have not even realized it.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  18. Azteca

    Azteca Friend

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    Watch it and you will see that is not true.

    So taking 16/44.1 and turning it into minimum-phase FOURTEEN BIT 44.1 with ultrasonic (and audible band) noise is lossless?
     
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  19. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    Just started it. To answer your question, yes. Just as recording/mixing something say at 24/96, and then resampling it to 16/44.1 for distribution to consumers is lossless. There is a common misperception as to what lossless really means and the difference between it and (re)sampling. Even an 8 bit 1khz recording (so 8/1 PCM) is lossless. Also, adding noise/distortion/DSP/Snake Oil in of itself does not make a file lossy.

    I will continue to watch the video to see if he discovered something new but everything up till now has pointed to the fact that the "origami" folding process of MQA leaves the audio band lossless.

    Edit: I am at the 9 minute mark where he says in a summation (of the transient overshoot, noise, and min phase filtering he discovered in his MQA processed files) "so no MQA files are not lossless..." Problem is he did not prove that his 16/44.1 MQA encodings are not lossless - he only proved that they are mucked up by the filtering, noise, probably IMD, etc.

    I sincerely hope he is not using "lossless" in a colloquial or incorrect manner as he appears to at this point...will continue watching video

    Edit #2: Damn, at 10:15 he says "...we can see that there is some high frequency noise that MQA has add - it's not lossless at all..." He's wrong - noise added does not make a file lossless or lossy any more than using a shitty ADC makes a file "lossy", and using a good one makes it "lossless". He's using the term incorrectly and this is going to be used against him...
     
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    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  20. mitochondrium

    mitochondrium Friend

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    Always used Qobuz, yet I have an even better recommendation:
    Spin a black disc
    Listening more to vinyl than Qobuz atm
     

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