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Interesting Video about MQA

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
401
159
19,070
https://youtu.be/_yvpAkG6YMk

NOTE: MQA is not the same as Hi-res, so using 24/192 etc. will not give any improvement over 16/44, unless it is taken from a different master. (MQA is a new Encoding/Decoding system that can also play back on standard equipment without causing problems. (Although in this case, it will sound the same as standard music, unless your equipment can decode MQA))

Enjoy

Bill
 

andyjm

New member
Jul 20, 2012
15
0
0
abacus said:
https://youtu.be/_yvpAkG6YMk

NOTE: MQA is not the same as Hi-res, so using 24/192 etc. will not give any improvement over 16/44, unless it is taken from a different master. (MQA is a new Encoding/Decoding system that can also play back on standard equipment without causing problems. (Although in this case, it will sound the same as standard music, unless your equipment can decode MQA))

Enjoy

Bill
Bill, I am not sure this is true. Clearly the MQA data has to go somewhere, so a 16/44.1 file without MQA won't be the same as a 16/44.1 file with MQA. The best I can find on the web suggests that the MQA data is embedded in the 3 least significant bits in the 16/44.1 file and is cleverly masked so that these bits are not audible when played through a standard DAC.

This does have the effect of reducing a 16/44.1 file to 13/44.1 file though.

It is interesting that a number of posters seem to prefer the sound of MQA played through a standard DAC - even though the bit depth is only 13 bits. If so, it seems to show that the quality of the mastering is at least as important (and probably more so) than the sampling rate or bit depth.

The widely praised BBC stereo FM broadcasts were actually 13 bit / 15KHz cuttof under the cover, and I was certainly never able to tell the difference between 13 and 14 bit music - so perhaps the reduction in bit depth doesn't matter.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
598
67
18,970
andyjm said:
abacus said:
https://youtu.be/_yvpAkG6YMk

NOTE: MQA is not the same as Hi-res, so using 24/192 etc. will not give any improvement over 16/44, unless it is taken from a different master. (MQA is a new Encoding/Decoding system that can also play back on standard equipment without causing problems. (Although in this case, it will sound the same as standard music, unless your equipment can decode MQA))

Enjoy

Bill
Bill, I am not sure this is true. Clearly the MQA data has to go somewhere, so a 16/44.1 file without MQA won't be the same as a 16/44.1 file with MQA. The best I can find on the web suggests that the MQA data is embedded in the 3 least significant bits in the 16/44.1 file and is cleverly masked so that these bits are not audible when played through a standard DAC.

This does have the effect of reducing a 16/44.1 file to 13/44.1 file though.

It is interesting that a number of posters seem to prefer the sound of MQA played through a standard DAC - even though the bit depth is only 13 bits. If so, it seems to show that the quality of the mastering is at least as important (and probably more so) than the sampling rate or bit depth.

The widely praised BBC stereo FM broadcasts were actually 13 bit / 15KHz cuttof under the cover, and I was certainly never able to tell the difference between 13 and 14 bit music - so perhaps the reduction in bit depth doesn't matter.
Well if you've seen the video and website it is true. The MQA audio sits within a standard lossless container i.e. WAV or FLAC. I don't know the innards, Meridian don't tell, but that's what they claim.

So according to Meridian:

1. They acquire the highest resolution master recording from the artist/label (they claim some exceed 384khz).

2. They apply the MQA encoding.

3. They compress or 'fold' the resulting MQA file to fit within a WAV/FLAC container.

4. It appears that for Tidal, when you access through their desktop app, you don't need a MQA enabled DAC - not 100% sure but maybe Tidal itself is doing the decoding, in fact you can only stream the 'masters' through their desktop app.
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
540
1
0
manicm said:
andyjm said:
abacus said:
https://youtu.be/_yvpAkG6YMk

NOTE: MQA is not the same as Hi-res, so using 24/192 etc. will not give any improvement over 16/44, unless it is taken from a different master. (MQA is a new Encoding/Decoding system that can also play back on standard equipment without causing problems. (Although in this case, it will sound the same as standard music, unless your equipment can decode MQA))

Enjoy

Bill
Bill, I am not sure this is true. Clearly the MQA data has to go somewhere, so a 16/44.1 file without MQA won't be the same as a 16/44.1 file with MQA. The best I can find on the web suggests that the MQA data is embedded in the 3 least significant bits in the 16/44.1 file and is cleverly masked so that these bits are not audible when played through a standard DAC.

This does have the effect of reducing a 16/44.1 file to 13/44.1 file though.

It is interesting that a number of posters seem to prefer the sound of MQA played through a standard DAC - even though the bit depth is only 13 bits. If so, it seems to show that the quality of the mastering is at least as important (and probably more so) than the sampling rate or bit depth.

The widely praised BBC stereo FM broadcasts were actually 13 bit / 15KHz cuttof under the cover, and I was certainly never able to tell the difference between 13 and 14 bit music - so perhaps the reduction in bit depth doesn't matter.
Well if you've seen the video and website it is true. The MQA audio sits within a standard lossless container i.e. WAV or FLAC. I don't know the innards, Meridian don't tell, but that's what they claim.

So according to Meridian:

1. They acquire the highest resolution master recording from the artist/label (they claim some exceed 384khz).

2. They apply the MQA encoding.

3. They compress or 'fold' the resulting MQA file to fit within a WAV/FLAC container.

4. It appears that for Tidal, when you access through their desktop app, you don't need a MQA enabled DAC - not 100% sure but maybe Tidal itself is doing the decoding, in fact you can only stream the 'masters' through their desktop app.
... and your point four is exactly the issue of contention discussed here/everywhere since Tidal has started officially using MQA. Everybody's guessing ... no one knows for certain.

You'd think Tidal would clarify ... . Of course if you do need extra hardware to benefit at all it will kind of diminish that USP. How many will buy a MQA DAC (which may be crippled in other ways) to get access to those Master files? Will Tidal provide some information on where these files come from?
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
282
166
19,070
drummerman said:
manicm said:
andyjm said:
abacus said:
https://youtu.be/_yvpAkG6YMk

NOTE: MQA is not the same as Hi-res, so using 24/192 etc. will not give any improvement over 16/44, unless it is taken from a different master. (MQA is a new Encoding/Decoding system that can also play back on standard equipment without causing problems. (Although in this case, it will sound the same as standard music, unless your equipment can decode MQA))

Enjoy

Bill
Bill, I am not sure this is true. Clearly the MQA data has to go somewhere, so a 16/44.1 file without MQA won't be the same as a 16/44.1 file with MQA. The best I can find on the web suggests that the MQA data is embedded in the 3 least significant bits in the 16/44.1 file and is cleverly masked so that these bits are not audible when played through a standard DAC.

This does have the effect of reducing a 16/44.1 file to 13/44.1 file though.

It is interesting that a number of posters seem to prefer the sound of MQA played through a standard DAC - even though the bit depth is only 13 bits. If so, it seems to show that the quality of the mastering is at least as important (and probably more so) than the sampling rate or bit depth.

The widely praised BBC stereo FM broadcasts were actually 13 bit / 15KHz cuttof under the cover, and I was certainly never able to tell the difference between 13 and 14 bit music - so perhaps the reduction in bit depth doesn't matter.
Well if you've seen the video and website it is true. The MQA audio sits within a standard lossless container i.e. WAV or FLAC. I don't know the innards, Meridian don't tell, but that's what they claim.

So according to Meridian:

1. They acquire the highest resolution master recording from the artist/label (they claim some exceed 384khz).

2. They apply the MQA encoding.

3. They compress or 'fold' the resulting MQA file to fit within a WAV/FLAC container.

4. It appears that for Tidal, when you access through their desktop app, you don't need a MQA enabled DAC - not 100% sure but maybe Tidal itself is doing the decoding, in fact you can only stream the 'masters' through their desktop app.
... and your point four is exactly the issue of contention discussed here/everywhere since Tidal has started officially using MQA. Everybody's guessing ... no one knows for certain.

You'd think Tidal would clarify ... . Of course if you do need extra hardware to benefit at all it will kind of diminish that USP. How many will buy a MQA DAC (which may be crippled in other ways) to get access to those Master files? Will Tidal provide some information on where these files come from?
I agree drummerman. It is ridiculous this is so opaque. I'd naively thought that mqa unpacked itself, because if it needs a specific mqa hardware DAC it's a nonstarter. As the other thread hinted, I assumed the purpose for Meridian was to garner license fees from the record companies in exchange for a reliable method to deliver hires in smaller packaging.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
598
67
18,970
nopiano said:
I'd naively thought that mqa unpacked itself, because if it needs a specific mqa hardware DAC it's a nonstarter. As the other thread hinted, I assumed the purpose for Meridian was to garner license fees from the record companies in exchange for a reliable method to deliver hires in smaller packaging.
DSD decoding is also done at the DAC level, so this no hardship for makers to do the same for MQA. Also, MQA WILL play regardless, as normal FLAC/WAV, if no decoder is available. It's still uncertain if Meridian will charge for MQA functionality, but Sony charges for DSD? Naim have stated their new Uniti range could be MQA enabled with a firmware update. I think they're still deciding/evaluating if ever.
 

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