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MQA - any experiences yet?

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shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
91
45
18,570
davidf said:
Anybody else heard it yet?

I had a listen to Alanis Morissette's Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie album yesterday, and the first track (despite being one I normally skip during demos), sounded a bit different to how I remember it. I have it ripped from CD on my ZENith, so I'm going to compare the two today to see if it's just my memory or whether a different master has been used to the CD. Other than a few little bits I don't recall hearing before, most of the album seemed the same, just the first track sounded quite different.
Hi,

You may need to check the decoding of the MQA. It seems that Tidal allows the MQA decoded stream to be passed to the digital output, but other implementations of decoding do not allow this.

If you playing a file from a streamer or hard disk not using an MQA codec application, then it will be whatever the file bit depth and sample rate is inherent in the file, but the decoding of the higher frequencies will not occur.

Regards,

Shadders.
 

Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
567
0
18,890
shadders said:
Hi,

You may need to check the decoding of the MQA. It seems that Tidal allows the MQA decoded stream to be passed to the digital output, but other implementations of decoding do not allow this.
My listening since last Friday has been via a Primare I22 fed by a decoded analogue signal from a Bluesound Node II, so in this case, not sending out digital. In fact, that is how any listening I've done here has been. It was only at home I was sending out digital.
 

shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
91
45
18,570
davidf said:
shadders said:
Hi,

You may need to check the decoding of the MQA. It seems that Tidal allows the MQA decoded stream to be passed to the digital output, but other implementations of decoding do not allow this.
My listening since last Friday has been via a Primare I22 fed by a decoded analogue signal from a Bluesound Node II, so in this case, not sending out digital. In fact, that is how any listening I've done here has been. It was only at home I was sending out digital.
Hi,

OK - so you are listening to the MQA decoded. Thanks.

Regards,

Shadders.
 

audiventory

New member
Jan 13, 2014
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0
manicm said:
MQA downloads will not be pointless - not any less than hi res downloads especially for portable players/phones and DACs.

Also remember MQA is not really about compression even though the file sizes are much smaller than FLAC hires. It's being advertised for sound quality.
As far as I know, MQA is "lossy" (original and restored (from MQA) PCM is not binary identical), but FLAC is "lossless".
 

Al ears

Moderator
daveh75 said:
License encumbered ********. Why people are excited by it is beyond me....

Hopefully it'll die a death and quickly!
Most fomats fell into that category when originally established. MQA may be a eye (ear) opener for those that stream and want high quality in a small packet size. Those that download should look elsewhere.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
557
42
18,920
Al ears said:
daveh75 said:
License encumbered ********. Why people are excited by it is beyond me....

Hopefully it'll die a death and quickly!
Most fomats fell into that category when originally established. MQA may be a eye (ear) opener for those that stream and want high quality in a small packet size. Those that download should look elsewhere.
Why? MQA officially offers true high res audio quality, and the reduced size is just a convenient side effect, if we believe them. So I would happily download this instead of conventional hires FLACs or WAVs. Officially also offers 'authenticity', so no more blind purchasing from HD Tracks, for example.

It may be a moot point though, as I suspect Warner and Universal will both heavily disfavour downloads. That's why I want to know, does Tidal allow downloads?
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
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As long as the recording is good then it does not matter what format its in at all.

If mqa is a better master copy, then fine, ie: higher dynamic range and less compression.

If its another money making scheme with no difference to the quality of master/recoding then not interested at all.
 

Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
567
0
18,890
manicm said:
It may be a moot point though, as I suspect Warner and Universal will both heavily disfavour downloads. That's why I want to know, does Tidal allow downloads?
No, unless that's about to change. Unless this is for CD.
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
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0
audiventory said:
Andrewjvt said:
If mqa is a better master copy, then fine, ie: higher dynamic range and less compression.
Higher dynamic range than what fofmat?
Im not talking different formats. Im talking about the loudness wars and bad dynamic range due to iver compression in the recording regardless of format.
 

tamefox

New member
Dec 3, 2015
3
3
0
MQA tracks are remastered from original source tapes, not "stacked-codecs" reworked over each other. 2L in Norway (2l.no) remaster stuff and record new in MQA - mostly Norwegian orchestras.

I have listened to full albums of MQA and non MQA versions of the same music -same label - same recording - on non-MQA and on MQA full DACs (Bluesound).

Even on non-MQA decoder/DACs there is an extra level of detail than on normal CD or on 24/192 files. With the full MQA decoder the whole msuical experience is just that - much more musical - more open, and the timbre/harmonics on cello stirings are awesome - you can hear the timbre of the wooden box of the instrument - sounds so real - unlike non MQA version of whatever format.

Highly recommended for any genre of well-recorded music. Would love to hear some of my Floyd collection in MQA....

Try the 2L samplers - many formats of each recording available.

Wont post URL here as will get bounced by spam filter again...

Also try HiResAudio site for MQA - they have over 100 albums, classical, chambre, jazz and more.

If you have access to a full MQA DAC try (after you buy) the Japanese Quartet playing Vivaldi's Four Seasons. - awesome - knocks spots off Kennedy's rushed version.
 

Al ears

Moderator
tamefox said:
MQA tracks are remastered from original source tapes, not "stacked-codecs" reworked over each other. 2L in Norway (2l.no) remaster stuff and record new in MQA - mostly Norwegian orchestras.

I have listened to full albums of MQA and non MQA versions of the same music -same label - same recording - on non-MQA and on MQA full DACs (Bluesound).

Even on non-MQA decoder/DACs there is an extra level of detail than on normal CD or on 24/192 files. With the full MQA decoder the whole msuical experience is just that - much more musical - more open, and the timbre/harmonics on cello stirings are awesome - you can hear the timbre of the wooden box of the instrument - sounds so real - unlike non MQA version of whatever format.

Highly recommended for any genre of well-recorded music. Would love to hear some of my Floyd collection in MQA....

Try the 2L samplers - many formats of each recording available.

Wont post URL here as will get bounced by spam filter again...

Also try HiResAudio site for MQA - they have over 100 albums, classical, chambre, jazz and more.

If you have access to a full MQA DAC try (after you buy) the Japanese Quartet playing Vivaldi's Four Seasons. - awesome - knocks spots off Kennedy's rushed version.
Good post. I use 2L quite a bit for hi res downloads. Personally not interested in MQA downloads but can see where it might be very useful to those who stream.

However what confuses me with MQA is that access to large producers librarys of music must mean they remaster and possibly up-sample the original recordings. Not too sure how this is different to what is happening anyway with other formats apart from the compression factors used.

MQA have had no control over the original recordings unlike some who record new works straight to DSD.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
557
42
18,920
Al ears said:
davidf said:
MQA isn't remastering existing masters, it is utilising existing, certified masters.
?Que

There's a lot of BS going around about this format obviously.
Not that the naysayers are wrong, but they're partially responsible I think. MQA definitely don't remaster anything, but really use the original recording master be it DSD, hires PCM, or for older recordings where, for example, only vinyl is available - they'll do a 24/192 rip of the vinyl.
 

Barbapapa

New member
Feb 13, 2016
0
0
0
Barbapapa said:
I posted my experiences in an earlier post somewhere. For the purposes of this thread I did a quick comparison of Renaud Capucon/Khatia Buniatishvili Franck, Grieg, Dvorak: Sonatas for violin & piano (which I have on CD as well).

- Bluesound Node 2 using internal DAC with MQA

- Quad Vena DAC streaming from Bluesound Node 2 MQA through optical.

- Quad Vena DAC from cheap Philips Blu-ray player playing CD through Coax.

The CD clearly sounds worst: in comparison the sound seems muffled (not softer; I tried increasing the volume).

The two MQA options in comparison are much clearer; it is indeed much more like the violin is in the room. I find it difficult to distinguish the Quad Vena DAC and the Bluesound DAC: there may be the tiniest of differences, but not quickly noticeable. Maybe I would find some difference after extensive listening, but then I might as well imagine things. This is in fact similar to non-MQA music which I also find sounding similar through either DAC.

Provisional conclusion: the improvements (if any) may in this set-up be due mostly to the 'remastering' part of MQA and/or the higher resolution once unfolded. The MQA-qualified DAC in itself doesn't seem to make much of a difference.

(...)

I also did a quick test using my Sennheiser 598 headphone (which I find quite revealing), again there is only the slightest of differences. Then I got bored and decided to just enjoy the music instead (lovely album, can really recommend it).
Following on my earlier post of 3 February (I've been busy lately) I've just quickly A/B'ed the MQA version vs the ripped CD through the Bluesound Node, listening only on my Sennheiser headphones.

There is not a clear difference between these two versions. Both sound fine, which undoubtedly is due to the quality of the mastering. After extensive comparing I believe that the MQA version offers more details, as I continually find that I can first distinguish details in the MQA version that only then i can also hear in the CD version. Then when comparing back these tiny details are more pronounced in the MQA version. It is in details like a slightly stronger vibrato, a bit more presence of the breathing of the violinist in the final track.

I would not call this a night and day difference, and I can live quite well with the CD version. Nonetheless I do feel that MQA has added value. Admittedly I would need more extensive testing to find out whether this is really not just psychology. Assuming that it isn't, the difference is slight. For other set-ups it might be easier to distinguish.
 

shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
91
45
18,570
Barbapapa said:
Barbapapa said:
I posted my experiences in an earlier post somewhere. For the purposes of this thread I did a quick comparison of Renaud Capucon/Khatia Buniatishvili Franck, Grieg, Dvorak: Sonatas for violin & piano (which I have on CD as well).

- Bluesound Node 2 using internal DAC with MQA

- Quad Vena DAC streaming from Bluesound Node 2 MQA through optical.

- Quad Vena DAC from cheap Philips Blu-ray player playing CD through Coax.

The CD clearly sounds worst: in comparison the sound seems muffled (not softer; I tried increasing the volume).

The two MQA options in comparison are much clearer; it is indeed much more like the violin is in the room. I find it difficult to distinguish the Quad Vena DAC and the Bluesound DAC: there may be the tiniest of differences, but not quickly noticeable. Maybe I would find some difference after extensive listening, but then I might as well imagine things. This is in fact similar to non-MQA music which I also find sounding similar through either DAC.

Provisional conclusion: the improvements (if any) may in this set-up be due mostly to the 'remastering' part of MQA and/or the higher resolution once unfolded. The MQA-qualified DAC in itself doesn't seem to make much of a difference.

(...)

I also did a quick test using my Sennheiser 598 headphone (which I find quite revealing), again there is only the slightest of differences. Then I got bored and decided to just enjoy the music instead (lovely album, can really recommend it).
Following on my earlier post of 3 February (I've been busy lately) I've just quickly A/B'ed the MQA version vs the ripped CD through the Bluesound Node, listening only on my Sennheiser headphones.

There is not a clear difference between these two versions. Both sound fine, which undoubtedly is due to the quality of the mastering. After extensive comparing I believe that the MQA version offers more details, as I continually find that I can first distinguish details in the MQA version that only then i can also hear in the CD version. Then when comparing back these tiny details are more pronounced in the MQA version. It is in details like a slightly stronger vibrato, a bit more presence of the breathing of the violinist in the final track.

I would not call this a night and day difference, and I can live quite well with the CD version. Nonetheless I do feel that MQA has added value. Admittedly I would need more extensive testing to find out whether this is really not just psychology. Assuming that it isn't, the difference is slight. For other set-ups it might be easier to distinguish.
Hi,

Thanks for this. Did you manage to listen to the same album with 24bit/192kHz version? That comparison would be very helpful. Thanks.

Regards,

Shadders.
 

Barbapapa

New member
Feb 13, 2016
0
0
0
Not yet. Qobuz does offer this album in 24/96, but I have not much time available right now. I suspect that the differences, if there are any, will be even harder to hear. For a new recording like this I would expect MQA to be just 24/96 in a smaller ('folded') package. It would be more interesting to compare an older recording in 24/96 versus MQA.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
174
53
18,670
I may have missed this, but I learned today that Audioquest's popular DAC range are to have a firmware update for MQA. This strikes me as the biggest move yet to make this viable in the mainstream.

Still havent managed to hear MQA, however!
 

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