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Tidal master hi res streaming

gasolin

Well-known member
Mar 17, 2013
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Tidal now offers master quality,hi res 24 bit 96khz music,streaming but only with the desktop app

Do we have to leave our pc 24/7 at 24 bit and 96khz samplerate or just use it when ever we want the best sound quality?

I feel the difference is noticeable with a more clear,open sound
 

Al ears

Moderator
drummerman said:
I heard they also support the meridian developed codex but you need a dac supporting it.
I think MQA was indeed what gasolin was referring to but I could be wrong. However you are correct in that it's of no benefit to most unless you have a DAC that can handle this new format.

His reference to PC sample rate though has me thinking maybe he's talking about something else. Perhaps he'll clarify.
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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The good news is, for some, that you don't even need a PC...

Those with Bluesound products can already enjoy this MQA service as everything was already in place to do so, as long as you know which albums are MQA. I'm sure Bluesound's software will be updated at some point to show which are MQA.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
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gasolin said:
Tidal now offers master quality,hi res 24 bit 96khz music,streaming but only with the desktop app

Do we have to leave our pc 24/7 at 24 bit and 96khz samplerate or just use it when ever we want the best sound quality?

I feel the difference is noticeable with a more clear,open sound
Is it Windows you're using? Also are you using ASIO?

With usual Windows settings it'll accept different samples rates but output whatever it's been set to. I think this is where you were going with this.

ASIO skips processing and lowers latency and plays bit perfect. You wouldn't need to change any settings. You could download ASIO4ALL which is free.

Either way it's great to hear that MQA is finally launching and every reason to get Tidal even as a trial.
 

Al ears

Moderator
insider9 said:
gasolin said:
Tidal now offers master quality,hi res 24 bit 96khz music,streaming but only with the desktop app

Do we have to leave our pc 24/7 at 24 bit and 96khz samplerate or just use it when ever we want the best sound quality?

I feel the difference is noticeable with a more clear,open sound
Is it Windows you're using? Also are you using ASIO?

With usual Windows settings it'll accept different samples rates but output whatever it's been set to. I think this is where you were going with this.

ASIO skips processing and lowers latency and plays bit perfect. You wouldn't need to change any settings. You could download ASIO4ALL which is free.

Either way it's great to hear that MQA is finally launching and every reason to get Tidal even as a trial.
Surely if you are proposing the use of third-party software to decode a stream you are missing the point regarding MQA audio, or am I miss-reading this?
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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Al ears said:
Surely if you are proposing the use of third-party software to decode a stream you are missing the point  regarding MQA audio, or am I miss-reading this?
ASIO is a driver protocol not a decoder. In this case would simplify switching of setting in Windows and allow bit perfect playback every time. Think of it as bypassing tone controls on an amp.

By the way Gasolin, thank you. Just got myself 3 months free trial to Tidal HiFi :D
 

drummerman

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Jan 18, 2008
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Don't quote me but wasn't MQA developed to give high resolution in smaller packages?

If so, you won't get better high resolution just a version that uses less space.

This would make most sense for storage on mobile devices not for streaming or for storage on large stationary HD'S.

Maybe I got this wrong.
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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drummerman said:
Don't quote me but wasn't MQA developed to give high resolution in smaller packages?

If so, you won't get better high resolution just a version that uses less space.

This would make most sense for storage on mobile devices not for streaming or for storage on large stationary HE'S.

Maybe I got this wrong.
My understanding was that MQA was developed as a standard to in a way distribute original masters. Not remasters or some other 24-bit versions of album which there can be many.

I read it as it's meant to be a go to format if you want the original authentic recording.
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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davidf said:
insider9 said:
By the way Gasolin, thank you. Just got myself 3 months free trial to Tidal HiFi :D
Where's the three month offer?
Sennheiser offers 3 months free trial via CapTune app. The app is free to download. You're going to have to register to Tidal via that app. It only works for new accounts I believe. Not sure, as never used Tidal before.
 

MajorFubar

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insider9 said:
My understanding was that MQA was developed as a standard to in a way distribute original masters. Not remasters or some other 24-bit versions of album which there can be many.

I read it as it's meant to be a go to format if you want the original authentic recording.
Ah so they've come up with yet another format in the hope we'll all go out and buy the same albums again. I'll add it to the list of previous initiatives, such as half speed masters, 45RPM LPs, re-mastered LPs, chrome cassettes, real time duped cassettes, remastered CDs (various generations thereof), SACDs, Bluray audio discs, hi-res downloads, and probably some others I've missed.
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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Must admit Tidal done a very good job with Windows application. In case you missed it. There's two options that help with what you were wondering about Exclusive Mode (Tidal has exclusive use of audio device) and Passthrough MQA (disables software decoding on MQA), you might want to tick these.
 

gasolin

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Mar 17, 2013
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I use asio, i do hear a difference between hifi and master

A more clear open sound, i try to play it in 24/96 since it's recorded in that format which is the advantage over hifi, you could say hifi is cd quality and master is dvd

Or hifi is dvd and master is bluray quality,that how big i guess it is

If it where bigger if i have a dac/soundcard like the one mentioned from meridian i don't know

isn't it mqa just a different way of make hi res music smaller so it's easier to stream, it's like flac it's still losless even when it's smallee than wave losless
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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MajorFubar said:
insider9 said:
My understanding was that MQA was developed as a standard to in a way distribute original masters. Not remasters or some other 24-bit versions of album which there can be many.

I read it as it's meant to be a go to format if you want the original authentic recording.
Ah so they've come up with yet another format in the hope we'll all go out and buy the same albums again. I'll add it to the list of previous initiatives, such as half speed masters, 45RPM LPs, re-mastered LPs, chrome cassettes, real time duped cassettes, remastered CDs (various generations thereof), SACDs, Bluray audio discs, hi-res downloads, and probably some others I've missed.
Quite right! Though in theory I see it as a reference kind of product as it is supposed to be authenticated. Hence there will be only one possible copy of a given album and not dozens.
 

Leeps

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Dec 10, 2012
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Sorry, having tech trouble, keeps logging me out when I look at page one of this thread!! Anyway, I wanted to quote DavidF's comment:

The good news is, for some, that you don't even need a PC...

Those with Bluesound products can already enjoy this MQA service as everything was already in place to do so, as long as you know which albums are MQA. I'm sure Bluesound's software will be updated at some point to show which are MQA.

This leads me to another question. My understand is that MQA is a way of packaging and unpackaging a file within the FLAC format. So I appreciate that at some point it needs to be decoded (either by a PC using Tidal's desktop app or at some point as DavidF indicates, a Bluesound running the MQA decoding software).

So my point is, most people will want to maximise master quality files by running it into a decent system, and in particular a decent DAC. You're not going to listen to Studio Master files through your laptop speakers are you, and no offence to Bluesound, but I'm not sure how capable their own internal DACs are - they are after all just in the upmarket Sonos bracket rather than medium to high-end audio components.

So, if the MQA file has been decoded by your PC or Bluesound, what happens if you then output that file into a conventional, albeit high-end DAC? Will it be able to process it? Or does the DAC ALSO need to be MQA-ready? Because if that's the case, as much as I welcome and applaud Tidal's news, it may then mean it'll take a bit longer before we'll be able to take any kind of advantage of the format using our current amps and equipment.
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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My desktop is connected to Yamaha via optical. Among Tidal options I ticked Passthrough MQA, which disables software decoding on MQA. Sending digital signal to dac without software decoding would suggest that MQA as a format is compatible. Perhaps, FLAC compatible.
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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Leeps said:
This leads me to another question. My understand is that MQA is a way of packaging and unpackaging a file within the FLAC format. So I appreciate that at some point it needs to be decoded (either by a PC using Tidal's desktop app or at some point as DavidF indicates, a Bluesound running the MQA decoding software).

So my point is, most people will want to maximise master quality files by running it into a decent system, and in particular a decent DAC. You're not going to listen to Studio Master files through your laptop speakers are you, and no offence to Bluesound, but I'm not sure how capable their own internal DACs are - they are after all just in the upmarket Sonos bracket rather than medium to high-end audio components.
I'll be able to tell you more when there products arrive here next week, but having heard them, they're a good step above Sonos due the DAC they use, and with the added bonus of being able to play hi-res...

But no, you're not likely to be getting into MQA for use on a laptop - although one of my previous Toshiba laptops had a Harman Kardon sound system, which I was stunned at how good it was for a laptop - my current cheaper one sounds naff.

I'm guessing, at some point, many MQA equipped streaming products may have the option of internal conversion to PCM to send to an external DAC, as MQA can be carried in FLAC. I'm presuming any hi-res DAC will be fine if the conversion takes place in the streamer, otherwise the DAC will need to be MQA compatible. I'm talking from an MQA n00b point of view though...
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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davidf said:
Leeps said:
This leads me to another question.  My understand is that MQA is a way of packaging and unpackaging a file within the FLAC format.  So I appreciate that at some point it needs to be decoded (either by a PC using Tidal's desktop app or at some point as DavidF indicates, a Bluesound running the MQA decoding software).

So my point is, most people will want to maximise master quality files by running it into a decent system, and in particular a decent DAC.  You're not going to listen to Studio Master files through your laptop speakers are you, and no offence to Bluesound, but I'm not sure how capable their own internal DACs are - they are after all just in the upmarket Sonos bracket rather than medium to high-end audio components.
I'll be able to tell you more when there products arrive here next week, but having heard them, they're a good step above Sonos due the DAC they use, and with the added bonus of being able to play hi-res...

But no, you're not likely to be getting into MQA for use on a laptop - although one of my previous Toshiba laptops had a Harman Kardon sound system, which I was stunned at how good it was for a laptop - my current cheaper one sounds naff. 

I'm guessing, at some point, many MQA equipped streaming products may have the option of internal conversion to PCM to send to an external DAC, as MQA can be carried in FLAC. I'm presuming any hi-res DAC will be fine if the conversion takes place in the streamer, otherwise the DAC will need to be MQA compatible. I'm talking from an MQA n00b point of view though...
According to Whathifi article:

"Rather than being a new file type to sit alongside FLAC, WAV et al, MQA files will instead be packaged inside any lossless container such as FLAC, WAV or Apple Lossless"

Hence any DAC will be able to handle them. Streamer compatibility with Tidal is a different matter.
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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insider9 said:
According to Whathifi article:

"Rather than being a new file type to sit alongside FLAC, WAV et al, MQA files will instead be packaged inside any lossless container such as FLAC, WAV or Apple Lossless"

Hence any DAC will be able to handle them. Streamer compatibility with Tidal is a different matter.
I did read it worked a bit like HDCD though, which didn't need a hi-res DAC, but needed a sufficiently equipped DAC to enjoy.
 

paulkebab

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Dec 26, 2014
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into MQA as I don't think I would be able to appreciate it. However as others on here have interpreted and or misinterpreted different aspects, I may have done the same thing myself in thinking that an MQA file would interpret any given MQA DAC and adjust its response accordingly, ie the file or container would look at the DAC, determine if it was an Arcam, Audiolab etc and tweak the DAC's filters. This was in the reasoning of an MQA file giving the best audio characteristics regardless of DAC manufacturer. This seems a bit contrary to the fact that DAC manufacturers could also tweak their DACs' response to an MQA file. Or am I totally muddled too :(
 

andyjm

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Jul 20, 2012
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insider9 said:
According to Whathifi article:

"Rather than being a new file type to sit alongside FLAC, WAV et al, MQA files will instead be packaged inside any lossless container such as FLAC, WAV or Apple Lossless"

Hence any DAC will be able to handle them. Streamer compatibility with Tidal is a different matter.
There is a lot of guff about MQA on the web and not a lot of technical details. It would seem that MQA embeds its clever 'high resolution stuff' in the 3 least significant bits of the PCM datastream and masks them with clever noise shaping. I am too old to be able to figure out the maths behind this, but it does seem that this will compromise the standard PCM datastream unless you have a fancy MQA decoder - so while a standard DAC will be able to play a MQA encoded file, it won't be at the same level of fidelity as the equivalent FLAC or WAV file without MQA. It would also appear that MQA is lossy, so while there is a lot of talk about 24/96 in a 44.1/16 pot, I am not sure that is completely true.

Then there is Tidal itself, lots of guff (again) on their website, lots of talk about 'studio master quality' but it isn't clear where the original files are coming from - which is rather the key point. Have studios made 24/96 files available? If so, why not just use FLAC?

If MQA is an attempt to reduce streaming bitrates to deliver HiRes audio, I think they are rather missing the point.

Lets see...
 

Al ears

Moderator
drummerman said:
Don't quote me but wasn't MQA developed to give high resolution in smaller packages?

If so, you won't get better high resolution just a version that uses less space.

This would make most sense for storage on mobile devices not for streaming or for storage on large stationary HD'S.

Maybe I got this wrong.
I was of the opposite thinking. About the only thing it is good for is streaming.
 

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