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In Reply to: RE: Hard hitting MQA Coverage from Soundstage posted by Isaak J. Garvey on April 03, 2017 at 08:46:39
"getting a public apples-with-apples A/B comparison of MQA seems more difficult than getting a straight answer out of President Trump's press secretary, Sean Spicer." There are bars so high that not even the MQA people can leap them.
Regarding "I'm sure that if I did a pseudo-blind test ... my results would probably be ... the equivalent of guessing." Hmmm ... I think Doug should either do that test or omit that sentence :-)
A good article. Thanks for posting the link.
> > Hmmm ... I think Doug should either do that test or omit that sentence :-)
Apparently you missed the part where John Atkinson is the only outside person who has been supplied MQA versions of reference material submitted with good provenance. Doug's request to have them do this for him was ignored by MQA as were similar requests by others.
That's a very necessary step -- one needs to know that the MQA version came from the same source as non-MQA files. Any comparison is meaningless without this step so what you ask of Doug is currently impossible.
> Apparently you missed the part where John Atkinson is the only outside
> person who has been supplied MQA versions of reference material submitted
> with good provenance.
This isn't correct. Yes, I was supplied with such material, but so were other
members of Stereophile's staff: Jim Austin, Michael Lavorgna, Jon Iverson,
Kal Rubinson, and Herb Reichert. To my personal knowledge, people at
AudioQuest, Michal Jurewicz, at Mytek, engineers George Massenburg and
Bob Ludwig, and Peter McGrath at Wilson were also given such files. I
assume that members of the staff at The Absolute Sound were also given
such material, but I don't know that for a fact.
See David Chesky's opinion of MQA at the link below.
> Doug's request to have them do this for him was ignored by MQA as were
> similar requests by others.
Doug has told me in person that he was not sent any material despite his
requests. Who were the others?
... is that all these subjectivist audiophiles, including folks who don't hesitate to publish (eg) cable and power cord reviews claiming big changes with no technical evidence--not even a convincing theoretical rationale--suddenly crave objective evidence and rigorous testing. Was that power cord review double-blind? Please explain your level-matching scheme for that preamp review. Were levels matched within 0.1dB? 0.5? Can you prove it? I've got a strong technical bent but I'm a subjectivist reviewer. This is the world we live in.
For what it's worth, I've studied MQA quite intensively and read many of the theoretical critiques. I've engaged in long discussions with digital designers and come to understand their criticisms. I'm not going to waste all that work by posting detailed conclusions here--but I will say that it all convinced me, tentatively, that MQA is valid tech, an interesting thing to try.
I DO suspect that much of the improvement I've heard in, eg, MQA streams on Tidal has to do with the fact that the MQA files are derived directly from "master" files; who knows where those CD-resolution files came from? "Mastered for iTunes" maybe? Compare a 24/96 stream instead (if it existed) and probably the differences would be more subtle. So on the one hand that validates Doug's comments about the problem with direct comparison--but on the other it's an example of MQA delivering on its most basic promise.
Congratulations. Your first hedge against MQA. Clap clap clap....
So after discussing with digital designers and reading all the valid critical analysis, which Stereophile has not published one iota of (not your fault), you are still convinced MQA is a valid tech good for consumers. Is that just doubling down?
As far as the subject of power cords. Pretty remarkably you brought that up, since your magazines and it's print competitor have published tons of power cord reviews, and one of your senior writers, Michael Fremer, has written pages and pages of the "big" changes he has heard cycling through power cords, and conditioners, for that matter.
Pretty rich for you to drop this at the door step of "all these subjectivist" audiopiophiles.
As far as some "claiming big changes with no technical evidence--not even a convincing theoretical rationale-"...utterly disingenuous.
It has been a LONG proven theory that power cords, when designed in certain ways, refejt EMI/RFI, and provide current more efficiently. This
established beyond doubt.
Here is what Mr. Fremer said about Shunyata test method:
"The graphs at www.shunyata.com/Content/DTCDmeas.html
provide a visual explanation. They show measured
current-delivery differences between AC cords with
molded plugs that have a thin blade contact and those
with higher-quality, screwed-on or soldered plugs that
provide better contact. You can see measured differences
between wires of different thicknesses, and between cords
configured with various geometries. The DTCD tosses
out the window claims that differences among power
cords can't be measured."
So, EH, try again. This was an attempt at false equivalency that took
> > Congratulations. Your first hedge against MQA. Clap clap clap.... < <
What cynical bullshit. This has been my position for months at least, possibly a year. People are arguing that the tech is invalid; my research says it's valid enough to deserve an audition. MQA has put out far more info than most proprietary technologies; I make my judgment based on that (which many critics obviously haven't read). It's not enough to absolutely validate the technology, but to me it seems interesting--legit. Ultimately it comes down to how it sounds: The tech is interesting enough to earn an audition. So far I like what I hear, very much. That's my position, unchanged.
As for the rest: EMI/RFI is the best explanation I've seen for what power cords do, but its effects on audio--via power cords--is unproven. And that's fine; as I've said, this is a subjectivist business. MF OUGHT to be describing what he hears. That's his job. Mine, too. The problems come 1. when subjectivists become objectivists when it suits their needs, and 2. when people who don't understand the technology proclaim that it's bullshit.
I'm about to board a plane for a long flight, and anyway have no interest in continuing this discussion. Don't expect any more from me.
To bolster your argument you made two incorrect statements...there is no accepted theory as to why power products can affect the sound, and there is no testing.
"This has been my position for months at least, possibly a year."
You certainly have been silent about any doubts.
"The problems come 1. when subjectivists become objectivists when it suits their needs, and 2. when people who don't understand the technology proclaim that it's bullshit."
Sorry, but THAT is cynical nonsense. Sujective or Objective, everyone should question a technology that takes digital files and adds generations and removes them further from their origin, not to mention claims to solve problems that absolutely do not exist, all from a company with a history of catastrophic business decisions. Yeh, not swallowing wholesale the flights of fancy of audio magazines is good for one's wallet. Every one is still waiting for those tens of thousands of DSD downloads, right?
...when I wrote "people who don't understand the technology" I was NOT referring to Doug Schneider, who, although we disagree, has earned my respect.
... the information I posted was from the article referenced in the original post.
Obviously, in looking at the ensuing discussion in this thread, there are two divergent pictures as to who has and hasn't been provided, for comparison purposes, original source and MQA files on well-documented basis.
In any case, it certainly seems that Meridian has passed up a number of opportunities to make well-provenanced material available for comparison.
So, here we go again...
Mark Waldrep was another, who I mentioned in the article.
That said, "To my personal knowledge" and stuff like that doesn't guarantee they were.
I talked to many manufacturers about this and could no find one that could get proper A/B demo material to assess whether or not MQA is doing what they claim. Rich Maez, of Boulder Amps, said this publicly on Facebook the other week. He also added that they could tell that when there were A/B demos done (not for them, but elsewhere), they weren't likely using the same masters. When I talked to various DAC designers -- about a dozen now -- about MQA's apparent unwillingness to supply such material, that's where they became suspicious too. Just go talk to John Siau at Benchmark -- he's not afraid to talk about it. In fact, he's written about it. Bryston's James Tanner is not a designer, but he's followed this closely -- ask him if he can get proper comparison material.
I've talked to your own Jim Austin about this, mostly online, but also in person, and I've always gotten the impression that he was never supplied such material. I could be wrong -- but please go check since you added his name. But he's never mention to me that he's had A/B files sourced from the same masters.
As for the rest, I haven't found a single writer, other than you, who had material that they could guarantee was from the same master. Now, again, I could be wrong and perhaps there is someone out there; but everything I've found was in comparison to CD, some high-res release, etc. -- but no one could tell me that the MQA file and whatever they were comparing it to were from the exact same sources. Look at that article from CES 2016 on your site -- Michael Fremer talked about the MQA sound of a track in comparison to some CD. What the heck is that? The only other exception is that 2L has made some recordings in multiple formats, so perhaps those were what was used. But, please, show me the TRUE comparisons with verified source material.
The exception is, of course, you, which is why I referenced your experiment in my article. It was the first time I'd seen that -- and it's what should've been done long, long ago.
I have done a lot of comparisons at the 2L site.
What I can say is that the MQA files sound as good as the 24/192 files which is quite an accomplishment. And you are comparing the same Masters on this site
It doesn't surprise me that much that they're getting it to sound indistinguishable. They have a pretty clever compression algorithm that packs a high-res file into a very small one. On the other hand, does it matter? I mean, why do we need to save the space? For streaming over a phone, yes, perhaps -- for now. But for the home -- not me.
More important is what I was reading from numerous writers -- that, sonically, this is far beyond anything we've heard before. Is it? Compressing a file to much smaller and having it be sonically indistinguishable from its larger-sized counterpart doesn't seem like anything that I should be running out to buy.
If MQA sounds "as good" as the 24/192 files, then remind me again why need it? Why is sounding as good "an accomplishment"?
They press hype machine has stated unequivocally it sounds BETTER.
What exactly does MQA bring to the table that an OPEN codec like FLAC does not?
Even if we buy into the ridiculous claim that MQA fixes issues with the ADC AFTER the fact, 2L recordings are purist, with minimal if any post production, unlike the vast majority of commercially available music, which can use up to ten ADC's in the project.
To get 24/192 files you have to buy downloads which are not cheap. I can now get them from Tidal which I was already paying for and using a Meridian Explorer dac I got for $199. . That is an accomplishment
You can't have your cake an eat it too, sorry.
If you believe the MQA files on Tidal are the equal of the original approved 24/192 files, then so be it.
I can tell you first hand they are not.
We all like to think we are getting the keys to the kingdom for $20 a month.
Your opinion. Not mine
By the whey, I understand you work for UMG. Is this true? How come UMG is going to supply MQA files to Tidal?
Ka-Ching. To extract every last dollar from early adapters.
That way I can buy another Ferrari next year. :)
Maybe you're the one who should lose his job.
Pretty funny from someone who got shit canned from TAS and told they were
not good enough by John Atkinson!
Have a great day.
I actually left TAS on my own volition when Robert Harley informed me, that after 10 years of writing for TAS, I would now have to find my own equipment to review. I never contacted him again after that, nor did he contact me. I had already been feeling the rumbles of discontent by one of the big buck advertisers who run the show over there, so I should not have been surprised. Pretty easy to guess the identity of the big buck advertiser I am referring to. Starts with an M.
As for John Atkinson, he's entitled to his opinion. I disagree of course, but give him credit for being honest about how he feels.
I have family living on the west coast and will be headed that way this summer. Are you anywhere near Thousand Oaks?
Can't possibly guess who that advertiser was/is...hmmm
Well, I appreciate your openness.
Sure, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But I think, (in other words, in MY opinion) there is no way he thought your writing was sub par, it was strictly cronyism.
I live near Hollywood. This summer I will be logging the miles between the U.K. and New York. If someone does not blow up an airport that is.
Actually, I don't give him credit for that. Lots of credit for other things, but not that. There was no call for him posting his thoughts about that on a public forum.
I've grown a much thicker skin since that email exchange and it really doesn't bother me anymore. Besides, I'm the one who brought it up again years later and JA had the right to defend himself and let the inmates decide for themselves.
> That said, "To my personal knowledge" and stuff like that doesn't
> guarantee they were.
I am not saying anything other than the poster's statement that that I was
the only one who had been given authenticated files for comparison purposes
> I've talked to your own Jim Austin about this, mostly online, but also in
> person, and I've always gotten the impression that he was never supplied
> such material.
As well as the comparison material sourced from MQA, I gave Jim the original
recordings of mine along with the MQA versions.
> > As well as the comparison material sourced from MQA, I gave Jim the original
recordings of mine along with the MQA versions. < <
This is correct. It's true I didn't mention it to Doug.
I would certainly assume (at least hope) that they provided comparative demo material to more than only you.
However, if they are providing demo material, it's to way too few. Not a single manufacturer I talked to got that kind of material-- which made them all very suspicious. In fact, when I brought this up with Benchmark's John Siau, he replied, "That should tell you all you need to know."
No wonder Meridian fired their PR Agency. Why do they need one..they have you and your little MQA Brigade.
> No wonder Meridian fired their PR Agency. Why do they need one..they have
> you and your little MQA Brigade.
Thanks for your comment, Dick.
Another childish attempt to sabotage a thread.
But have at it, you true character is being exposed.r
> Another childish attempt to sabotage a thread.
No, I am just teasing you, Dick. I am find it immensely amusing that you
object to me making fun of you like this when in prior threads you have
written about me that:
"Stereophile, the ultimate MQA cheerleader has lost all credibility . . ."
"Luminaries with far more credibility and brain power than you . . . "
"You have no credibility. Pathetic sir. Pathetic."
"I will take the word of Mr. Koch over the likes of you anyday of the week."
"If you were not a Stereophile hack, you would be banned."
"When you have no defense against shilling, phoney journalism, you resort
to name calling."
"clever and cowardly"
And now "No wonder Meridian fired their PR Agency. Why do they need
one..they have you and your little MQA Brigade."
Laughing at you, not with you, Dick.
You have not published one single critical report of MQA. You crowned it as the second coming back in 2014 prior to any evidence what so ever being presented aside from a carefully packaged and canned demo.
I will be laughing at you when the whole thing goes up in flames and you are on the unemployment line.
But why would you expect them to?
As far as I can tell, Stereophile doesn't publish critical reports on anything. They don't position themselves as a consumer magazine or as an advocate for the consumer interest. This is outside their purview.
They do occasionally publish, without comment, links on their site to matters of consumer interest, as a service to their readers.
"...and you are on the unemployment line."
The problem with hyperbole is that it quickly devolves into statements that are unlikely to prove true.
"They don't position themselves as a consumer magazine or as an advocate for the consumer interest. This is outside their purview."
This is incorrect. They DO position themselves as a consumer advocate. Mr. Atkinson has posted here publicly on numerous occasions that their mission is to "server the reader". Their "reader" one has to assume is mostly consumers, with of course, industry participants.
As far as my hyperbole, if Stereophile is dead wrong about MQA, after putting so much stock in it, should their not be consequences?
What 'stock' are you talking about ? As far as I can tell, Stereophile did their job and reported on a new audio format. As they reported on HDCD, SACD and DVD-A.
For hyperbole, it was Robert Harley of The Absolute Sound, not Mr. Atkinson, who made the reader think this was the second coming. Read Harley's editorials (and reports) on MQA and see how different they are from John A's.
To everyone else: we got burned from hi-rez formats and this could be the source of suspicion over MQA. Were previous hi-rez formats better than CD ? With downloads, the same question, but with the added problem of mastering provenance.
Some audio writers are still lampooning SACD and hi-rez downloads. Anthony Cordesman of The Absolute Sound called these "expensive frauds" at the end of 2015, in one of his product reviews.
It's not just MQA, it's any format that claims better sound but doesn't deliver...
MQA is not a format. It is a fabrication.
Even an Old Testament god has more things to worry about than whether Stereophile got MQA wrong. Opposing MQA does not require vilifying JA.
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