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I've never heard MQA, but Ludwig's enthusiasm for it does make me want to check it out sometime.
It's part of the job.
I've heard him give a presentation at a convention (AES 2014). He's not a fan of certain compression techniques. He did a demonstration of one popular algorithm, where he played an example of the technique where it was used to excess, just so the audience would be keenly aware of the problems. Then, he played a few successively less compressed clips of the same piece. Once the audience had heard the problems with the first clip, some of us were able to still hear those artifacts with even the least compressed clip.
I talked briefly with him later, and found him to be very cordial and a nice guy.
he was an early adapter of EVERY format. DSD, Surround, DVD-A, you name it. He has become very wealthy backing every new one that pops up, wheter they have merit or not.
Hey, that's Life.
IG reminds us regularly that he drives a Ferrari... :)
Hopefully you aren't insinuating Ludwig gets kickbacks or has tin ears. AFAIK if he's very wealthy its due to artists/producers feeling the quality of his mastering is worth whatever he charges. I'd be interested to know what other excellent mastering engineers like Greg Calbi, Doug Sax, Bernie Grundman think about MQA.
I don't like the proprietary aspects of MQA, wouldn't even consider replacing software I already own with new MQA versions, and its highly unlikely I'd buy new hardware necessary for playback of MQA. I'm a semi-geezer and have over 2,000 LP's (after several culls) and somewhere around 600 cd's. I'm not even into downloading, and at this point only purchase new recordings I feel have something different/unique to say or old ones I enjoy that for whatever reason I didn't get when they were released. I'm skeptical about MQA and reading Charles Hansen's posts below makes me even more skeptical.
But none of the above would prevent me from listening to MQA with open ears/mind.
Ludwig embraces every new format so he can be a "go to" remastering engineer. Doesn't really matter what he thinks of the format, as long as he can convince the labels that he knows how best to take advantage of the new format to create a product that will sell. He has become very wealthy (and powerful within the industry) from staying ahead of, or at least at the crest of every new format trend.
Reminds me of a realtor I know who focuses on high end beach front properties. One of his prospects walked away from a house because the realtor wasn't a "LEED Certified" realtor and the house in question wasn't "Green" enough. Turns out a realtor can take a few classes and earn a LEED Certificate certifying that the realtor is knowledgeable about "Green" living environments and building concepts. The realtor thinks it is a crock of sh$t....but got the certification to set himself apart from his competition. He later generated additional business because he was "certified".
I guess Starving Artists is still the Model.
You think his comments about MQA don't represent his true opinion? You think he's getting paid to comment positively on MQA?
Ludwig is waaaay past having to "convince" potential clients to hire him.
"Ludwig embraces every new format so he can be a "go to" remastering engineer."
Obviously its part of a mastering engineer's job to keep abreast of new formats/techniques so they can satisfy the wishes/requests/requirements of their clients in whatever format *their clients* choose. Ludwig is a "go to" mastering engineer simply because his clients like the results of his mastering, not because he's a shill for new formats/techniques.
If we want to listen to recorded Music, we need people like him.
Knowledgeable, Experienced, and Good at what they do!
The Mind has No Firewall~ U.S. Army War College.
Audiophiles can be such jerks.
I'm sure he's much more than competent.
If God was doing it , someone would complain.
Utterly spot on.
The only thing he has an opinion on is if a new "format" can make him even wealthier.
Doug Sax passed away in 2015.
Well he certainly likes it a lot. Seems to feel that the debluring process which eliminates pre ringing is the major highlite of the system. Here is another famous engineer saying the same thing
Maybe I can shed some light. It is important to look behind the curtain.
Mastering engineers are 100% post production. It is relatively quick and dirty work. I have sat in on at least a thousand mastering sessions. It is absolutely in the best interest of a high volume mastering house to promote ALL new formats.
Check this interview with Ludwig circa 2001. He touts SACD, surround, and DVD-A, and it is noted he was at that time one of the ONLY mastering houses that could output all formats. Good business? Absolutely. As a matter of fact, he sold his vinyl mastering set up because vinyl had "died out" at that point.
When the Stones Abko SACDs were mastered at this place, it was a very lucrative score.
Ludwig makes between 10-15K per album from established artists. He can do up to 5 albums a week, even more.
Massunberg is in the same boat. It is absolutely 100% in his best interest to promote this new so called format.
These videos were produced and wholly paid for by Meridian. Why would professionals who make more than $500 per hour volunteer their time to help a for profit corporation if there was nothing in it for them?
Lastly, MQA is NOT a recording process. It has NOTHING to do with the recording studio in any way. As a matter of fact, the press has presented bogus information that MQA was be applied at mastering when this is absolutely false. In fact, MQA has promising "mastering tools" for a over a year that have yet to appear.
The views above represent mine alone, and not that of pets, friends, colleagues, or relatives I may know.
the cost. What would adoption of MQA mean to both artists/producers and the consumer, increased cost? How much?
As I mentioned earlier, I'm not unhappy with sound I'm hearing from my system playing cd's, and have no intention of replacing my cd's with new MQA'd files. But as a musician who records/releases my own music, if I heard a big improvement with MQA I'd consider employing it in the studio -- depending on cost and marketplace viability. That market viability will not happen quickly, if at all IMO. We'll see.
Rick, couple of questions.
You are not unhappy with the sound of CDs in your system...a view shared by many, btw...do you have a high(er) resolution library as well?
Secondly, explain how you would employ MQA in the studio. Not a gotcha question, I am curious. I ask because it is not a recording format like DSD or PCM, or even tape.
At this point I don't know how MQA works. Is it employed during the recording stage, mixing or mastering stage? Has zilch to do with any of that and is just employed in playback?
Thought something had to be encoded on digital files before/during mastering, but judging from your post I may well be wrong.
No, as mentioned earlier I'm not into downloading and have no hi-rez recordings. I have some r&b cd's, a few rock/pop cd's by artists like Sting and Steely Dan, some "classical" and a bunch of Latin/Brazilian cd's. But my digital collection is primarily jazz. I've never been into most white rock/pop, including the well known artists/groups so many inmates enjoy. Hence, I normally don't encounter problems related to things like the "loudness wars", at least not manifestations that make recordings sound compressed to shit.
Almost all of what I have sounds good enough to me on rbcd. I'm certainly open to checking out hi-rez and technology like MQA, but to be honest *as a listener* its not very important to me at this point. If I hear MQA, feel its a huge improvement and it becomes a professional standard I couldn't ignore it if I continue to record my own music.
No sweat. I hear where you are coming from. And MQA/Meridian has been moving the goal posts so often, it is totally understandable why you would be confused.
As far as hirez vs rbcd...let's focus on jazz. The Bernie Grundman 24/192
remasters of almost the whole catalog is really really good. I did extensive comparisons with the CDs and the corresponding hirez files they were made from, and the files were superior across the board.
I am talking about a slew of titles from Wayne Shorter, Lou Donaldson, John Coltrane, etc.
Also, the Mobile Fidelity and Analogue Productions SACD are just incredible. To me they sound like utterly pristine vinyl without any surface noise.
Just my observations.
That being said, about 60% of my music collection is CD.
My jazz vinyl collection is fairly extensive. Been buying records since the early 60's. I believe you that Grundman's 24/192 masters sound great, but I ain't gonna replace my records with 'em. I'd be interested to compare rbcd's of *new* jazz releases with hi-rez versions sometime though.
Jeez, I can't even keep up with practicing 8 axes, let alone technical issues related to digital :-)
Nobody in their right mind would tell to sell what I would think is a priceless collection for hirez. That would be crazy!
I will say that if you invested in digital file playback and got to hear some of the 24 bit files, you would be pleased. I guess all I am saying it they better the Cds, but it would require a bit of an investment to find out.
In the end, your original vinyl is gold.
> > At this point I don't know how MQA works. Is it employed during the recording stage, mixing or mastering stage? Has zilch to do with any of that and is just employed in playback? < <
The short answer is that it applied at the mastering stage. The long answer is that MQA seems to have morphed over time, and as such is something of a moving target in attempting to understanding how it works. I believe that the original intent of MQA was to reduce the file size to allow easier streaming. Some time after MQA was announced, the goals were expanded to also improve the sound quality of existing files by performing digital filtering to "correct" for "errors" created by the A/D converter. Now it appears that they have expanded the goal even more by employing digital filtering to "correct" for the "errors" in the D/A converter also. Looking at those goals separately:
1) Regarding file size reduction, this success of MQA would seem to be dependent on the sample rate and bit depth of the original source file. The clearest case is when starting with a double-rate, 24-bit file (eg, 88/24 or 96/24) that the file size is reduced by ~30% because the bit depth is reduced to ~17 bits (one form of lossy compression). Quad-rate, 24-bit files have greater compression ratios because the audio data in the very top octave is compressed using lossy methods similar to MP3, which can achieve compression ratios of 10:1. In that case a quad-rate MQA-processed file will not be much larger than a double-rate MQA-processed file. While the resolution is still reduced to ~17 bits, this situation allows for the greatest file size reduction. It is unclear if there is any file size reduction for single-rate files. It appears that Redbook (44/16) files would actually increase in file size, while 44/24 and 48/24 files may again reduce the file size slightly due to the reduction in bit depth to ~17 bits.
2) Regarding improving the sound by way of using digital filters, this has been an area of interest for many decades. Both Wadia and Theta began producing D/A converters with custom digital filters in the late 1980s. Wadia specifically focused on improving the time-domain performance, just as MQA is currently claiming to do. Historically, the use of these types of digital filters that improve time-domain performance have been restricted to D/A converter manufacturers that possessed the resources to design and manufacture custom digital filters. When looked at from this standpoint, MQA is simply a third-party company offering to license the custom digital filter they have developed to any D/A manufacturer who wishes to use it.
One interesting note is Auralic. They originally had planned to support MQA but it turned out that the MQA requirements conflicted with features that Auralic were developing. Auralic has therefore implemented their own version of decoding MQA-encoded files. See link below for more information.
As always, strictly my own opinions and not necessarily those of my employer or stuffed animals.
Charles, if I may. In the beginning MQA was floated as part of the mastering process.
I can tell you with certainty that 99% of all available MQA files were processed POST mastering.
There are current no mastering tools available as of first quarter 2017.
> > I can tell you with certainty that 99% of all available MQA files were processed POST mastering. < <
Apologies, I was not being precise with my terminology. After the final mixdown of multi-track to stereo, there is post-processing to prepare the final release for the best sonic results for any given format. I was lumping in the MQA encoding into whatever other post-processing the mastering engineer performed (typically EQ, compression, limiting, and perhaps volume leveling from track-to-track).
The main point for the OP was that if he wanted to encode his existing files in MQA that it would presumably be a straight-forward process and that he wouldn't (for example) need to go back and re-record anything. However currently the only way to perform MQA encoding is to submit one's files to MQA - which is possibly your point in saying that there are no (publicly-available?) MQA mastering tools. Or perhaps I'm still confused... :-)
You might also find amusing some brief back and forth on the SOS forum,
between the author Hugh Robjons and readers. Compare his approach with the evangelical tone stuck here by Sphile staff. Quite a stark comparison. Kind of reminds of the difference between the research and sell side on Wall St.
"I read a whinging article from someone who works for Linn Records about it the other day, basically complaining that it was a money-making machine, extracting royalties and licensing fees from almost every step of the chain, from music producer, through distributor and on to end consumer.
That's certainly true -- but that's what businesses try to do! The music industry is on its uppers and this is a scheme which is trying to find a new source of revenue."
Why work with lossy, proprietary formats at all?
"Ideally it would not be a proprietary format, but they have invested money developing the technology and they wouldn't have done so without expecting a return."
"Why work with lossy, proprietary formats at all?"
"It is certainly proprietary, and that obviously brings 'issues' of the viability of widespread support. But I think calling it 'lossy' is misleading. All of the actual audio information is stored loss-lessly. The only lossy aspect is employed in reducing the sample rate for rates over 96kHz.
I detect some scepticism for the format... and I can understand that! I'm less than convinced that it will become a mainstream format, despite the interesting technical aspects that underpin it."
"This format has not been shown to sound better in any meaningful or statistically significant way."
"Can't argue with that..."
Hugh Robjohn wrote: "It is certainly proprietary, and that obviously brings 'issues' of the viability of widespread support. But I think calling it 'lossy' is misleading. All of the actual audio information is stored loss-lessly. The only lossy aspect is employed in reducing the sample rate for rates over 96kHz."
This is not accurate. While it is true that lossy compression techniques (similar to MP3) are used for sample rates over 96kHz, a different form of lossy compression is used by MQA for all of the audio, regardless of sample rate. Specifically the bit depth is reduced via dithering from 24 bits to ~17 bits.
That is a fact. The only place that opinion comes in is the degree of audibility of this reduction in resolution. I have noticed a distinct loss of resolution in the MQA version of The Doors song "Riders on the Storm", especially on the whispered vocal overdub (which is likely due to this reduction of bit depth), and that is of concern to me.
As always, my opinion only and not necessarily that of my employer or personal masseuse.
You know what is really funny?
I specifically did not mention that in my post because I knew you would be all over it if you clicked the link. And of course, you did not disappoint:)
To be fair to Robjohn, this article was prepared for publication a year ago, before many had looked behind the MQA curtain.
> > To be fair to Robjohn, this article was prepared for publication a year ago, before many had looked behind the MQA curtain. < <
Thanks for that extra information. Now it makes perfect sense. It is relatively easy for a "credentialed authority" in a given field to pull the wool over the eyes of a non-expert. I think it only fair to give a free pass to those who have been misled. Even today it is hard for most to get accurate technical information regarding MQA - it requires a lot of digging. Like any technology MQA offers advantages and disadvantages that may or may not be suitable for specific situations. But I think it is safe to say that it is not probably not true that (as one "reviewer" claimed) "MQA's dramatic superiority made the original high-resolution file sound like a pale imitation of the performance".
However it doesn't require a rocket surgeon to follow the basic maxim of "follow the money", as folks like Linn and Schiit seem to have done. Similarly anyone who thought that either Sony (with SACD) or Toshiba (with DVD-Audio) only had the best interests of audiophiles in mind were not looking very hard. The bottom line is both were simply blatant attempts to try to take over the revenue stream the CD format had generated once those patents expired. Even at only $0.07 per disc the total was ~$1 billion per year - nothing to sniff at, even for the corporate giants.
As always, solely my personal opinions and not necessarily those of my employer or evil twin.
His jaw dropped, too. Not to mention that "the difference between [the 96kHz/24-bit The Koln Concert and the MQA file] was so stark, and so different from that of any listening comparisons I've heard previously, that it requires a new vocabulary to describe."
I find that hard to fathom. Charles and Isaak seem to be getting by with existing vocabulary.
I'm a little disappointed with the "reviewer".
Perhaps you are referring to this buffoon?
How anybody can take this nonsense seriously is beyond me, but it is good for a laugh.
Interesting how he concludes with:
"I believe that MQA will usher in a new era in sound quality..."
Stunningly similar to Mr. Atkinson who said
"In almost 40 years of attending audio press events, only rarely have I come away feeling that I was present at the birth of a new world."
And by the way, when Mr. Atkinson bends down to find the socks that were blown off in the demo, as reports, he can help pick up Mr. Harley's jaw.
Let's not forget JVS,
"I literally laughed at the difference when the MQA version began. Not only did it feel as though a veil had been lifted, with far more color to the sound, but instruments also possessed more body."
Veils are lifted, jaws are dropped, socks are blown off, etc. The usual suspects strike again!
Are readers so stupid that they keep falling for this regurgitated bullshit, review after review, year after year?
I'm just so tired of reading this garbage that it's beginning to drive me to violence. How about strangling one of them with his veil, breaking his dropping jaw, then shoving his socks up his ass?
I was in a good mood this morning until this topic came up ;-)
woah. As much as I think the self indulgent drivel spewed out by the self appointed golden ears is comical, no violence neccesary. Readers simply quetioning their credibility is sufficient!
Perhaps a gentle appeal to JA to make liberal use of the editing pen, so no more jaws dropped or socks blown off, terms more reminiscent of the comics than a magazine intended to be taken seriously.
Somewhat tangentially, I wonder if JA realizes that "[knocked my|blew my]socks off" sounds silly? Stereophile writers use that phrase a _lot_. Maybe he'd see it if he substituted "[knocked my|blew my]pants off".
Well so many have written on the topic of lossy/lossless concerning MQA:
"Some critics have complained that the limited word length used to encode data above the baseband Nyquist frequency of 22.05kHz or 24kHz is equivalent to lossy compression of those data. But as I explained in my 2014 website article, if you look at the spectra of music recordings, they all follow a self-similar characteristic with respect to increasing frequency, the content decreasing in amplitude up to 60kHz or so, when it blends into the analog noise floor. So if you remove the baseband data, the remaining ultrasonic content can be encoded with fewer bits. Only if you then decode the limited-word-length data at the full-scale baseband level could you consider the encoding lossy. But if the peak amplitude of the limited-word-length ultrasonic data is reduced to that in the original recording, you do preserve those data's full resolution above the original analog noise floor.
Case proved for the music origami aspect of MQA.."
Live link below
another article here:
> > "But if the peak amplitude of the limited-word-length ultrasonic data is reduced to that in the original recording, you do preserve those data's full resolution above the original analog noise floor." < <
It seems to me that this statement implies that it is impossible for the human ear/brain to extract information below the "analog noise floor" (however *that* is defined). I disagree with this premise. That seems tantamount to saying that the human ear/brain cannot hear below the ambient noise level in the room, or that the dynamic range of LP is only ~60 dB - significantly worse than digital.
The overwhelming experiential evidence of millions of people is that the resolution of a good LP playback system is *extremely* difficult to match, even with 24-bit digital systems. And literally billions of people have experienced the "cocktail party effect" where a listener can discern a quiet conversation even in a crowded, noisy environment - effectively hearing well *below* the "noise floor" in both cases.
MQA's graphs are only given in "noise per root Hz" or other apparently arbitrary and non-standard methods of measurement. This has the result of obscuring the loss of resolution that results from the MQA encode/decode process. The main debate seems to be centered around the degree to which this is audible. Is there a perfect 1:1 correlation between the measured "noise floor" in "noise per root Hz" and human ear/brain audibility thresholds? Not as far as I am aware. (If there were, perhaps MP3 would be indistinguishable from Redbook CD quality digital audio.)
Furthermore I personally have heard a noticeable loss of resolution with MQA-processed files. Perhaps the most notable example of this is the "whisper" overdub on Jim Morrison's lead vocal in The Doors track "Riders on the Storm". In my system the whisper is clearly audible in the original high-res 96/24 file, yet difficult to make out in the MQA version (tested with both the Meridian Explorer2 and Mytek Brooklyn D/A converters, both of which provide full hardware decoding of MQA files).
For me personally MQA holds little appeal. I believe that others have created digital filters with audible performance equal to or better than the MQA digital filter. For the truly hard-core, try using a filterless ("NOS") D/A converter or stick with DSD, both of which can take the concepts promoted by MQA to the next level.
Yet I also recognize that others audiophiles will have other priorities. Perhaps they primarily listen to streaming and don't have the bandwidth required to stream true high-res (such as offered by Qobuz Sublime+). Or perhaps they prefer the MQA digital filter to the one built into their current D/A converter and are willing to buy a new D/A converter to gain access to the MQA digital filter. There is no "right" or "wrong" here.
As a designer of hardware, I believe that Mike Moffat of Schiit has the wisest perspective - content is king. The reason to design, manufacture, or purchase hardware should be based on it supporting the formats which have the content you enjoy. For example, if one is a big fan of obscure music prior to the era of the LP, it would probably be wise to own a turntable capable of replaying 78s, as only the most popular music of that era has been transferred to either LP or digital formats.
Conversely if there ever is a large demand for MQA-equipped products, a hardware manufacturer would not be wise to ignore this. Obviously those companies that have developed custom digital filter solutions and simple methods of firmware upgrades will have an advantage here, as AudioQuest has demonstrated with their latest DragonFly Black and Red USB DACs. Without knowing more details of their internal architecture, I would assume that manufacturers such as dCS, Playback Design, PS Audio, and many others would have the same advantage that Ayre has - there appears to be little impediment to easily adding MQA decoding as part of a simple firmware update.
As always, only my own personal opinions and not necessarily those of my employer or fellow employees.
No, I think you got my point.
You might find these paragraphs interesting from the sole article written about MQA in Sound On Sound magazine, read widely by production professionals. I has been linked here a few times already.
"The obvious final question, though, must be: does it really sound better than conventional hi-res digital recordings? I'd like to be able to give a confident and definitive Yes in response... but I'm not sure I can just yet. That's not because I wasn't impressed with what I heard, but because I wasn't sufficiently familiar either with the Meridian replay systems used to audition a variety of MQA recordings, or the source material itself, to form a totally confident opinion."
"Comparing MQA and conventional hi-res files wasn't a blatant 'night and day' kind of difference."
Finally, and more to the point of our exchange:
"For the professional market, MQA decoding and encoding could be achieved very conveniently and practically with a bespoke DAW plug-in, and MQA are already working on releasing a professional decoder plug-in later this year. However, the substantial temporal benefits of the MQA format are only achieved with total control over the complete end-to-end encode/decode process, so any MQA encoder plug-in would need to be user-configurable to account for the time-domain behaviour of the specific A-D converters being used and, ideally, that of any analogue hardware in the chain, too. This is not impossible, but it would be a very complex task that would require a lot of testing of legacy hardware converters to establish a workable time-domain database. So, perhaps MQA-compatible hardware A-D converters would be a more practical first step... and various manufacturers are already working on that."
Of course one question is when you say how much better the hi-rez files are than the cd's, were the hi-rez files all produced from the same cd master or were new masters created?
Actually a very good question. can tell you with certainty that the Don Was/Bernie Grundman Blue Note reissued CDs were created from the 24/192 files. Actually a good question.
Nice article by Robert Baird.
" I'd be interested to know what other excellent mastering engineers like Greg Calbi, Doug Sax, Bernie Grundman think about MQA."
You may find it hard to get Doug Sax' opinion.
Let me be clear..in no way am I accusing Ludwig of being on the take. At all.
He is betting on a horse. Pushing the "format" hoping it gains acceptance.
Meridian has been promising so called "mastering tools" for MQA for 6 months now but have not yet produced any. If and when they do, Gateway Mastering becomes an "MQA Certified Mastering" studio. KA-CHING.
He was one of the first independents to master for SACD, and he got a big pay off when he did the Stones Abko catalog. And the same for DVD-A, and the same for surround.
You are smart to listen to Charles Hansen. He is one of the most honest, intelligent, and passionate people in the industry. He also has a very logical way of looking at things/
...nuthin'...but they all failed spectacularly in the mainstream market place.
SACD/DSD: 1 bit, MEGA Hz sampling rates, great sound
DVD-A: nothing but a container for 24 bit PCM
Surround: Not a format, but more channels, still PCM
about the "mainstream market place" why?
profit from mainstream sales subsidizes production of the product we (at the margin buyers) want to buy.
NOT owned by the majors, depend on mainstream sales how?
Academy of Ancient Music
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Fleur de Son
Fugue State Films
Music & Art
Seattle Symphony Media
WPH - Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Did I miss any?
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra was, well an orchestra.
Yes, they do sell their recordings on the ASO website where you can buy all nine of them, but that hardly constitutes being a "classical label".
You'll never find them attempting to sell proprietary stuff like MQA.
Academy of Ancient Music
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Ignore per inmate E-Stat) :-)
Fleur de Son
Fugue State Films
Music & Art
Seattle Symphony Media
WPH - Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
And the above list is ONLY the independent labels currently associated with NAXOS, there are a ton more not on the list (BIS, Chandos, Channel Classics, Etc.)
Take out all the symphony orchestras (or philharmonics) who peddle their own stuff as well.
John Williams is a "classical recording label"? Most of what you find on Michael Nyman's website is well...Michael Nyman content.
Where exactly did you source your list?
But do keep in mind that the list was ONLY independent labels that have some deal with NAXOS.
There are MANY independent classical and jazz labels, both small and large, which do not have a deal with NAXOS, like Hyperion and Harmonia Mundi, but at the risk of including a list of those and inadvertently including one that's owned by a 'major' label, I have chosen to stop while I am ahead. :-)
Because without mainstream acceptance you get no significant amount of music to buy. A few thousand titles is not much to choose from and no reason to accept a new format no matter how many audiophiles tout its superiority.
I listen to music not formats.
Not only are a few thousand titles not enough, but when introducing a new, supposedly superior format, the MOST POPULAR recorded artists, and the most familiar recordings must be prioritized and optimized for that new format.
and no reason to accept a new format no matter how many audiophiles tout its superiority."
A few thousand titles is more than enough for me to 'accept a new format' if it's a few thousand titles I have an interest in hearing. Both DVD-A and SACD are now an available format on most decent sounding silver disk spinners, so what's the gripe? If you don't like the format, don't buy it.
Likely have a few thousand LPs and a few thousand CDs but not more than 100 or so SACDs and maybe 15-20 DVD-A, so a few thousand new titles in a new format is fine for me IF I AM INTERESTED IN THE MUSIC.
And it's fine with me if I'm not.
I have no intention of buying an MQA enabled DAC, or even one which is DSD capable. I'm happy with my two Audio-GD PCM1704 based multibit DACs.
But just because I'm an old stick-in-the-mud listening to ancient technology doesn't mean others can't or shouldn't enjoy new formats.
Other than an odd DG or DECCA release, most of the music I listen to is NOT from main-stream labels anyway.
I have no idea how NAXOS or BIS or Chandos or Channel Classics stays in business, but somehow they do.
That said, if Beyoncé wants to release her latest recording on SACD, I think that's great. But I won't be buying it or downloading the DSD file.
Cool no problem here.
But that was not your question. You asked why would anyone(audiophiles) care about the mainstream acceptance or something along that line. I just gave you an answer extremely limited choice of music. That is a BIG reason why we should care. Just because some audiophiles take the jump and find enough titles to satisfy their whim does not make a success.
Formats come and go for one reason lack of mainstream acceptance. If the mainstream does not accept a format it will not survive. It is just that simple.
Doubtful MQA will survive. Its' claims are dubious at best, we have heard it all before, and the mainstream could not care less about MQA.
Some say it died at birth, that would be 1999 (last century), but new SACDs are issued every day.
ImportCD lists over 5,000 SACDs in their current catalog with 50+ issued in the last few weeks or available for pre-order.
Not all great, but I can't keep up with all of them and I'm just interested in classical.
How has the SACD managed to survive this long without 'mainstream' acceptance?
Yes, downloads will obsolete the spinning silver disk in all of its forms, including DVD and BluRay, eventually.
In the mean time Marantz just introduced a $7000 SACD player. OK, not for the 'mainstream' market, but still, not to bad for DOA technology.
5,000+ SACD titles? That is a joke. Basically nothing.
SACD is a niche audiophile product that was/is a complete and total failure. HDCD, DVD-A, DSD are also flops.
Only audiophiles would claim failures like this are a success. That does not mean a company cannot make money satisfying the niche audiophile market, SACD as an example, but that is a not a success.
When 1,000,000+ titles are available one can consider it a success. MP3 downloads are a smashing success. Why? Mainstream acceptance. Of course audiophiles will be running for the hills because of sound quality but there is a HUGE amount of music available for MP3 download.
Chicken and egg kind of situation. Audiophiles will ohh and ahh over the latest thing but sit on the fence waiting for mainstream acceptance waiting for a large amount of available music. Of course it never happens because the mainstream could not care less about audiophile desires or silly new formats. And then the stubborn audiophile will never admit is was a flop because SACD.com just released 20 new titles this year!
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