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In Reply to: RE: Gasp! More Jaws Dropping over MQA in Los Angeles! posted by bigshow on June 11, 2017 at 14:51:01
Ok, I will ask you the same question as everyone else who posts this...
"It's noticeably better."
Better than what, exactly?
I have done as much direct comparing as I can:
Better than vinyl? Not with a good record.
Better than Red book cd on my cd player played through the same Dac? Yes.
Better than a 44.1/16 wav file? Yes.
Better than an SACD on my Marantz player? Really close. Some yes, some too close to tell. Some no.
Better than Hi Rez downloads? I don't own a large enough sample size of downloads to make a judgement.
Better than Tidal without MQA partial decoding? Yes, in every single case.
I usually use Tidal while I'm cooking or to try new music before I buy it. Vinyl for when I can really sit and enjoy music. With the partially decoded MQA I can listen to music the same way I usually do with vinyl. That's not to say that it's equal to vinyl.
I found the MQA demos at Axpona not real useful. My judgements are made with my system in my own home. At this point I would not replace my SimAudio Moon dac but if an update comes available from Moon then I would go for that.
None of the what you listed has any relelevance what so ever.
The only way to do a comparison and decide what is better, is the SAME ALBUM, from the SAME mastering, as the same resolution.
An MQA file at 24/96 against the original 24/96 file it was created from, not against one of any number of 16/44 versions of that album on Tidal.
And absolutely not against "an SACD". "Red book CD", or any generic hypothetical.
Same album, same mastering, same resolution.
By the way... you may be on to something.
Maybe the only way to verify MQA's far fetched claims about blurring in digital is to compare it directly to a AAA vinyl version of that title.
It is going to have characteristics of the master tape if done well.
I have a good enough ear to tell what sounds better on my own system. That's good enough for me. And really that's all that's important to me.
But your comparisons are meaningless. You have not done apples to apples.
Tidal could easily stream the full resolution hirez files and you would not need any special software or hardware to listen. That is the point.
They are not meaningless to him. He likes the sound of MQA streamed on Tidal even when played on a non MQA dac with partial decoding. It costs him nothing extra. I have done a lot of comparisons on the 2L site. When you compare the same master file in different resolutions including MQA the differences are very small. Certainly no jaw dropping experience. Maybe someday when there is a stand alone decoder I can place in front of my Master 7 my jaw will drop. We shall see. I really don't understand why you are coming on so strong. Most audiophiles either like MQA or don't or really don't care. I don't know who you are preaching to. Maybe Robert Harley and John Atkinson but certainly not me
> > It costs him nothing extra. < <
Very true - for now. Which is puzzling to me. Clearly MQA files are more expensive than Redbook CD files, both to create (encoding costs), to store (larger file size), and to stream (roughly double the bandwidth of Redbook CD). Who is absorbing these added costs, and how long do you expect them to continue doing so?
> > I have done a lot of comparisons on the 2L site. When you compare the same master file in different resolutions including MQA the differences are very small. Certainly no jaw dropping experience. < <
Am I correct in inferring that "the differences were very small" not only applies to MQA, but also between extreme resolutions (eg, DXD) and "normal" high-resolution (eg, 96/24)?
"Which is puzzling to me. Clearly MQA files are more expensive than Redbook CD files, both to create (encoding costs), to store (larger file size), and to stream (roughly double the bandwidth of Redbook CD). Who is absorbing these added costs, and how long do you expect them to continue doing so?"
Yes, but maybe no. Note the question marks after each of my comments?
"Clearly MQA files are more expensive than Redbook CD files"
For whom? If the labels decide to encode the files and give them to TIDAL and charge them the same per-play then maybe not?
"Who is absorbing these added costs"
Guessing the labels? Otherwise TIDAL would have to raise their prices?
"(larger file size), and to stream (roughly double the bandwidth of Redbook CD)"
I thought that the selling point of MQA was that the encoding process 'folds' a 192/24 or 96/24 file into a 48/24 sized packet?
As to who pays?
I'm pretty sure I know the answer to THAT one. $20 a month is far from 'free' and streaming in one form or another is here to stay. Perhaps all of this is just market positioning and, like your cable TV bill, eventually the price goes up. =:-0
I think Tidal at least for now is not charging more for MQA because they are hoping to attract new subscribers
Regarding the 2L files, first my dac is the Audio-GD Master 7. It is a ladder dac using 8 1704 ladder dac chips. It is limited to 24/192. If I listen to the same DXD file in 16/44 24/96 24/192 and MQA there are small differences but again nothing jaw dropping. I could easily live with the 16/44 encoding. Remember the recording and masters of these 2L files is incredibly good to begin with. I may be close to the ultimate resolution of my system. Shindo preamp driving 2 Berning ZH270 amps driving Maggie 3.6 speakers. I am also 75 years old and I may be at the limits of my hearing resolutionalthough for example can still hear cable differences, even USB cables. I still know that ultimately it is the quality of the original recording and mastering that mainly determines how good a recording will sound
Thanks for the very clear and detailed explanation.
Your listening experiences match up very well with my own. To be more specific, if you have a great recording it will sound better on pretty much every system regardless of the delivery format. Furthermore when one has a great sounding D/A converter that the bit depth and sampling rate become less important. (In other words, I would rather listen to a 44/16 file through great DAC than a 192/24 file through a mediocre DAC.)
> > I think Tidal at least for now is not charging more for MQA because they are hoping to attract new subscribers < <
That would seem to be a reasonable view. It is unclear how many new subscribers MQA is creating for Tidal. Whether or not they are successful in attracting new subscribers it would seem to be only a matter of time before they will need to raise their rates to cover the increased costs of supporting MQA.
To the best of my knowledge there are two ways that Tidal could benefit financially from offering MQA. The first is any subsidies that MQA may be providing Tidal, which if true is likely to have a time limit. The second is that currently Tidal needs to store both FLAC and ALAC files to support both Android/Windows and Mac/iOS customers. The Tidal software app includes a FLAC decoder so that MQA files only need to be stored in one format. That could be advantageous if MQA virtually completely displaces tradition CD resolution files as their storage costs would be halved. But the same is also true if Apple supports FLAC in the future - iOS 11 is supposed to do so, due this fall.
As always, solely my opinions and not necessarily those of my employer or hearing aid specialist.
Then there's no going back. I'm strongly against our common cultural commons being co-opted by a third-party private company for their benefit.
It's rather like Nestlé deciding they can buy your water supply and common bodies of water and then selling it back to you. Why would you do that? For some dubious improvement? Do you think they're doing it for free? Really?
I suspect the labels are encoding (and paying a small license fee to MQA) their catalogs then sending the files on to TIDAL for steaming.
Just a guess.
This is what we have now, so why not enjoy until something better comes along? When Qobuz comes to the US with their 24/192 level streaming I will sign up. I'm not up to all of this manipulating ISP addresses to get an account here now.
Ok that was fun. Now I'm going to use my computer to play Led Zep's Moby Dick Master version on Tidal. It rocks.
I will do the same with 24/96 master files. Untouched by Bob Stuart.
1978 I think.
I was on a Ballet Tour.
Also got to work with Mitch Estrin on Clarinet, and meet his dad, Harvey Estrin.
Nothing like NYC!
Did you know Mike Heathman by any chance?
Another masterpiece...The Japanese CD remasters of the titles from that period are very good too.
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