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Just received my Stereophile March Newsletter via email, and this link caught my eye:
MQA-Encoded CDs? Yes!
Please read and react...
aging boomers who want their thirteenth remix of DSOM.
Millennials? Are you kidding?
For people who can't seem to get on board with computer audio?
CDs are a dying medium and now they're going to make MQA CDs, an 'improved' dying medium for a small aging & dying off population of old audiophiles?
Great business model!
Just my 2-cents worth. ;-)
If we have MQA streaming why bother with downloads?
It will be interesting to watch how MQA plays out over time.
My only interest is out of curiosity. I can't see buying my entire CD collection again, or downloading again.
MQA makes some sense to me for streaming but otherwise, meh.
Perdon my ignorance, but I thought MQA was a way to preserve CD quality for streaming. How could it better than a full bandwith CD?
MQA is meant to provide Master Quality, IOW 24/96 or other hirez formats. On a CD, I don't know how it will do it, but there is some Lossless/lossy (seems to be some controversy on which) compression, and you need hardware/software to uncompress.
If we can fit DSD information on to a SACD, why do I need to pay Meridian to screw up a high-res recording with unnecessary lossy compression and decompression?
"... only a very few individuals understand as yet that personal salvation is a contradiction in terms."
Because Meridian is a failed business bleeding money, and they pulled MQA out of their sphincter to save their sinking ship. It almost worked.
My whole issue with proprietary formats like this is they *never* take off. Anyone remember HDCD? Anyone? Wasn't that supposed to be great?
But it wasn't. Most people didn't have the players or the DACs to really take advantage of it; and when they did..it wasn't that much of an improvement.
Besides, I know a lot of "audiophiles" who claim that anything over 44.1/16 and HD in general is bogus....so that even further reduces the market.
Sounds like another way for a company to milk money out of people.
"Sounds like another way for a company to milk money out of people"
Nobody is forcing you to buy anything. I don't like hi-rez downloads so I don't buy them But I don't care if others like them. I don't understand the uproar over MQA. If enough people want it it will survive at least for a while. If not it will go away.
There is a LOT of stuff out there in 'Audio World' that I have but a passing interest and ZERO desire to invest.
If others are willing to spend their money and try to move the box down the road, good on them!
I have a passing interest in MQA as I subscribe to TIDAL. The few albums I have had a chance to compared in both the HiFi and Master versions, with and without MQA, using just the OS-X TIDAL Player doing the decoding on my MacBook Air, seem to show an improvement in SQ with MQA. As long as TIDAL doesn't try to charge a premium for this additional step up in sound quality (small as it may be), why should I complain?
Then inmate 'Bullethead' sends me his Meridian Explorer 2 to try and it seems to work as well; with a noticeable improvement when comparing HiFi vs. Master versions of the same title.
I need a different cabling (on order) to do a true A:B with my Audio-GD DAC using the same balanced headphone and the Audio-GD Headphone Amp with both DACs.
Should I send inmate 'Bullethead' a box of cigars for the Meridian DAC?
Small price to pay, says I.
Were I to 'rip' an MQA encoded CD to my hard drive and then played it back using say iTunes to an MQA enabled DAC (Meridian Explorer 2) would I get the same MQA benefit as if I played it on a regulars CD player/transport, fed to an MQA enable DAC?
My brain hurts after trying to work this one out.
I think that the answer lies in whether the rip makes a true bit for bit copy of all of the information on the disc. Normally ripping software does not actually do this (for example it doesn't copy the track text information, ISRCs etc, at least as standard). So, in general, I suspect the rip will give you a 16/44.1 file as if it were a normal CD rip. Actually as MQA is lossy I suspect the result will really be less than 16 bits.
However if there was a kind of "pass through" option on the ripper , for example like the "Defective by Design" feature in dbpoweramp then you might end up with a file that contains all of the information for decoding via MQA.
Of course as you can (in this case) also download the MQA file from the label's website why rip it? However why download an MQA encoded 16 or even 24 bit file aside from saving a little time when you could easily download the original file e.g. 24/192 ? Outside of streaming I have difficulty understanding the purpose of MQA.
Still I don't think we will know for sure until someone tries ripping an MQA encoded CD.
"Of course as you can (in this case) also download the MQA file from the label's website why rip it? However why download an MQA encoded 16 or even 24 bit file aside from saving a little time when you could easily download the original file e.g. 24/192 ? Outside of streaming I have difficulty understanding the purpose of MQA."
Millions of posts, positive and negative, have been cluttering up the bandwidth here since MQA was first introduce by Meridian. Yours above might be the first one that makes any sense at all.
OK, maybe a couple of mine. ;-)
Just got the cabling necessary to hook the Meridian Explorer 2 that inmate 'Bullethead' which gives me chance to now try the Meridian Explorer into the pre-amp input to my Audio-GD Master 11 DAC/Headphone Amp and my Senheiser HD-600 balance cabled headphones. This is a headphone amp with a full 9 watts output in balanced mode! REALLY the best headphone amp I've yet to hear.
There is something to this MQA stuff irrespective of the measurements, missing bits, LOSSEY CODEC and all the rest.
About the best I've heard TIDAL sounding using my current headphone/headphone amp set up, at least on the recording above. And MAYBE but not sure, better than the 16/44.1 Lossless FLAC version of the same CD streamed using my Audio-GD Multi-bit ladder DAC to decode. Current setup take WAY to long to reconfigure to do a quick A:B so it may take a while to know for sure.
If I were to get excited about the prospect of MQA encoded CDs (unlikely), I would not be encouraged by a single release of music written by a minor composer played by unknown artists on a boutique label which is available only in Japan.
Furthermore there are no CD players AFAIK with MQA decoding. So it is only playable with full MQA decoding to those with a transport/DAC combination where the DAC features MQA. I think we are talking a very small potential user base here.
I suspect this will be as succesful as double sided CDs ( remember those?).
While I don't disagree that there is a limited audience for this to begin with, those that might be interested in MQA CDs already have the DAC with the decoder or are planning on buying one anyway.
One of the failures in the audiophool world is always that the best sounding discs/records/recordings are always of some obscure piece of music that nobody would really put on. I was at a show a few years back where the sales guy (and it is always a guy) was extolling the virtues of these hugely expensive speakers, and the gazillion dollar amp. He spoke for about 10 minutes, while a crowd of people waited to hear. He then proceeded to play a piece of medieval flute/pipe music that was on some audiophile recording. Half the crowd walked out. It could not have been any less interesting. Later at the same show, I'm in a room with some less expensive equipment and the guy puts on Hotel California. Half the people on the floor crowded into the room. Love it or hate it, at least the song is something we all know.
" those that might be interested in MQA CDs already have the DAC with the decoder or are planning on buying one anyway. "
Maybe but they also need to have a CD player/transport for this. Reading the three specialised digital boards here I get the impression that many, if not the majority, of DAC owners seem to have got rid of their silver disc players and rely soley upon computer music files and streaming.
Of course this title is also available as a download for those DAC owners who have a PC/Mac/streamer source which also reduces the justification for such an encoded CD.
I agree with every word of yours in regard to those ridiculous audiophile recordings. OK I am guilty myself of owning a couple from my ill advised youth. I think of all of those foolish guys (always guys) with such a "great" vinyl based hifi system that they only wanted to play direct cut discs and Japanese pressings on it. Fortunately there are less of them now as a hifi system is no longer of aspiration to the general public and they have probably moved on to whatever is now of fashion.
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