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In Reply to: RE: HighResAudio dumps MQA. posted by ahendler on March 29, 2017 at 19:19:28
the whole premise for MQA is solving a problem I don't personally have, namely reducing bandwidth of high(-er) resolution tracks transmitting across networks for some eternally shifting and specious reason. I object to paying for random middlemen of questionable value and being worked over by the High-Resolution mob.
Even in the UK, where the roll-out of fibre networks is woefully slow for such an advanced economy, fibre networks are finally getting up to 1,000mbps in some towns/cities and not everyone uses a capped service. Do I want to contribute to knee-capping future music production with spurious technology when time will mitigate this apparent bottleneck? No.
No, I haven't used it. Can't see a compelling reason to do so, not even for simple idle curiosity. Unless the technology is categorically providing more fidelity, it seems unnecessary. I can roll valves or cables (et al) if I want tone control.
Wouldn't you agree?
"... only a very few individuals understand as yet that personal salvation is a contradiction in terms."
Edits: 03/30/17Follow Ups:
"Unless the technology is categorically providing more fidelity, it seems unnecessary."
That is my point. Unless you listen to it how do you know the answer to the question does it sound significantly better. Unless your willing to take the word of a lot of people who don't like it but have never heard it. It is like reviewing the taste of a wine without ever drinking it or a car without ever driving it. If you don't want to bother with MQA that's fine but don't comment on it's sound without listening
it is a classic case of wealth generation using closed licensing systems.
I do acknowledge that Meridian has considerable expertise on the manipulation of red book files using a range of dither and dynamic range extension techniques. These work well with their earlier mastering processors which did not require extra outlay on the music. I suspect that some of what is now MQA incorporates what they learnt from earlier on. However, with cheap HDDs and 384k/DSD high sample rate systems, there is no reason for a closed system except for making more money for vendors of streaming services and perhaps in very small cheap portable systems. However, the savings by providers will result in more outlay for the consumer, both for software and for decoding hardware.
I was already using Tidal and they are not charging extra for streaming MQA and you do not need a MQA dac to get most of the improved sound from MQA.
True Tidal is not charging extra.
However, you cannot deny the fact that Meridian is saying that to get the so called full effect of MQA, an MQA DAC is required. This is on record.
I know for a fact that they could not get more than a few DAC manufacturers on board, and they had to let the software decoding out of the bag so to speak.
To this day, you cannot compare Tidal MQA vs Tidal streamed native hirez, ONLY to CD counterparts. Gladly correct me if I am wrong.
2L MQAs via a non MQA dac and was not at all impressed relative to the same hires files.
And I am not going to buy a lowish end MQA dac to assess any differences. The high end one by Meridian has a ridiculous price , just for a 'trial'.
I do not know what you mean by Tidal streamed native hirez. Non MQA files on Tidal are 16/44 flac files. They are the same as cds and sound the same as equivalent cds. So you can compare a Tidal MQA file against the same 16/44 tidal file which I have done. The best example I have heard is Fleetwood Macs Rumours album. The MQA file sounds better but I can't absolutely confirm that both files are derived from the same master.
This result is both into my non MQA Master 7 dac and the MQA Meridian Explorer2
The MQA bersion of "Rumors" is an obvious example of what MQA can achieve
or is achieving. I am not into the technical stuff but my ears are my judge.
I think this why folks keep going round and round.
let me take this step by step.
-Tidal streams Redbook CD and so called Tidal MQA Masters, which are
supposed to be fold downs of Hi Rez masters, which then unfold to 24/96, which Tidal caps, even if the original master was 24/192.
-so you are comparing the "unfolded" 24/96 and comparing it to a Redbook CD of UNKNOWN origin and mastering? Do you know how many Rumours CDs there are? It has been remastered at least 3 times, NOT counting "Gold Discs" and boutique releases.
Check this out. Look at just the CD releases
I know for a fact Rumours was remastered from the original two track mixes at 24/96 in 2013 and was also remixed for a DVD-A and 5.1 years ago. I was there when it was done.
So you see, when you talk about how great MQA you are comparing a hirez master, with MQA DSP, against a CD, which I know for a fact, even if it is the latest Anniv Edition, has more compression.
So it is all rather disingenuous (NOT you, but MQA/Tidal.
Am I unclear? Not being sarcastic I want to know if the above makes sense.
You are perfectly clear. That's why I said I could not guarantee I am listening to the same masters. As long as MQA doesn't cost me anything I am having fun playing with it. Thanks for your input. I wish they would do a MQA mastering of something I recorded. Buddy Miles Them Changes would be good to start. I doubt it will ever happen unless when they do the UMG stuff
But it can, if streaming companies reduce cost and if tou need at least an Explorer 2 to listen properly.
Remastering changes SQ. Upsample some CDs and make spectrum corrections etc and you will HEAR the effects. Changing the Impulse response and phase can also have major effects.
Is this full hi-res as being advertised, or is it a lossy hi-res? I don't really care as it sounds better than CD and I'm listening to digital for the first time in a couple of years now, since I upgraded my vinyl.
Do you need a special MQA DAC or not? I would say not, since I don't have one and can still get 24/96 coming out of the Tidal app, whether full 24/96 or not.
Now if only I could bridge the final 15 feet between this computer (playing a Tidal master playlist through headphones as I type) and my main all tube system. It is the upper limit of USB, and an analog cable would pick up noise over that length, not that my wife would be happy with a cable running across the room like that.
And this hi-res costs less than the price of one LP per month, about a quarter of what I'd spend on LPs per month, plus I get the student discount for Tidal.
Use a Tripplite 16' amplified USB cable. My experience shows no downside to this
After I wrote that I figured out a way to get around the security on my work laptop and get Tidal to run on it. That was a much better solution. The funny thing is that I installed Tidal on my daughter's old macbook and it wouldn't work because the clock was off. Instead I just pulled the solid state drive from it and stuck it in a USB case and plugged it in to my laptop and execute it from there. Worked like a charm. I also installed a remote control app on my iPad so I don't have to get up.
It doesn't change the fact that Tidal MQA releases are slow to come.
I installed Tidal on my daughter's old macbook and it wouldn't work because the clock was off. Instead I just pulled the solid state drive from it and stuck it in a USB case and plugged it in to my laptop and execute it from there.
Why not just correct the time on your daughter's MacBook? If it no longer keeps time have you tried replacing the PRAM battery, which among other things also powers the RTC for timekeeping?
I didn't under your logic of pulling the disk from your daughter's Mac because it's clock was off.
I assume the other laptop is also a Mac?
The old laptop is basically junk. It isn't worth putting money into it. Even with a SSD in it it was noticeably slow. The SSD is of more recent vintage, in fact it is still current. So rather than spend money on an old laptop, I took the drive and put it in a case I already have and can now use as an external drive. This cost $0, and I had everything I needed already, including an install of Tidal desktop.
"Tidal MQA releases are slow to come."
That's because they only have Warner Bros to work with. Soon they will have UMG and Sony so roll out of MQA should be faster
What's the rush?
You keep saying that, but it has been 3 months now. And WB has a lot more titles than Tidal. If they want this to hit some critical mass they'd have to release a lot at once, otherwise it is just a niche group of CSN & ZEP lovers that will sign up.
It just isn't compelling enough the way it is now.
Up until just a few months ago, the BEST DSL from the phone company was 6 Mbps. Most times it was between 3-4 Mbps. And I live in 'Hi Tech' San Francisco.
Fortunately I live on the Western fringes of the City where utility lines are on polls blocking our view if the ocean, so we got Gigabit fiber first! Much cheaper to string the fiber on existing polls than to put it under ground, so they started in our end of town.
Use Case Number 1:
If you already stream TIDAL, you will pay not a cent more for better sound using the decoder inside the TIDAL desktop player. Sill not much of TIDAL's catalog is encoded with MQA but the ones I know and like sound better. And better than the 16/44.1 lossless FLAC on QOBUZ for the same recordings.
Inmate 'Bullethead' send me his Meridian Explorer 2 when he canceled TIDAL (I owe him a box of cigars). so my investment here is SMALL. I'll likely prefer the PCM1704U-K multibit ladder DACs in my collection better than the Explorer 2 so I'll likely use the software decoder in the TIDAL player fed to one of my Audio-GD DACs rather than the Explorer 2 most times.
Use Case Number 2:
OK, ya got me! :-)
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