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My interest in MQA is to play through Tidal only. My understanding is that Tidal MQA is almost all 24/96. If this is wrong please correct me.
Also, my understanding is that any vanilla 24/96 capable DAC will be able to play these files without any sort of MQA certification as long as the software (Tidal in this case) is able to unpack the files. Only 24/192 MQA requires a special MQA certified DAC.
Am I understanding this correctly? In the context of Tidal as it stands today, is there any reason to get a MQA DAC outside of the rare file that may be encoded for 24/192?
I decided to pick up a Meridian Explorer2 to play with and have been surprised by the percentage of MQA tracks Tidal is delivering at 176/192. I can't differentiate between 176 and 192 so it could all be one or the other.
Anyway, just some additional feedback.Most of my research was pointing to Tidal keeping things at 24/96 or 24/48. Wether or not the higher sampling rate, or even MQA itself is worth anything is still up for debate but Tidal is certainly delivering many tracks sampled above 96khz.
You are not correct. The encoded MQA format is24/48 or 24/44. The actual file can be anything from 16/44 to 24/192. Tidal will decode the MQA file up to a resolution of 24/96. If you want up to 24/192 you need an outboard dac.
That sounds about right.
Most hi-rez recordings are 24/44.1, 24/88.2 or 24/96. Nothing to do with Tidal, that's just how it is. Higher resolutions are less common and are often just upsamples of the above files. So native 24/176.4 or 24/192 files are pretty rare, whether MQA'd subsequently or not. Of course MQA cannot process the other hi-rez medium, DSD.
Actuallly... for remasters i can tell you first hand that the default format for archiving master analog tapes is 24/192 PCM. And almost always it is mastered to 24/192. For remixes the multitracks are bounced to 24/96, then usually. ixed to 24/96, like The Bearles Sgt Peppers 50th release.
As you say, new recordings are rarely ever over 24/96.
" the default format for archiving master analog tapes is 24/192 PCM".
That is good to hear as I remember visiting one of the larger UK independents towards the end of the 1990s. They had recently acquired the pop music catalogue of one of the old UK majors who had gone out of business due to wider industrial ramifications. They were happily engaged in archiving that catalogue (which included a major part of the recordings of one of the " great" British invasion bands) to 16/44.1.
Interestingly, you should know that a well known independent mastering engineer who works for Audio Fidelity, Steve Hoffman, who release hybrid SACDs, captures the Redbook layer of all their discs at 16/44.1 because he believes tapes should be archived in the same native format they will be released in. They do a separate DSD capture for the SACD layer. One would think he would just fold down the DSD capture, but he believes in the least amount of processing.
On another note, many, many tapes have been captured to DSD as well. It is very easy to convert to PCM for mastering, and releasing in PCM.
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