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Dear Jim Austin,

68.15.187.244

Posted on November 14, 2017 at 16:37:25
rt66indierock
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Location: Valley of the Sun
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On October 21, 2017 you said you don't understand the technology behind MQA and yet you are going to write a series about it?

Your series should make interesting reading because in that same October 21, 2017 response to stehno you called him an idiot "for not at least considering that they (Peter Craven and Bob Stuart) might understand things better than you do." For you to be intellectually consistent you now have to consider others may understand things better than Peter Craven and Bob Stuart do.

In your series on MQA Technology I would like the following addressed at a minimum.

1. I want you to look at the research supporting the technology of MQA and tell me if it supports the claims MQA Ltd is making. Next I want you to tell me if the math supports the claims MQA makes. To write objectively about the research and the math you will have to analyze both sides pro MQA and anti MQA.

2. Moving on the filters MQA uses they are not new so I want to know why MQA Ltd decided to use these filters when so many others have chosen not to use these types of filters.

3. MQA uses Peter Craven's patented method for degrading files and reconstructing them. Why is this step necessary? Following this train of thought why aren't other methods of file compression equally as valid as the method MQA uses?

4. People in studios who were shown MQA found that it changed their masters in 2014. It took until last month at the AES convention in New York City for MQA Ltd to acknowledge the problem and promise a solution so engineers could hear how the final product would sound. I want to know why MQA needs to change the master when other high resolution files don't change the master.

You have made a few comments defending the industry and the press for its lack of technical rigor concerning MQA. You actually indicted the industry and the press. This is why people outside the industry realized if the technology behind MQA was going to be examined that we would have to do it ourselves. And we did on the Computer Audiophile site starting January 2, 2017.

Sincerely,

Stephen

 

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Does it really matter?, posted on November 14, 2017 at 21:18:56
mkuller
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Posts: 38035
Location: SF Bay Area
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...I'm very skeptical that a lossy format can sound better than CDs.

It reminds me of the arguments I had with JJ about MP3, a very lossy format he designed using blind listening tests.

Critical listening and comparisons (not blind) are the only thing that matters to me.

For anyone to pay for MQA over 16/44.1 it must sound a LOT better.

 

RE: Dear Jim Austin,, posted on November 14, 2017 at 21:28:18
stehno
Manufacturer

Posts: 739
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Juanita may have called me an idiot but I don't think he really meant it. I think he just finds himself in some sort of pickle or mug-whomp type of situation that ain't so easy to gracefully address. BTW, a mug-whomp is somebody with their mug on one side of the fence and their whompem on the other side. But I still think he's done what he reasonably could to offer up some empty support for MQA.

And I'm sure Juanita's frustrated that even after much research his intellect and his listening skills continue to purplex him with regard to Stuart's technical prowesss as well MQA's sonic abilities.

Whereas, I on the hand tried warning people more than 2 years ago that MQA was nothing but a fraud and Stuart was a clown as he was all over the map with MQA trying to portray it as all things to all people. I even stated that it was simply impossible to achieve anything close to the outlandish hyberbolic performance claims Stewart and the magazines were propagating onto the masses. And that if they hoped to achieve anything even close to those outlandish performance levels, Stuart & co. were barking up the wrong technology tree entirely.

And I don't think I ever once bothered mentioning how Stuart claimed to be searching for the answer all his life and how he was now diving into our brains and applying neuroscience to his solution. Maybe it's because I already had the dry heaves without ever throwing that crap into the mix.

Juanita's probably just a little frustrated that I, having never heard MQA, am psychic and he's not. That's all. I can accept that.

 

Today ECM released their full catalog to streaming services, Tidal included. , posted on November 14, 2017 at 21:36:18
bjh
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Posts: 17986
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Apparently there is a good bit there already.

So, here's an idea, forget the blind tests, the press and forums, get off our rears and compare an ECM LP to the Tidal MQA version!

If it sounds near as good as the LP, then ... Bob's your uncle!

... someone besides me, I just bought a DAC, an' it don't have MQA ahhhh



 

Any external pointer to the discussion at AES-NYC? TIA (nt), posted on November 14, 2017 at 23:13:59
Steve Cortez
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Posts: 881
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.

 

I think it would be highly worthwhile . . ., posted on November 15, 2017 at 07:28:44
Beetlemania
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for Austin to include Brian Lucey's take. Here he is in the fairhedon interview:

"It's definitely a lossy codec, that was clear. And like Mastered for iTunes or any reduction scheme the losses are in critically important areas. Where as mastered for iTunes is harmonically cold and loses some low volume/low end information, actually altering the groove to make everything sound like a nerdy white wedding band, MQA brightens the high-mids in the Mid section while thinning the low-mids on the Sides. There's also some harmonic distortion which some people could find pleasing, If I want that distortion in the master I would've put it there in the first place. The results of MQA I would call fatal to the source material even as they are very subtle."

Assuming JA's "birth of a new world" demo was a fair comparison from the same master with levels matched, perhaps this explains his preference? Not that there's anything wrong with preferring colorations . . .

 

RE: Dear Jim Austin,, posted on November 15, 2017 at 07:46:53
Shouldn't we at least wait until the MQA series is published before burning Jim Austin at the stake?

 

RE: Dear Jim Austin,, posted on November 15, 2017 at 08:10:22
regmac
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It does seem a bit premature.

 

It's a trap Jim...., posted on November 15, 2017 at 08:14:38
Ivan303
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Do not answer!





 

RE: Dear Jim Austin,, posted on November 15, 2017 at 08:25:48
John Atkinson
Reviewer

Posts: 4033
Location: New York
Joined: November 24, 2003
>Shouldn't we at least wait until the MQA series is published before burning
>Jim Austin at the stake?

It's a debating tactic called "framing." As Charley Hansen did in a posting
a few days ago regarding the forthcoming listening tests of MQA at McGill
University, you try to delegitimize the work ahead of its publication.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

 

So, your post might be reverse-delegitimizing? , posted on November 15, 2017 at 08:46:22
Beetlemania
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You could be right re: framing but I also see legitimate questions in the OP.

 

Did you send MQA the 6 raw (UNmixed/UNmastered) tracks from your own recording? nt, posted on November 15, 2017 at 08:54:09
Rick W
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nt

 

De-legitimization efforts were well underway before this OP, helped greatly...., posted on November 15, 2017 at 11:34:23
Posts: 135
Joined: December 29, 2011
... by your own participation.

At this point, I don't think any amount of legitimization will help to revive this moribund project - short of you publicly acknowledging some resemblance of neutrality, and giving space on your pages to some of the vocal opponents of MQA.

Not gonna happen I guess.

 

RE: Dear Jim Austin,, posted on November 15, 2017 at 11:48:03
rt66indierock
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Posts: 74
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Sorry John I'm not using that tactic.

I'm saying if Jim doesn't understand the technology on October 21, 2017 he is not competent to write about it. And if he became competent between October 21, 2017 and when he submitted his first article to you. I would like to know how he developed competence in MQA.

Next I'm saying if Jim doesn't look at both sides of the technology then his series is scope limited.

 

RE: Dear Jim Austin,, posted on November 15, 2017 at 12:03:27
rt66indierock
Industry Professional

Posts: 74
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I thought Jim was burned at the stake already on gearslutz.

I'm continuing my research into where the pieces that make up the product MQA came from.

 

RE: Does it really matter?, posted on November 15, 2017 at 12:15:14
rt66indierock
Industry Professional

Posts: 74
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Well I still can't actually test MQA because all my reference albums aren't available on MQA and they are not obscure. And I doubt Bob Stuart will convert my recordings of harmonicas, banjos and Cajun saw fiddling to MQA and return them to me even though I have met him and have his contact information.

The albums to do preliminary testing that are available in Europe still aren't available in the Valley of the Sun.

The listening I've done certainly doesn't fall into the category of better.

 

Do you have a dog in this fight? (nt), posted on November 15, 2017 at 12:35:13
mkuller
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(nt)

 

RE: Do you have a dog in this fight? (nt), posted on November 15, 2017 at 12:44:39
rt66indierock
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Posts: 74
Location: Valley of the Sun
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Artists and studios good enough?

 

RE: De-legitimization efforts were well underway before this OP, helped greatly...., posted on November 15, 2017 at 12:45:17
John Atkinson
Reviewer

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>At this point, I don't think any amount of legitimization will help to
>revive this moribund project . . .

Like I said, "framing."

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

 

RE: De-legitimization efforts were well underway before this OP, helped greatly...., posted on November 15, 2017 at 15:26:47
faskenite
Audiophile

Posts: 72
Location: Canada
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I can't tell you guys how good all this stuff makes me feel about my recent listening being almost exclusively limited to vinyl (and mono vinyl at that mostly). I have no idea whether MQA sounds good or whether it is the latest example of Wizard of Oz hocus pocus (Heavens to Betsy!). But why is so much blood (sort of) being shed about this MQA stuff? Isn't life too short for this?

 

It's the text, stupid, posted on November 15, 2017 at 21:43:00
DAP
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People should be giving feedback on the text, not the deficiencies, real or imagined, of the authors. If, purely hypothetically, someone were to pen that MQA represented "the birth of a new world", it would be fair comment to characterize that text as nonsensical hyperbole, and give reasons for asserting that. But the invective that gets hurled at authors, Jim Austin comes to mind, makes me cringe. It advances no argument, rather, it distracts from the argument, and causes the gentler souls among us to withdraw from the discussion.

On the internet, bad social behaviour is often attributed to the anonymity where people say things to anonymous others that they would never say face to face. But what I don't get is that high end audio is a small world, and at least some of the sources and targets of the animosity in this forum must know each other from the industry, shows, and the like. It's not necessary, it's not helpful, and it's just bad.

Just focus on the text. After it's written, of course.

Daniel

 

RE: Dear Jim Austin,, posted on November 16, 2017 at 05:07:07
John Atkinson
Reviewer

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>Sorry John I'm not using that tactic.

Okay, so what specific criticisms do you have to make about Jim's first
article examining MQA's claims, published in the January 2018 issue of
Stereophile?

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

 

RE: Dear Jim Austin,, posted on November 16, 2017 at 09:17:15
The Bored
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  Since:
March 1, 1999
Any chance you could dispense with the "Juanita" thing?

Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum, et cetera, et cetera...
Memo bis punitor delicatum! It's all there, black and white,
clear as crystal! Blah, blah, and so on and so forth ...

 

It's not that hard to test, posted on November 16, 2017 at 09:44:52
Dave_K
Audiophile

Posts: 2917
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Many if not most of the albums available in MQA format on Tidal are also available in their full hi-res glory on download sites such as HDtracks. I've compared a few of the Warner MQA releases from Tidal to my own DVD-A rips and downloads, via listening. They are close enough that I'm pretty sure the MQA was just encoded from the same hi-res PCM I downloaded. They are definitely different from the CD release.

It is possible to capture the PCM stream after MQA decoding by the Tidal desktop app, and then compare the result with the hi-res download in software. I haven't bothered to do this, but others have.

In the end though, what's the point? Why accept a proprietary lossy codec if we have the bandwidth today to stream 24/96 with an open lossless codec?

 

RE: It's not that hard to test, posted on November 16, 2017 at 10:14:21
rt66indierock
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Dave that is what I call listening testing involves more.

 

RE: It's not that hard to test, posted on November 16, 2017 at 12:03:58
BubbaMike
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Does the desktop app do decoding? I thought that only Firefox was able to detwist, turn and unfold MAQ encoded streams.


When they discover the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to discover they are not it. ~ Bernard Bailey

 

RE: It's not that hard to test, posted on November 17, 2017 at 05:32:39
Dave_K
Audiophile

Posts: 2917
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You need to use the desktop app if you want to decode MQA (aka Tidal Masters). The web player will not do it. Also, the web player will only support CD quality lossless (aka Tidal HiFi) in Chrome. If you're using the web player in Firefox, you're getting an AAC stream, up to 320 kbps.

 

RE: Dear Jim Austin,, posted on November 17, 2017 at 07:26:19
"I'm continuing my research into where the pieces that make up the product MQA came from."

Do we really want to know how the MQA hot dogs are made?

;-)

 

RE: It's not that hard to test, posted on November 17, 2017 at 17:16:59
Dave_K
Audiophile

Posts: 2917
Joined: September 30, 2014
My point is, the digital data is available so you can do whatever you think is appropriate to test the performance of MQA. Others already have.

 

RE: Dear Jim Austin,, posted on November 18, 2017 at 09:25:58
rt66indierock
Industry Professional

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Location: Valley of the Sun
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Actually where the pieces of MQA came from is a good story. As is the story of how people in the industry missed or mislead about the DRM in MQA which is equally as good.

 

Daniel, posted on November 18, 2017 at 09:52:19
rt66indierock
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If someone says they don't understand the technology I believe them especially when they say on the gearslutz site July 5, 2017 they find "the technology plausible and intriguing," "I like the way it sounds," and "listen to MQA." If you look at Jim Austin's writings and posts about MQA he supports MQA but consistently says things like "I haven't made of my mind yet." He opens himself up to criticism by saying he doesn't understand the technology, hides his support for MQA when everyone who opposes MQA know there are only two members of the press who have opposed it openly and calls a manufacturer an "idiot" who said the path MQA Ltd followed was barking up the wrong tree to improve digital playback. I don't have problem with what supporters of MQA write about it but be honest about your support. There seems to be little doubt that what Kal Rubinson wrote about MQA is a critical as Stereophile will ever get. And yes my letter does advance an argument because Jim has been consistently critical of the arguments by those who oppose MQA. A personal favorite is "Much of what I'm seeing in this thread-(deleted refers to a poster)- suggests that critics have not done their homework." If you criticize people saying they haven't done their homework then it is fair to expect Jim to do his homework. And since he doesn't understand the technology I offered him some assistance by pointing out some topics that should be fairly addressed in his series.

I find it funny you can't say John Atkinson penned MQA represents "the birth of a new world." Is that being a gentle soul or are you too weak to criticize him? I criticized John in the comment section of Listening 166 but I didn't hide. I introduced myself on the first day of RMAF 2016. It turned out to be my reentry point to the technical side of high end audio because a lot of speaker designers agreed with me. I'm sorry Daniel but I don't find the advice in your post of much value because I personally haven't said anything online about MQA to anyone I would not say the same thing to face to face. The only difference is face to face I ask questions. You should hear things audio journalists have said to me face to face.

 

RE: Dear Jim Austin,, posted on November 18, 2017 at 12:24:19
I'm reminded of one of my favorite sayings from years past:

If you can't dazzle them with brilliance
Baffle them with bullshit

Have we all been baffled with bullshit? I'd love to hear the story.

 

RE: "I'd love to hear the story.", posted on November 18, 2017 at 13:17:53
Krav Maga
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Posts: 1497
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The story may be titled "The Greatest Story Never Told by The Audiophile Print Press".

If MQA fails it will be due in large part to the lack of transparency shown by MQA and the audiophile print magazines.

 

RE: Dear Jim Austin,, posted on November 19, 2017 at 08:35:24
regmac
Audiophile

Posts: 6743
Joined: April 7, 2002
"Have we all been baffled with bullshit?"

No. I credit respected people in the industry, such as Charles Hansen, with alerting would-be purchasers to the dubious claims of MQA and the malfeasance of the audio press regarding this matter. You might say he's been pulling double duty. One can make the case that reviewers have an ethical duty to apply a healthy skepticism to new technologies, especially those making grandiose claims. But in the case of MQA, prominent reviewers jettisoned their objectivity in favor of fawning fanboy praise.

 

RE: Dear Jim Austin,, posted on November 19, 2017 at 10:07:23
rt66indierock
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I'm not seeing BS on the part of the people developing MQA. They did look at a lot of things in an old fashioned or old school way. The BS started with the marketing of MQA.

 

RE: Dear Jim Austin,, posted on November 19, 2017 at 14:04:18
When all the marketing hype is peeled back, what's left? A lossy format with varying results depending on how the original recording was mastered?

 

RE: Dear Jim Austin,, posted on November 20, 2017 at 02:15:51
Charles Hansen
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Posts: 6984
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>> I'm not seeing BS on the part of the people developing MQA. They did look at a lot of things in an old fashioned or old school way. The BS started with the marketing of MQA. <<

I think this is something of a grey area. In the first place, it's never been clear to me how much of any of Meridian's products (including MQA) were actually designed by Bob Stuart. I know that many (if not most) of Meridian's products were designed by others. I think that Bob is very good at spotting talent.

One example here is MLP (Meridian Lossless Packing). My understanding is that it was based on work done by the late Michael Gerzon (Gerzon worked under Peter Craven while studying for his advanced degree). Rhonda Wilson did the bulk of the work on that project - to the point where when the technology was sold to Dolby, Rhonda was part of the deal. Similarly, how much of the work on MQA was Craven's and how much was Stuart's? Were other designers/engineers involved?

And the AES paper that introduced MQA to the world (although not by name) was certainly much more of a marketing piece than one normally finds in peer-reviewed journals. I really don't understand how that paper made it through the peer-review process - there were so many questionable aspects to its contents that I find it embarrassing to the AES. The only thing I can figure is that using his position as a "Fellow" plus having no less than 50 references intimidated the reviewers (even though many of those 50 references do not support his work, and in some cases even contradict it).

 

RE: It's the text, stupid, posted on November 20, 2017 at 11:51:40
stehno
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You are correct, people should be focusing on what is said by an authors, rather than focus on the authors themselves.

And for most, that's exactly what's been going on for nearly 3 years now. But after 3 years, many are still unable to find any meat and potatoes regarding MQA's "godsend", "experiencing the birth of a new world", holy grail-type of performance levels claimed by these authors who refuse to rescind or retract their claims while more and more people with substance continue to come forward asking, what the frick is going on here with MQA?

Some are confused more than ever because even after all this time there remains more questions than answers. Those authors seem to be dodging many of the questions, while passively trying to let their claims stand, I assume hoping others won't notice their lack of stability or potential hypocracy.

Perhaps it's because many thirst for more and better performance, but IMO many have given MQA, Stuart, and others the benefit of doubt far too long already.

So now comes the check and balance phase and accountabilty phase. You know, the phase where the masses can no longer take such claims at face value and must now start to dig deeper and beyond the initial claims. Now those who have a dog in the fight (everybody who listens to music) or even those who simply care about real performance must now start to ask the uglier questions regarding the authors' listening skills, their ethics and morals, their credibility, and yes, even their potential motives.

And since MQA is attempting to introduce a new standard that will potentially affect every last listener financial-wise and performance-wise, it makes all the sense in the world for many to stop taking these outlandish performance claims on their face and try to get to the real reason MQA was created and why the potential sell-out by those with potential influence in the "high-end" audio sector.

There's potentially billions of dollars at stake here. And since we're talking from a "high-end" audio perspective and we're in a "high-end" audio forum and since "high-end" is supposed to imply performance, and those few backing MQA have essentially claimed it to be the performance holy grail and MQA being all things to all people, IMO, every last aspect of these authors and their publications and their historic claims of other products should all be brought into question.

And IMO rightfully so as I've tried warning others about MQA since I first read about it over 2 years ago that this was perhaps the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the "high-end" audio community. And I'm confident that anybody worth their weight in any sector of the music industry will eventually concur. If they're not already doing so now.

More importantly, some (including me) believe that this is far from the first time such hoaxes have been attempted by those in positions of influence on the "high-end" audio community. But that it took something so outlandish as MQA and its performance promises to bring this tom-foolery to light.

So from my perspective, although MQA is potentially damaging to the industry should it succeed (or not go away), I see MQA as a real blessing because it has the potential to expose much more than just MQA.

Holding leaders or those in positions of influence accountable is never pretty. But it sure can be enlightening.

 

Hear! Hear! RE: It's the text, stupid, posted on November 20, 2017 at 13:04:17
Archimago
Audiophile

Posts: 805
Joined: January 18, 2002
Excellent summary of the situation and ultimately the deeper implications of MQA & what the press have opened up!

Good job Stehno.

-------
Archimago's Musings: A 'more objective' audiophile blog.

 

RE: Dear Jim Austin,, posted on November 20, 2017 at 16:49:28
John Atkinson
Reviewer

Posts: 4033
Location: New York
Joined: November 24, 2003
>Okay, so what specific criticisms do you have to make about Jim's first
>article examining MQA's claims, published in the January 2018 issue of
>Stereophile?

4 days later: "crickets"

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

 

RE: MQA's claims, published in the January 2018 issue of Stereophile?, posted on November 20, 2017 at 17:49:47
Krav Maga
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JA,

I don't believe that the January "2018" issue of Stereophile has been released yet. Did you mean some other year?

Oh, I get it, you're trolling rt66indierock.

 

RE: Hear! Hear! RE: It's the text, stupid, posted on November 20, 2017 at 18:37:10
stehno
Manufacturer

Posts: 739
Location: Oregon
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Thanks, Archimago. It's much appreciated.

There's far more going on here regarding MQA than meets the eye. In fact, I have every reason to suspect the following:

1. That many of us in this hobby lack solid listening skills anymore. As such, that makes "high-end" audio very vulnerable to anybody wanting to make a buck or continue a certain lifestyle.

2. That many who care about real audio performance got lazy and stupid years ago and stopped holding those in postions of influence accountable for their actions / words.

3. That those in positions of influence got lazy and stupid and especially arrogant and thought nothing about trying to pull the wool over the dumbed-down masses with their outlandish performance claims of MQA. And they were certainly arrogant enough to think they'd never be held accountable for their words.

For example. Look at Atkinson's claims on the Vandersteen 7A speakers he heard at CES 2014 when he claimed the speakers (and nothing else) was "musically perfect..., across the board." And nobody batted an eye. Sure enough Vandersteen used Atkinson's endorsement in his advertisements and about 9 month later when I got wind of that endorsement in this forum I called Atkinson out and even accused him of eating his favorite ice cream when auditioning the Vandersteens and he pretty much ignored my questions then. Perhaps it was just coincidence but I thought I noticed within a few months after that, that Atkinson's endorsements were no longer in the Vandersteen 7A advertisements. And to this day as illustrated in numerous threads below, Atkinson still refuses to address my questions to him on his outlandish endorsement of the 7A's and even called me a troll.

Some of us know "high-end" audio has been in seriously floundering for years, even decades. And I would attest that it's first and foremost because:

1. So many of us lack basic listening skills and we entrust performance to those in positions of influence.

2. Many of those in positions of influence lack basic listening skills and count on the fact that most of their readers do too.

And if I'm even close to being accurate here, then that creates an environment where those in positions of influence can get away with almost anything without fear of ever being held accountable.

And I think the best proof and evidence that my speculations are true, are the outlandish and crazed Stereophile and The Absolute Sound endorsements for MQA and just one of many other examples are Atkinson's outlandish and crazed endorsement for the Vandersteen 7A speakers.

BTW, I checked out your website and it seems rather thoughtful from what seen thus far. I perceive tho art an audio animal. :)

 

Tell me about the crickets, John. I'm still awaiting your response 2 years later., posted on November 20, 2017 at 22:56:02
stehno
Manufacturer

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Location: Oregon
Joined: November 8, 2001
While you're waiting, let's talk about your "musically perfect..., across the board" endorsement on the Vandersteen 7A's at CES 2014.

Your continued silence leads me to believe that you knew then just as you know now such an endorsement was outlandish, nonsensical, and just plain absurd.

In fact, I seriously doubt the most naive among us would dare make such a nonsensical claim, yet there you were and there you are.

 

RE: Hear! Hear! RE: It's the text, stupid, posted on November 20, 2017 at 23:40:38
Archimago
Audiophile

Posts: 805
Joined: January 18, 2002
Yup. Numerous astute observations, Stehno...

As for the upcoming MQA articles on Stereophile, let's have some fun. I asked a few questions and Crenca provided his answers on Computer Audiophile:

1) Will Austin actually talk about facts as opposed to his own subjective impressions?
A: Only the "facts" of so much of audiophiledom, the assertions of this or that product/company. For example he will use terms like "Hi Res" without any definition, not bothering to explain that MQA is in fact a lossy facsimile of actual Hi Res PCM. Bit depth will be something "perceived", and math will have nothing to do with it.

2) Will he just call up a bunch of people to interview as if having a bunch of voices on the "pro" side carries much weight in the face of objective analysis?
A: Yes, but he will also glue bits and pieces of these interviews together in what appears to be a coherent and believable story of MQA. He is a storyteller first and foremost, and has to tow the line of his pro-MQA, anti consumer publication

3) Will he bother presenting the opinions of those who voice objections against MQA?
A: Yes, in a negative light and then he will repeat the unverifiable marketing verbiage of MQA. What else can he do? How MQA really works is behind the black box of IP/DRM.

4)Will he/Stereophile create their own diagrams and illustrations independently or run images and ideas fed to them by MQA Ltd. / Bob Stuart?
A: No, only MQA supplied information of any kind. What other kind of information is there besides pro-consumer based reverse engineering? As a likely NDA signor (and certainly working for those who are) he is not even allowed to do otherwise.

5)Will they actually bother to do their own blind testing with some kind of controls?
A: No

Let's see if this upcoming series on MQA plays out as expressed above based on expectations. (Clearly, many of us do not have high expectations...)

I am of course totally open to Stereophile / Austin actually bringing something new to the table. Surprise us, Stereophile. Time for journalistic independence and demonstration of critical thinking in the face of the facts out there about MQA.

-------
Archimago's Musings: A 'more objective' audiophile blog.

 

RE: MQA's claims, published in the January 2018 issue of Stereophile?, posted on November 21, 2017 at 04:15:45
John Atkinson
Reviewer

Posts: 4033
Location: New York
Joined: November 24, 2003
>I don't believe that the January "2018" issue of Stereophile has been
>released yet. Did you mean some other year?
>Oh, I get it, you're trolling rt66indierock.

"rt66indierock" denied that the negative comments about Jim Austin and his
article were an example of "framing" the argument ahead of the article's
publication. So I was gently pointing out that as the article he was
criticizing had yet to be published, "framing" was all he could be doing.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

 

RE: Daniel, posted on November 21, 2017 at 07:40:41
regmac
Audiophile

Posts: 6743
Joined: April 7, 2002
One of two things will happen: Mr. Austin will embrace MQA and readers will say he did so because Mr. Atkinson did same; or Austin will claim he hears little or no difference between MQA and other formats, in which case his "tin ear" will support Mr. Hansen's harsh criticisms--which would make for delicious irony. Who knows, perhaps Mr. Austin will one day wind up working for CH. ~;)

 

RE: MQA's claims, published in the January 2018 issue of Stereophile?, posted on November 21, 2017 at 10:47:24
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6984
Joined: August 1, 2001
>> I was gently pointing out that as the article he was
criticizing had yet to be published, "framing" was all he could be doing. <<

And precisely what is "wrong" with framing? I used to be extremely frustrated that one political party was expert at framing the issues to their advantage, while the competing party was completely oblivious and would constantly "lose" in public debates - causing many to vote against their own self-interests. (Currently I don't give a hoot as I believe that the entire political process in this country simply reflects the outward signs of a failed system.)

It's not hard to spot framing, which is pretty much the basis for all advertising done in the last 100 years in this country. What I find to be far more frustrating is simple evasion. How many times have you seen any politician actually deliver a straight, unambiguous answer to a "yes or no" question? (And if by some miracle they actually do so, it is always less than 12 hours before they begin to "walk back" their previous answer. YMMV,

 

RE: Tell me about the crickets, John. I'm still awaiting your response 2 years later., posted on November 21, 2017 at 11:57:25
John Atkinson
Reviewer

Posts: 4033
Location: New York
Joined: November 24, 2003
>While you're waiting, let's talk about your "musically perfect..., across
>the board" endorsement on the Vandersteen 7A's at CES 2014.
>Your continued silence leads me to believe that you knew then just as you
>know now such an endorsement was outlandish, nonsensical, and just plain
>absurd.

Please do not put words in my mouth. You have no idea what I know other
than from the words I choose to write.

Look, I have no problem with you criticizing what I write. But as this is
such an issue with you and has been for nearly 4 years, I can only assume
that what I wrote is at such odds with your own opinion that it has become
an obsession for you. So what did _you_ think of the sound in the Vandersteen
room at the 2014 CES? But if you _weren't_ in the room, why are you obsessed
with this?

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

 

RE: MQA's claims, published in the January 2018 issue of Stereophile?, posted on November 21, 2017 at 14:08:51
John Atkinson
Reviewer

Posts: 4033
Location: New York
Joined: November 24, 2003
>And precisely what is "wrong" with framing?

In this context, it means the "framer" is closing their mind to the possibility
that the forthcoming article may have legitimate information that they would
actually find relevant, perhaps even persuasive.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

 

RE: MQA's claims, published in the January 2018 issue of Stereophile?, posted on November 21, 2017 at 19:00:37
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6984
Joined: August 1, 2001
>> In this context, it means the "framer" is closing their mind to the possibility
that the forthcoming article may have legitimate information that they would
actually find relevant, perhaps even persuasive. <<

Is it possible that now you are framing Jim's forthcoming article? And even more disturbing is the possibility that Stereophile has already decided that it is their job to persuade people to like MQA. I suppose that all journalism is supposed to persuade readers to accept the POV of the writer. Then the reader needs to be on guard as to the motivations of the writer. Which seems to be the question at hand vis-a-vis Stereophile and MQA.

I think Rt66IndyRock's requests of Jim were made in the context of what would be required for Jim's article to be perceived as objective, and not simply to reach a foregone conclusion.

 

RE: MQA's claims, published in the January 2018 issue of Stereophile?, posted on November 21, 2017 at 22:49:35
Krav Maga
Audiophile

Posts: 1497
Location: Texas
Joined: October 19, 2017
In the Critics Corner thread "What Happened in the Last 30 Years?", in response to Charlie Hansen's response to you posting the following: "starting with Stereophile's January issue, Jim Austin will be on-by-one examining the technical claims made for MQA.", you wrote:

"Please note that I have been studying the criticisms you and others have made about MQA since they were made. I have also been studying the MQA patents and papers, talking to others as well as you and reading as much as I can on the work of Turing, Shannon, and others on information theory.
In what I believe is /not/ an uninformed opinion, I think the vast majority of the criticisms made of MQA are not based on facts; are based on societal and financial factors that I don't regard as relevant; are commercially self-serving; are based on circular reasoning; or are nothing more than uninformed conspiracy theories. In other words, I am not convinced that you or others have yet made any kind of case that would cause me to question my own opinions."

In the context of the Jim Austin's forthcoming article in Stereophile magazine, just as you concluded that rt66indierock was "framing" the article to try to delegitimize the work ahead of its publication, one could also conclude that you were "framing" the article to delegitimize any criticism of the work ahead of time.

So, one could conclude that your criticism of rt66indierock using a debating tactic called "framing" is an example of, oh, what's the word I'm looking for, oh yeah, HYPOCRISY!

As a reminder of what the stakes are regarding the MQA audio format, let me remind you what the company's ambitions for MQA are as stated by MQA's Spencer Chrislu (SC) to Jim Austin (JCA) on Stereophile.com. And I quote:

"JCA: What are the company's ambitions for MQA? Do you hope/expect that all digital music will someday be MQA encoded?

SC: Well, that's the goal!" (Link below)

HOPE/EXPECT THAT ALL DIGITAL MUSIC WILL SOMEDAY BE MQA ENCODED!
(Yes, ALL!)


This is why we are concerned, why we care, why we must ask questions and why the questions need to be answered. We want to get this one right. The stakes are too high to get it wrong!

 

RE: MQA's claims, published in the January 2018 issue of Stereophile?, posted on November 22, 2017 at 15:14:50
Charles Hansen
Manufacturer

Posts: 6984
Joined: August 1, 2001
Thanks for the link. That is truly scary. Talk about an organization obsessed with power, control, and money. Where does music fit in to their equation? Or the artist? Or the end user?

Equally scary to me was the way that the interviewee would repeatedly (and presumably knowingly) lie to promote his money-making scheme. Those are simply not the kind of people with whom I enjoy doing business.

 

Your endorsements seem more like those of an easily excitable kid in a candy store..., posted on November 25, 2017 at 13:48:18
stehno
Manufacturer

Posts: 739
Location: Oregon
Joined: November 8, 2001
... when it comes to audio playback performance.

Rather than those of a seasoned savvy audio professional or enthusiast with average or better listening skills.

And yes I do have an idea what you know other than what you write as you make it clear by your posts you know very very little about real performance. Unless of course your words are cheap and meaingless. Which IMO are exactly that.

For example. If you had a clue what you're talking about performance-wise you would have realized that I need not have listened to the Vandersteen room myself to realize your words endorsing the Vandersteens were meaningless. For one thing, the technology does not exist that would allow any speaker to compensate for or correct the many and significant shortcomings and distortions in every other part of the playback vineyard. Hence, your Vandersteen performance claims are an impossibility and therefore nonsensical. Unless of course, every other part of that system was also "musically perfect..., across the board." In which case, if you had any credibility you would have credited the entire playback system instead of just the speakers. BTW, it is my experience that those who know very little about playback system performance and/or have very limited listening skills are the exact same who attribute all sound to the speakers. Almost as though nothing else matters. Sound familiar?

Another example regarding your MQA endorsement. It's a given that you've never "experienced a birth of a new world" so that alone implies you know not what you speaketh in this endorsement. But like your endorsement of the Vandy's, once again the technology does not exist for a format to compensate or correct for the shortcomings of every other part of the audio playback vineyard. And as you admitted in a recent thread below, you apparently never performed any due diligence when you supposedly first auditioned MQA but now 3 years later you intend to perform due diligence after listening to all the complaints in this forum.

My advice is, give it a rest, John. We all deserve it, including you.

 

RE: MQA's claims, published in the January 2018 issue of Stereophile?, posted on November 26, 2017 at 00:07:23
stehno
Manufacturer

Posts: 739
Location: Oregon
Joined: November 8, 2001
It will be interesting to see if Jim Austin's January article on MQA will have anything to do with music. Better yet, MQA's playback performance and any comparative listening sessions.

5 or so weeks ago, Austin stated that he's trying to get his hands on all the MQA reading material he can to understand the technology so he can make an intelligent decision about MQA's value. Yet, he never mentioned that he intended to "listen" to any MQA-related materials.

2 or so weeks ago, Atkinson in response to you, said he was going to take your concerns and the concerns of others in this thread and perform due diligence and listed a handful of things he intended to do regarding MQA. Yet, he too never mentioned that he intended to "listen" to any MQA-related materials.

It just seems too coincidental that Stereophile seemingly routinely overlooks their entire purpose for existing - to review a product or technology's audible performance. But apparently that's too difficult.

And then when Atkinson endorses a product or technology for its musical performance, it's an unbelievable nonsensical over-the-type hyperbola that makes no sense to anybody.

All over the map, no consistency, the name calling, the straw man arguments, the obfuscations, the obtusity, the alligations of wrong motives toward others that they themselves may well be guilty of, etc, etc. I just don't get it. Well, I do actuallym get it, but still I just can't believe they are so in-our-faces with their seemingly dime-store psychology and this carelessness for audible performance.

Go figure.

It all just makes me think matters in the industry are far worse than I thought they were 6 weeks ago.

But again. I really do see MQA as a blessing-in-disguies to help expose all this crap. If it weren't for MQA, we'd be in for another 10 years of them getting away with this behavior and the industry would just become that much more dumbed down.

 

RE: MQA's claims, published in the January 2018 issue of Stereophile?, posted on November 26, 2017 at 08:28:18
John Atkinson
Reviewer

Posts: 4033
Location: New York
Joined: November 24, 2003
>It will be interesting to see if Jim Austin's January article on MQA will
>have anything to do with music.

I have already said on this forum that Jim's forthcoming articles will
examine MQA's technical claims.

>Better yet, MQA's playback performance and any comparative listening
>sessions.

See the link below.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

 

hear, hear, to CHansen, posted on August 11, 2020 at 13:26:23
drmoran@aol.com
Reviewer

Posts: 4
Joined: April 5, 2004
>> And the AES paper that introduced MQA to the world (although not by name) was certainly much more of a marketing piece than one normally finds in peer-reviewed journals. I really don't understand how that paper made it through the peer-review process - there were so many questionable aspects to its contents that I find it embarrassing to the AES. The only thing I can figure is that using his position as a "Fellow" plus having no less than 50 references intimidated the reviewers (even though many of those 50 references do not support his work, and in some cases even contradict it).

I regret not having saluted this worthy characterization when it first appeared. That article in an issue guest-edited by a colleague directly spurred Brad Meyer and me to do our blind comparison of hi-rez w RBCD, w detection at the same level as chance, public 3y later. So hear and bravo.

 

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