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It appears that MQA has managed to mislead the Sound on Sound author

Hugh Robjohn wrote: "It is certainly proprietary, and that obviously brings 'issues' of the viability of widespread support. But I think calling it 'lossy' is misleading. All of the actual audio information is stored loss-lessly. The only lossy aspect is employed in reducing the sample rate for rates over 96kHz."

This is not accurate. While it is true that lossy compression techniques (similar to MP3) are used for sample rates over 96kHz, a different form of lossy compression is used by MQA for all of the audio, regardless of sample rate. Specifically the bit depth is reduced via dithering from 24 bits to ~17 bits.

That is a fact. The only place that opinion comes in is the degree of audibility of this reduction in resolution. I have noticed a distinct loss of resolution in the MQA version of The Doors song "Riders on the Storm", especially on the whispered vocal overdub (which is likely due to this reduction of bit depth), and that is of concern to me.

As always, my opinion only and not necessarily that of my employer or personal masseuse.


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