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CES 2017: Tidal announces Master Audio feature in conjunction with MQA

Discussion in 'Music & Music Streaming Services' started by Steve Withers, Jan 8, 2017.


    1. Ed Selley

      Ed Selley
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    2. Manmc

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      Given that Apple , for example , have made billions out of mp3 it will be very interesting to see if they have the ' courage' to provide mobile hi-res ?? There really is no need to chuck 40-60% away anymore .

      ~M~
       
    3. yoskiwoski

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      It sounds noticibly better! I struggled to actually hear any difference between high quality and hifi, but master def sounds better. Yay!
       
    4. Canti1982

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      I have been playing some of the Master material for the last couple of days and some of it sounds very good. If you are using an external dac make sure you go into the settings for the audio output (there is a cog next to the option where you select your dac) set it to Use Exclusive Mode and Force Volume.

      If you have a dac that supports MQA then you can also select Passthrough MQA to allow that to do the decoding rather than doing it in software.

      Fairly impressed so far but from the available tracks there is not that much that I would normally listen to, I'm hoping some more record companies start to work with it and the catalogue grows a bit.

      Mobile is apparently in the works.
       
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    5. Goldorak

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      Can someone explain how much better mqa is versus cd
      I am talking within the software decoding only
       
    6. ScottW75

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      Quick question. Should the passthrough be greyed out when using a non MQA dac as I'm using an oppo HA-2 which i don think is MQA but it lets be check and uncheck the box.
       
      Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
    7. mark800

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      The master audio material sounds brilliant.
       
    8. bandyka

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      Finally some true high quality streaming audio perhaps it's now worth the hassle?
       
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    9. Canti1982

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      It's not greyed out with my non MQA dac, I just don't tick passthrough. I tried ticking it and it still works but I'm assuming it just plays at a lower quality as it can't be decoded by the dac.
       
    10. sergiup

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      Don't know for sure, but wild guess time: from what MQA themselves say, their data is additional to WAV or FLAC, so even when it gets to the DAC I would think it relies on the DAC to decode and include that additional data in its decoding. If you untick that option and use software decoding then I would hazard a guess that it somehow puts everything into the digital stream that goes to your non-MQA DAC in its normal non-special format. I've no idea if in this case you're getting the full benefit, there isn't much to suggest that you aren't though.
       
    11. invisiblekid

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      The exclusive mode is very important. While it means (I think) nothing else will work with your DAC whilst Tidal is running, if you dont tick it, then the DAC run at the output you have set it at on the OS and wont change.

      So on my iMac, if it's set to 44hz, then thats what the music will be played at if the "exclusive option" is NOT ticked.
       
    12. Canti1982

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      I don't have an MQA dac to test but apparently with those you can get up to 24bit/352.8kHz and with a standard dac 24bit/96kHz.

      Still sounds pretty good but would love to try a MQA enabled dac just to hear what difference there might be.
       
    13. invisiblekid

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      For me I seriously doubt I'd be able to tell the difference between those levels.

      Would however like to see how much a good MQA DAC compares to Tidal doing the decoding. Shame my Mojo isn't compatible, no doubt that'll be readied for CES 2018
       
    14. JamesW 51FD

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      I agree with the above comment (re exclusive mode). It took me a while to discover this. I have a Chord Hugo and a MAC mini and it would only output hi-res after I selected exclusive mode. I would also note that the Tidal Masters that I have tried so far output in either 96kHz or 88.2kHz as indicated by the colour of the lights on the Hugo. This leads me to believe that those are the Master versions available on Tidal at the moment and that an MQA DAC would not be able to access anything else. I assume that the Tidal app is doing all of the decoding and outputting as PCM 24bit/88.2 or 96kHz. Does anyone know if that is the case?
       
    15. nugget2014

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      i get this message when i selected my amp/dac in the streaming settings

      tidal requires you to set your system sound settings in control panel to 16bit 44100hz (cd quality) in order to play tracks correctly

      it's currently set to 24bit 96khz and it displays that on my fiio e17

      does that mean i should set it back to what tidal is telling me to take advantage of the better quality?
       
    16. nugget2014

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      so i cant listen to the master albums when my amp/dac has exclusive mode ticked, has to be unticked. this is so confusing, as i read you need it enabled to get the increased quality?

      i tried everything when it was turned on just gave me that error message up top. maybe my e17 just isnt compatible to get the better audio or what? or am i making a mistake
       
    17. JamesW 51FD

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      I have been playing with Tidal tonight and discovered that the albums listed under the selection' What's New; Masters, are NOT the only MASTER recordings available. I have found a number of albums by browsing artists and looking for multiple versions of the same album. The only way I have found to determine this is selecting a track and observe the bottom right corner to see if it shows HI-FI or MASTER.
      I have so fat found additional albums by Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles that display MASTER but don't appear under What's New; Masters.
      This does seem a bit odd and annoying because ideally I would like to see ALL MASTER albums appear under that selection and also there should be some kind of identifier on an album or in album info. Is there another easier way?
       
    18. invisiblekid

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      Set you computer output to 16bit 44100hz. Anything else and the computer to upsampling which is obviously not what you want. Also your computer cannot decide MQA

      Not familiar with the Fiio, but can you set it to a different setting? Again if so leave it at 44hz. Unless you have an MQA DAC, you need to leave the decoding to Tidal.

      Then if you select "Exclusive Mode" Tidal is decoding the MQA track and your Fiio should display 24bit/96hz.

      Not all master songs are 96hz. Some I've found are 88hz

      That's interesting because I found some tracks not on the Master selection coming up as 88hz. Didn't look if Master was being displayed on the Tidal screen though.

      Could be still 16bit? My Mojo only display Hz not Bit so cannot tell.
       
    19. JamesW 51FD

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      That is interesting, can you remember which tracks so that I can also test?
       
    20. invisiblekid

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      I have no idea lol. Was literally just click this that and the other on stuff as i often do. All I can remember it was other albums of an artist who's album was on the Masters list and it definitely wasnt on the Masters list.

      looking around now Beyonce Lemonade is on the Master list and is "only" 48hz
       
      Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
    21. invisiblekid

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      EDIT, Wrong album.

      Fleetwood Mac Tango In The Night has a 96hz version not on the masters list
      also Say You Will, Mirage, Tusk Expanded, Fleetwood Mac.

      I knew I'd get there! :beer: was consumed.
       
      Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
    22. invisiblekid

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      ooof triple post. Sorry.

      If you like some Country and my-dog-died-Western, Blake Shelton has almost every album duplicated as 48hz.

      Right thats enough. Just click on an artist on the master page and look at their other albums. Any duplicated might be a Hi-Res version if its not a special extended one.
       
    23. nugget2014

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      How do I do that? I go onto my amp dac and change it that way but should I be doing something else?

      I did what you say and it still does not work

      I go onto playback devices select my amp with right click properties then go into the advanced settings and it gives you a list of what setting you want to use 16bit 44100hz 24bit 96khz etc i should then choose the option of 16bit 44100hz? Did that already. Is there anything else I should be doing? There's no way to change anything on the amp controls itself. If i then start exclusive mode it still tells me I need to change it to 16bit 44100hz in control panel. But on the amp itself it always says 16bit 48khz..
       
      Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
    24. invisiblekid

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      Are you using Windows? If so I cannot help you much lol. Make sure the midi settings for that are on 44100hz or auto.

      Although I guess if you tick the exclusive mode on Tidal it shouldn't make any difference. Tidal overrides any setting I set my Mac to this way.

      Then make sure the Passthrough MQA is NOT ticked/on/blue.

      Your DAC should then show it's playing either 48hz/88hz/96hz. Tidal should then display "Master" next to the speaker icon on screen.
       
    25. nugget2014

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      There's also a box where it says what can your receiver decode I selected all frequency ranges and even unticked some to test if it solves it but nothing works
       
    26. nugget2014

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      I did play Beyoncé lemonade and it did show master next to the speaker icon but my exclusive mode was not enabled..when people say it needs to be turned on to get the benefit? As I can't turn it on without music not playing in the masters list and the error popping up.

      My sound preference was set to default as that's the only way I think it works for me..
       
    27. invisiblekid

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      I don't get that with mine. Just these options

      IMG_2432.JPG
      IMG_2433.JPG
      IMG_2435.JPG


      When you say nothing works, what exactly do you mean? Is it that your Fiio is not saying it's receiving a hi res signal?
       
    28. nugget2014

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      Sorry I meant in windows itself.

      I'll jump on soon and show some images of what's happening might make it clearer to understand as I might not word it correctly ha
       
    29. invisiblekid

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      The Master next to the speaker icon will show up whatever.

      OK, so it sounds like to me something on your OS or Fiio is messing with Tidal. If exclusive option is enabled then you SHOULD have zero issues.

      Not sure how, but you also need to turn "everything" to "off" on the Fiio that might do "something" to the sound. Sorry about the vagueness as I only have a Fiio Mount Blanc Amp.
       
    30. invisiblekid

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      Right so the the Fiio E17 excepts (MAX) through USB 24/96. This is fine for Tidal. What might be the issue is that it is apparently only USB1.0 compatible. It might well be that Tidal does not see the Fiio properly.

      So, you MIGHT be ok if you have the "exclusive mode" deselected and set the Fiio to 24/96. Tidal (without the MQA passthrough) optioned should then decode the track and you get a decoded MQA to your DAC.
       

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