NEWS: MQA expands global partnerships for high end experience

THX1138UK

Well-known Member
Why the continued interest in MQA’s lossy format? I just do not get it - sorry.

HB
Me neither. I've read enough about MQA to know that it's all about the money. It's not lossless and you're not getting the whole 16 bit resolution if you listen to MQA in it's FLAC backwards compatible mode. I'll pass too.
 

larkone

Member
and only playable on limited equipment
 

Ron Hilditch

Active Member
If it's so bad why are so many reputable companies, signing up to use it? They must see some advantage other than money.
 

THX1138UK

Well-known Member
If it's so bad why are so many reputable companies, signing up to use it? They must see some advantage other than money.
Marketing works. Nobody wants to be the company that doesn't support MQA when everyone else does... Company executives are completely driven by money. It's why they are executives. There's always a tension between technical people and the money people. Just part of life...
 

larkone

Member
If it's so bad why are so many reputable companies, signing up to use it? They must see some advantage other than money.
Why would they not do it for the money - that wouldn't make any business sense. Unless you believe they are altruistic companies doing it for the greater good.
 

THX1138UK

Well-known Member
Why would they not do it for the money - that wouldn't make any business sense. Unless you believe they are altruistic companies doing it for the greater good.
I think many people do think this way... Lots of the younger generation who work for Tech Giants (FaceBook, Google etc) genuinely think they are there to make the world a better place, and not just to increase the value of stockholder shares. They are as shocked as anybody when they learn what these companies are actually doing with their users' personal data, when scandals such as Cambridge Analytica come to light.

Regards,
James.
 

larkone

Member
@THX1138UK Staff may think that way but that is not the way their companies are run - investors and shareholders do that.
 

THX1138UK

Well-known Member
@THX1138UK Staff may think that way but that is not the way their companies are run - investors and shareholders do that.
I totally agree. I was making the point that staff are often naïve about the true objectives of the company they work for.
 

Ron Hilditch

Active Member
Why would they not do it for the money - that wouldn't make any business sense. Unless you believe they are altruistic companies doing it for the greater good.
Altruistic Companies go bust very quickly, business is about making money. We now live in a Society where Social Media Tech Giants, promote liberal values and sit on wealth that would make Midas jealous. Yet when it comes to MQA, I'm not so sure. The developers, Meridian are a top range tech company and their previous attempt at improving digital sound reproduction was really good. It failed because not enough companies would buy into it. This time they are falling over themselves to use MQA.
 

larkone

Member
I don't think that many companies are falling over themselves to include MQA because there is very little support or content for it out there beyond Tidal. There are far more companies that do not support than the few that do.
 

THX1138UK

Well-known Member
Altruistic Companies go bust very quickly, business is about making money. We now live in a Society where Social Media Tech Giants, promote liberal values and sit on wealth that would make Midas jealous. Yet when it comes to MQA, I'm not so sure. The developers, Meridian are a top range tech company and their previous attempt at improving digital sound reproduction was really good. It failed because not enough companies would buy into it. This time they are falling over themselves to use MQA.
From a business perspective, MQA and DRM make sense. Open standards often fail commercially, because whilst they may be technically very good, companies would rather lock people into to proprietary platform that they control. There has to be a commercial benefit for the companies to embrace any new format; and a enough consumers have to be convinced that there are enough technical benefits worth paying for.
 

Office Dog

Standard Member
and only playable on limited equipment
It is playable on all audio equipment. (For example, go here and you can listen to it, regardless of equipment.) Sure, a listener can also choose to add an MQA decoder, further boosting audio quality, but this is not necessary to actually play back an MQA file.
 

THX1138UK

Well-known Member
It is playable on all audio equipment. (For example, go here and you can listen to it, regardless of equipment.) Sure, a listener can also choose to add an MQA decoder, further boosting audio quality, but this is not necessary to actually play back an MQA file.
Playable yes, but at significantly less than CD audio quality. I believe you only get 13 bits of resolution, not 16.

Regards,
James.
 

Craig uk

Well-known Member
I don’t bother with MQA, I use Qobuz rather than Tidal, it’s preferable to me on the DSP5200SE’s and my Linn system. MQA should be left for the portable audio market as intended.
 

Ron Hilditch

Active Member
Playable yes, but at significantly less than CD audio quality. I believe you only get 13 bits of resolution, not 16.

Regards,
James.
You don't get 16 bit resolution from red book CDs either. People seem quite happy using flac compression software and that may be more lossy than MQA?
 

Office Dog

Standard Member
Playable yes, but at significantly less than CD audio quality. I believe you only get 13 bits of resolution, not 16.

Regards,
James.
I disagree. MQA's approach involves three key aspects: its innovative method of digitally capturing original master recordings; its ability fold/unfold the file, making it convenient to stream; and an MQA file's provenance - so, the 'authenticated' in MQ'A'. But most critically, to me at least, regardless of bits, MQA files do sound better than CD quality. Did you click the link? Did you listen to the music videos? That'd be a far more interesting discussion. Me? I reckon that they sound pretty darn good and that is without the addition of any MQA-enabled kit.

This is where I feel these types of discussions lose so many potential music/hi-fi fans - a couple of comments in and we're talking/arguing about bits instead of how the music actually sounds. People should trust their ears and stop obsessing about ones and zeros and bits of this and that.
 
Last edited:

Office Dog

Standard Member
I don’t bother with MQA, I use Qobuz rather than Tidal, it’s preferable to me on the DSP5200SE’s and my Linn system. MQA should be left for the portable audio market as intended.
Or just left for people who prefer the sound of it?
 

larkone

Member
You don't get 16 bit resolution from red book CDs either. People seem quite happy using flac compression software and that may be more lossy than MQA?
FLAC compression is lossless - the clue is in the name FLAC -> Free Lossless Audio Compression. MQA is a lossy compression
 

Office Dog

Standard Member
FLAC compression is lossless - the clue is in the name FLAC -> Free Lossless Audio Compression. MQA is a lossy compression
On the subject of lossless and FLAC, the below is taken from a lengthy Q&A that MQA co-creator Bob Stuart undertook with Audiophile Style. It's a good read - click here to check it out.

Q: Is MQA really lossless?
A (Bob Stuart): This question often seems to assume that lossless is always best but in fact all "lossless" does is to take some bits and to reproduce those same bits at another time or place. It that's all you wanted to do, FLAC would be fine and there would be no need for MQA.

The team behind MQA understand not only lossless compression (see [jumpto=anchor41]Q1[/jumpto]) but also lossless processing and data burying. As explained earlier, there is a fundamental difficulty if we focus solely on strict lossless delivery. It is understood that a digital distribution system (including MQA) can be lossless in distribution. The problem is that the result is not delivered today; current DACs do not have lossless behaviour in the digital domain and all behave differently. Also the replay chain has several (sometimes unintended) places where losslessness breaks down. This is covered in our papers [[jumpto=anchor1]1[/jumpto]][[jumpto=anchor2]2[/jumpto]].

So MQA is set up to deliver a ‘closer-to-lossless’ digital path up to the DAC modulator with the goal of approaching analogue-to-analogue ‘lossless’ within appropriate thermal limits, including protecting the signals above ‘acoustic absolute zero’ (see [[jumpto=anchor1]1[/jumpto]][[jumpto=anchor2]2[/jumpto]][[jumpto=anchor11]11[/jumpto]].

MQA does not have the capability to defeat information theory.

More important is to capture and protect (in a lossless manner) all the information in the file that relates to the music content. This means capturing safely at least everything in the triangle on the Origami diagrams; this is then conveyed and protected without loss. This triangle is important for defending the content but also to achieve the low-blur hierarchical sampling chain.

Furthermore, the system path from analogue to analogue is more precise because of the other parts of the technology. Lossless deals with data in the digital domain. The biggest problem, in our experience, is getting it from analogue and back to analogue with the least audible damage. See [jumpto=anchor42]Q0[/jumpto] and [jumpto=anchor43]Q15[/jumpto]. Unless you understand this perspective MQA looks strange.

The problem that MQA is addressing is how to transport an analogue signal to another time or place. It is the analogue signal from the mixing desk that the producer heard and that is the signal that you want to reproduce at your loudspeaker.

Many recording and mastering engineers have testified that MQA improves very considerably on the conventional methods, recreating the sound they actually hear or remember
 

Craig uk

Well-known Member
Or just left for people who prefer the sound of it?
Of course, though I would be surprised if anyone preferred the MQA file/stream to the native 24bit uncompressed equivalent.
 

larkone

Member
On the subject of lossless and FLAC, the below is taken from a lengthy Q&A that MQA co-creator Bob Stuart undertook with Audiophile Style. It's a good read - click here to check it out.

Q: Is MQA really lossless?
A (Bob Stuart): This question often seems to assume that lossless is always best but in fact all "lossless" does is to take some bits and to reproduce those same bits at another time or place. It that's all you wanted to do, FLAC would be fine and there would be no need for MQA.

The team behind MQA understand not only lossless compression (see [jumpto=anchor41]Q1[/jumpto]) but also lossless processing and data burying. As explained earlier, there is a fundamental difficulty if we focus solely on strict lossless delivery. It is understood that a digital distribution system (including MQA) can be lossless in distribution. The problem is that the result is not delivered today; current DACs do not have lossless behaviour in the digital domain and all behave differently. Also the replay chain has several (sometimes unintended) places where losslessness breaks down. This is covered in our papers [[jumpto=anchor1]1[/jumpto]][[jumpto=anchor2]2[/jumpto]].

So MQA is set up to deliver a ‘closer-to-lossless’ digital path up to the DAC modulator with the goal of approaching analogue-to-analogue ‘lossless’ within appropriate thermal limits, including protecting the signals above ‘acoustic absolute zero’ (see [[jumpto=anchor1]1[/jumpto]][[jumpto=anchor2]2[/jumpto]][[jumpto=anchor11]11[/jumpto]].

MQA does not have the capability to defeat information theory.

More important is to capture and protect (in a lossless manner) all the information in the file that relates to the music content. This means capturing safely at least everything in the triangle on the Origami diagrams; this is then conveyed and protected without loss. This triangle is important for defending the content but also to achieve the low-blur hierarchical sampling chain.

Furthermore, the system path from analogue to analogue is more precise because of the other parts of the technology. Lossless deals with data in the digital domain. The biggest problem, in our experience, is getting it from analogue and back to analogue with the least audible damage. See [jumpto=anchor42]Q0[/jumpto] and [jumpto=anchor43]Q15[/jumpto]. Unless you understand this perspective MQA looks strange.

The problem that MQA is addressing is how to transport an analogue signal to another time or place. It is the analogue signal from the mixing desk that the producer heard and that is the signal that you want to reproduce at your loudspeaker.

Many recording and mastering engineers have testified that MQA improves very considerably on the conventional methods, recreating the sound they actually hear or remember
I have no idea what that lengthy article (cant be ar**ed to read all of that) has to do with FLAC. I was correcting the fake info from @Ron Hilditch
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: New Denon AV Products, HDMI 2.1, 8K, DTS:X Pro Sound Q&A with Denon Product Specialists

Trending threads

Latest News

Ruark announces R3 all-in-one music system
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Disney Plus announces Star Wars: The Bad Batch spin-off
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
LG CX and GX OLED TVs gain AMD FreeSync Premium
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Samsung launches HW-Q950T and HW-Q900T Dolby Atmos soundbars
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
AVForums Podcast: 12th July 2020
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
Top Bottom