NEWS: MQA radio service coming to BluOS platform

mtenga

Distinguished Member
This is great news. My Node 2i has been in the drawer recently, preferring to use my Denon streamer. But I’m going to re-add the unit just for this. Anything that attempts to improve the quality of radio gets a thumbs up from me.
 

Cebolla

Well-known Member
Even greater news: Radio Paradise are using their own MQA encoder to produce the lossy MQA streams for BluOS from their existing (non-MQA) tracks, rather than change to using ready encoded MQA tracks.

This means that Radio Paradise will still run their existing lossless FLAC track streams as normal, avoiding the danger of them being tainted by MQA had the non-MQA tracks used to source the streams been replaced by lossy MQA tracks - see discussion on the RP community forum for further info:
https://radioparadise.com/community/forum/topic/25835
No. We’re not using any MQA masters.

Here’s how it works currently: we assemble blocks of programming as 16/44.1 FLAC files. Those are then encoded into MQA. The folding/unfolding is something that happens when MQA encodes higher resolution input files into 16/44.1 output files. That whole part of their encoding isn’t utilized by our MQA stream at this time.
Here’s how it will work in the future: we assemble blocks of programming as 24/96 FLAC files, from uncompressed (non-MQA) masters of the highest available bitrate — 24/192, 24/96, 24/48, or 16/44.1 — that are then encoded, with folding, into a 16/44.1 MQA bitstream. They will also be available as uncompressed 24/96.

In neither case will be be forcing people — like Tidal does — to play MQA streams via non-MQA DACs. In theory, MQA files play back as normal 16/44.1 on non-MQA gear, but there are some who challenge that, and in our case it won’t be an issue.

Our decision to offer our streams via MQA on BluOS is based solely on my opinion that their encoding improves the listening experience. Again, that is an entirely subjective opinion. However, it definitely is not based on anything as simple as dynamics compression or equalization. To my ears, something more sophisticated than that is going on.

Unlike Tidal, we're not describing MQA encoded audio as an accurate delivery of the original master, or a faithful presentation of the artist's vision. We're describing it as something that we think sounds really great, and that our listeners will enjoy.
MQA's business practices and promotional methods are a separate issue as far as I'm concerned. We regularly utilize the services of companies that could be fairly characterized in far harsher terms (Google & Amazon, for instance). Where do you draw a line like that?

We will never offer MQA as a sole delivery option. That's where I'd personally draw that line.
Bill Goldsmith, Radio Paradise founder.



BTW, for those 'serious music listeners' interested in Radio Paradise's existing best quality lossless FLAC streams (as opposed to the lossy MQA streams for BluOS), here's the links:
https://radioparadise.com/listen/stream-links
FLAC Links
Main Mix FLAC (https://stream.radioparadise.com/flac)
Mellow Mix FLAC (https://stream.radioparadise.com/mellow-flac)
Rock Mix FLAC (https://stream.radioparadise.com/rock-flac)
World/Etc Mix FLAC (https://stream.radioparadise.com/world-etc-flac)

The links below include stream metadata (song title info). Like everything about FLAC streaming, this is still somewhat experimental. If you experience an increase in dropouts or glitches, we recommend going back to the main links above.

Main Mix FLAC (with metadata) (http://stream.radioparadise.com/flacm)
Mellow Mix FLAC (with metadata) (http://stream.radioparadise.com/mellow-flacm)
Rock Mix FLAC (with metadata) (http://stream.radioparadise.com/rock-flacm)
World/Etc Mix FLAC (with metadata) (http://stream.radioparadise.com/world-etc-flacm)

FLAC playback is only supported by some players (like VLC). If your player requires you to go through TuneIn or vTuner to add stations, then our links will not work. They will also not work in iTunes. Player limitations like those are entirely out of our hands.

Note: the FLAC-with-metadata links are http, because some players (like VLC) will not display metadata on https streams.

You can post questions and feedback about the FLAC streams in this forum topic.
 
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mtenga

Distinguished Member
The update is here but not that well labelled in differentiating between the four CD and MQA stations when setting presets. There are eight icons and not labelled as to type. I’m assuming the top four are the MQA stations in line with how they appear under the Radio Paradise menu. Anyway I’ll find out tomorrow when I start playing no doubt.
 

[email protected]

Active Member
The update is here but not that well labelled in differentiating between the four CD and MQA stations when setting presets. There are eight icons and not labelled as to type. I’m assuming the top four are the MQA stations in line with how they appear under the Radio Paradise menu. Anyway I’ll find out tomorrow when I start playing no doubt.
Have you updated the app? It also needs it.
 

mtenga

Distinguished Member
Have you updated the app? It also needs it.
iOS automatically updates my apps. I updated the hardware by going into the app and hitting the prompt to update.

The ordering is fine within the Radio Paradise section itself, with the four CD and MQA streams in two clearly identified blocks. It is just that when you go into add presets the two blocks are not identified in the same way and there is just a list of the eight stations. But common sense says the top four of those will be the MQA steams to match the order they appear in the RP section. As I say I’ll check I added correctly later when I start playing. The app will tell me the quality of the stream.

Anyway you can always add presets by just playing the MQA stations themselves and then selecting add preset via the three menu dots if you want to do it that way. I just usually use the presets section itself through force of habit.
 

Hear Here

Active Member
iOS automatically updates my apps. I updated the hardware by going into the app and hitting the prompt to update.

The ordering is fine within the Radio Paradise section itself, with the four CD and MQA streams in two clearly identified blocks. It is just that when you go into add presets the two blocks are not identified in the same way and there is just a list of the eight stations. But common sense says the top four of those will be the MQA steams to match the order they appear in the RP section. As I say I’ll check I added correctly later when I start playing. The app will tell me the quality of the stream.

Anyway you can always add presets by just playing the MQA stations themselves and then selecting add preset via the three menu dots if you want to do it that way. I just usually use the presets section itself through force of habit.
It's not the BluOS app that needs updating, it's the Bluesound / NAD device's software. This is normally prompted on your app screen but you need to positively respond to it.

It should be clear from the app screen which feeds are MQA. Here's my app screen

Paradice Radio MQA Capture.PNG
 

mtenga

Distinguished Member
Yes, as I said I updated the hardware via the app.

Yes that is the Radio Paradise section of the app screen with the two blocks of four CD and MQA streams clearly identified. The point I am making is that if you go into presets option and try to add them from there, then the two blocks are not similarly identified, It just shows icons for the eight streams, without identifying which is CD and which is MQA. But I have now confirmed that the top four are the MQA streams as expected anyway.
 
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Hear Here

Active Member
Yes, as I said I updated the hardware via the app.

Yes that is the Radio Paradise section of the app screen with the two blocks of four CD and MQA streams clearly identified. The point I am making is that if you go into presets option and try to add them from there, then the two blocks are not similarly identified, It just shows icons for the eight streams, without identifying which is CD and which is MQA. But I have now confirmed that the top four are the MQA streams as expected anyway.
There's a more reliable way to add a Preset. Select the programme (eg Paradise Radio Mellow Mix MQA) so it's playing. Then press the 3-dot symbol on the bottom bar of the Win app (not sure where it is on other apps) and choose Add Preset. You then know you have the MQA vesion.
 

Cebolla

Well-known Member
It should be clear from the app screen which feeds are MQA. Here's my app screen
1617883144049.png

Strictly speaking 'MQA' should read 'MQA-CD', as those lossy streams are currently derived from the CD quality lossless streams, so not yet 'full' (hi-res) lossy MQA. That won't come until Radio Paradise have launched the proposed 24bit/96kHz hi-res streams, ie, the original straight (non-MQA) hi-res streams, available to everyone unaltered in lossless FLAC, as well as the 'special' lossy MQA streams for BluOS derived from those hi-res streams:
https://radioparadise.com/community/forum/post/3901675 (1 April 2021)
Here’s how it will work in the future: we assemble blocks of programming as 24/96 FLAC files, from uncompressed (non-MQA) masters of the highest available bitrate — 24/192, 24/96, 24/48, or 16/44.1 — that are then encoded, with folding, into a 16/44.1 MQA bitstream. They will also be available as uncompressed 24/96.

https://radioparadise.com/community/forum/post/3901944 (6 April 2021)
When we're ready to launch a hi-res stream, it will be available as straight FLAC as well as MQA.

Due to the nature of how we deliver our audio, it will never be a mix of different sample rates & bit depths. Everything needs to be standardized to the same rate, probably 24/96. Even if the only master we have is 16/44.1 it will be upsampled to 24/96 and will read out as such on your DAC.

Because we mix songs together into a continuous flow, there is absolutely no way around that.
 
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mtenga

Distinguished Member
There's a more reliable way to add a Preset. Select the programme (eg Paradise Radio Mellow Mix MQA) so it's playing. Then press the 3-dot symbol on the bottom bar of the Win app (not sure where it is on other apps) and choose Add Preset. You then know you have the MQA vesion.
Yep agreed, I'm just a stuck in stone creature of habit who has always done it the other way through the preset section. The way you are suggesting is more certain.

Anyway I am good now.
 

Cebolla

Well-known Member
The update is here
My Node 2i has been in the drawer recently, preferring to use my Denon streamer. But I’m going to re-add the unit just for this. Anything that attempts to improve the quality of radio gets a thumbs up from me.
Have you noticed if the new Radio Paradise MQA streams provided by the update have actually given the Node 2i that quality improvement over the Radio Paradise CD quality FLAC streams that were already available?

If so, does that quality improvement trump the quality of the already available Radio Paradise CD quality FLAC streams even when played by your preferred Denon streamer, so justifying you getting the Node 2i out of the drawer?
 

mtenga

Distinguished Member
Will let you know. Been too busy to listen at the moment.
 

mtenga

Distinguished Member
The MQA feeds are very good, but so are the CD. Can’t really notice much a difference personally, which has been my consistent experience with MQA.
 

Cebolla

Well-known Member
Well if nothing else, Radio Paradise gives BluOS device owners the level playing field opportunity to compare lossy MQA streams with lossless FLAC streams that the MQA streams are actually guaranteed to be derived from - something that TIDAL does not give you.
 
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kahlua

Well-known Member
just updated firmware ,wow sounds superb,great work bluos.
 

Rob Sinden

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
MQA Really Is A Fraud!

Dr. AIX

A number of readers have forwarded links to the video below. In fact, I was in the middle of viewing it when I received a couple of emails. It was produced by a UK-based commentator under the name GoldenSound and it is absolutely spot on in its analysis and conclusion regarding the MQA format. I highly recommend you find 38" and watch this video.

For those that are time-challenged, here are the main takeaways:

  1. MQA is NOT lossless
  2. MQA adds unwanted noise and distortion
  3. MQA is not usually sourced from a high-sample rate master
  4. MQA 'authentication' does not authenticate/guarantee anything (NOTE: the blue light is nonsense)
GoldenSound created an audio track that included a variety of audio tones, ultrasonic frequencies, and other test components and then had the files converted to MQA and uploaded to TIDAL. He reached out to the people at MQA ahead of his posting and they responded by having the file removed from the TIDAL platform. It seems MQA doesn't want the world to know that it is perpetrating a hoax on the music and consumer electronics industries. They're acting like bullies.

I have been in a conversation with an individual at Warner Music Group regarding the AIX Records catalog and distribution through streaming services. Just this morning I received an email that made mention of my request to remove ALL AIX content from TIDAL because they insisted on using MQA to encode my high-resolution masters. He wrote:

"I read your comment about MQA and Tidal. Our former CEO for WEA, Mike Jbara, is the CEO of MQA. Have you ever had a conversation with MQA about your concerns? Perhaps it would do some good."

I sent him the link to this video. It's amazing that so many people in positions of influence have been fooled by the MQA juggernaut. Watch the video, read the articles, and I'm confident that you'll come to the same conclusion I have — MQA REALLY IS A FRAUD!

GoldenSound's YouTube page containing this video also includes a number of valuable references:
How to test MQA's leaky filter: https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/to...

2018 RMAF MQA talk by Chris Connaker: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSv0l...

Archimago's MQA article: https://audiophilestyle.com/ca/review...

PS Audio vid on MQA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPfmW...

Schiit on MQA: https://www.schiit.com/news/news/why-...

Linn on MQA: https://web.archive.org/web/202011112...

Neil Young removes albums from TIDAL: https://neilyoungarchives.com/news/1/...

John Atkinson of stereophile confirms low-level distortion: https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/to...

Further reading on MQA: GTO filter analysis: https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/to...

Benchmark Audio's statement about MQA transient shifting: https://www.theabsolutesound.com/arti...

RealHD stops supporting MQA: https://www.realhd-audio.com/?p=7218

Archimago on transient smearing https://archimago.blogspot.com/2018/0...

Rob Watts on digital filters: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/watts...

Benchmark on MQA: https://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/appl...

Meridian has doctored tests of hi-res in the past: https://audioinvestigations.blogspot....

Filter ringing (with a link to Mans/troll audio) https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/to...

Aliasing vs. imaging: https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/to...

Music aliasing distortion example: https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/to...

Linear phase vs. Minimum phase: https://troll-audio.com/articles/line...

Sox settings to duplicate an MQA filter: https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/to...

JA's post showing signal aliasing: https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/to...

mansr's original Dragonfly DAC analysis: https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/to...

Why MQA's digital filters blur the music: https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/to...

A Survey of Musical Instrument Spectra to 102.4 KHz https://www.cco.caltech.edu/~boyk/spe...

RealHD Audio on MQA: https://www.realhd-audio.com/?p=6517

Bob Stuart wanted to censor AS: https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/to...
 

mtenga

Distinguished Member
Wow Rob you have been busy :)
 

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