General MQA Discussion

As I said, I think the only really clever thing with MQA so far is that they came up with a way to offer it’s advantages to a broad base of customers - transparently. As in, there is nothing they need to do, or buy, to get to try MQA out or “benefit” from it (if, indeed, there is a benefit).

Every other “better” format has required purchasing new hardware, new software, new music, or all three. Not the case with MQA. Which is pretty damn clever … as otherwise we could be 100% certain it was going to die on the vine … as opposed being 95% certain … :wink:


Ah thanks, once again you’ve cleared up a few things for me. If it just integrates into existing status quo then who makes any money. Is MQA a commercial venture?


Oh, it’s definitely a commercial venture.

There are licensing fees involved … for encoders, processors, decoders, players and for the actual music. All payable to MQA (it’s own company, spun off from Meridian I believe). So far they do not really seem to be visibly affecting things. One concern there is that, if MQA becomes ubiquitous, suddenly the licensing fees get ramped up.

Of course on the other hand, if EVERYTHING from music to hardware licenses it, then scale-of-economies means that those fees could be tiny - and still HIGHLY profitable.


That’s the scary thing when something becomes mainstream and then they up their prices accordingly. It will certainly be interesting to follow its progress. I suppose that the more products that do end up supporting it will decide it’s fate in the end. The company must be pushing hard to get it out there. And it must be working because we’re talking about it.:slightly_smiling_face:.


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I hope MQA dies. It’s a cash grab, plain and simple. I see extremely little benefit for it as a technology, and most of its claims on benefiting the industry and music listeners have been debunked in one way or another.

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I do not disagree with what you said but I do have a problem with people who dissect what is written and respond to each section as if it were written as an answer to discrete issues.

Many times this can miss the intent of the writer. I am not not picking any particular point, I just do not care for the practice.

Other than that…ok.


Life is analog, digital is just samples thereof

I wasn’t “dissecting” anything … I was responding to, and generally agreeing with specific points. It is easier to correlate responses by quoting what they’re a response to - at least when making (or responding to) longer posts.

Nothing more to it than that.


I would want I think you said in posts as well as a post yesterday in the other MQA thread. @Torq

I’m going to save my personal thoughts on MQA for a bit (and they’ll be in the other MQA thread) … as they’re a bit complicated, and come from both low-level/detailed technical understanding as well as more hours than I care to think about doing specific comparisons (or as specific is possible).

It is interesting to experiment with, either way. hope I interpreted correctly but you still weren’t sure one way or the other without more research.

I think a good portion of audiophiles believe , " The jury is still out with MQA "

Also one has to weigh carefully that an example would be that a hi-res competitor format DSD is 306MB
while the MQA file is just 40MB . 10X less storage to me is a big thing if it is able to maintain Hi Res fidelity.

As I understand it from Audirvana. If you have Audirvana you would still get the first unfold with a limit of 24/96 stream with Tidal w/ Masters subscription.

I will try to find time to get more info. about MQA.

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One thing MQA does is reduce incentive for labels to release non-MQA encoded high resolution files. As a streaming format (primarily) it will also ensure that there is some slight degradation of unlawful copies created by recording and re-ripping. Further, as you point out, a few bits have been lost, and MQA is technically a lossy format.

So digitally unprotected or vulnerable hi-res masters will be less likely to escape or be copied.
I suppose “piracy” is of less concern in a streaming world generally as subscription models supercede ownership models. (you don’t really own Kindle books that you allegedly bought on Amazon even though the button says “buy”)


This is very true.

Though they’re quite reticent to do that anyway - it certainly doesn’t increase their incentive to do more of it.

And yes, MQA is technically lossy. In real terms, if the required bit-depth of the initial master is 13 bits or less, then it’s still lossless up to 44.1 kHz - even without MQA hardware/software. And that means that probably 98% of currently sold material is going to be lossless even when MQA encoded … at least for what would normally be a 16/44.1 file.

Anything that needs 14 bits or more, is instantly lossy without MQA decoding software/hardware - and anything above 48 kHz is lossy regardless.

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I understand…I just find the use of it not a good way to go. Like I said I did not disagree with your response at all.

The term dissect is accurate. Maybe unfortunate but nonetheless accurate. When you take what someone writes and pull apart it to respond to specific parts of it, it is the practice of dissecting the post. In your specific case there was nothing malicious or no negative intention involved.

Maybe I should have picked a better time to bring it up but I personally feel it should not be practiced. It sometimes turns a forum into an adversarial type place where people have to think before posting. And that is not good for the forum, IMO.

I just feel it’s better not done.


Life is analog, digital is just samples thereof

I don’t see it as an adversarial practice at all. That’d all be down to what is said, not simply quoting the points one is responding to in a post that makes multiple points/statements.

But you can view it as you wish; it’ll just be a point, a perspective, and an assignment of terms that we’ll just have to disagree on.

If you don’t like the way I post, there’s a very simple remedy for that.



Actually, that should be mandatory.

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I wanna be disected… er sedated…

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I haven’t had much time to play with it either (PC Desktop version) but have had similar experience. I don’t mind Tidal as much as some (the DRM aspect of MQA is a pain), Qobuz just doesn’t have the library for me yet compared to the others. This could be an interesting contender in the space and hopefully drives the other big players into the higher resolution offerings so the prices come way down.

How so?

Since you can’t download the files (legally) for use outside the TIDAL application anyway, in what way are you being affected by “DRM” in MQA files?

MQA doesn’t prevent any kind of copying.

MQA plays on any PCM-capable DAC, with optional software decoding even in the free client if you want to take “advantage” of it.

All the “DRM” does is stop you changing the files willy-nilly and still getting the authentication indicator to work.


And for the record, I am no fan of MQA.

I think it’s a waste of time and energy … with the few albums that do sound better in MQA being down to different masters (which could easily be released as normal PCM files and still sound better).


For a me beeing relative new to the lossless streaming thing, it was so rewarding to see the purple LED on the ifi xDSD telling me I got full mqa roll out
To be honest- I had no clue and believed the marketing.
It’s so obvios. Of course there is no Service with only the best recordings.
Now that I get here your input, it’s like with anything… the mastering is more important than the “highest” technical stuff like bitrates etc.

I keep on exploring the lossless and lossy streaming services and rip even more of my CDs :slight_smile:


Probably more of the decoding process/hardware/ “will this work fully on my system” that’s the pain than the DRM. Since I have iFi gear mostly, I can decode MQA but often wonder whether I’m getting the full effect, etc which I don’t have to wonder about with 24/192 PCM/FLAC. I believe the DRM does lock the high res portion of the stream; not sure that’s as much a pain from an experience standpoint as it is an annoyance knowing I can just put the file in any player and get all the goodness.