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MQA Measurements


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1 hour ago, tuga said:

Did you try running the CD from your computer's optical drive, or rip it and then compare the file with the streams? If not then it's apples to oranges.

But I am not doubting or disagreeing with your assessment. It's taken me 6 years to get my file playback to the level of my CD player. CD player level computer playback is not plug and play unfortunately. And I am not convinced that it is easy to get the same quality from online streaming as one gets from local file streaming either.

CD players are dedicated machines where the designer has control over all factors and the potential jitter and noise issues have been dealt with. Using a CD player as a transport (or a CD transport) is already adding complexity to the playback system (two PSUs in different boxes, a copper link, data travelling along a cable, etc.). Using a computer that is connected to the internet is a massive lorry of worms...

I'd say that was more Granny Smith to a different cooking apple, than oranges to apples.

Same DAC, or the same comparisons with a different DAC. Therefore the difference should be extremely small IF the actual original file is the same. There could be I suppose some element of jitter. However, the point is that it's not universally the same. The point is that with some CDs, the CD sounds better than the high-resolution/MQA version. With other CDs, the CD sounds worse. The same applies to 'CD quality' streams, so the MQA factor doesn't apply. The replay chain would be a factor if it was always that one was better than the other. It can't be a factor if (as it seems) it varies depending on the music.

The replay chain presumably won't behave differently with different CDs, so the only sensible conclusion is that the original file is different in some way. This could be possibly different versions. Morde likely, I would assume is that the process of taking the original file and making it available online is not implemented in the same way in every case.

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In this YouTube video a few recordings were sent to MQA and published and issued via Tidal. The files had in them test signals so the impact of MQA could be heard and measured. The results are surpris

I think the reality is that there is no such thing as good MQA. 

I only use streaming to find new stuff and for a bit of convenience when I'm feeling lazy, so to be honest I don't really care either way. I'm never going to 'invest' in an MQA compatible DAC, but the

30 minutes ago, StingRay said:

But Warners have around 25% share of the market?

Qobuz is better for certain genres than Tidal and they push that Rap/R&B type music at you. For Jazz/Classical they certainly have more albums and choice. For pop/rock/R&B etc then Tidal has a wider choice. The only reason I use Tidal is they keep offering me free or cheap deals. I did try Spotify, the interface and catalogue was the best I have used however I did not think the music quality was good enough, when they do cd streaming I will retry. If you are not bothered about HiRes then Deezer are doing a 3 month trial on cd level (HiFi). Deezer's catalogue is similar to Tidal's. 

I've never worked that out and have never noticed which labels use MQA more than others, never mind exclusively. Thanks, I now know.

Will keep Deezer in reserve. I agree about Spotify interface, I never had an issue with that and it was my first and longest lasting streaming experience. CD quality Spotify would/will be interesting.

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2 minutes ago, TheFlash said:

I've never worked that out and have never noticed which labels use MQA more than others, never mind exclusively. Thanks, I now know.

Will keep Deezer in reserve. I agree about Spotify interface, I never had an issue with that and it was my first and longest lasting streaming experience. CD quality Spotify would/will be interesting.

Warners blanket conversion to MQA was fairly recent, end of 2020. You can even get some MQA cds now.

Deezer on the Node works well, similar to Tidal/Qobuz, it's £15pm or less for annual subs.

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1 hour ago, rabski said:

I'd say that was more Granny Smith to a different cooking apple, than oranges to apples.

Same DAC, or the same comparisons with a different DAC. Therefore the difference should be extremely small IF the actual original file is the same. There could be I suppose some element of jitter. However, the point is that it's not universally the same. The point is that with some CDs, the CD sounds better than the high-resolution/MQA version. With other CDs, the CD sounds worse. The same applies to 'CD quality' streams, so the MQA factor doesn't apply. The replay chain would be a factor if it was always that one was better than the other. It can't be a factor if (as it seems) it varies depending on the music.

The replay chain presumably won't behave differently with different CDs, so the only sensible conclusion is that the original file is different in some way. This could be possibly different versions. Morde likely, I would assume is that the process of taking the original file and making it available online is not implemented in the same way in every case.

I see what you mean now.

With streaming there are many variables over which we have no control or information on.

I’ve compared Spotify vs iTunes reading a ripped CD track with the same DAC. The ripped file does have an edge but whenever the difference is considerable this is because Spotify is storing a different, usually more recent (re)master, and they don’t always have different masters of the same album or the best one available.

This alone, not having control over the masters, is enough to put me off using Spotify for serious listening.

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1 hour ago, rabski said:

Same DAC, or the same comparisons with a different DAC. Therefore the difference should be extremely small IF the actual original file is the same.

BIG assumption there my boy. I hear differences between downloading the purchased Qobuz digital file and playing from the hard drive compared to listening to the same file streamed in real time from Qubuz. Same master, same source for the file, just different playback route.

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20 minutes ago, Fourlegs said:

BIG assumption there my boy. I hear differences between downloading the purchased Qobuz digital file and playing from the hard drive compared to listening to the same file streamed in real time from Qubuz. Same master, same source for the file, just different playback route.

I don't assume, as you know full well. I also said 'extremely small', not 'none'.

I'd be interested to try and understand how and why there is a difference though in the methods you describe. More importantly, which sounds better, and how are you streaming?

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16 minutes ago, rabski said:

I don't assume, as you know full well. I also said 'extremely small', not 'none'.

I'd be interested to try and understand how and why there is a difference though in the methods you describe. More importantly, which sounds better, and how are you streaming?

Noooo! Don't ask him that!

Nick's system makes my multi-box complicated thing look like straightforward. And cheap.

Mind you, I understand that it was probably sounding its best ever at the weekend. Just me and the horses listening from outside of course.

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I've finally got round to watching this video, and I'm seriously not impressed. How sad it is that such a hugely respected figure as Bob Stuart should end his career with this fiasco.

I had been considering possibly going back to Tidal, that's not going to happen now.

Some points:

1. Universal Music group add watermarking to their streaming masters right in the middle of the audio band, so any comments about audibility or otherwise of MQA needs to be taken if we know the material was NOT from UMG.

2. MQA encoded CDs are starting to appear, very few at the moment but if it gains traction then yuck

3. The video points out that with Tidal you might be getting MQA with no option, as he found MQA files not marked as such.

4. Streaming services level match, basically replaygain. That means the files are never original, which may account for differences heard between a downloaded file and a streamed file from the same source. Not on topic, but as it was mentioned earlier.

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