MQA, Worse than FLAC?

MPS

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Jun 20, 2016
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I am just listening to Tool: Fear Inoculum, Tidal Master (MQA) and I'm enjoying both the music and sound quality. Is it wrong?
:rolleyes:
 
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Gregadd

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Apr 20, 2010
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I am just listening to Tool: Fear Inoculum, Tidal Master (MQA) and I'm enjoying both the music and sound quality. Is it wrong?
:rolleyes:
To thine own ears be true.
 
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Lee

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Feb 4, 2011
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How do you know the MQA and stock were the same master? I believe that is one of the hurdles to hearing exactly what MQA is actually doing. I heard that they remaster the cut, before applying the MQA filters.

Because the files were from my friend Peter McGrath and I later received the same files. Just raw files from Peter and then for each track, the corresponding MQA encoded file. In each case, the MQA was a big improvement and the acoustic nature of the tracks and simple live to two track recording makes it easy to hear the differences.
 
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MPS

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If I have understood correctly, sound quality benefits if any of the MQA process would be in analog to analog conversion. In that case the sound quality comparisons should be done between original analog source (master?) and output of the DAC signal.
I'm not convinced that the potential benefits outweight losses included. However if we think about mp3 which also is based on psychoacoustic research and we think about what happens in digital domain -total havoc- but still the end result, at its best (320kbs), can be very convincing. So we can, with some confidence, say that what happens in digital domain does not directly correspond to the sound quality experience. If we accept that mp3 was on purpose created to be lossy both digitally and sound quality wise and that MQA tries to overcome the later with at least some success then we can expect that what ever is being lost in the MQA process could and should be very difficult or practically impossible to detect by listening. Many people report hearing differences that MQA process creates. It's difficult to know whether those differences are from "benefits" or from "defects" of MQA process or both. Person's preferences are individual, I think there was a research showing some people preferring mp3 to original, most like based on being accustomed to the lossy format.
I have never compared MQA to other high resolution formats yet alone original analog source to MQA playback. So I have no experience what MQA does and doesn't do to the sound quality. What I know is that I prefer Tidal MQA Master over same mastering of the standard CD quality version when listening both from Tidal stream via full MQA decoding playback chain. I also prefer LP playback in many cases over the digitized version so take my opinion with a grain of salt ;)
 

Gregadd

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Really? You seem very argumentative (anti MQA) and looking for a fight from anyone who may disagree with your basic premise. Talk about ignoring reality.
It would be nice if people would just accept my wisdom.
I don't think I am anti MQA(tm) I am pro consumer.
I believe in my basic premise.. I am predisposed to defend it when challenged.

What is this reality of which you speak?
 

K3RMIT

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Sep 4, 2020
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The real point to be made is does it sound better period. and the answer is yes and no period
most all mqa tracks how ever sourced are best they could find and in some cases better then what we have. i agree full mqa unfolding does sound odd
to me at times. software unfold is better to me at times
since we are limited by dac mqa chipsets used in that dac it’s all moot.
i think we can agree each dac used in a given setup is unique. To add to this mix flac is not lossless it’s compressed no matter what setting you use. wav or AIFF are two examples of lossless
most all of us play flac lossy As it is how it made for us. I have transferred tracks form dsd to flac
both comp unchecked and checked it matters
but to me AIFF is better.
 

thedudeabides

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Gregadd

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Gregadd

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Now that I addressed the ad hom8nem attack I can return to the op

Did MQA claim to be lossless.
Is that claim adequately rebutted by the video?
 

Joe Whip

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i would a couple things in reading the last of of this thread. First, flac is indeed lossless. No data is lost during the compression expansion process. Whether you think this process is audible is up to you. As for MQA, indeed they originally claimed it was lossless, until it was shown not to be. Thereafter it was claimed to be perceptually lossless.
 
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Gregadd

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Simon says whatever is not captured in the original digital recording is loss forever. Thus a lossy recording is forever lossy.
Can MQA perform some digital slight of hand to make it appear lossless? I don't know. Please explain it to me?
Even then, why do I need MQA to achieve lossless? I can get that from Redbook. Perhaps MQA is making or remastering original recordings that are superior 0veraall.
Again enlighten me,please.
 

Atmasphere

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May 4, 2010
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Simon says whatever is not captured in the original digital recording is loss forever. Thus a lossy recording is forever lossy.
Can MQA perform some digital slight of hand to make it appear lossless?
Just my opinion:

If I had to guess MQA seems to be a way of getting lossy files to sound almost as good as regular Redbook. Also if I had to guess it sounds to me as if they made some claims about the technology before development was complete. Falling short of the claims, they put it out on the market anyway, knowing it wasn't really ready for prime time (let's face it- if they didn't know all that noise was there, they were sorely lacking on some very basic test equipment), possibly working against a deadline? - they just offered it up and stood behind their claims until found out. Put another way, my surmise is they started out with good intentions but simply fell short of the mark, and being human, didn't want to look bad and tried to put out something to show they were capable. In this regard, IMO its a fail.
 
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Gregadd

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Ralph i think you are being generous.
 

AMR / iFi audio

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Simon says whatever is not captured in the original digital recording is loss forever. Thus a lossy recording is forever lossy.
Can MQA perform some digital slight of hand to make it appear lossless? I don't know. Please explain it to me?
Even then, why do I need MQA to achieve lossless? I can get that from Redbook. Perhaps MQA is making or remastering original recordings that are superior 0veraall.
Again enlighten me, please.
Master quality recording being compressed to an MQA file, let's you save broadband. It the past when it was expensive and slower, streaming high-res files used to be more problematic.
 
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rbbert

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Dec 12, 2010
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The real point to be made is does it sound better period...
There are far more points to be made than this, as Gregadd has discussed. Any equipment that is MQA-compatible has had to pay a licensing fee to MQA, so even if you don't think it sounds better you are probably paying for it; the MQA marketing apparatus, supported by the reviewing industry shills, has made it difficult to market a DAC without that capability. Likewise the record companies are paying a licensing fee for each album that they encode; even if the MQA version only goes to TIDAL you can be sure that the cost is spread over all versions of that album (even the LP in all likelihood). Contrast that with other codecs (MP3, ALAC, FLAC), all open source and for FLAC and ALAC lossless as well.
 

Gregadd

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The more I think about it the more I think many are embarrassed by their failure to notice the emperor has no clothes.
 
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