MQA, Worse than FLAC?

microstrip

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The MQA debate is a never ending subject and will never be conclusive.

However IMHO interested people should read from both sides - we were having a debate in another thread where many important aspect were being ignored by very aggressive posts.

I have no horse in this race, except that I like MQA sound in my system and I have great respect for Bob Stuart work and person and as an engineer - he was the chairman for the AES high-resolution audio technical committee when many people speaking loud in forum debates considered it an useless gimmick - unfortunately AES is a paid activity, and their papers are much more expensive than Stereophile or TAS subscriptions - and that can be a real problem in our hobby.

Anyway if interested you can read an interesting Bob Stuart interview from 2020 in stereonet : https://www.stereonet.com/uk/features/inside-track-bob-stuart-mqa
 

Gregadd

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I keep repeating myself. Don't fight the hypothetical...
How does MQA sound?
Did MQA make a material misrepresentation about being lossless?
There is no debate about the latter.
To put it another way. Whether the emperor looks good is debatable. Whether he is naked is not.
 

Alrainbow

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I keep saying mqa is great but the dac we use matters way beyond what we may think. I have some 4 mqa dacs of them 2 are ok one is wow. How we feel on all other formats of a particular dac should not be used to judge mqa sound. I’m just saying what I have heard is all.
 
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bryans

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I keep saying mqa is great but the dac we use matters way beyond what we may think. I have some 4 mqa dacs of them 2 are ok one is wow. How we feel on all other formats of a particular dac should not be used to judge mqa sound. I’m just saying what I have heard is all.
I agree and this goes for all formats IMO. I know when I was looking for a DAC based on the ones I had in my home/system the sound varied.
 
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Alrainbow

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I agree and this goes for all formats IMO. I know when I was looking for a DAC based on the ones I had in my home/system the sound varied.
but to me in MQA its worse . i dont know why understand it . my gustard does great mqa , pcm too dsd is ok not best . my toppings is fine in dsd and pcm , MQA is horrible to . its nuts
 

bryans

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but to me in MQA its worse . i dont know why understand it . my gustard does great mqa , pcm too dsd is ok not best . my toppings is fine in dsd and pcm , MQA is horrible to . its nuts
I have had a mix in my comparisons of different formats on different DACs. I can't say one format like MQA was always worse for me. For me it depended on the quality of the recording. Even now when I build a playlist I tend to put in the best sounding recording regardless of the format.
 
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Alrainbow

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What do you think of AIFF
as a format ?
also 16 but depth compared to 24 but depth
just curious as you seem to hear changes some feel don’t exist ?
 

rbbert

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What do you think of AIFF
as a format ?
also 16 but depth compared to 24 but depth
just curious as you seem to hear changes some feel don’t exist ?
AIFF is PCM, any bit depth and sampling rate. WAV and AIFF contain the same musical data, with differences in metadata coding.
 
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bryans

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Keeping in mind that MQA stands for 'Master Quality Assured'. To do that you would really have to start with the actual master. Just sayin
Which is why I can't say if MQA is better or worse than the original. For me it really is as simple as me listening to the song. If it sounds good I really don't care what format it is in. If I have a choice of different formats of a song I like, I will listen to both and whichever one sounds better to me is the one I prefer.
 

rbbert

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Keeping in mind that MQA stands for 'Master Quality Assured'. To do that you would really have to start with the actual master. Just sayin
"Authenticated" rather than "Assured", although the intention is the same. And it's hard to see how the resulting sound will be the same no matter what DAC (not even considering the rest of the system) is used, just because the blue light is lit.
 
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Alrainbow

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AIFF is PCM, any bit depth and sampling rate. WAV and AIFF contain the same musical data, with differences in metadata coding.
Ok you answered my question and I thank you for it.
Now not to derail or argue the in increase in bit depth allows for a lower noise by many db. this to me and this is me sounds less hash compared to 16 but depth
If we try an AB for me it’s obvious
in sound while numbers show us what it may sound like. some will say it’s an improvement

some dacs may show a sound change.
also if we consider AIFF is a lossless zero compression when compared to flac even if no Compression is picked
 

Alrainbow

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"Authenticated" rather than "Assured", although the intention is the same. And it's hard to see how the resulting sound will be the same no matter what DAC (not even considering the rest of the system) is used, just because the blue light is lit.
I hear or see it this way
mqa in part is to stream a sound that is better align the data stream to get there improved effects
for me I always hear a better sound on a given track if we turn off the mqa and then back on
 

rbbert

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I hear or see it this way
mqa in part is to stream a sound that is better align the data stream to get there improved effects
for me I always hear a better sound on a given track if we turn off the mqa and then back on
This means little, since the MQA file is already altered from the original. You would need to find a hi-res PCM file encoded from the same master as the MQA file (ideally at the same time) to make this a meaningful comparison.
 

rbbert

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Ok you answered my question and I thank you for it.
Now not to derail or argue the in increase in bit depth allows for a lower noise by many db. this to me and this is me sounds less hash compared to 16 but depth
If we try an AB for me it’s obvious
in sound while numbers show us what it may sound like. some will say it’s an improvement

some dacs may show a sound change.
also if we consider AIFF is a lossless zero compression when compared to flac even if no Compression is picked
I'm not sure what you are trying to say here. AIFF, WAV and uncompressed FLAC all contain the same PCM data; the differences are in the amount and type of metadata. There is a group of audiophiles who feel that WAV sounds the best of the 3, possibly because of less metadata and therefore less use of the CPU (although considering that in a modern PC not even optimized for audio playback the CPU typically uses less than 5% when playing any of the formats that hypothesis may not be valid)
 

Alrainbow

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Im not sure what part is not correct , I think we are not thinking of the same thought
 

Alrainbow

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I'm not sure what you are trying to say here. AIFF, WAV and uncompressed FLAC all contain the same PCM data; the differences are in the amount and type of metadata. There is a group of audiophiles who feel that WAV sounds the best of the 3, possibly because of less metadata and therefore less use of the CPU (although considering that in a modern PC not even optimized for audio playback the CPU typically uses less than 5% when playing any of the formats that hypothesis may not be valid)
Ok I’ll reply in a few but for now it’s are not just bits. i also will
say for now sone dacs handle imbedded meta data worse and can be noisey
also there are 2
min types of wav and flac no matter what is still not the same even if uncompressed
the 2
type of wav is wav64 I think it has no compression with no features to make it period.
I’ll compose a good
post on this today. But I do thank you for any discussion
 

audiobomber

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There was discussion earlier about compression. FLAC and ALAC are lossless. MQA is lossy by the definition, because you can't apply MQA processing, then reverse it to get back to the original file.

Compression can be lossy or lossless. Lossless compression means that as the file size is compressed, the picture quality remains the same - it does not get worse. Also, the file can be decompressed to its original quality. Lossy compression permanently removes data.

I've done careful double blind listening tests between .wav and zero-compression FLAC, and heard no difference. I was told by someone that heavier FLAC compression could affect sound quality, but I did not test this.
 
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