• The Computer Audiophile

    MQA (for civilians)

    At CES 2017 Tidal announced it was streaming MQA masters and MQA Ltd announced software decoding of the MQA signal. Two big items for all of us who enjoy music. Immediately the questions and conjecture started flowing. It's human nature. We ask questions and make guesses about what's happening, when we don't have all the information.

     

    Shortly after the announcements I setup a meeting with MQA's Bob Stuart to get more details about decoding MQA signals. I wanted to know the differences between software and hardware decoding and where rendering comes into play, in addition to many other items.

     

    A PhD isn't required to enjoy MQA. This article is my attempt at explaining how decoding and rendering work, from a civilian perspective. Most of us have seen the music origami graphs and deep technical explanations, but have no idea what any of the information actually means for us, enjoying music at home or on the go. I want to help members of the CA community understand how to get the best sound quality out of MQA.

     

     

     

    From The Distribution File Forward

     

    Currently MQA music is offered through online stores for purchase and download, and through Tidal for streaming. I'm willing to bet more music will be available through both channels and both channels will have more outlets in the coming months.

     

    Consumers purchasing or streaming MQA music will see either 24 bit / 44.1 kHz or 24 bit / 48 kHz files without playing the audio (16 bit MQA files are outside the scope of this discussion). These are what's called the distribution files. They have been through the MQA process that deblurs and folds them into a smaller package, readying them for transport and playback on almost any device.

     

    The MQA distribution file, the file that's actually purchased or streamed, is like a chameleon. In its packaged state the files are 44.1 or 48 kHz, but decoded and rendered the files can expand into the highest supported sample rate of the digital to analog converter inside the DAC..

     

     

    Real world example:

     

    1. The studio creates a track at 24 bit / 352.8 kHz DXD.

    2. The studio uses the MQA process on the track, packaging it as 24 bit / 44.1 kHz.

    3. The consumer purchases or streams the 24 bit / 44.1 kHz track.

    4. The consumer's playback system decodes and renders the track at 24 bit / 352.8 kHz DXD.

     

     

     

    Squeezing The Best Quality From MQA Music

     

    With the aforementioned real world example in mind, let's look at how to play MQA music and how to get the best sound quality possible. There are four "ways" to play MQA music. I use the word "ways" for lack of a better, more specific term.

     

     

    A. No decoder

    B. Software / Core Decoding

    C. Software / Core Decoding with Hardware Rendering

    D. Hardware Full Decoding

     

     

     

    No Decoder

     

    Similar to a dual layer SACD that plays the CD layer in a standard CD player and the Super Audio layer in an SACD player, MQA music is playable through almost any playback system, but the highest quality is only possible with the appropriate solution.

     

    Playing MQA on a system without a decoder, will enable the consumer to hear the 24 bit / 44.1 kHz (or 24 bit / 48 kHz) version of the music in the example above. According to MQA Ltd, playing the un-decoded version still enables the consumer to benefit from the deblurring processes used in the creation or folding of the track.

     

    Examples of systems without decoders are plentiful in this early phase of record labels rolling out MQA music. JRiver Media Center, Amarra, HQPlayer and many others are applications that don't decode MQA. In addition, most hardware on Earth doesn't decode MQA at this time.

     

    One scenario that may confuse consumers, is when an MQA renderer is present without a software or hardware decoder. This will result in an un-decoded signal exactly as it would without the MQA renderer. The 44.1 or 48 kHz version of the file will play, undecoded. One example of this is the upcoming AudioQuest DragonFly (updated Red and Black versions). Without a decoder in the playback chain, an MQA renderer has no effect on the audio.

     

    No-decoder.png

     

     

     

    Software / Core Decoding

     

     

    MQA is a whole host of processes and technologies, but for purposes of this civilian discussion, let's look at it as three processes. MQA files can be 1. Fully decoded, 2. Software / core decoded, and 3. Rendered. Software decoding is capable of exactly what its name suggests, decoding MQA. Rendering must be done in hardware because it is custom matched to the DAC system.

     

    Software decoding, what MQA Ltd calls core decoding, provides what I consider to be about 90% of the MQA benefits. Decoding in software unfolds / unpacks the music to a maximum of twice the base sample rate, 88.2 or 96, for either analog or digital output.

     

    EQ, bass management, and other non-MQA DSP can take place after core decoding.

     

    Using the real world example above, the Tidal desktop application, Audirvana, and soon Roon would decode the MQA 24/44.1 distribution file and unpack it to 24/88.2. This can be output digitally to any DAC, digitally to an MQA DAC for rendering, or output as analog audio.

     

    Another example can be seen when streaming Beyonce's album Lemonade. The MQA distribution file is packed to 24/44.1 and the decoded file is also 24/44.1. The album must have been recorded at 24/44.1 and the studio is being honest with us, rather than upsampling it to 88.2 or higher.

     

    When a master is 44.1 or 48 kHz, the core decoder Authenticates, decodes full dynamic range and matches to the current PC playback settings. (Depending on the soundcard and audio configuration, the Tidal App may decode this example to 44.1k or a provide a compatible 88.2k output for smoother playlisting). If you select Passthough, the raw 44.1/24b MQA file is passed downstream to a decoder. For music where the original sample rate is 88.2k or higher, the core output is always either 88.2 or 96kHz.

     

    Note that other Apps and products implementing Tidal may be subtly different.

     

    core-decoder.png

     

     

     

     

     

    Software / Core Decoding with Hardware Rendering

     

     

    The third way to play MQA music is through a software decoder and a hardware renderer. As you read above, MQA has three process required for the full MQA experience, 1. Full Decoding, 2. Software / core decoding, and 3. Rendering. In this method of playback, a combination of software and hardware is used to deliver all that MQA has to offer. Don't ever use this as the answer to an MQA exam question, but you can think of it this way - software / core decoding serves up the file and hardware rendering hits it out of the park.

     

    Everyone looking to get the best sound from MQA music will want to use this method or the all hardware method discussed last. In this method, the core decoded MQA file is passed from a software application to the MQA hardware renderer.

     

    Using the real world example above, the Tidal desktop application, Audirvana, and soon Roon would decode the MQA 24/44.1 distribution file and unpack it to 24/88.2. This file is output from a computer via USB or S/PDIF or even a phone via Lightning or USB on-the-go, to the hardware renderer. For this example, we'll output via USB to an AudioQuest DragonFly. The core decoded file enters the DragonFly at 24/88.2, then expands to the full 24/352.8 kHz resolution of the original studio master file.

     

    Readers familiar with the DragonFly will know that the DragonFly supports audio up through 24/96. However, that's only on its USB interface. Internally the DAC goes up through 768 kHz. MQA enables the audio to duck its head to get under the door frame, before standing straight up once again. Kind of like a balloon as well. Squeeze the middle of a long balloon and the two ends will get larger while the middle shrinks. The two ends are the studio master file and the fully decoded MQA file, while the middle is the packed undecoded MQA file.

     

    The above method is a really good way to work around the lack of USB Audio Class 2 driver support in many Windows operating systems and to get around interface sample rate limitations. It's possible to play 24/352.8 on a class 1 device and without custom drivers.

     

    What happens when using software / core decoding and hardware that's capable of full decoding like the Meridian Explorer2? If desired, it's possible to use an app like Tidal to do the core decoding and send the MQA signal to the DAC for rendering only. If the Explorer2 is fed with an MQA core (decoded) signal, it only does the rendering.

     

    Note about renderers: There are no generic MQA renderers, as each one is custom designed for each piece of hardware. According to MQA Ltd, the analog output is custom tuned for each device to most closely recreate the sound heard in the studio. As always, you'll have to be the judge to see if the marketing matches the end result.

     

    One additional piece of information that fits somewhere between this section and the next, systems like Meridian that run digital to the loudspeakers, send a core decoded stream to the speakers before final rendering separately for each drive unit. This core decoding takes place in hardware / software loaded on Meridian hardware.

     

    core-decoder.png

    render.png

     

     

     

     

    Full Decoding (Hardware Only)

     

     

    There's not much more to say about this one. Full decoding is only possible in hardware and it's considered the full monty. Both aspects of core decoding and rendering are controlled by a single manufacturer and the requirements for third party software are gone. The final analog output however, is theoretically identical to a software / core decode and hardware render. We'll have to see once more opinions come in from people testing both methods.

     

    A DAC or home theater processor capable of full decoding can receive an untouched MQA file (distribution file or stream) or a core decoded file from a software decoder, for rendering only. I'm not sure why anyone would prefer to use a software decoder when s/he has a full decoder in hardware, but it's entirely possible.

     

    All details about the renderer hold true for a full decoder. Very custom and tuned to each hardware device.

     

    A note about this tuning for each DAC. I've talked to many manufacturers who have products in the process of MQA certification. Every one of them says the process is thorough and a bit demanding, often requiring many updates to hardware and firmware until everything is as close to the target as possible. This piece isn't marketing, it's all based on engineering.

     

    Using the above real world example, any software or hardware capable of sending a bit perfect audio stream to an MQA DAC with a full decoder, will work just fine. The DAC must see either a core decoded stream or undecoded stream without alteration.

     

    full-decoder.png

     

     

    Let There Be Light

     

     

    Whether playing MQA content fully decoded, core decoded and rendered, or just core decoded, an MQA DAC or application will always signal the file is true to what the record label released. If it's MQA it will illuminate a blue/green light.

     

    When I first investigated MQA I knew the blue authentication light on MQA DACs was helpful in identifying bit perfect output to the DAC, but I thought the whole authentication piece was unneeded. However, I've since learned that the music supply chain is full of challenges and less than stellar versions of our favorite albums (some related to up/down sampling). Much of this isn't malicious, it's just a matter of large companies with many people involved who may not know exactly what's going on. MQA has the ability to provide record labels with a single deliverable file and the consumer can verify this is the file s/he plays back at home. It's a cool concept.

     

    Conclusion

     

     

    Enjoying MQA music isn't rocket science, but it takes a little education to make the right choices. Obtaining the best quality MQA playback requires either a combination of software decoding and hardware rendering or a full decoding DAC. Fortunately, I believe 90% of MQA's benefits can be realized by only using a software decoder, called core decoding. Now that some of our favorite music is available in MQA, it's time we listen for a while rather than talk over the music. Set your systems up right and press play.

     

     

     

     

     

    1-Pixel.png

    Edited by The Computer Audiophile

    0


    Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0
    Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0


    User Feedback




    I wonder if the MQA process is really transparent or if it has a house sound? We probably won't know for quite some time if ever.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    As an audiophile, I see no need for the lossy compression part of it unless it's streamed. Even then, who cares about the sound quality for streaming? I don't see it as the major delivery method for audiophiles.

     

    .

     

    I think you're out of touch.

     

     

     

    Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    I think you're out of touch.

     

     

     

    Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

     

    Who cares what you think.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Who cares what you think.

    A great amount of discussion on CA re Tidal suggests you're incorrect regardless of how little you care about what I think.

     

    Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Sorry if this is an amateurish question, I'm trying to understand if you will need to set up your software to decide how to pass the signal along.

     

    In other words, one user may want a signal bypassing any software decoding and passing it right to an MQA capable DAC while those without an MQA DAC would want more done by playback software. (like Chris's example with the Meridian Explorer DAC)

     

    Will there have to be some sort of toggle switch in software to direct it how the user wants it to handle MQA files?

     

    Could one, or would one, want to have a completely unprocessed MQA track sent to the DAC to do all processes (decoding, rendering, etc., etc) and if so, I am assuming the software will need to have some sort of option to do that?

     

    Hope that wasn't too confusing....

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I still think a key question remains unanswered. What exactly does the customized tuning in a renderer or MQA-enabled DAC do? Your comment that software core decoding gives you 90% of the benefit is, I assume, your subjective assessment. Have you compared software-decoded MQA played on a non-MQA DAC to that same distribution file played on an MQA-enabled DAC or MQA renderer after core decoding (maybe on your Berkeley Alpha DAC Reference Series 2)?

     

    Why is the customization 'a bit difficult' other than DAC-specific implementation details like the kind of FPGA or filters used in the qualifying product? I guess the question is what is the objective of the customization? How does MQA and the manufacturer decide 'are we there yet'? What are the success criteria? What happens in the rendering stage beyond unfolding the distribution file to the original sample rate?

    Edited by rickca
    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Like it or not, MQA is as close as most people are ever going to get to mainstream musician music released by the big studios and it will likely be thru streaming.

    I have no idea what you just said.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Real world example:

     

    1. The studio creates a track at 24 bit / 352.8 kHz DXD.

    2. The studio uses the MQA process on the track, packaging it as 24 bit / 44.1 kHz.

    3. The consumer purchases or streams the 24 bit / 44.1 kHz track.

    4. The consumer's playback system decodes and renders the track at 24 bit / 352.8 kHz DXD.

     

    Chris,

     

    DXD noise (legacy high frequency DSD's noise) is filtered before coding to MQA?

     

    DXD in point 4 has not the noise?

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    I still think a key question remains unanswered. What exactly does the customized tuning in a renderer or MQA-enabled DAC do? Your comment that software core decoding gives you 90% of the benefit is, I assume, your subjective assessment. Have you compared software-decoded MQA played on a non-MQA DAC to that same distribution file played on an MQA-enabled DAC or MQA renderer after core decoding (maybe on your Berkeley Alpha DAC Reference Series 2)?

     

    Why is the customization 'a bit difficult' other than DAC-specific implementation details like the kind of FPGA or filters used in the qualifying product? I guess the question is what is the objective of the customization? How does MQA and the manufacturer decide 'are we there yet'? What are the success criteria? What happens in the rendering stage beyond unfolding the distribution file to the original sample rate?

    The two decoding stages are basically:

    1- First "unfolding" step to 2x original rate. There's some lossy component here but it is fairly close to the original master for sampling frequencies below 88 or 96 (whichever is the 2x)

    2- Second "rendering" step to whatever rate. This is mostly upsampling, little original information is preserved here. However, the interesting and innovative part of this is - according to mansr - that it seems there's code in the unfolded stream and the renderer understands this code and sets appropriate upsampling parameters in the DAC filter system.

     

    In HQPlayer terms for example, it would be akin to choosing the best upsampling filter and it's parameters based in the music fed. If this is true, this is kinda cool and smart.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    You see, in order to enjoy the full benefit of MQA one is forced to buy MQA DAC. If you have already invested thousand of dollars on a DAC, you are at the mercy whether the manufacturers are willing to buy MQA license and incorporate them as a firmware update. Now if MQA can offer a separate hardware decoder and sent the decoded signal to your existing DAC, isn't this going a lot of people happy?

     

    MQA is a encode and decode systems, there's no point to argue whether undecoded, half decoded or full decode sound better, of course the answer is already here. The funny thing is MQA sells you 4 different ways to unwrap MQA and in all it tells you hardware decoding will eventually give you the best results.

     

    So folks, if you want to experience the ultimate in MQA playback, ditch your existing DAC and buy a MQA DAC, and if you have the money, re-buy all your music collections in MQA. This will definitely make 'them' very happy indeed.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    You see, in order to get the full benefits of MQA decoding, one is forced to buy a MQA DAC. If you have already invested thousand of dollars on your existing DAC, you are at the mercy whether the DAC manufacturers are willing to buy MQA license to incorporate them as a firmware update. if MQA can offer a hardware decoder and send the decoded signal to existing DACs, this will make a lot people happy.

     

    MQA is a encode and decode system, there's no point to argue whether undecode, half decode and full decode sound better? Obvious the answer is already here. It is funny that MQA sells you 4 different ways to unwrap and tell you in all, the hardware decoding will give the best results.

     

    So folks, if you want to listen to the ultimate in MQA decoding, ditch your existing DACs and buy a MQA DAC and if you have spare cash, re-buy all your music collections in MQA. This will definitely make them very happy indeed!

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    When I think about lossy, I ask myself what is lost. With MP3 and AAC real music is lost. With MQA I don't believe real music is lost. MQA changes digital, making existing terminology require more discussion than in the past.

     

    I think, when we says "lossless" it is meant as "binary identity of original and unpacked audio stream".

     

    Looks like, MQA have more wide meaning of this term.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Lossy is by definition not as good as lossless.

     

    Examples:

    When applied room correction, there is lossy processing.

    When applied digital volume control, there is lossy processing.

     

    But for this cases we have more benefits: fixing of problematic resonances, avoiding overloading distortions.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Hi Miguel -

     

    Blue sounded better to me in the 24/192 HDTracks hi res version than in the MQA version "unfolded" to 24/192 by software, both upsampled to DSD256.

     

    How were you listening to it?

     

     

    Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

     

    Hi Jud,

     

    How did you "unfold" the 24/192 MQA version in software?

     

     

    Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    When I think about lossy, I ask myself what is lost. With MP3 and AAC real music is lost. With MQA I don't believe real music is lost. MQA changes digital, making existing terminology require more discussion than in the past.

     

    Sure, in MQA, the baseband up to 22/24kHz (depending if the MQA file is 44/48kHz) is lossless down to a good bit-depth. This in itself makes the sound more accurate than any typical MP3/AAC file. The lossy parts apply to the ultrasonic stuff which by definition is somewhat hard to hear :-). Sure, MQA wants us to believe that the lossy ultrasonics make it sound better, maybe some will prefer the upsampling algorithm (minimal phase filtering...), but overall, IMO it's all rather subtle. The question is whether one cares to spend money on specific MQA-decoding hardware for this small change.

     

    Fair enough, MQA Core in software achieves "90%" of the sound. I would say it's more like 99.9% when decoded to 24/88 or 24/96 of an original high quality mastering (as opposed to loud compressed masterings which might strain suboptimal filters).

     

    Ultimately, the market will decide on the value of this coding technique. Let's see in a few months when the novelty wears off...

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Is there available documentation which confirm that the mastering communities widely find that a lossy file which has been modified by the MQA dsp is superior to its untouched lossless original?

     

    Indeed. As far as I am aware this claim is not substantiated outside of the MQA marketing campaign.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    You see, in order to enjoy the full benefit of MQA one is forced to buy MQA DAC. If you have already invested thousand of dollars on a DAC, you are at the mercy whether the manufacturers are willing to buy MQA license and incorporate them as a firmware update. Now if MQA can offer a separate hardware decoder and sent the decoded signal to your existing DAC, isn't this going a lot of people happy?

    Taking what has been said and speculating some:

    MQA decoding seems to be separated in two steps as I described above. The second step is more about upsampling than pulling any real information. The unfolded MQA stream (ie the software decoded stream to 88 or 96) seems to include some information for the "rendering" step that effectively sets up the parameters of the upsampling filter in the DAC - that is given the source it programs the DAC with fine-tuned upsampling parameters.

     

    If this interpretation is correct then a couple of things seem to be clear:

    1- Given a widely used DAC chip, the renderer could set up proper upsampling parameters - this seems useful

    2- For high end DACs, especially those with non-standard DAC chips (my DAC does not have a chip at all but a discrete DAC), this is a moot point - I very much doubt any of this is doable

     

    So is this a "good thing"? I think it is for those DACs that could use the tailored programming. Should you freak out and think your world is in danger because you cannot use this very last step, which is questionable for many DACs? Certainly not.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    The two decoding stages are basically:

    1- First "unfolding" step to 2x original rate. There's some lossy component here but it is fairly close to the original master for sampling frequencies below 88 or 96 (whichever is the 2x)

    2- Second "rendering" step to whatever rate. This is mostly upsampling, little original information is preserved here. However, the interesting and innovative part of this is - according to mansr - that it seems there's code in the unfolded stream and the renderer understands this code and sets appropriate upsampling parameters in the DAC filter system.

     

    In HQPlayer terms for example, it would be akin to choosing the best upsampling filter and it's parameters based in the music fed. If this is true, this is kinda cool and smart.

     

    The metadata in the decoded stream instructs the renderer which of 16 predefined interpolation filters to use, and they are all terrible. The DAC-specific tuning, if indeed there is any, could consist of minor tweaks to these filters. It would be necessary to poke around inside a few different DACs to say for sure.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Examples:

    When applied room correction, there is lossy processing.

    When applied digital volume control, there is lossy processing.

     

    But for this cases we have more benefits: fixing of problematic resonances, avoiding overloading distortions.

     

    Those examples are not comparable to a distribution format. DSP room correction should be seen as part of the reproduction chain where it serves to more accurately recreate the analogue sound wave reaching your ears. The D/A conversion itself is also "lossy" but I think most would agree it is still necessary.

     

    Looking at distribution formats, the distinction is quite clear. Either a format preserves all the information of the original, or it does not. When people fret over whether provably lossless formats such as FLAC nevertheless might degrade the audio ever so slightly, one would think actually lossy (even if only a little) formats, MQA included, would be completely out of the question.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Ever since MQA was announced 2 years back we are still speculating today how it works and how it is presented into consumers end. I believed it is most 'confusing' format ever introduced into a music world. So much debates and angry expressions have been going on in many forums.

     

    I will never buy into it as a digital downloads but streaming to be can be an improvement especially going from MP3 to FLAC and to MQA, provided I don't have pay any higher premium. The same goes to hardware too, not going spend just to get the 'ultimate decoded' out from it.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Ever since MQA was announced 2 years back we are still speculating today how it works and how it is presented into consumers end. I believed it is most 'confusing' format ever introduced into a music world. So much debates and angry expressions have been going on in many forums.

     

    I suspect the confusion is deliberate in order to detract attention from the hidden DRM features.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    I suspect the confusion is deliberate in order to detract attention from the hidden DRM features.

     

    The fact that what you call "DRM" is being used is not hidden, certainly. Are you referring to what the "DRM" hides? It's not hiding the original content, which is already irretrievably gone.

     

    For MQA itself, what it may serve to do (speculation on my part) is not hide anything very effectively, but to make a better argument for copyright violation if it's cracked. Thus it's a mechanism for protecting MQA's intellectual property, which is the processing. There does not seem to be a terribly high opinion of the processing, so what is protected is not something terribly valuable in the opinion of lots of people, though of course MQA would differ.

     

    So the potential danger is not any sort of DRM, and it is probably inaccurate or even misleading to keep referring to it as that. The potential danger is that the music industry would in a wholesale fashion move to MQA and thereby deprive the music consuming public of access to the originals. Let's keep our eyes on the actual potential problem rather than just stirring up anxiety with (IMO) rather inaccurate labels.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Those examples are not comparable to a distribution format. DSP room correction should be seen as part of the reproduction chain where it serves to more accurately recreate the analogue sound wave reaching your ears. The D/A conversion itself is also "lossy" but I think most would agree it is still necessary.

     

    Looking at distribution formats, the distinction is quite clear. Either a format preserves all the information of the original, or it does not. When people fret over whether provably lossless formats such as FLAC nevertheless might degrade the audio ever so slightly, one would think actually lossy (even if only a little) formats, MQA included, would be completely out of the question.

     

    Agree. Distribution format is other case. I wondered, why (almost?) nobody comparing MQA nad FLAC?

     

    MQA give about 2 times more compression comparing FLAC (looks to 2L's samples), but some losses there.

     

    Technical analysis by Archimago show what mp3 have more losess, than MQA Archimago's Musings: COMPARISON: Hardware-Decoded MQA (using Mytek Brooklyn DAC)

     

    May be for economy internet band (especially mobile) the size have sense.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    The fact that what you call "DRM" is being used is not hidden, certainly. Are you referring to what the "DRM" hides? It's not hiding the original content, which is already irretrievably gone.

     

    There is an option within MQA to encrypt the entire audio stream making it completely unplayable on incompatible hardware. Is that not DRM?

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Agree. Distribution format is other case. I wondered, why (almost?) nobody comparing MQA nad FLAC?

     

    Because FLAC wins. MQA doesn't even try to preserve more than about 18 bits at 96 kHz. If the original is reduced to that resolution, FLAC performs better than MQA. Miska tested this quite thoroughly.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.


    Sign In Now