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Found 69 results

  1. Brinkman Ship

    An Open Letter to "MQA Partners"

    Dear "MQA Partner" (Fill In The Blank): I have been admirer of your products in the past, and have aspired to one day own one of your (DACs/Streamers/Software suites). However, your decision to embrace MQA as a marketable feature puts you on my Do Not Buy List. An overwhelming number of highly knowledgeable and astute industry players have pulled back the curtain on MQA and have found it to be a major step backwards in the evolution of digital audio. The fact that you decided to go for short term gains in exploiting gullible audiophiles, instead of holding steady on the path of real engineering breakthroughs has shown me where your interests are. Turning over the blueprint to your designs to MQA and paying fees for the privilege shows me you operate from a position of weakness. When MQA evaporates, I hope you take a long hard look at the way you run your business. Sure, you can claim you are just giving customers what they want, or what the market demands, but sometimes NOT giving customers what they "want" is good business. Please note, I fully understand you are free to run your company as you please, and customers are also free to purchase your "MQA Ready” products. I am also free to vote my dollars. And I will. I assure you, there are a large number of audiophiles who feel the same way, and your reputation has been damaged. Peace out.
  2. So, some questions and thoughts about the rights-holders of music, and what they can do with that music after the MQA "magic" has been applied... Can the record company have digital copies of the decompressed files? Or does the agreement with MQA not permit this? If it doesn't permit it, then it is (effectively, by legal agreement) DRM used against the labels themselves (ironic if true lmao). If they can have such decompressed digital copies, are they prevented by legal agreements from selling those directly? If they are prevented, it is again (effectively) a type of DRM against the labels. We have already seen many instances where fake HiRes files have been distributed, whether by mistake or deliberate intent. In this case, it would appear that a consumer would be downloading an actual 24/96 file (or whatever the decompressed resolution appears to be, even if only as a result of upsampling or whatever, just like if someone converts their own lossy MP3 rips to FLAC or WAV). This could be one way in which files tainted by the MQA process (tainted in the sense that they are not the masters at all, but might appear to be due to the apparent resolution of 24/96 etc) could end up in the wild, without customer awareness or choice. I imagine this is covered by NDA, so I don't know if anyone will be able to state definitively that a record label CANNOT do this with their own music. I am sure that wouldn't stop certain people from stating that "it has never been done and never will be," just as some continue to state that the conventional interpretation of DRM "has never and will never" be applied with MQA files. P.S. If anyone cares, here is a bit of background on why I am interested in any way in MQA: My interest in MQA began in the same way as my interest in DSD/SACD. I didn't have an opinion or preconceived notion one way or the other whether the format itself would be "better" objectively than existing formats, but I was interested as I always am by the idea of record companies revisiting session tapes in order to bring a better sounding release to the public. My experience as a music listener and consumer has taught me that the mastering or remastering is more important than the "numbers" involved in ultimate resolution between certain formats. I'm not too concerned, for example, if the DSD layer of an RCA Living Stereo SACD is "better" than the Red Book layer, as it is very clear that even the Red Book layer is vastly superior to the prior RCA releases of the same music, due to the fact that they actually went back to the 2- and 3-track session tapes, where in many cases before they had only gone to the 2nd or 3rd generation mixdown or whatever, and also due to the extreme care taken by SoundMirror in their work on the Living Stereo SACD project for Sony. As classical fans here are aware, Sony lost interest in that project, and ended it, leaving many legendary recordings undone. So I was excited at first by the possibility that something like this "MQA" process might reopen the vaults to a similarly careful and painstakingly meticulous revisiting of those remaining precious session tapes. I want the rest of Leontyne Price's opera recordings at RCA to be treated as lovingly as Madama Butterfly was. So, I read everything I could find about MQA. And here we are now, with me rambling on and on in what was going to be a very brief post hahahaha!
  3. Rt66indierock

    MQA is Vaporware

    MQA was launched on December 2014. It is now January 2, 2017 so let’s see where MQA is at today. Remember all the people who said that MQA was not Digital Rights Management? Well Utimaco disagrees. “MQA turned to Utimaco, a leading manufacturer of hardware-based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. “ “Critical to the continued success and monetization of the streaming and download services of the entertainment industry, is the ability to secure and safeguard end-to-end transmission of intellectual property. A market leader in hardened encryption, Utimaco is at the forefront of enabling the authenticated delivery needed to drive next-generation entertainment consumption.” Now turn to content. As of today there is no music in the genres 80% of American buy, Rock, R&B/Hip Hop, Pop and Country. Add Latin and EDM and you are at about 9 out of ten people buying music in America have no MQA encoded music to purchase. Don’t wait for licensee Warner Music Group to suddenly turn a switch and their music become available because they told the SEC in their latest financial statements they haven’t figured out how to distribute digital music. There are 10 companies that produce equipment with MQA decoders. None of the products have enough units in the hands of consumers to make any impact. Many companies announced they would not support the format. The view of companies neither producing products nor announcing they would not support the format is indifference. Hardly a must have feature. I said earlier this year that I would need 200 artists producing new music in the genres I regularly buy for MQA to be viable a viable format for me. I don’t see any interest by those artists in recording high resolution much less with MQA encoding. Those genres are rock, alt rock, alt country and bluegrass. And personally I will not test any MQA equipment until eight of the nine albums I use as my reference are available in MQA. The Doors “Riders on the Storm “was used as demo of MQA not realizing there was no master to authenticate. Something that was well known but apparently unknown to the MQA people and audio journalists. As of January 2, 2017 two years after its splashy launch we have a lot of audiophile press about MQA, announcements and demonstrations. But there is a limited supply of equipment to decode MQA files and no music encoded for nine out ten American music buyers, classic vaporware.
  4. Extra Ordinary MQA Easter Egg Introduction With Easter just around the corner, iFi audio has delivered an eagerly anticipated upgrade option as a very special Easter gift. iFi first introduced MQA into its product mix with the nano iDSD Black Label in November 2017. Since then, iFi customers across the globe have been asking when this option would be available in other iFi products. The good news is that the latest improvements to the nano Black Label firmware version 5.30, ‘Cookies & Cream’, does just that. Mqa for all This latest firmware flavour not only adds the latest scoop to the nano iDSD Black Label sundae but it also dishes out MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) audio to the full range* of iFi audio products going back to 2013! This ‘legacy’ update means that you can now download the MQA upgrade (PC and Mac) straight from the Support section of iFi’s website at no extra cost. Mqa optimised Firmware version 5.30 will optimise your device for MQA and can handle up to DSD256 and PCM384. Enjoy the MQA magic like never before. And Finally… None of the above would have been possible without the MQA software engineers who worked tirelessly alongside the iFi software team to make this unique opportunity happen. Thank you. Go to https://ifi-audio.com/audio_blog/mqa-firmware/ to enjoy your upgrade. This firmware provides MQA rendering as this is the ideal solution for portable products and those with power considerations. This means the workload is shared between the host (the computer) and the client (the DAC). The listener will still enjoy full MQA experience. For more information on MQA, go to http://www.mqa.co.uk/customer/how-it-works Legacy *The only exception is the original iDAC.
  5. https://media.ccc.de/v/34c3-9113-mqa_-_a_clever_stealth_drm-trojan Presenters give a shout out to this forum and its contributors. At around the 50 minute mark the presenters go into what DRM is, and why MQA is a good example of it. They also detail the public/private key aspects of MQA better than I have seen before. All in all a good presentation, the errors being mostly of omission, but with 60 minutes this is expected.
  6. wgscott

    MQA and upgrading to Audirvana 3

    I currently have Audirvana 2, which I find to be an absolutely outstanding piece of software in every respect. Although I don't miss features I do not currently have, I would like to purchase Audrivana 3, in large part to support @damien78 and its further development. However, I hesitate because I don't want to give one penny, even indirectly, to MQA for licensing. I would be quite happy to pay the full purchase price for an MQA-deletion mutant version in which Damien gets to keep whatever fraction of the proceeds would go to MQA. (Yes, I know I can simply not use MQA, but a version free of their proprietary deconvolution code is really what I am after.) Anyone feel similarly? @damien78 Is such an option available, or could it be?
  7. The Brinkman Ship has docked and I can report on between 8-10 hours of listening to MQA and Non MQA files (When it is FREEZING out, plenty of incentive to get cozy with music, wine, and a great system). The listening took place at a long time friend's East Side apartment. The system was beyond reproach: -MSB Reference DAC / Roon / Tidal -VPI Prime table / Audio Research PH9 -Audio Research Ref 6 Preamp -Ayre MX-R Twenty Mono Block Amplifiers Wilson Alexx speaker system Wireworld cabling for all Audience power conditioning, Symposium Acoustics isolation devices and platforms My host has a very large digital library stored on a NAS. And a decent size vinyl collection. We listened to approx. 50 albums where we confirmed there was both an MQA version, and an official 24 bit digital download and where we could confirm the mastering was the same. We listened to quite a few new releases as well. Volumes matched as close as possible. I had my host select albums play MQA streams from Tidal, then the same tracks from his NAS without telling me which was which, and we turned off the display of the DAC. We also muted the first 3 seconds of every track. We repeated the process with me selecting tracks from Tidal and his NAS. We also broke things up by playing tracks from his vinyl collection of some of the same albums. Verdict: In each an every, case, without exception, we both preferred the non MQA version. Some by a little, and some it was not even close. The MQA version created a whole in the center and an artificial Left and Right Spread, and a digital sheen that was off putting to say the least. We both concluded MQA was DESTRUCTIVE to the music. It was quite an eye opener. It sounded like what happens when you hit the "3D" or "Loudness" buttons on mid level home theater receivers. MQA was putting far too strong a stamp on the music. We even preferred his 24 bit vinyl rips to the MQA versions. MQA screws up the tonality and the soundstage. Period. Bob Stuart, John Atkinson, Michael Lavorgna, Robert Harley, Jim Austin, John Darko (did I miss anyone?).. you should all be ashamed of your selves. MQA is by far the biggest farce ever perpetrated in "high end audio". Couple this with all the data presented here, the measurements, and looking behind the curtain at the financials, the motives, and the players, it is clear MQA is a wholesale fraud.
  8. Hi My setup to get Tidal Mqa is a Raspberry Pi 2 with LibreElec Kodi and Tidal 2 plugin. The plugin is set to 24bits. The Raspberry is connected to Onkyo A/V receiver with 192 kHz/24 internal DAC through hdmi cable. When I play Mqa tracks the info codec shows a bitrate of more than 1000kbps. Every song has a different bitrate. So I think that Kodi are receiving and decoding correctly the Mqa tracks. My doubt is if the Onkyo receiver are getting the full Mqa sound through hdmi cable. Exist any limitation with Mqa in the Raspberry through hdmi? The Onkyo A/V shows that receives PCM 48 khz
  9. Brinkman Ship

    John Atkinson: Yes, MQA IS Elegant...

    Zen & the Art of A/D Conversion: "In a series of recent feature articles for Stereophile, Jim Austin has examined how the controversial MQA codec works: "MQA Tested, Part 1," "MQA Tested Part 2: Into the Fold," "MQA Contextualized," "MQA, DRM, and Other Four-Letter Words," and, most recently, "MQA: Aliasing, B-Splines, Centers of Gravity." I doubt there is a Stereophile reader who is unaware of the fracas associated with MQA, and I have been repeatedly criticized on web forums for describing its underlying concept as "elegant." But elegant it is, I feel. MQA Ltd.'s Bob Stuart has described the goal of MQA as being to reduce to "plumbing" everything between the original analog signal fed to the analog/digital (A/D) converter and the analog signal output by the digital/analog (D/A) converter, other than routing the signal from the original event to the end-user's system. In other words, the A/D conversion of the output of the microphone preamps (in a purist recording) or the mixing console (in a conventional recording), the transmission, storage, and subsequent D/A conversion will be transparent, except for an ultrasonic rolloff equivalent to a signal path of a few feet in air." https://www.stereophile.com/content/zen-art-ad-conversion#bf4kky2Hi5SiOKXP.99
  10. I have just read a positive review in July number of Italian magazine AudioReview about this new little DAC from Project http://www.box-designs.com/main.php?prod=preboxs2digital&cat=s2-line&lang=en A very reasonable entry level price for experimenting with MQA, but apparently not at all entry level performance. Main specs from Pro-Ject infosheet: • Dual mono construction • High end ESS Sabre ESS9038 dual DAC • Proprietary clock circuity design • Organic polymer capacitors and thin film miniMELF resistors • MQA hardware decoding • DSD64, DSD128, DSD256 & DSD512 (DSD over PCM) • Up to 24bit/192kHz for optical & coax inputs • 7 selectable digital filter characteristics • 1 proprietary optimum transient digital filter • Headphone output on the front (6.3mm) • Synchronization of all internal oscillators • Jitter as low as 100 Femtoseconds! • Gold plated four layer PCB • Full alu/metal sandwich casing in silver or black SRP: € 349,00
  11. Post, by "art" at SHF...a devastating paragraph that basically sums it all up concerning the press and subjective reports about MQA- "Done a lot of listening to MQA, even with a Grammy-winning engineer at his studio and his 200k home system. For a story coming in a mainstream weekly. He thought MQA was joke, of course. I was the AXPONA audio fest earlier in the year, various listening rooms and had hosts switch back and forth between MQA and the same hi-res files. Of course MQA was never as good, and it was obvious to the others in the rooms. Lots of head shaking. An Aurender rep told me that MQA is now saying their files are as good as 24/96 of the same mastering (they've stopped saying "better"). But they aren't even as good. That's the thing. Audible artifacts --- distortion masquerading as detail— were even obvious. But more so, MQA files are less 3D, and have a less inviting listening experience overall compared with the same non-MQA file. Every single time. "Journalists" extolling MQA need their ears tested -- and have the hearing test results in graphs posted alongside their stories --- these graying dudes at audio magazines who've lost a third or more of their hearing ... " No "hardened show goers wowed" No jaws hitting the floor No new worlds birthed No scientific revolutions No "what digital should have been 30 years ago" http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/mcintosh-passes-on-mqa-calls-it-lossy-and-distorted.757191/page-2#post-18909844
  12. STC

    MQA - CD

    Okay.....we can collect yet another version of our favorite CDs in MQA format. Please let let me know if this has been discussed elsewhere. Thanks.
  13. Rt66indierock

    Stereophile Series on MQA Technology

    I will be offering a prize for the person who does the best job debunking each part of Jim Austin’s series on MQA technology. The first part is scheduled to hit the newsstands later this week with the January issue of Stereophile. The prize will be a $10.00 gift card of your choice that I can acquire in The Valley of the Sun (greater Phoenix Arizona metro area). There is a lot of information to get you started on this site. Have fun.
  14. From the land of new CD formats, Japan, MQA CD is out...but there's a major problem with the format. Very few devices can decode MQA from a non-USB input. The reason seems to be that virtually all these DACs simply use their USB controller to run the MQA code. In addition, the fact that they can fit whole albums into a regular Redbook CD means that these MQA streams do NOT have the lower 8 bits containing the unfold data. If there's no unfold data which contains the high frequency information, there's just the filter settings and authentication key data. These MQA CD releases apparently have something else going for them -- they use UHQCD (Ultimate High Quality CD) discs which is essentially a new CD production technology which can better replicate the original pits on the master stamping head on production discs in addition to offering better surface material. In fact I never listened to a UHQCD disc, but I would imagine the SHM-CD factor applies to those -- that it's hard to differentiate if the benefit is from the format or the fact that these discs are produced by high end audiophile labels.
  15. rn701

    MQA virus spreads

    ESS Sabre DAC chips to include "very in-demand" MQA decoding: https://www.audioholics.com/news/ess-sabre-dac-chips-mqa-rendering
  16. Hi all, On the TIDAL app, I am now seeing multiple albums for the same album release. Search for Brad Mehldau or David Byrne for example. I presume one of them is an MQA version (which I recall would not show on iOS at all). I am away now and cannot check on my computer, only have an iPhone and iPad. How can I tell on an iPad - on the TIDAL app or otherwise - which are MQA? Thx.
  17. Le Concombre Masqué

    A Way to Massively Improve MQA

    I've read that correcting artefacts introduced by converters used to create the sound files is a major MQA selling point, with producers, musicians, engineers involved. How about correcting the target curve used to eQ the monitors in the mastering room ? Nonsense for it requires convolution and much more info than the origami can fit , even if more bits for musical information was retrieved thanks to XXIst century post NyquistShannon maths ? Well, who is talking nonsense ? I yet have to hear differences introduced by MQA, power cords, usb cables etc etc on par with eQ in terms of order of magnitude. Meanwhile, I'm playing with target curves based on good ol' B&K and Harman. Bet both are used to calibrate monitors here and there... I'll be happy to share my REW profiles and findings
  18. Good morning I am playing some MQA using my iPad and to my surprise the signal path is showing as lossless with an MQA 88.2 authentication. Here is the path, marked as lossless : Source : Tidal FLAC 44.1kHz 24 Bit 2ch, MQA 88.2khz Authentication: MQA Studio 88.2Khz This Tablet: Roon Advance Audio Transport Apple iPad: Headphones I knew that iOS devices were limited to 24/48 but this does not seem to be the case. Anyone here experienced something similar? thanks Ale
  19. miguelito

    A word on Roon: Amazing.

    A word of congrats to Roon and committing to work done right. I want to celebrate here that they truly listen to their customers and produce truly amazing software - head and shoulders above all else in my opinion. The particular reason for such praise is their new MQA implementation: They fought tooth and nail to get something that would live up to the Roon standards and finally they did. You might or might not like MQA - I am not advocating it at all. What I am pointing out is Roon's commitment to doing it in line with their design and not destroying user experience. Quite amazing to see such a robust product. Some power users might prefer JRiver for some use cases - in a few better than Roon's. That's very good software as well.
  20. http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/2018-axpona-show-report-digital-and-personal-electronics/?utm_source=The+Absolute+Sound+List&utm_campaign=4b535a6c2d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_04_20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_844faeddad-4b535a6c2d-109080993&mc_cid=4b535a6c2d&mc_eid=7e57b16115 "Since MQA was announced I’ve attended more than a half-dozen public demos in addition to the many hours I’ve spent listening at home on my own systems. At AXPONA I had a chance to partake of another demo, courtesy of Peter McGrath in the Paragon Audio room, with the Wilson Audio Alexandria XLF loudspeakers. Actually, I attended the demo twice. The first time I sat in the prime listening seat while during the second session I sat in the seat directly next to the prime listening seat. McGrath’s demo, using his own stunningly good recordings, codified for me two vital details about MQA demos and MQA listening in general: My first truth, which I have found universal, is that if you really want to hear what MQA can do, you must begin with a well-recorded phase-correct recording of instruments in a real acoustic space. MQA can’t make a badly mixed studio recording sound good. My own live concert recordings with the purist sonic characteristics have sounded better when encoded into MQA. Peter McGrath’s magnificent recordings were also improved by allowing an easier listen into the mix and more readily identifiable soundstaging. Peter called it “more human.” To hear MQA’s subtle but powerful differences you must listen to a good recording of Mahler or Mozart, not Metallica. The second and equally important detail about MQA A/B listening comparison tests is if you are not in the prime listening position, which is the one that triangulates most precisely with the transducers used during the listening session, you are not in a position to judge MQA sound quality properly. When I was even one seat to the side of the central listening position the effects of MQA were vastly reduced to the point where they were almost nonexistent. I have been in sessions where even professional recording engineers (and audio reviewers) have made dubious (and IMHO downright wrong) assessments of MQA’s sonic effects based on a group session where almost everyone in the room is in a bad seat (which is any seat that is not properly triangulated with the transducers). In all the other seats you might as well be listening through a Dixie cup and a string—really. So, if you have an opportunity to participate in a group listening session evaluating MQA, unless you have THE SEAT, i.e. the sweet spot, your opinions are not going to be correct and you won’t be hearing any of what I have come to believe are fundamentally profound (but subtle) sonic improvements that MQA-encoded files can have over the original WAV (or even DSD) masters. Let the flames begin…" So it has to be a "phase correct' REAL instrument or instruments in a REAL acoustic space and you have to sit in THE SEAT... Yup, that's it. Everyone has gotten it all wrong these last 4 years, because they all been sitting in the wrong seat...
  21. manisandher

    Roon now decodes MQA

    Just updated to Roon 1.5 (build 320) and am now getting this: Mani.
  22. I want to experiment with a Roon Ready endpoint MQA enabled network streamer to listen to MQA selections from Tidal with Roon. MQA has been so hotly debated I want to pick up some gear and listen for myself rather than read endless online debates. I'm not interested in portable DACs or music fed directly from a computer. So, I'm inclined to shy away from the Meridian Explorer 2, Dragonfly Red or iFi Nano BL. I suspect that using the iFi Micro BL on a desktop is a waste of much of what that device has to offer. But perhaps I'm thinking of this the wrong way. Since Roon can now handle the decoding, I realize a renderer is all that I need, however, I don't feel compelled to ignore solutions that offer decoding and rendering. This particular system is very simple. It's a Naim Uniti Atom driving ProAc Tablette 10 speakers. The analog input is available. I've been pleased with the Allo USBRidge that I've deployed on one of my low budget systems and was thinking that pairing that device with a Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 would do the trick for about $580. An alternative would be the Bluesound Node 2 at about $500. I suspect that the USBRidge/Pro-Ject combo would yield better sound. However, the Bluesound would tie things up nicely with a single box. I'm not interested in any of the other features offer by Bluesound. Are there other alternatives you might suggest? How would you think about the two options I've mentioned? Just to put boundaries on this experiment, let's keep the budget below $750. Thanks, -- Rich
  23. The Computer Audiophile

    Article: MQA (for civilians)

    View full article
  24. https://www.stereophile.com/content/mqa-drm-and-other-four-letter-words
  25. mjb

    iFi audio now with MQA

    iFi audio have released new MQA firmware (v5.3) with MQA rendering support. Supported Products: Retro Stereo 50 micro iDAC2 micro iDSD Black Label & micro iDSD nano iDSD Black Label, nano iDSD LE and nano iDSD nano iOne See the Press Release for details. MQA seems to be infiltrating everything these days...
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