Author Topic: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't  (Read 2494 times)

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Offline NiHaoMike

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MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« on: April 21, 2021, 11:10:54 pm »

The company trying to prevent independent testing puts it into the really dodgy category...
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Online SiliconWizard

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2021, 12:53:36 am »
MQA is a lossy compression algorithm, it's basically meant to be better than MP3 or similar for streaming audio - that's the intended use - but obviously it can't be as good as lossless compression, which FLAC is. Of course it's worse than FLAC. How could it be not? FLAC is freaking LOSSLESS!

Does the company really claim it's as good or even better?

Edit: I looked at the company's web site with the little info they give:
https://www.mqa.co.uk/how-it-works
https://bobtalks.co.uk/blog/mqa-philosophy/what-is-mqa/
https://bobtalks.co.uk/blog/mqaplayback/origami-and-the-last-mile/

This is "music origami". Enjoy.

« Last Edit: April 22, 2021, 01:49:25 am by SiliconWizard »
 
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Online magic

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2021, 05:53:52 am »
There is more to MQA than the codec, which in theory could be lossless up to CD quality and only lossy at ultrasonics, but in practice it doesn't yield effects equivalent to CD because there is more to MQA than the codec :P

https://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=17501

The claim about sound quality better than PCM is based on the presumption that MQA artifacts are less audible than "industry standard resampling" artifacts. Not sure if they have an answer to "what if I get the original master with no compression and resampling whatsoever", other than the fact that most studios will not release their masters because how would they make money reissuing the same material over and over again in new formats in the future ;D
 
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Online BrianHG

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2021, 03:19:11 am »
MQA is garbage BS.  I wouldn't trust it at all.  I have more faith in high bit-rate AAC audio.  Though the standard is protected, the source algorithm and example encoder/decoder code and specs are available for test and review.  Properly done .MP2 (mpeg 2, layer II audio, AT&T model) at 384kbit, discrete stereo encoding appears to render better results than that stupid MQA as well as 320kbit .mp3.

Personally, I have my CD collection encoded in .flac, period.  It's been like that since then inception of FLAC well over a decade ago and I used a public domain encoding GUI which also automatically decoded the .flac after encode to do a BINARY compare with the source .wav rips from my CDs to ensure that the encode was dead bit perfect.
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Offline eplpwr

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2021, 05:43:21 pm »
MQA is awful. An attempt to make the whole audio chain subject to licensing fees and lock-in. Proprietary encoders, decoders/digital filters and of course only their algorithm. (Digital filters - normally oversampling at 2^n - used to be an area of expertise where different vendors could invent better stuff and compete with their products.)

Soundwise MQA is also awful. The entire thinking behind the encoding is wrongthink. I highly recommend the external link #17 from the MQA Wikipedia page, titled "Digital Done Wrong". A very long read, but most informative.

Companies like Tidal offering MQA are not doing it for the musical enjoyment of their customers, but rather to get the lock-in of the format. Also avoiding to give away the crown jewels like a real Hi-Res version of the master tapes (24/96 or even higher SR).
 
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Offline ConKbot

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2021, 04:40:15 am »
When a lossless codec that can decode to a bit perfect  reproduction exists, with no real downsides on modern systems. (300MB for an album instead of 40-60MB meh, who cares) any other format claiming to be better by any other metric than size or processing efficiency should just be summarily dismissed as a scam.
 

Offline Bassman59

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2021, 04:26:16 pm »
Companies like Tidal offering MQA are not doing it for the musical enjoyment of their customers, but rather to get the lock-in of the format. Also avoiding to give away the crown jewels like a real Hi-Res version of the master tapes (24/96 or even higher SR).

And today, Apple announced that they will start offering lossless streaming for everything in their catalog. (They've always had the original unencoded PCM files, so the "content creators" don't need to do anything.) The coding is Apple Lossless Audio CODEC, which is open source. They indicate they will support everything up to 192 kHz/24-bit, although you will need external hardware for the "hi-res" sources.

What is actually streamed depends on the format of the original source. I doubt they'll SRC a 44.1 kHz file up to 192 kHz.

Hopefully this will put an end to MQA.
 
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Online SiliconWizard

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2021, 05:04:06 pm »
How does ALAC stand in terms of data compression compared to FLAC?
 

Offline coppice

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2021, 05:27:48 pm »
How does ALAC stand in terms of data compression compared to FLAC?
Its in the same ballpark, as is the lossless WMA codec from Microsoft. I've never looked at the techniques they use, so I don't know if they are similar.
 

Offline agtrbt

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2021, 05:16:42 am »
MQA is pointless in presence of FLAC,  larger files and higher complexity than AAC, still suffers from generation loss.

Recoding ultrasonics is BS for human hearing and many material or master tapes have negligible high frequencies or just random hiss / interference.

I realised certain instruments may give more ultrasonics but I would limit my audiophile pursuit to 96K 24bit , which many signal chain canot process deep ultrasonics anyway.
 
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Online oPossum

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2021, 06:22:20 pm »
MQA responds with more nonsense: https://bobtalks.co.uk/a-deeper-look/all-that-glitters-is-not-golden/#

The response to the response:


 
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Online BrianHG

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2021, 12:14:52 am »
LOL,  what BS crap.  I stand by my earlier comments...
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Online SiliconWizard

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2021, 12:59:35 am »
 

Online magic

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2021, 06:43:39 am »
Coming next: red LED for recordings which not only are studio quality, better than PCM and authenticated, but also have actually been produced competently rather than by an automated batch process at Tidal ;D
 

Offline Refrigerator

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2021, 10:59:07 am »
"better than lossless"  :o
Amazing how they manage to pluck sounds from an alternate universe where a better version of the song exists.
Or did they mean that the losses are negative so they decrease the losses in your studio gear?
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Offline coppice

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2021, 04:19:04 pm »
MQA is weird. Its obviously smoke and mirrors, yet the original people behind it have a solid track record in the hi-fi industry.
 

Online SiliconWizard

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2021, 05:15:36 pm »
As GoldenSound said, it's actually common in the audio field to use methods to *subjectively* "improve" the perception of quality while they objectively degrade the signal in some way, for instance anything tube-based (amps, preamps, compressors...)

And has he said, it's fine as long as you don't make false claims, which the MQA team does.
 
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Offline madires

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2021, 05:21:55 pm »
Put your tap water in this new and shiny proprietary bottle and it will taste much better while helping us to make more money. >:D
 

Offline Cyberdragon

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2021, 12:37:10 am »
An audiophool this man has proven himself...



NOTE: This was made before the response video.
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Offline coppice

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2021, 04:44:47 pm »
An audiophool this man has proven himself...



NOTE: This was made before the response video.
Every video he makes proves he's either clueless or a shill for big cow pat.
 

Online SiliconWizard

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2021, 05:10:41 pm »
To be "fair" (if that's the word here), the guy most likely doesn't mean to reach out to engineers, but rather to salespersons and deciders in the music industry. Those are the people MQA is targetting and whom the guy is talking to.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2021, 05:35:36 pm »
To be "fair" (if that's the word here), the guy most likely doesn't mean to reach out to engineers, but rather to salespersons and deciders in the music industry. Those are the people MQA is targetting and whom the guy is talking to.
Of course. Its no use trying to sell BS to the rational and competent.
 

Offline bebopdk

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Re: MQA: the HD audio standard that isn't
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2021, 01:56:02 pm »
I'd rather buy a soupstone :-DD I have my entire music collection stored in Flac, both CD an HighRes, the only thing that can mess the audio quality it up is the equipment you play it on, and these days you can get impressing audio quality on cheap DIY stuff, my latest toy is a PiZero with a ESS9023 DAC board which in total cost me less than 50€ and sounds fantastic :bullshit:
 


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