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Listener of Music
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Damn it. I just watched the whole thing. Now I'm late!

Nice to know. Great presentation of info and opinion.

I'll be fair I'll give Tidal time to act on these claims. This stuff is just getting widespread publicly over the last couple months and they are likely in contracts they can't just walk out of. We'll see if anything is done.
 

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I personally use whatever sounds better, I have some mqa that to me is better than the hifi tier normal flac version, this isn’t anything new as far as I’m concerned, I often download two versions of an album and keep the best version... some I can tell, some i prefer the mqa version, sometimes the original, hifi flac is still what I’m paying for, mqa is just a tiny bonus for me, I definitely won’t get my knickers in a twist about this 👍🏼
 

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Listener of Music
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I definitely won’t get my knickers in a twist about this 👍🏼
For me I just don't like being intentionally mislead. I listen driving down the road 98% of the time so I don't care about tiny differences much. But like the video said, tell me there may be differences and let me make the choice of the service I'm paying for. Don't force feed me something that you say is new and better without allowing me to choose myself. Unless you bought your mqa device or Tidal in the last several months you didn't sign up for this.
 
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For me I just don't like being intentionally mislead. I listen driving down the road 98% of the time so I don't care about tiny differences much. But like the video said, tell me there may be differences and let me make the choice of the service I'm paying for. Don't force feed me something that you say is new and better without allowing me to choose myself. Unless you bought your mqa device or Tidal in the last several months you didn't sign up for this.
I agree master quality should be better than hifi... however I have bigger things to worry about in life than master or hifi or whatever 🤷🏽‍♂️
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I personally use whatever sounds better, I have some mqa that to me is better than the hifi tier normal flac version, this isn’t anything new as far as I’m concerned, I often download two versions of an album and keep the best version... some I can tell, some i prefer the mqa version, sometimes the original, hifi flac is still what I’m paying for, mqa is just a tiny bonus for me, I definitely won’t get my knickers in a twist about this 👍🏼
Do you use an MQA-certified DAC or analog out from a MQA-enabled DAP to play back MQA files in your car audio system???

I don't quite understand your logic, mate?

The issue is that you are paying for an ALTERED version of the true lossless master recording (and it is NOT better...it's proven to have less dynamic range & added noise), AND they are taking away your Freedom and choice to access and simply pay for and download the REAL Lossless original master that has not been altered. It's complete DRM that only offers you an ALTERED version, NOT the Original.

It's like you going to your local pub and wanting to purchase & drink your favorite high-quality brew (and willing to pay extra for it), but the bartender still only pours you their house brand and still charges you the premium.
:-/
Would you be okay with that, mate?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Damn it. I just watched the whole thing. Now I'm late!

Nice to know. Great presentation of info and opinion.

I'll be fair I'll give Tidal time to act on these claims. This stuff is just getting widespread publicly over the last couple months and they are likely in contracts they can't just walk out of. We'll see if anything is done.
Don't hold your breath. :p

Nothing will be done on MQA or Tidal's part to remedy this or "make it right", because their proprietary process CAN'T make ANY music file any more REAL than the ORIGINAL, Lossless, full resolution master file from the artist or record label.

Their proprietary "Authentication" authenticates NOTHING.

Their entire business model and "Premium Service" is based on providing customers with a Unique, EXCLUSIVE, Best-Possible-Quality and "Authentic" master recording.

But ALL of that above has been proven to be COMPLETELY FALSE, and in fact, WORSE than the original master...unless you prefer paying for and listening to added noise & less dynamic range.

They will never make the details of their proprietary MQA encoding process or pre-MQA encoded files available for cross-examination because their entire scam would be exposed and they'd be subject to litigation.

I'm not really a proponent for more government regulation, but companies like this need to submit evidence and be required to substantiate their claims and provide PROOF of their claims that the technology used is actually superior, or at least provides what they claim it to.

From the first announcement of MQA, I was skeptical that it was just another scheme to enforce DRM and to monopolize the "Hi-Res" music market.

It turns out that is exactly what it is (DRM), except in this case they are also providing Inferior music files that are ALTERED and are NOT bit-for-bit the same as the original studio masters that they say they have "Authenticated".

What business wouldn't absolutely LOVE to RE-sell you ALL of the music that you have already purchased and own??? It's a genius marketing scam. Sell the same thing to you Twice! Oh, but wait, now we have a higher-res or DSD version available, so please buy it AGAIN because it's even "better", LOL.

Bob Stuart and the others involved in MQA know full well that Confirmation Bias is REAL and that no matter the actual differences in quality, since you've paid extra for their "Exclusive" service, AND it is "Master Quality Authenticated", it will subjectively sound better to you.

The bottom line is that with MQA, you are NOT receiving the true original master files, nor directly "as the artist intended".

And as the video points out, many of the "Hi-Res" files that they offer have simply been Upsampled conversions of the standard Redbook CD quality masters...and/or they don't provide any provenance whatsoever as to the source of the file(s).
 

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I was suggesting Tidal gets rid of MQA.

I would doubt MQA does anything.
 
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Do you use an MQA-certified DAC or analog out from a MQA-enabled DAP to play back MQA files in your car audio system???

I don't quite understand your logic, mate?

The issue is that you are paying for an ALTERED version of the true lossless master recording (and it is NOT better...it's proven to have less dynamic range & added noise), AND they are taking away your Freedom and choice to access and simply pay for and download the REAL Lossless original master that has not been altered. It's complete DRM that only offers you an ALTERED version, NOT the Original.

It's like you going to your local pub and wanting to purchase & drink your favorite high-quality brew (and willing to pay extra for it), but the bartender still only pours you their house brand and still charges you the premium.
:-/
Would you be okay with that, mate?
No... I pay for tidal hifi... if I paid for master level recordings over that then I’d be unhappy... but as I bought a hifi subscription knowing what I was buying, and having tested and knowing that master sometimes doesn’t sound as good to my ears as flac if just a hifi track, then I am fine with getting 1440kbps or equivalent flac quality for the subscription I paid for, I don’t really care about mqa, do research before paying and you know what you’re buying

you don’t pay the extra over standard for pure mqa level tracks, you pay for hifi and some master quality albums, I am happy with the quality of the hifi level stuff
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
No... I pay for tidal hifi... if I paid for master level recordings over that then I’d be unhappy... but as I bought a hifi subscription knowing what I was buying, and having tested and knowing that master sometimes doesn’t sound as good to my ears as flac if just a hifi track, then I am fine with getting 1440kbps or equivalent flac quality for the subscription I paid for, I don’t really care about mqa, do research before paying and you know what you’re buying

you don’t pay the extra over standard for pure mqa level tracks, you pay for hifi and some master quality albums, I am happy with the quality of the hifi level stuff
Okay, understood and fair enough.

I still take issue with Tidal for even supporting/endorsing MQA's sham. :p
 

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Okay, understood and fair enough.

I still take issue with Tidal for even supporting/endorsing MQA's sham. :p
Actually, I’ve changed my point of view a little... the guy does a very specific test... his track he made a master version of he then downloaded/checked the hifi (should be flac) version of, it then turned out to be a slightly less folded version of his mqa track (12.30ish in the video), so not actually flac, which does actually mean I’m not getting what I paid for if a master version of a track exists... that has now struck a whole new chord as flac isn’t effectively available on tidal now of a master version of a track exists... I see lots of people jumping ship...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Actually, I’ve changed my point of view a little... the guy does a very specific test... his track he made a master version of he then downloaded/checked the hifi (should be flac) version of, it then turned out to be a slightly less folded version of his mqa track (12.30ish in the video), so not actually flac, which does actually mean I’m not getting what I paid for if a master version of a track exists... that has now struck a whole new chord as flac isn’t effectively available on tidal now if a master version of a track exists... I see lots of people jumping ship...
Yeah, there are a lot of details in his tests and this video to follow. It's fairly comprehesive which was necessary to prove his points.
 

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There is no need for MQA. There are tons of hi Res music tracks available in the form of music videos, Youtube, Music video and concert DVD's and Blurays.

Professional and official music videos, such as Vivo, start at 48khz. - that's hi res.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
There is no need for MQA. There are tons of hi Res music tracks available in the form of music videos, Youtube, Music video and concert DVD's and Blurays.

Professional and official music videos, such as Vivo, start at 48khz. - that's hi res.
Technically, I would only consider a 48kHz sample rate as being "Hi-Res" if the Bit Depth is also 24 Bits and not 16.

There are valid arguments for the higher dynamic range and lower noise floor of 24 bit, as well as minimizing potential artifacts from folding into the audible band via the necessary use of extremely steep cut-off filters in 44.1k & 48k sample rates.


AmirM at Audio Science Reveiw (ASR) just started an interesting series of YouTube videos on the quality of some "Hi-Res" files.


 

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Technically, I would only consider a 48kHz sample rate as being "Hi-Res" if the Bit Depth is also 24 Bits and not 16.

There are valid arguments for the higher dynamic range and lower noise floor of 24 bit, as well as minimizing potential artifacts from folding into the audible band via the necessary use of extremely steep cut-off filters in 44.1k & 48k sample rates.


AmirM at Audio Science Reveiw (ASR) just started an interesting series of YouTube videos on the quality of some "Hi-Res" files.




- I'm just not finding that to be the case. I'm hearing and comparing tons of 48khz to 44khz and below and hearing massive improvements in quality. The bit rates don't seem to matter as much.

But yes, I suspect that as sampling and bit rate goes higher, you may get some noticeable improvement.

But here is the thing - 48khz sampling rate seems to be some kind of threshold where the sound takes the biggest leap in quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
- I'm just not finding that to be the case. I'm hearing and comparing tons of 48khz to 44khz and below and hearing massive improvements in quality. The bit rates don't seem to matter as much.

But yes, I suspect that as sampling and bit rate goes higher, you may get some noticeable improvement.

But here is the thing - 48khz sampling rate seems to be some kind of threshold where the sound takes the biggest leap in quality.
48kHz is the standard that is used for audio that is meant for use in video production. So the standards for quality are fairly ubiquitous and universal throughout the film, TV, and broadcast industry. Those standards are adhered to much more strictly, which might account for the perceived better quality you are experiencing.

There is a bit more room for error or "artistic interpretation" when it comes to the standards or variances used in standalone music production...Reference levels, clipping, DR, noise, distortion used as an "EFX", etc.


IMO, a higher bit depth and dynamic range (with less emphasis or importance placed on higher sample rates and extended frequency response), are more beneficial in the production of music, i.e. recording the raw sound(s) AND when mixing/combining all of those multiple tracks down to just 2 channels.

"Hi-Res" is not as important IMO in the final playback of the music, because the gain staging, DR, and any noise issues have already been optimized in the mixing and mastering process (at least in a good recording and mix).

But when you start mixing or "stacking" a lot of individual tracks that were recorded with an identical and detectable noise floor (or any other type of inherent and consistent artifact), the noise floor or artifact from each track keeps summing to a greater level as the tracks continue to be combined, while the instruments and vocals in each track are all individual components of the mix, and only increase significantly in amplitude when the same frequencies are played or sung in unison (a choir as opposed to a soloist).

So the better SNR/lower noise floor, as well as the increased DR of 24-bit can be beneficial, at least in the production process.

A high noise floor can mask the details, articulation, and nuances in voices and music, and it affects our perception of dynamics.

However, there are some fairly powerful plugins and software that can minimize or reduce this type of noise, as well as other distortions and artifacts. iZotope has a powerful suite of software and plugins specifically for this purpose.

And luckily, the quality of ADCs, DACs, and analog circuitry in recording and mixing gear is currently so good even at the base level, that as long as the music, vocals, or dialog are recorded at decent levels with no clipping, the resulting quality is at a very high level.

The quality of basic playback equipment and DACs are getting better every day as well. Look at Amir's test on YouTube or the ASR Forums of the $120 Hidzs S9 USB balanced output headphone DAC/amplifier dongle.

And I have a Sound Devices MixPre10-II digital recorder that is capable of 32-bit Floating Point audio capture. Essentially, this provides such a high dynamic range and low noise floor that you don't even need to adjust the recording levels at all, or worry about clipping or using a wonky limiter!

A perfectly usable recording can be extracted even at minimum gain as long as there is some type of audio signal present!

And with this recording device, it's basically impossible to clip your signal or "brick wall" the DR in your recording. Crazy!

Just as an aside and for S&G's, here's a decent post by the peeps at iZotope...

 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
A third video in Amir's ASR series on the potential value (or lack of) of Hi-Res music downloads. Search his YouTube channel for the others within that e last few days.

 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Another Hi-Res music analysis by AmirM at Audio Science Review.


Check out the others as well.
 
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