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Topic: MQA Damage Control (Read 2564 times) previous topic - next topic
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MQA Damage Control

I was reading the Wikipedia article on MQA, and if you look at the talkback on the article, it appears MQA is in damage control mode. There are multiple attempts to have the paragraph about the YouTube Goldensound video removed from the article. Also lots of comments about getting as much of the "Criticisms" section of article removed as possible.

I find it very telling that Neil Young, a HUGE proponent of hi-res music, pulled all his albums off TIDAL, because he thought the MQA versions of his albums sounded horrible.

I'm really hoping MQA fades into irrelevance in a few years.

Re: MQA Damage Control

Reply #1
Hard times for MQA Bob and Tidal now that apple, amazon and soon Spotify offer real lossless content.
The only chance is to keep the tale alive MQA is better than lossless. Findings like in the GoldenSound video are not beneficial for their case.
Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?
With 24bit music you can listen to silence much louder!

Re: MQA Damage Control

Reply #2
Hard times for MQA Bob and Tidal now that apple, amazon and soon Spotify offer real lossless content.
The only chance is to keep the tale alive MQA is better than lossless. Findings like in the GoldenSound video are not beneficial for their case.


They responded to the GoldenSound video and claimed that standard tests can't be used to properly judge the psychoacoustic properties that MQA provides. And they also claimed that the files submitted to Tidal were not dithered, which GoldrenSound denies.

They got caught with their pants down.

But Tidal is doubling down on MQA support now. They probably want to make it a differentiator now. Apple's lossless is being offered at no additional charge. Amazon already responded by making their lossless tier part of the standard subscription. So, through both Apple and Amazon, you can get lossless streaming for half the price Tidal offers.

And Qoboz is dumping MQA. The small amount of MQA titles they had were there because the record label only provided them with an MQA master. They said they were going to go back to those labels and ask for FLACs to replace the MQA content.

People are chasing the wrong thing. Instead of chasing bits, they should be chasing dynamic range. Brickwalled music is going to sound the same whether it's lossy, lossless, hi-res of MQA. You want music to sound better, stop with the dynamic compression.

Re: MQA Damage Control

Reply #3
Quote
I find it very telling that Neil Young, a HUGE proponent of hi-res music

Neil Young isn't young anymore.   :D  He's 75 years old (probable hearing loss) and he's a rock & roller (more probable hearing loss).   So, I'd line to see the results of his hearing tests ,  :D

Quote
because he thought the MQA versions of his albums sounded horrible.
And, I'd like to see the ABX logs! :D     I've never heard MQA but I had the impression it's "subtle"...   Is it even audible?

Quote
People are chasing the wrong thing. Instead of chasing bits, they should be chasing dynamic range. Brickwalled music is going to sound the same whether it's lossy, lossless, hi-res of MQA. You want music to sound better, stop with the dynamic compression.
Right on!      ...Although I'm getting older myself and I'm not sure how much new music I'd be interested in even if it was better-produced.  :P

Re: MQA Damage Control

Reply #4
Quote
I find it very telling that Neil Young, a HUGE proponent of hi-res music

Neil Young isn't young anymore.   :D  He's 75 years old (probable hearing loss) and he's a rock & roller (more probable hearing loss).   So, I'd line to see the results of his hearing tests ,  :D

Quote
because he thought the MQA versions of his albums sounded horrible.
And, I'd like to see the ABX logs! :D     I've never heard MQA but I had the impression it's "subtle"...   Is it even audible?

Quote
People are chasing the wrong thing. Instead of chasing bits, they should be chasing dynamic range. Brickwalled music is going to sound the same whether it's lossy, lossless, hi-res of MQA. You want music to sound better, stop with the dynamic compression.
Right on!      ...Although I'm getting older myself and I'm not sure how much new music I'd be interested in even if it was better-produced.  :P

It's his music and he's entitled to voice his own views on the matter. It's very likely that the MQA is from a different master and the supposed audible differences are due to that.

Regardless of it's transparency, it would not be happy to use MQA now.

Re: MQA Damage Control

Reply #5
Quote
I find it very telling that Neil Young, a HUGE proponent of hi-res music

Neil Young isn't young anymore.   :D  He's 75 years old (probable hearing loss) and he's a rock & roller (more probable hearing loss).   So, I'd line to see the results of his hearing tests ,  :D

Quote
because he thought the MQA versions of his albums sounded horrible.
And, I'd like to see the ABX logs! :D     I've never heard MQA but I had the impression it's "subtle"...   Is it even audible?

Quote
People are chasing the wrong thing. Instead of chasing bits, they should be chasing dynamic range. Brickwalled music is going to sound the same whether it's lossy, lossless, hi-res of MQA. You want music to sound better, stop with the dynamic compression.
Right on!      ...Although I'm getting older myself and I'm not sure how much new music I'd be interested in even if it was better-produced.  :P

The people that praise MQA do not claim it's subtle. "The difference was like Night and Day" is often used by them. But you know how placebophiles work.  They'll buy a linear power supply and rant about the difference being night and day, even though they've never done an ABX test.

Re: MQA Damage Control

Reply #6
Quote
I find it very telling that Neil Young, a HUGE proponent of hi-res music

Neil Young isn't young anymore.   :D  He's 75 years old (probable hearing loss) and he's a rock & roller (more probable hearing loss).   So, I'd line to see the results of his hearing tests ,  :D

Quote
because he thought the MQA versions of his albums sounded horrible.
And, I'd like to see the ABX logs! :D     I've never heard MQA but I had the impression it's "subtle"...   Is it even audible?

Quote
People are chasing the wrong thing. Instead of chasing bits, they should be chasing dynamic range. Brickwalled music is going to sound the same whether it's lossy, lossless, hi-res of MQA. You want music to sound better, stop with the dynamic compression.
Right on!      ...Although I'm getting older myself and I'm not sure how much new music I'd be interested in even if it was better-produced.  :P

It's his music and he's entitled to voice his own views on the matter. It's very likely that the MQA is from a different master and the supposed audible differences are due to that.

Regardless of it's transparency, it would not be happy to use MQA now.

MQA is EQing the music. Whether the engineer is doing it, or the MQA hardware is applying EQ and DSP is unknown. The "secret sauce" is protected by a patent and people need to sign NDA agreements.

I'm sure if you did an ABX test between MQA and unmodified PCM, you'd hear a difference. The real question is, is does MQA produce subjectively better audio than regular PCM? That's obviously up to the listener. Neil Young thought it did not. I think a lot of other artists just don't care. They want to sell a product.  If "audiophiles" are demanding MQA, and they think they can make a profit by converting to MQA, they'll do it.

Most of the arguments I hear against MQA are that it's introducing patents into the music production process that just aren't needed. But that's Meridian's schtik. They created MLP and got in added as mandatory codec into DVD-A, and it's nothing more than a multi-channel lossless audio codec. It does pre-date FLAC by one year, so perhaps there was no other codec they could use at the time which was lossless.

I've watched videos from hardware manufacturers that say they added MQA support because the constant daily emails from customers demanding it. Those emails could have come from paid shills that Meridian employs.

I know Schiit Audio has stated on multiple occasions that will never add MQA support to their DACs, so stop asking.

Re: MQA Damage Control

Reply #7
I'm surprised no one has challenged the patents since there based on fraud.
exhaleFLAC

Re: MQA Damage Control

Reply #8
I'm surprised no one has challenged the patents since they're based on fraud.
That's because the patents aren't protecting anything worthwhile. However, It's quite entertaining to see just how far fools will go on a fool's errand.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  ;~)

Re: MQA Damage Control

Reply #9
There are some very staunch defenders of MQA, claiming that Bob Stuart understands psychoacoustics better than anyone on the planet, and we are just peons that should grovel before him.

I find it very interesting that in the GoldenSound videos, whenever he originally uploaded sine sweeps and test tones, the encoder just refused to encode them. The MQA system has safeguards built into it to prevent objective testing.

The only thing that Bob Stuart is a master at, is how to peddle snake oil to audiofools and placebophiles.

Re: MQA Damage Control

Reply #10
MQA should be like Fight Club Rules
Loudspeaker manufacturer


Re: MQA Damage Control

Reply #12
I find it very interesting that in the GoldenSound videos, whenever he originally uploaded sine sweeps and test tones, the encoder just refused to encode them. The MQA system has safeguards built into it to prevent objective testing.
Is there any reason to believe that the purpose wasn't rather to prevent reverse-engineering and third-party implementation?
High Voltage socket-nose-avatar

Re: MQA Damage Control

Reply #13
Could someone who knows what they're talking about deconstruct this blog post? https://bobtalks.co.uk/a-deeper-look/all-that-glitters-is-not-golden/

I'm pretty sure he's full of it, but I don't know enough to know for sure.

Based on point 2:

"MQA has never made false claims about ‘losslessness’.  MQA has been clear from the outset that our process operates in a wider frame of reference that includes the whole chain including A/D and D/A converters. [1]"

It's not worth continuing to read it, bare faced lies. The more I read about MQA the angrier I become. I do hope they fall victim to a class action, or one of their licensees files a suit.

All of this could have been avoid by enforcing MQA as a mastering process and ensuring a basic level of quality for DACs and amps etc (a bit like Dolby). Instead it's all snake oil and bullshit. Problem is, there's a lot of engineers on the internet who can spot this idiocy a mile away.

Re: MQA Damage Control

Reply #14
I find it very interesting that in the GoldenSound videos, whenever he originally uploaded sine sweeps and test tones, the encoder just refused to encode them. The MQA system has safeguards built into it to prevent objective testing.
Is there any reason to believe that the purpose wasn't rather to prevent reverse-engineering and third-party implementation?


That probably factors in to it.  But if you can reverse engineer the secret sauce through some simple sine wave sweeps, there wasn't a whole lot of secret sauce there in the first place.

I think it's interesting that MQA has managed to move the goal posts on what is considered audiophile.

I remember when the CD came out and there was a promotional video with Alan Parsons talking about how the CD, for the first time ever, let people at home hear what he heard in the studio.

Then DVD-A and SACD came out, and the record labels were trying to justify the DRM in them by saying that hi-res audio was so close to the studio masters, that they had to protect it.

And there has always been talk in audiophile circles about listening to music "as the artist intended." Hell, that's what old time vinyl guys say all the time. The albums prior to the late 80s were mixed and mastered for vinyl, and the artist intended you to listen to it on vinyl.

So, the audiophile mantra has always been "Don't F*** With The Source!"

Now MQA comes along and tells people they're going to mess with the source and you're going to think it's even better. And because Audiophiles rarely ever have an opinion that' their own, when Stereophile magazine parroted that discussion and agreed with it, they all ate it up.


Re: MQA Damage Control

Reply #16
https://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=19396

AES E-LIBRARY
A Comparison of Clarity in MQA Encoded Files vs. Their Unprocessed State as Performed by Three Groups — Expert Listeners

This paper aims to examine perceived clarity in MQA encoded audio files compared to their unprocessed state (96-kHz 24-bit). Utilizing a methodology initially proposed by the authors in a previous paper, this study aims to investigate any reported differences in clarity for three musical sources of varying genres. A double-blind test is conducted using three groups—expert listeners, musicians, and casual listeners—in a controlled environment using high-quality loudspeakers and headphones. The researchers were interested in comparing the responses of the three target groups and whether playback systems had any significant effect on listeners’ perception. Data shows that listeners were not able to significantly discriminate between MQA encoded files and the unprocessed original due to several interaction effects.

The authors would like to thank.....Bob Stuart and Meridian for providing the MQA-encoded versions of our audio source materials

Loudspeaker manufacturer

Re: MQA Damage Control

Reply #17
X
F*** everyone.

Re: MQA Damage Control

Reply #18
How much you wanna bet "Data shows that listeners were not able to significantly discriminate between LAME -V 2 kbps mp3s and the unprocessed original" would be the conclusion if that were the comparison?

EDIT: Then again, mp3s aren't supposed to sound "better" than FLAC like MQA is, right?

Re: MQA Damage Control

Reply #19
Could someone who knows what they're talking about deconstruct this blog post? https://bobtalks.co.uk/a-deeper-look/all-that-glitters-is-not-golden/
Why does Bob go out of his way to say "delivered losslessly" unless he wants to mislead readers into thinking that MQA is lossless?

Several of his complaints revolve around the test signals not being music. I guess Bob isn't familiar with chiptunes.

Bob says MQA is supposed to correct some deficiency between the ADC and the DAC. But if any such corrections were necessary, they could be applied to ordinary PCM.

Bob says MQA provides "higher temporal resolution" and "lower blur" than PCM using less data. I'm not really sure what "temporal resolution" is supposed to refer to, but "blur" is certainly talking about the typical lowpass filter at around 20kHz. If you raise the lowpass, you need a higher sample rate, so this is technically correct. Lots of other codecs can make this claim too, including FLAC. Of course, this is all based on the assumption that you need to preserve those high frequencies in the first place, when evidence suggests that you do not.

Re: MQA Damage Control

Reply #20
I find it very interesting that in the GoldenSound videos, whenever he originally uploaded sine sweeps and test tones, the encoder just refused to encode them. The MQA system has safeguards built into it to prevent objective testing.
Is there any reason to believe that the purpose wasn't rather to prevent reverse-engineering and third-party implementation?


That probably factors in to it.  But if you can reverse engineer the secret sauce through some simple sine wave sweeps, there wasn't a whole lot of secret sauce there in the first place.
Even more reason to make it hard to do.

Experience says that audiophools won't be convinced by rigorous testing, so I think that was a lesser concern than a free implementation that would squash their royalties.

I think it's interesting that MQA has managed to move the goal posts on what is considered audiophile.

I remember when the CD came out and there was a promotional video with Alan Parsons talking about how the CD, for the first time ever, let people at home hear what he heard in the studio.

Then DVD-A and SACD came out, and the record labels were trying to justify the DRM in them by saying that hi-res audio was so close to the studio masters, that they had to protect it.

And there has always been talk in audiophile circles about listening to music "as the artist intended." Hell, that's what old time vinyl guys say all the time. The albums prior to the late 80s were mixed and mastered for vinyl, and the artist intended you to listen to it on vinyl.

So, the audiophile mantra has always been "Don't F*** With The Source!"

Now MQA comes along and tells people they're going to mess with the source and you're going to think it's even better. And because Audiophiles rarely ever have an opinion that' their own, when Stereophile magazine parroted that discussion and agreed with it, they all ate it up.

Well not really. The "Master Quality Authenticated" spin is the idea that yes you are getting what came out of the master. That isn't moving the any goalpost really. Remember that downmixing from a DAW to CDDA format is lossy, no matter how "lossless" FLAC is [aside, if the master was in floating-point, you cannot contain it in FLAC ...].
And trying to store a smarter encoded signal in CDDA is nothing new either. HDCD did that, but in terms of dynamics. DTS did that, in terms of the number of channels. MQA does that, in terms of frequency response (well maybe not "response" we have learned, but in the upper frequency output).

Their whole spin is that they squeeze out studio magic and deliver it with a certificate of authenticity, like a "why buy a photocopy when we can deliver you an authentic lithography from the artist's hand". Couple that with the usual audiophile marketing (colloquially known as "bullshit"), you got Schrödinger's FLAC: lossless, but better than lossless since it is better than CDDA in a file format that can deliver CDDA.
And the italics part is not new, and it isn't even impossible, technically speaking.
High Voltage socket-nose-avatar

Re: MQA Damage Control

Reply #21
Bob says MQA is supposed to correct some deficiency between the ADC and the DAC. But if any such corrections were necessary, they could be applied to ordinary PCM.

Bob says MQA provides "higher temporal resolution" and "lower blur" than PCM using less data. I'm not really sure what "temporal resolution" is supposed to refer to, but "blur" is certainly talking about the typical lowpass filter at around 20kHz. If you raise the lowpass, you need a higher sample rate, so this is technically correct. Lots of other codecs can make this claim too, including FLAC. Of course, this is all based on the assumption that you need to preserve those high frequencies in the first place, when evidence suggests that you do not.
Temporal resolution in the context of DSP has to do with quantization interfering with phase accuracy. The thing is, we're not talking a lossy format like MP3 (although, MQA is lossy); we're talking lossless 44.1KHz 16-bit as a starting point, which already has a very high phase accuracy largely in part because of the 16-bit resolution. It's audiophile marketing to me to say I need a higher sample rate for great temporal resolution when I understand sampling theory but many people out there unfortunately don't.

High quality sample rate conversion doesn't affect time domain beyond rounding error, so even the point of temporal smearing when upsampling for a device that distorts less playing back at 48KHz versus 44 — it's not supposed to affect phase resolution anyway. But maybe people are paying for something that is supposed to aid in upsampling with this format when really they just need better standard equipment or software to do 48K or 96K real-time?




 
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