MQA - The Future of Digital?

TubeHiFiNut

Administrator
Thanks to Vladimir for posting the following on the Pono thread:

Vladimir;n7659 said:
Pono is no longer interesting.

Music is Changing - MQA Official Site

I've Heard the Future of Streaming: Meridian's MQA

Meridian Audio Launches MQA Master Quality Authenticated



Tidal and Meridian successfully stream high-res MQA files

Meridian Explains New MQA Lossless Audio Format, Authenticated by Artists Themselves


I wanted to break the MQA discussion out so we can concentrate on MQA here and Pono on the Pono thread.
 

Vladimir

Active Member
It is still too highly technical subject for me to fully dive in, considering I don't have much knowledge about signal processing. Though I am enjoying reading the fiery discussion on almost all forums about the future of musical formats. I've always had a very high opinion of Meridian and particularly Bob Stuart and had a gut feeling that man is ahead of its time, just his hour hasn't really struck yet. Is this it?

The MQA marketing blurb sounds like every blurb so far for hi-res audio, but his technical explanation of the technology sounds like nothing I heard before. I'm following this new development with great interest.
 

Vladimir

Active Member
BTW

Before anyone shouts manufacturer-music industry conspiracy, the pocket sized Meridian Explorer 2 DAC is MQA ready and sells for around $299 on Amazon. I paid more than that for a cheapo Yamaha CDP back in the 90s. And all you need is a Tidal hi-fi subscription and you can stream with high resolution.
 

TubeHiFiNut

Administrator
Vladimir;n7668 said:
It is still too highly technical subject for me to fully dive in, considering I don't have much knowledge about signal processing. Though I am enjoying reading the fiery discussion on almost all forums about the future of musical formats. I've always had a very high opinion of Meridian and particularly Bob Stuart and had a gut feeling that man is ahead of its time, just his hour hasn't really struck yet. Is this it?

The MQA marketing blurb sounds like every blurb so far for hi-res audio, but his technical explanation of the technology sounds like nothing I heard before. I'm following this new development with great interest.


Agreed.....If MQA only gets hi res streaming perfected, they will have eliminated one more barrier to the widespread adoption of hi res.
 

tomlinmgt

Moderator
Vladimir;n7669 said:
BTW

And all you need is a Tidal hi-fi subscription and you can stream with high resolution.


I haven't been able to find word on when Tidal will begin offering MQA to subscribers. Has anyone seen anything on this?
 

marantzfan

Administrator
Staff member
Where the heck have I been? This is the first I am hearing of MQA which is surprising as I've always been a big fan of Meridian! I'm also a Tidal subscriber and listen daily, so you'd think I would have heard about that news as well.

I've got some reading to do and will be watching this thread with much interest. Thanks fellas.
 

dsnyder0cnn

Junior Member
MQA seems kind-of like an "AccurateRip" for streaming audio in that it validates the stream to ensure that what you are receiving is bit-perfect. I realize that it's more than this, but this seems like a useful component to ensure that the music has not been resampled, upsampled or passed through a lossy compression stage somewhere along the chain from source to your DAC. If it only did that, it would be useful. :-)
 

Vladimir

Active Member
The whole point is to get the master recording without any upsampling/downsampling, loudness compression etc. and without the size inconvenience. According to Meridian the way it should have been done by Sony, Philips and the music industry when they said Perfect Sound Forever.

SOUNDS. TOO GOOD. BUT TRUE.
 

billfort

Administrator
Staff member
I think that's the point - it's another form of higher-res PCM that is more friendly towards online streaming.
 

David

Moderator
billfort;n7754 said:
I think that's the point - it's another form of higher-res PCM that is more friendly towards online streaming.


My concern is that the buffering might be a killer if your internet isn't fast enough to keep up with it, unless the streaming file's somehow compressed.
 

evsentry3

Junior Member
One of several points of MQA is to fold the hi rez material down into the 44.1 data. Sort of like the HDCD did with yielding a bit more out of the 44.1 stream...but this goes much further.

So if you can do the 44.1 stream available now from Tidal, then you have the same bandwidth to get hi-rez when they implement MQA.

The smart part of this is that instead of coding for full amplitude up at the higher frequencies, they take into account that actual material up there naturally is fading down, down in level and just don't encode all that area that's not going to have anything anyway. They get the necessary info into a data stream small enough to be able to bury it down under the normal 44.1 info.

Of course, that's just the one part of the MQA system. Pretty smart deal...just have to wait and find out how it can actually sound and the costs for different parts of the implementation.

EV3
 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
evsentry3;n7856 said:
...

The smart part of this is that instead of coding for full amplitude up at the higher frequencies, they take into account that actual material up there naturally is fading down, down in level and just don't encode all that area that's not going to have anything anyway. They get the necessary info into a data stream small enough to be able to bury it down under the normal 44.1 info.
...
At face value, this sounds to me like perceptual encoding a la MP3 or JPEG
 

Todd129

Active Member
Funny, I have Roon/Tidal and rarely listen to it. That may be because I've been underwhelmed by the classical side of the service. As a result, I am not going to pick one of these gadgets up until I see a noticeable improvement in the catalog, hi-res stream or not.
 

David

Moderator
Todd129;n7943 said:
Funny, I have Roon/Tidal and rarely listen to it. That may be because I've been underwhelmed by the classical side of the service. As a result, I am not going to pick one of these gadgets up until I see a noticeable improvement in the catalog, hi-res stream or not.

The lack of classical catalogue on the major streaming services is suffocating. I've had the Naxos service for a while which wasn't toooo bad. But their format at the time was not satisfactory.
 

Todd129

Active Member
@David

I never tried the Naxos service but their catalog is phenomenal. They have tons of recordings off the beaten path. Thanks for the tip. I've always wondered what many of their obscure offerings sounded like. Definitely going to scope this out.
 
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