JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I have nothing against the Radio Paradise folks, but since they’re a DJ like entity, if I’m not mistaken, then doesn’t that just reveal MQA to be some filter things go through and not this elaborate “we checked with the studio engineer and they signed off on it” thing?
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
New MQA offering: Radio Paradise via MQA on BluOS.

That one was announced a while back and I thought the RP founder Bill Goldsmith would discuss it on his podcast interview with Audiophile Style's Chris Connaker, who even made mention of it prior to that April 26th podcast interview and said he hoped Bill would be willing to discuss it, however there was absolutely no mention of it whatsoever, suggesting Chris had tried to clear that line of questioning with the interviewee and did not get acceptance.

Also very possible there is nothing that can actually be discussed, if it's true that MQA has all licensees on triple top secret lock down via NDA as has been previously described.

Bill did say on the RP website that this only affects the FLAC streams directed at Bluesound devices, and nothing else, and he also made vague allusion to plans for RP to go "hi-res" 24-bit PCM (read: not MQA) in the future.

No one knows why the currently 16-bit RP streams would have any interest or perceive there to be any benefit from 16-bit MQA, which is an abomination that yields approximately 14-bit resolution on non-MQA DACs and also does not even do the stupid "audio origami" that 24-bit MQA does, so RP looks kinda bad there in rushing this out now for purely marketing purposes, they should have at least waited until such time as they were ready for 24-bit where they could at least make the whole folding/unfolding (read: upsampling) argument, dubious as that may be.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I have nothing against the Radio Paradise folks, but since they’re a DJ like entity, if I’m not mistaken, then doesn’t that just reveal MQA to be some filter things go through and not this elaborate “we checked with the studio engineer and they signed off on it” thing?
Our posts crossed in cyberspace by a few minutes, but I'll say again that Bill Goldsmith isn't willing or able to really discuss this in any great detail, it isn't clear if they are receiving 16-bit MQA masters from the record labels, or 24-bit MQA masters they are then downsampling, or if this is some kind of new "MQA encoder on-the-fly" scheme/bullshit.

There is a thread on the RP website, at last look it wasn't very long, and Bill says very little to enlighten. I was hopeful he'd take questions on it with Chris Connaker, but he did not.

Full disclosure, I've been a big fan of Radio Paradise for years, and Bill and Rebecca Goldsmith really do have a serious talent for mixing music in professional DJ fashion. The interview with Chris Connaker was excellent and interesting on a number of levels despite not addressing the MQA topic in any way, I thoroughly enjoyed it and maybe it's for the better that MQA wasn't touched with the proverbial 10 foot pole there, that might have spoiled an otherwise excellent podcast.
 

JoeThePop

Known member
Bob Stuart's reply. I doubt it will change my mind about MQA, but to be fair I will read it. I'm sure I won't understand all the technical details, but it may be hard to determine if it's because of my lack of expertise on the subject matter, or because Stuart is purposely trying to confuse.

 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Bob Stuart's reply. I doubt it will change my mind about MQA, but to be fair I will read it. I'm sure I won't understand all the technical details, but it may be hard to determine if it's because of my lack of expertise on the subject matter, or because Stuart is purposely trying to confuse.

It's pretty low on technical details and pretty high on "truthiness" and defensiveness ...and quite a bit ugly towards the end. This Bob guy sounds like a real smug jerk, whatever the case. Also if the takedown was as flawed as he described I'd think a company with MQA's backing would find it easy enough to get a cease and desist order (?)

I don't really care anymore at this point because in my system Qobuz sounded better, and this conversation is why I tried it :)
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I don't see any real rebuttal of substance in his reply at all. I also find it very curious it took this long, some 35 days after the video was published. There was nothing in that video that should take 35 days to respond to, let alone take that long only to yield a nothing burger response. Pretty telling in that regard, dubious at best.

Note how he fails to even specifically cite the source that he is supposedly replying to. I saw it mentioned on another forum and I'd have to agree, this looks much more like a doubling down with his band of loyal followers than anything else, trying to provide reassurance to a small group of TIDAL subscribers as opposed to actually responding specifically with proof of anything being inaccurate in the video.

This one is most ridiculous:

"He hadn’t researched how MQA works and padded the video with a litany of alternative facts previously debunked many times by MQA and others"

Not only has MQA gone long and hard at every turn to make it as vague as possible how it actually works, but when various 3rd party sources have all used accepted testing methods to arrive at the same repeatable conclusions, MQA have never even once responded by debunking anything at all. I'm talking zero point zero, it's never happened, this supposed debunking he refers to is the only alternative fact.
 

JoeThePop

Known member
As I suspected, once I got into the appendices, understanding the technical details would take more time than I want to devote to the whole business. The question for me remains; what is the purpose of all the manipulations that MQA does?
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
As I suspected, once I got into the appendices, understanding the technical details would take more time than I want to devote to the whole business. The question for me remains; what is the purpose of all the manipulations that MQA does?
What's the purpose? I think the answer will depend on the person you ask.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I think it’s to create an ownable, licensable, way to encode and stream digital music because nobody gets a cut of PCM or DSD.

I didn’t used to believe that, and now it’d be impossible to convince me otherwise. My marketing hairs are rising off the charts.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I thought Currawong's take on Uncle Bob's "response" posted on AS was very on the mark:

"Better to Remain Silent and Be Thought a Fool than to Speak and Remove All Doubt".

With that in mind, GoldenSound just indicated he will be producing a follow-up video to Uncle Bob's "response". BS would have been better off staying the course of the last 6 years, and simply not have responded at all, again.
 

JoeThePop

Known member
What's the purpose? I think the answer will depend on the person you ask.
Without a doubt. Bob Stuart will tell me it's because he wanted to include the whole chain of music playback from studio to home, including A/D and D/A converters. Of course he's trying to sell me something. Some writers and publications will tell me the whole process is brilliant and will revolutionize music playback. Others will ask questions and try to take an objective approach at looking at MQA and its claims. And people like me are left to sort it all out and my question remains, if I can stream PCM or DSD why do I need MQA?
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Without a doubt. Bob Stuart will tell me it's because he wanted to include the whole chain of music playback from studio to home, including A/D and D/A converters. Of course he's trying to sell me something. Some writers and publications will tell me the whole process is brilliant and will revolutionize music playback. Others will ask questions and try to take an objective approach at looking at MQA and its claims. And people like me are left to sort it all out and my question remains, if I can stream PCM or DSD why do I need MQA?
Or you can just do what I did, and have a listen to it. If it sounds good to you, then it's really the only thing that matters. Hey, objectively Big Macs are bad for you, are marketed in questionable ways, and McDonalds makes a lot of money off of them. But if you enjoy having a Big Mac, if it tastes good to you, if subjectively you enjoy it more then a Whopper, or broccoli, does any of the rest of it really matter that much?
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
It wouldn’t matter much to me but if the Big Mac was sold as steak I’d enjoy an interesting conversation around it.

I admit to enjoying McDonalds now and then and sometimes it’s exactly what I want.

And I can definitely see a subjective case for it. It does sound different, though I think it’s less different sounding than both it fans and detractors and especially professional reviewers make it seem in these discussions.
 

JoeThePop

Known member
Or you can just do what I did, and have a listen to it. If it sounds good to you, then it's really the only thing that matters. Hey, objectively Big Macs are bad for you, are marketed in questionable ways, and McDonalds makes a lot of money off of them. But if you enjoy having a Big Mac, if it tastes good to you, if subjectively you enjoy it more then a Whopper, or broccoli, does any of the rest of it really matter that much?
I would say yes. I try to make informed choices in eating, and I'm grateful for the objective information that is available for food these days. If a Big Mac tastes the best to me, but has much more sodium than a competitor, I may choose the other for that reason.
Of course with MQA we're not talking about anything as important as health considerations, but I still believe objective data is important. It is a tool that I use when considering what I ultimately want to audition at home. With streaming any music, so much is tied up in the provenance of a recording and doing a useful comparison between services would be time consuming, and something I wouldn't enjoy. So looking at the objective concerns with MQA, the cost, and the fact that I am actually pretty happy with CD quality playback, there is no compelling reason for me to try it.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
It wouldn’t matter much to me but if the Big Mac was sold as steak I’d enjoy an interesting conversation around it.

I admit to enjoying McDonalds now and then and sometimes it’s exactly what I want.

And I can definitely see a subjective case for it. It does sound different, though I think it’s less different sounding than both it fans and detractors and especially professional reviewers make it seem in these discussions.
I've never compared it in any detail to anything other then different versions of the same album/track on Tidal. To me, it costs me no extra, and in general, they sound really good. And it's the best option available to me.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
I would say yes. I try to make informed choices in eating, and I'm grateful for the objective information that is available for food these days. If a Big Mac tastes the best to me, but has much more sodium than a competitor, I may choose the other for that reason.
Of course with MQA we're not talking about anything as important as health considerations, but I still believe objective data is important. It is a tool that I use when considering what I ultimately want to audition at home. With streaming any music, so much is tied up in the provenance of a recording and doing a useful comparison between services would be time consuming, and something I wouldn't enjoy. So looking at the objective concerns with MQA, the cost, and the fact that I am actually pretty happy with CD quality playback, there is no compelling reason for me to try it.
If you are a Tidal subscriber, you get MQA for free. Why not try it? It isn't a test. There isn't a right or wrong answer, other then does it sound good to you. They usually give a free trial subscription for a few months anyway. Tidal in general sounds really good, and a lot of the MQA recordings sound great. No loss in giving them a shot. Worst case scenario, you spend some hours listening to music.

As far as different sounding recordings, I have at least half a dozen versions of Simple Dreams by Linda Ronstadt on vinyl, all seeming to be from the time of its release, all in good shape, and all of which sound different then the others. One sounds dramatically better then the rest. What does that mean? Don't know, other than all recordings sound different in one way or another then the others. Digital is no different.

There is also no compelling reason not to try it. Other then some folks on the internet tell you not to. If I was going into this as a newbie, I'd do the free trials of every platform available, and then just see which one I liked the most. I'm committed now, as I'm a subscriber, and in Canada, there is no better option that works within my audio infrastructure. Sound quality across all of them is really good. Now, with so many good quality steaming options available, I think the platforms library, software, search functions and music recommendations are actually more important then the technology they use to get their best sounding music offering. My feeling is that Spotify will beat all of the others and will likely end up as the best. Remains to be seen.

As for me, I'm just gonna keep using whatever is the best for me. I've been a Tidal user probably five years, and the sound quality has never been an issue for me. It was the audiophiles choice for years, and with all such things, it will be eclipsed by something newer and better in the future. MQA is a 2010 solution to a problem that just doesn't much exist anymore (steaming bandwidth), and likely will die sooner or later as that now just isn't an issue.

My 2 cents (1.6 cents American).
 

JoeThePop

Known member
If you are a Tidal subscriber, you get MQA for free. Why not try it? It isn't a test. There isn't a right or wrong answer, other then does it sound good to you. They usually give a free trial subscription for a few months anyway. Tidal in general sounds really good, and a lot of the MQA recordings sound great. No loss in giving them a shot. Worst case scenario, you spend some hours listening to music.

As far as different sounding recordings, I have at least half a dozen versions of Simple Dreams by Linda Ronstadt on vinyl, all seeming to be from the time of its release, all in good shape, and all of which sound different then the others. One sounds dramatically better then the rest. What does that mean? Don't know, other than all recordings sound different in one way or another then the others. Digital is no different.

There is also no compelling reason not to try it. Other then some folks on the internet tell you not to. If I was going into this as a newbie, I'd do the free trials of every platform available, and then just see which one I liked the most. I'm committed now, as I'm a subscriber, and in Canada, there is no better option that works within my audio infrastructure. Sound quality across all of them is really good. Now, with so many good quality steaming options available, I think the platforms library, software, search functions and music recommendations are actually more important then the technology they use to get their best sounding music offering. My feeling is that Spotify will beat all of theand will likely end up as the best. Remains to be seen.

As for me, I'm just gonna keep using whatever is the best for me. I've been a Tidal user probably five years, and the sound quality has never been an issue for me. It was the audiophiles choice for years, and with all such things, it will be eclipsed by something newer and better in the future. MQA is a 2010 solution to a problem that just doesn't much exist anymore (steaming bandwidth), and likely will die sooner or later as that now just isn't an issue.

My 2 cents (1.6 cents American).

Amazon HD for me, $7.99. That's pretty compelling. Even if I liked MQA better, I know myself well enough that I won't pay the extra $.
Now depending on what Spotify does, I may consider them.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I love Qobuz, the sound quality is by some degree that best I've heard in streaming. But if Spotify comes in around it or just below in sound quality when they go lossless, I might switch to just Spotify because, as I've said repeatedly, I just really like its interface and the algorithm for finding me new music is uncanny. Not surprising given how many more listeners they have, which will inform it with much more data. The search function is also much better in Spotify. If Spotify sticks to just CD quality I'll keep both it and Qobuz around. The high-res on Qobuz is fantastic.
 

JP

Junior Member
Why not try it? It isn't a test. There isn't a right or wrong answer, other then does it sound good to you.

People have different objectives. If accuracy to the source material is the primary objective, there are absolutely wrong answers.
 
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