JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I understand where you are coming from. I would hope the reason that most folks here are singling out MQA is because of the concern with MQA as I stated before; is there the potential to result in lack of choice or costs driven to all consumers? Otherwise, yes they shouldn't be singled out as somehow worse than other purveyors of hinkyness.
A fair point and I think that's a logical argument against it, that isn't apples to apples with some of the other purveyors of hink.

Also, the change in my tone here came from catching up on the MQA argument in some others forums...not this particular thread's contents. It's such an oddly hot button and a small group of people out there really think there's a lot more people in this fight than there actually are. Internet myopia. Leads to forum fights and the occasional insurrection.
 

JoeThePop

Known member
A fair point and I think that's a logical argument against it, that isn't apples to apples with some of the other purveyors of hink.

Also, the change in my tone here came from catching up on the MQA argument in some others forums...not this particular thread's contents. It's such an oddly hot button and a small group of people out there really think there's a lot more people in this fight than there actually are. Internet myopia. Leads to forum fights and the occasional insurrection.
See what happens when you step outside the Haven? Too many assholes. I've been there and left multiple forums before landing here.

And yes, other purveyors of hink generally don't have the potential to impact me in any way. So while I appreciate those who do challenge the manufacturers' hinkyness, i don't get caught up in the endless debates about it.

P.S. Added Hink and Hinkyness to my dictionary so the little red squiggly lines stop popping up under them.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
See what happens when you step outside the Haven? Too many assholes. I've been there and left multiple forums before landing here.

And yes, other purveyors of hink generally don't have the potential to impact me in any way. So while I appreciate those who do challenge the manufacturers' hinkyness, i don't get caught up in the endless debates about it.

P.S. Added Hink and Hinkyness to my dictionary so the little red squiggly lines stop popping up under them.
I made my own executive decision to go with "hinkyness" instead of "hinkiness" as I like better how it looks. I really like this word. It conveys my annoyance with something but in a way that also telegraphs how little I think it actually impacts me. For example, I think cables that cost as much as my car are very hinky. But nobody is forcing me to buy them so at most I'm just kind of insulted in what their existence says about me, as people I know know that I'm an audiophile and assume I'm into such hink.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Why has MQA become the pet hatred
Because of their closed proprietary licensing scheme that tries to enact a tax at every stage, for something that is currently free.

Use of upsampling with an MP filter is nothing new, but to encode files in such a way that leads people to think they must pay the tax to get the decode benefit, or to suggest that anything has actually been artist or studio "authenticated"when it hasn't, or that any "temporal deblurring" is taking place, or that it's lossless when it isn't, or that it's hi-res when it isn't, that's not the typical audiophile confidence game that the manufacturers and mainstream press have always played.

Rather, it is flat out deception and demonstrably false marketing, far worse than anything else the audiophile equipment industry is guilty of, especially in the context of the "one deliverable strategy" in cahoots with the labels, there is simply no benefit to anyone but MQA themselves and the record labels.

Two wrongs don't make a right. Even if this industry and hobby have been rife with outlandish claims unsupported by proper testing and documentation, that doesn't give MQA a free pass to do much more of the same.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
It's really not the whole industry, thats a bridge too far, but I understand your point.
Ok, maybe enforce this kind of thinking through the whole industry- even if its not universally culpable. Which I'd love to see. I just don't see an industry and group of hobbyists that don't bat an eye at some really hokey tweaks as having a leg to stand on when taking on MQA. And so maybe this could be a moment where these two sides, the purely objective and subjective, which are so black and white and opposed to each other, could find a common ground and maybe see a point in what the other is after.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Getting back to just criticizing MQA...

My own bridge too far with it wasn't the video above even though that made me leap from Tidal. I recall that as part of the original claims, there was supposed to be sign-off by the original mastering engineer, with some engagement with what gear they used to record, which would somehow be taken into account in the MQA conversion. This is seemingly a very time-consuming process. And then one day Tidal was just taken over with MQA titles. There is just no way that all of this behind the scenes legwork has taken place on that scale. It was believable when the selection was limited and only a few new titles came out every so often. It broke my religion on it.

In the video above they just converted his track to MQA without contacting him at all. As suspected. It really seems like its no more involved than adding a mastering plugin in protools, but?

Anyway, hinky all the way down even if I won't lose sleep over it.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
And we all have the things that push our buttons. As John and I have discussed in the real world, he's spent his career in marketing, while I spent more then a decade in politics and battling with the media. (This is NOT a political post. Just an example, so don't even go there!). After a while doing something, you do develop an extra sense around when you are being bullshitted and how well. Often, we also take it too seriously. It just becomes so hard to ignore, that you just want to scream at people for not seeing it. I know John is a true professional and deeply cares about the ethics and integrity of his industry, while I've basically given up on seeing anything good from mine. It's often why stuff bothers him that I can shrug off, and vice versa.

For me, i guess I stopped worrying about who in audio was lying to me ages ago. CD was likely the turning point, and I just judge everything on whether or not it works for me.

C23C6684-A7C8-4932-901A-1216FC027E6C.jpeg
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
And we all have the things that push our buttons. As John and I have discussed in the real world, he's spent his career in marketing, while I spent more then a decade in politics and battling with the media. (This is NOT a political post. Just an example, so don't even go there!). After a while doing something, you do develop an extra sense around when you are being bullshitted and how well. Often, we also take it too seriously. It just becomes so hard to ignore, that you just want to scream at people for not seeing it. I know John is a true professional and deeply cares about the ethics and integrity of his industry, while I've basically given up on seeing anything good from mine. It's often why stuff bothers him that I can shrug off, and vice versa.

For me, i guess I stopped worrying about who in audio was lying to me ages ago. CD was likely the turning point, and I just judge everything on whether or not it works for me.

View attachment 35598
I do wonder what would really bother me in this industry, if I did something else for a living? My industry is routinely ranked down there with used car salesmen. I get it. And I see plenty of reasons why it should be. For me, its an opportunity to make a living by writing.. good luck finding another way that pays as well :( I'm kinda stuck with it.

But it really does piss me off to see so much BS in my hobby. I could go through MQAs website and highlight every part of the copywriting that has been specifically worded in a way to avoid demonstrable claims they could be sued on. There's a lot of it. While I don't blame them for running their copy through legal, I also question the veracity of what they're doing if they really need to be that careful with what they're saying. I recall them launching with many more specific claims - have they all been proven false? I don't know the history.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I saw this linked to on Super Best Audio Friends (its a slow morning). I think it's a really smart critique from a manufacturer with some chops who, in the past, has seemed to be very sincere to me.

 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
I saw this linked to on Super Best Audio Friends (its a slow morning). I think it's a really smart critique from a manufacturer with some chops who, in the past, has seemed to be very sincere to me.

Fair comment from Benchmark. I'd like to see a rebuttal from someone on the other side.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
If I can make another scandalous statement, I don't know if I'm particularly bothered by whether something is lossy or not. I just cares if it sounds good. As the best digital recording I ever heard was from an honest to goodness, old fashioned CD, while admittedly a very good one, from great mid 50s sources, it does get hard to wrap your head around what actually matters.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
If I can make another scandalous statement, I don't know if I'm particularly bothered by whether something is lossy or not. I just cares if it sounds good. As the best digital recording I ever heard was from an honest to goodness, old fashioned CD, while admittedly a very good one, from great mid 50s sources, it does get hard to wrap your head around what actually matters.
Certainly beginning with Sony's ATRAC in the 90s, and more recently 320MP3, and also 256AAC, lossy doesn't necessarily mean terrible, and there is serious science and technology behind the idea that some frequencies are essentially inaudible in the simultaneous presence of other frequencies that effectively mask them, therefore they can be tossed.

The hi-res Bluetooth codecs LDAC (capable of 24/96), and aptX HD (capable of 24/48) are both lossy at certain frequencies, and they do sound good to my ears, which is not to say identical to the non-lossy version. But they don't suck like standard the Bluetooth codec SBC does.

All of that said, if lossy doesn't necessarily suck, why not as a manufacturer just say that? Why lie and claim it's lossless when you don't have to? Didn't the masses' acceptance of lossy MP3 and AAC prove it doesn't necessarily need to be lossless to succeed?

One more link on this topic, a 2 minute read: Is MQA Lossless?

Any BS in there? I count at least 7 false statements, and I'm probably being lenient.
 

JoeThePop

Known member
I saw this linked to on Super Best Audio Friends (its a slow morning). I think it's a really smart critique from a manufacturer with some chops who, in the past, has seemed to be very sincere to me.


Read that years ago. Good rereading it after nearly 5 years since they published it. I've read other things from their Application Notes before, including why Damping Factor in amplifiers matters. Ended up on their site when I had read from another publication that damping factor doesn't matter much at all. Turns out that analysis was an oversimplification. It depends a great deal on the speakers you are driving.
 

JoeThePop

Known member
Certainly beginning with Sony's ATRAC in the 90s, and more recently 320MP3, and also 256AAC, lossy doesn't necessarily mean terrible, and there is serious technology behind the idea that some frequencies are essentially inaudible in the simultaneous presence of other frequencies that effectively mask them, therefore they can be tossed.

The Hi-res Bluetooth codecs LDAC (capable of 24/96), and aptX HD (capable of 24/48) are both lossy at certain frequencies, and they do sound good to my ears, which is not to say identical to the non-lossy version. But they don't suck like standard the Bluetooth codec SBC does.

All of that said, if lossy doesn't necessarily suck, why not as a manufacturer just say that? Why lie and claim it's lossless when you don't have to? Didn't the masses' acceptance of lossy MP3 and AAC prove it doesn't necessarily need to be lossless to succeed?

One more link on this topic, a 2 minute read: Is MQA Lossless?

Any BS in there?
"MQA comes in a lossless (FLAC) file from the music label, so you get exactly what the creators intended." ??? No BS that I see. Obviously written this way to protect themselves. Nobody could argue that they don't start with a lossless file.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
One more link on this topic, a 2 minute read: Is MQA Lossless?

Any BS in there?
Well, there's a lot of specifically worded copywriting in there. I can point out a few examples after a littany of zoom calls....

It's not so much overt BS, as it is pretty standard hinky marketing stuff, some puffery, and a lot of insinuation in place of actual claims.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
"MQA comes in a lossless (FLAC) file from the music label, so you get exactly what the creators intended." ??? No BS that I see. Obviously written this way to protect themselves. Nobody could argue that they don't start with a lossless file.
A way of saying something that says nothing. Its an art, really. I don't suggest anybody do it for a living, you end up drinking a lot to claim your soul back.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Fair comment from Benchmark. I'd like to see a rebuttal from someone on the other side.
Being that comment has been up on Benchmark's website in it's current form since June 29, 2016, and it rightly gives reference/credit to various other sources who had made similar conclusions prior to that, I don't think there is going to be any rebuttal from the other side.

They've been given every opportunity to respond to criticism and/or questions from Benchmark, Linn, Ayre, Schiit, EXOGAL, and various others, including Archimago, and Miska, and even live in person at RMAF 2 years in a row, the 2nd of which they had scheduled and then hastily canceled their own talk when they realized that comments and questions were not in their control as it was not their event.

So there has been ample opportunity to respond, including as stated in the GoldenSound video, prior to its actual publication, they were offered the chance to respond or provide a meaningful rebut and it didn't happen, again.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
It's not so much overt BS, as it is pretty standard hinky marketing stuff, some puffery, and a lot of insinuation in place of actual claims.
While I see exactly what you mean, it is my own opinion that the following are simply false:

Q: Is MQA lossless A: Yes

MQA comes in a lossless (FLAC) file from the music label, so you get exactly what the creators intended. Not according to Neil Young, and probably lots of others too.

Inside the file, MQA is very different: the audio data is higher resolution... False.

MQA delivers clearer sound: our encoders remove the audible ‘digital blur’ that builds up in studio production. False, the opposite has been demonstrated, though it may very well be inaudible.

The decoder authenticates the file, to guarantee that nobody changed it... False, you can remove 30% of the music data and the "authentication" light will still be lit.

MQA is more efficient: it puts the full sound into the container without wasting or losing data. False, lossy compression means data is lost, and it is not more efficient than FLAC (see Miska and Benchmark analysis).

Is it better than lossless? Yes... I'm not even sure how to comment on this one except to say the page quoted is titled "Is MQA Lossless?" but this claim then goes a step beyond that, it's now better than lossless.

I guess that last one is a prime example of what you are talking about John, they don't say better in what way, they just say better. I still say false.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
So there has been ample opportunity to respond, including as stated in the GoldenSound video, prior to its actual publication, they were offered the chance to respond or rebut and it didn't happen, again.
Its not really that hard to defend something that's true. If there's a red flashing light in any of this, maybe their own behavior should be more alarming than the video up above.
 
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