JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Spoiling the results? I am always wary of these type of internet tests because I'm guessing those who do it are already biased towards the author's conclusions. Not an example of a well controlled test protocol. So I take them as a sort of data point, just as I do with subjective evaluations.

That's not to say I don't appreciate his work. I do, and I appreciate what he adds to our hobby.
This particular internet person, Archimago, seems particularly obsessed with MQA and I can't say there isn't bias in what I've read but I don't know if he started out that way. The intent seems to be an objective look at it.

When the alternative is stuff like this from Robert Harley: "Then, seconds into the MQA version, my jaw dropped—literally. MQA’s dramatic superiority made the original high-resolution file sound like a pale imitation of the performance"...

...what choice are we left with? If every time Robert Harley's jaw dropped from a difference there was an actual jaw-dropping difference, we wouldn't be able to put a 1960s tube amp in place of a 2021 amp and even be able to even recognize what comes out as music.
 

JP

Junior Member
Spoiling the results? I am always wary of these type of internet tests because I'm guessing those who do it are already biased towards the author's conclusions. Not an example of a well controlled test protocol. So I take them as a sort of data point, just as I do with subjective evaluations.

That's not to say I don't appreciate his work. I do, and I appreciate what he adds to our hobby.

Have you read the test protocol he did? The only way I can see that it could be cheated is if there was a spectral tell, and he went through great pains to mitigate that.

The nice thing about competent subjective testing is the full setup, procedure, etc. is disclosed so anyone can repeat the tests if they want to. If this information isn't disclosed, there's a reason.
 

JoeThePop

Known member
Have you read the test protocol he did? The only way I can see that it could be cheated is if there was a spectral tell, and he went through great pains to mitigate that.

The nice thing about competent subjective testing is the full setup, procedure, etc. is disclosed so anyone can repeat the tests if they want to. If this information isn't disclosed, there's a reason.

Yeah I have. Although it has been awhile and I don't remember all the details. Maybe it was better controlled than I remember.
 

JP

Junior Member
Bind A/B preference.

I'd like to see one done where PCM isn't done with leaky filters, but that can't be done by distributing files as people can easily cheat. You'd also need to do A/B pref for PCM filters as leaky filters may be where people's preferences are and it's just happenstance that MQA has the same compromise.
 

JoeThePop

Known member
This particular internet person, Archimago, seems particularly obsessed with MQA and I can't say there isn't bias in what I've read but I don't know if he started out that way. The intent seems to be an objective look at it.

When the alternative is stuff like this from Robert Harley: "Then, seconds into the MQA version, my jaw dropped—literally. MQA’s dramatic superiority made the original high-resolution file sound like a pale imitation of the performance"...

...what choice are we left with? If every time Robert Harley's jaw dropped from a difference there was an actual jaw-dropping difference, we wouldn't be able to put a 1960s tube amp in place of a 2021 amp and even be able to even recognize what comes out as music.

I have given up on the likes of Robert Harley. I always would think when reading reviews like his, 'Wow. His multi-thousands of dollar system must have been especially crappy to have sounded veiled and dull before the new tweak is introduced.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I have given up on the likes of Robert Harley. I always would think when reading reviews like his, 'Wow. His multi-thousands of dollar system must have been especially crappy to have sounded veiled and dull before the new tweak is introduced.
I have a particular friend who works in the audio industry selling stuff. He's the most easily persuaded person I have ever met. Now, I really like him, but I honestly think he has the most questionable hearing. Not from a frequency response standpoint, but from an inability to differentiate between one thing and another. This is a guy who sells very expensive stereos who didn't know he was listening to his speakers hooked up out of phase for a whole day. I'd hang out with him and he'd put in some hinky tweak, and then just be bowled over by the sound. Like wetting-himself with glee at how much better it sounded. Not to try to sell me on it, but just from the joy of trying this new thing he got in the mail. And I'd be there with my tell, a crease between my eyes, nodding me head going "Yeah, yeah, really good stuff" and inside my head I'm just laughing as it sounded exactly the same to me. But he honestly believed all these amazing things were happening with his sonic harmonizers and magic cones and whatever. It was actually my friendship with this guy that turned me away from being such a subjectivist in this hobby. I'd never seen suggestion and confirmation bias so apparent, up close. I have to say, though, his joy was contagious, I loved hanging out with him listening to new gear. He was and maybe still is the happiest guy I know in audio.
 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
...what choice are we left with? If every time Robert Harley's jaw dropped from a difference there was an actual jaw-dropping difference, we wouldn't be able to put a 1960s tube amp in place of a 2021 amp and even be able to even recognize what comes out as music.
Not to mention that his jaw would, by now, be located in Antartica -- or somewhere out near the geosynchronous satellite orbital zone (Clarke orbit).

:smoke
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Not to mention that his jaw would, by now, be located in Antartica -- or somewhere out near the geosynchronous satellite orbital zone (Clarke orbit).

:smoke
That's like 200,000 miles away, right? I'm going off a foggy memory that probably originated reading a Tom Clancy novel. I'm thinking its out near the Ort Cloud.
 

adaug

Awaiting Updated Member Status.
I have to say, though, his joy was contagious, I loved hanging out with him listening to new gear. He was and maybe still is the happiest guy I know in audio.

super cool, right? getting pleasure from listening to music is what its all about. and, questionable discernment and all, this guy got that in spades.
 

JoeThePop

Known member
I have a particular friend who works in the audio industry selling stuff. He's the most easily persuaded person I have ever met. Now, I really like him, but I honestly think he has the most questionable hearing. Not from a frequency response standpoint, but from an inability to differentiate between one thing and another. This is a guy who sells very expensive stereos who didn't know he was listening to his speakers hooked up out of phase for a whole day. I'd hang out with him and he'd put in some hinky tweak, and then just be bowled over by the sound. Like wetting-himself with glee at how much better it sounded. Not to try to sell me on it, but just from the joy of trying this new thing he got in the mail. And I'd be there with my tell, a crease between my eyes, nodding me head going "Yeah, yeah, really good stuff" and inside my head I'm just laughing as it sounded exactly the same to me. But he honestly believed all these amazing things were happening with his sonic harmonizers and magic cones and whatever. It was actually my friendship with this guy that turned me away from being such a subjectivist in this hobby. I'd never seen suggestion and confirmation bias so apparent, up close. I have to say, though, his joy was contagious, I loved hanging out with him listening to new gear. He was and maybe still is the happiest guy I know in audio.
I agree, if he's happy, why discourage him?
For me and my limited budget, I'm glad there are sites that help me make an informed decision.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I agree, if he's happy, why discourage him?
For me and my limited budget, I'm glad there are sites that help me make an informed decision.
I really miss living 30 floors above his store. We had a lot of good times, mostly him hearing magic and me tasting Scotch and internally laughing or rolling my eyes but still having a blast. My favorite was these Stein Music room harmonizer things. Plastic boxes on sticks that you'd place in a few places in the room, that did something because you had to plug them in. He'd be turning them off and on and hearing angels sing when on, disappointment when off, and I couldn't hear a lick of difference. The system sounded great either way and he was happy as a clam, so no harm to me. I will say, the Synergistic Research power conditioner thing was one of the only times I heard something different. I had been borrowing it for ages and eventually felt so bad for having it for months that I bought it. Its sitting behind my stereo right now unplugged... the last thing plugged into it was the Christmas lights. Perhaps they were more festive that way?

Apparently its not -that- magic because I can't be bothered to switch things from one power-strip to another in order to run it. No jaws dropping here.
 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
That's like 200,000 miles away, right? I'm going off a foggy memory that probably originated reading a Tom Clancy novel. I'm thinking its out near the Ort Cloud.
close enough ;)

EDIT:
PS1 My jaws are clenched most of the time, I think...
PS2 I do think that enjoyment is the goal of this as a hobby, so I concur (believe it or not! ;) ) that, if one's happy with what one hears, that's cool. Much as I am tempted to do so, it's really not role in life to tell folks what they should or shouldn't like, much less how they should or shouldn't spend their money*. Heck I've been listening to a pair of AR4x on that dump-find Yamaha Dolby ProLogic or whatever receiver for most of this week and enjoying the heck out of it.
________________
* Well, except -- maybe -- if they're buyin' heritage Klipsch. Maybe. :confused: :o
 

Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
Depends on the goal. If its a legitimate attempt to determine the quality and efficacy of a product, then that's fine. However, if it is just an effort to make fun of fellow audio lovers who have taken a different path, or mock products that no one has fairly tried, then this isn't the place for it. Lots of other forums around the interweb to practice some tribalism. Around here, that seems to me a violation of rule number 2.
I would think the first, this would save me/others from unnecessary purchases. I’d hope anyone who’d have an opinion, would base it on first hand experience or state otherwise.
I don’t judge others for whatever audio path they choose, anymore than I’d like to be judged; golden rule. (Ok, I might have poked fun at mass loading with pavers)...

I hope I’ve done a fairly decent job of staying away from violating rule number two, but if I am in violation of that (or any other one), please let me know and I’ll voluntarily remove my comments/self from here.
Thank you for having me and all you do your primeness (or ministry or eminence?).:)
 
Whew...I made it to the end of this adventure. I 'did the homework' on MQA a while back and viewed many of these same vids. I was quickly and thoroughly convinced I didn't need any of the mathematical gymnastics this system was built on. Why do we need smaller files when we are streaming 4k content? Who needs a limited DAC selection? And only a single service offering the content?

Hearing Qobuz at the NY audio show in 2019 made up my mind for me. Here were dozens of killer systems all using the same service but coming up with vastly different sounds. Clearly the source was good enough and not a limiting factor.

I am not out to convince anyone of anything here. If Tidal and MQA work for you - great. The whole steaming world is a mixed bag for me. You see I have this huge record collection and two fairly pricey tables sitting idle and that bothers me more than which service is better. The fact is even Spotify sounds pretty good and it's just so damn convenient that I can't escape.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Why do we need smaller files when we are streaming 4k content?
Only of value on a mobile device, which for the enthusiast crowd is not very likely the primary use case and may not be a use case at all. But the smaller file sizes would help if one didn't have an unlimited data plan, and they definitely help not chug-a-lug device battery life. That said, if one were really that concerned about mobile data use, and/or battery stamina, they'd likely be streaming MP3 or AAC in the form of Spotify or Apple Music anyway.
The fact is even Spotify sounds pretty good and it's just so damn convenient that I can't escape.

Many would agree, and soon it will be upgraded to CD-quality when they roll out their HiFi subscription plan, but the details including time frame are as yet unavailable.

Some folks including myself were just a tad bit alarmed at some of the language used by Spotify in teasing their HiFi release, they were either poking at TIDAL and MQA, or some thought foreshadowing something when they said things like "listen to what the artist intended" in their last stream cast. Were they hinting at this forthcoming HiFi tier being offered as MQA?

I seriously doubt it, but if that came to be I'd have to cross Spotify off my list, and just stick with Qobuz, which I'd probably have done anyway because I'm happy with Qobuz. Deezer would also remain an option, and a little known/remembered fact there was the announcement of forthcoming MQA compatibility with the Deezer service over 3 years ago, but that implementation was subsequently canceled in an abrupt reversal of course, with not another word said about it ever again. So apparently no deal was ever actually struck, even though MQA had announced it way back in September 2017.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Only of value on a mobile device, which for the enthusiast crowd is not very likely the primary use case and may not be a use case at all. But the smaller file sizes would help if one didn't have an unlimited data plan, and they definitely help not chug-a-lug device battery life. That said, if one were really that concerned about mobile data use, and/or battery stamina, they'd likely be streaming MP3 or AAC in the form of Spotify or Apple Music anyway.


Many would agree, and soon it will be upgraded to CD-quality when they roll out their HiFi subscription plan, but the details including time frame are as yet unavailable.

Some folks including myself were just a tad bit alarmed at some of the language used by Spotify in teasing their HiFi release, they were either poking at TIDAL and MQA, or some thought foreshadowing something when they said things like "listen to what the artist intended" in their last stream cast. Were they hinting at this forthcoming HiFi tier being offered as MQA?

I seriously doubt it, but if that came to be I'd have to cross Spotify off my list, and just stick with Qobuz, which I'd probably have done anyway because I'm happy with Qobuz. Deezer would also remain an option, and a little known/remembered fact there was the announcement of forthcoming MQA compatibility with the Deezer service over 3 years ago, but that implementation was subsequently canceled in an abrupt reversal of course, with not another word said about it ever again. So apparently no deal was actually struck, even though MQA had announced it way back in September 2017.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Tidal had made a lock-in on MQA, some sort of exclusivity deal, They feel as if they might as well be one entity at this point. You be exclusive to us, and we’ll be exclusive to you...?
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
The best thing I've taken away from this thread is Qobuz. Despite its lazy integration with the BlueSound Bluos interface, the sound quality is top notch. I've been listening to The Kinks in 24/96 all morning and having a great time.
 
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