I’m not a fan of MQA because I can often hear the loss in quality compared to the normal version of the same files on Tidal. Is it possible to filter out or somehow hide the MQA albums so they stop getting in the way?
I curious what DAC you have and do you decode/unfold the files in Audirvana?
I’m running Late 2012 iMac (toslink)-> Schiit Bifrost Uber -> Yamaha AS-500 -> B&W 603 + Yamaha NS-SW300. So everything MQA is done in Audirvana.
Have you tried to compare the 2NL files in different resolutions?
I’m curious if you’ll notice the same differences with the files of controlled provenance.
Thanks for that advice. Last time I visited the 2L site MQA was not “a thing”. Just now I compared the MQA-CD and original CD versions of “Innocence”.
I’m well aware of the perils of confirmation bias, but for me the original version has more top-end detail and presence, and the other one is missing some ‘zing’.
But my main problem was I had a slight crackle of noise that only seemed to manifest on certain tracks, and in this case it was on both the MQA and original version of that track—so I couldn’t blame MQA for that! It turned out that I had a slightly wonky connection to one speaker. Thank goodness the speaker wasn’t to blame because the price of B&W’s in Australia now is crushing!
So all in all MQA are not as bad as I had originally thought, but I’ll continue to seek out the ‘straight’ versions whenever they exist. It’s a shame we are reduced to such silliness because ‘Redbook’ 16/44.1k can carry everything it is possible to hear. But it doesn’t sell new gear to say that the pinnacle of hifi formats was released in 1982! I guess I’m just not drinking the cool-aid!
Maybe you could read those 751 pages about MQA bullshit, and still want to hide them
Yes I agree and it would be great to be able hide them. Sadly a lot of the titles on Tidal are only MQA; even that Hoff Ensemble one, sadly. When I look at the charts on TIDAL I find what I want to listen to and then look for the non-MQA version.
If you are comfortable debunking hi-res, take a look at: 24/192 Music Downloads …and why they make no sense.
The only advantage I can see to the Hi-Res industry, is that it has pushed up the quality of the DACs. If they can do Hi-Res well, hopefully they can generally do 16/44.1k quite well. And if you pick a good one, you can end up with really well. The MQA ‘industry’ has no value at all.
I agree, I couldn’t tell the difference between MQA and non MQA on a system that is not MQA enabled. This is a good thing I guess.
That got me interested to see how well I can hear at all, so I found this (comparing FLAC to MP3):
Interestingly enough I was able to tell the difference on my iPad with the Panasonic in-ears (HJE-125), most of the time. I got 4 of 6 correct and the remaining 2 I couldn’t really distinguish so I picked random. On my main listening rig I was able to tell 6 out of 6.
That said, I’m still curious to try MQA on a higher end MQA enabled system.
You might want to take a look at Qobuz. They only do straight PCM, and the catalog is pretty good.
That test is problematic. Of course readers won’t be able to hear much difference between different formats if they just click those links on some old phone or laptop. When I say that 16/44.1k can store everything we can hear, I’m assuming it is on a system capable of reproducing it faithfully. “Turn the volume up” probably isn’t going to solve much!
This kind of issue is how the fallacy of HD audio gets traction in the first place. Punters with a relatively low-fidelity system plug a 24/192k source into it and it makes the sound more busy and zingy up the hi end, so they assume they are hearing the benefits of HD audio, and think Wow it is good! So they sing its praises to all and sundry. But all they are hearing up there is noise that makes the music sound more complex than it really is.
When HiFi is done right and you hear for the first time something you are already familiar with, you scratch your head and think, of course, it is just this instrument here and that one there and that person is singing, and it is all really clear and powerful, and it hits you that all that complexity you may have actually come to expect in the track, was in fact just noise.
Totally agree, it takes a serious system to benefit from anything beyond 16//44.1. People are just fooling themselves that just because their DAC can play DSD 256 they can really benefit from it.
I’ve heard DSD128 on a very resolving system and it was eyeopening. But, and there is a big “but”, we’re talking about multiple 10s of thousands of bucks and serious money spend on room treatment.
If you’re not ready for that kind of commitment better skip HiRes. It will only frustrate you. There is also a content availability problem. Not much is available in really high resolution natively. It’ mostly classical music and Jazz recorded live.