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Yet another attempt to derail MQA by someone sold on SACD and DSD. His revenue stream is threatened and he attacks. Big surprise.

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The biggest thing I got from the article is near the end.

"Ultimately, a format war is decided in marketing, not engineering."

As there's no engineering requirement for a new format, it has to be down to marketing.

S

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Super Wammer

This was a very telling extract,

"A few years ago I was asked by a mastering studio to run a spectrum analysis of an analog master tape that the studio was hired to digitize at 176.4kHz for a high resolution release. Below is the picture of my measurement:

Koch_spectrum_analysis.jpg

You may wonder what that sudden and steep roll-off is at around 22kHz. In fact, this is a very typical phenomenon with every CD track. The inherent sample rate of 44.1kHz mandates a steep low-pass filter around half the sample rate (as noted by Nyquist), whereby lower frequencies are allowed to pass and higher frequencies need to be suppressed to avoid aliasing effects. In other words, the song on this so called "analog master tape" has originally been recorded and/or released on CD, then converted to analog, then put on tape, and now it is being converted back to digital for a "high resolution" release at 176.4kHz. In this case, the best sounding version of this song is not the new digital release, not the "analog master", but the original CD recording that obviously got lost over the years. Musical fidelity does not increase by moving away from the original recording (i.e. inserting more and more post processing steps and conversions), but by moving towards it (removing processing steps and conversions)."

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Isn't the biggest USP of MQA in it's "authenticated" part though? That promises to eradicate such nonsense as quoted above. 

My understanding is that MQA is supposed to be taken from original master and as close as they can get to one if master is no longer available. 

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36 minutes ago, insider9 said:

Isn't the biggest USP of MQA in it's "authenticated" part though? That promises to eradicate such nonsense as quoted above. 

My understanding is that MQA is supposed to be taken from original master and as close as they can get to one if master is no longer available

See the post before yours.  

I found it useful, as thoughts to store away, and compare with other claims/interviews.  Until very recently I have not had a DAC worthy of bothering with HD, nor do I subscribe to a streaming service, at the moment my interest is academic.  But interesting nonetheless.

Edited by awkwardbydesign

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1 hour ago, insider9 said:

Isn't the biggest USP of MQA in it's "authenticated" part though? That promises to eradicate such nonsense as quoted above. 

My understanding is that MQA is supposed to be taken from original master and as close as they can get to one if master is no longer available. 

The problem with any HD format goes back to the master. A lot of what has been sold as 24/96 comes from analogue tape masters which have nothing above 20kHz or below about -70dB in terms of noise. 16/44.1 already captures everything that can be extracted from the tape, so a 24/96 HD version makes no sense whatever except in marketing terms; it lights the 96k light on the DAC!

More modern digital masters will have been done in many ways, but only something recorded very recently, and properly curated to make sure there have been no downsampling steps in the whole recording/mixing/mastering process will have any 96k (or higher) information. Bit depth is less of an issue as most recording and mixing is done at 32 bits or higher and dithered down to 16 bits for CD release or 24 bit for HD release.

HiFi News reviews a few so-called HD releases each month and not many are true HD, many if not most are upsampled from something else, 44.1/48 or DSD.

S.

Edited by SergeAuckland

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41 minutes ago, awkwardbydesign said:

See the post before yours.  

I found it useful, as thoughts to store away, and compare with other claims/interviews.  Until very recently I have not had a DAC worthy of bothering with HD, nor do I subscribe to a streaming service, at the moment my interest is academic.  But interesting nonetheless.

Yes, that's what I was referring to. MQA promises to get as close to master as possible when one doesn't exist. That in turn should mean there can only be one MQA file of each track. This would be taken from what's deemed by the studio / label as master. We could then avoid a multitude of 24/96, remasters, special editions and the likes.

2 minutes ago, SergeAuckland said:

The problem with any HD format goes back to the master. A lot of what has been sold as 24/96 comes from analogue tape masters which have nothing above 20kHz or below about -70dB in terms of noise. 16/44.1 already captures everything that can be extracted from the tape, so a 24/96 HD version makes no sense whatever except in marketing terms; it lights the 96k light on the DAC!

More modern digital masters will have been done in many ways, but only something recorded very recently, and properly curated to make sure there have been no downsampling steps in the whole recording/mixing/mastering process will have any 96k (or higher) information. Bit depth is less of an issue as most recording and mixing is done at 32 bits or higher and dithered down to 16 bits for CD release or 24 bit for HD release.

HiFi News reviews a few so-called HD releases each month and not many are true HD, many if not most are upsampled from something else, 44.1/48 or DSD.

S.

I understand that and I don't see MQA as hi res, per se. But the "promise", I use this term carefully, of being authenticated is for me a big advantage to other formats. I would of course prefer it to be lossless. I also would rather that the licensing wasn't as stringent on equipment manufacturers but that's not to say I'm intrigued by MQA.

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2 minutes ago, awkwardbydesign said:

But does it avoid the 22kHz filter, and pre-ringing?

Yes, if you look at the spectrum of what comes off analogue tape, there's nothing there at 22kHz to excite the filter.

All the images one sees of pre-ringing use pulses which excite the filter, but pulses like those just don't exist in music recordings.

S.

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Moderator

I agree Serge companies are using 'tricks' like upsampling or just lighting DAC lights, which is really cheating the buyer. The guys at Computer Audiophile also measure Hirez releases to see if they are what they purport to be. A free source of good data.

The original author sells CD/SACD players, so has some commercial interests. And despite criticising other companies for bought in CD transports then goes on to admit his products use Oppo disc players. I bet they sell for a lot more than the original Oppos as they come in very fancy cases. 

As always software matters. I remember buying (cheaply) a Rolling Stones SACD and playing it on my SACD capable Esoteric P03/D03 combo. It was a real master tape transfer and it sounded....exactly the same as my CD. The limit of the sound quality was the original poor recording as the early Stones recordings were not that good. Only good news is that it is now worth over £200 having cost me £13.

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I listened to a Sting SACD the other night, it was good.

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Super Wammer
4 hours ago, George 47 said:

I agree Serge companies are using 'tricks' like upsampling or just lighting DAC lights, which is really cheating the buyer.

That's not strictly true.  Some DAC vendors upsample to then apply the low pass filters which makes them less intrusive than just applying brick walls in a non-upsampled sample.

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