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WiMP comes to the UK/US as Tidal


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Tidal Masters sounds good to my iron ears so far. Might be placebo, might be just being high but as long as it pleases me, don't really care about the fine details.

This thing feels to me like it could be pretty significant. Put aside all the conspiracy theory nonsense and what you've got is a distribution format that allows streaming good quality at a reaso

I just hope they continue to provide 16/44 streaming, even though that's apparently not the marketing focus anymore. Don't fuck this up for me Jay-Z.

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You've got it, Kerry.  It can be software decoded (by the Tidal app or through Roon) or it can be hardware decoded, mostly by Meridian hardware.  It's closed source, and it's largely a marketing ploy.  As near as I can tell there's nothing particularly amazing about the format, it's just iterative improvement of a lossy codec.  The big draw, if there is one, is the hi-res music catalogue they have on offer.  I'd rather stream them than buy individually on HDTracks, to be certain.

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Quoted from elsewhere

"

Apparently Tidal are streaming a handful of tracks with MQA coding, it seems largely ancient 1970s pop songs which could be adequately coded with 13 bits at 32kHz sampling.

The HitchHikers Guide to Meridian is humming with rapturous reviews. It's worth looking at for a laugh.

http://www.meridianunplugged.com/ubbthre...740&page=6

I especially like this bit:

"MQA is completely different. Leaving aside the technological machinations, those old albums now have a life and an energy that instantly dragged me back to the first moment the stylus hit the vinyl and some new band exploded into my teenaged bedroom. So I've been working my way through the (limited) back catalogue on Tidal and the effect is the same, no matter how much of a muddy mess the original album was"

So MQA has magic powers - it can bring back your youth.

"

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Listened to A Passion Play by Jethro Tull last night, listening to Simon Rattle's Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition now.  Really digging it, hope they add more.  They have some Bowie on there...Diamond Dogs, Young Americans, others, but no Ziggy Stardust...similarly, they have Thick as a Brick but no Aqualung...but they do have the first and fourth Foreignor albums...two by Ornette Coleman, didn't see a whole lot of jazz on there, yeah, I'd say it's about 50% classic rock.  The only Kate Bush they have on there is 50 Words for Snow which is a weird choice.

Oh, look, they have the first three from Black Sabbath -- I actually have the 24/96 of those, I can actually compare those.

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This thing feels to me like it could be pretty significant.

Put aside all the conspiracy theory nonsense and what you've got is a distribution format that allows streaming good quality at a reasonable bandwidth cost. Considering that all music nowadays (more or less) is all distributed via streaming. That's huge. Yeah, MQA fake 24/whatever might not be quite as good as real 24/whatever, but that's not the point. With truly lossless encoding, for each itty bitty little increase in quality you have to pay double in bandwidth.  Streaming services at real lossless 24/92 (or whatever)? Faggidaboutit. 

It's a 95% of something vs 100% of nothing kind of thing. DSDs and hires downloads might be wonderful but they only exist in the audiophile fringe niche. The music you really want to hear is rarely available that way. If streaming services can stream something for us that sounds more or less like, say, 24/96 from the same distribution file they use for deaf millennials, that's something that might actually happen and I'm down with it.

Archiving is the same story. Harsh reality is that digital assets, whether pictures, video, or audio are stored in their distribution formats in any kind of archive that you snd I are likely to have access to. The original photographer may have the RAWs and the engineer may have lossless masters, but fat lot of good that does us. What matters to us is archives we can actually get to. (Like when each streaming service dies and orphans a lot of music.) I'd rather have almost hires than exactly Red Book.

Now, we won't know if any of this magic is for real until we've had a chance to live with the format for a while to know if it's not flawed. All we have now is first impressions and hokey A/B tests that aren't worth spit. We can't pass judgement until we've heard music we care about, long term. And for that to happen, the product has to gain traction in the marketplace. And for that to happen, some hypesters have hype their asses off and actually sell the shit. So we shouldn't fear the hype. Be one with the hype.

 

 

Grahame - I only made it through the first link in your posts. I couldn't go on. That guy had me screaming at the walls halfway through. Good lord!  I propose we start a charity that provides free line and copy editing to financially or intellectually impoverished bloviators. Some of these people need some discipline, dammit. Maybe instead of green eyeshades our charity editors come come in leather and studs. They could carry whips.

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Another interesting and relevant post is from a recent Tyll post: 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/paper-review-effects-mp3-compression-perceived-emotional-characteristics-musical-instruments#FGmflv70J55LFrjL.97

As usual, the scientists who wrote the paper have no idea what they are talking about, but Tyll and some of the comments on the page get more to the crux of the point. That is to say, red book and even lossy versions of red book up until a reasonable point, are NOT the bottleneck to good sound. There's so much other shit that people can and do get wrong that exceeding 16/44 is pretty laughable on a list of things to improve on audio. Remastering or swapping headphones/speakers offers infinitely more change in sound than going from 16/44 to 24/96. 

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I wouldn't know nothing about that, so would prefer solutions that don't require either of those things.  In fact, I would prefer solutions that stick in the audio world.  Now one thing that I will do and have done is go to live concerts, and that definitely increases my enjoyment.

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22 hours ago, blubliss said:

Interesting post (#3724) at HF from Baldr of Schiit Audio:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/766347/schiit-yggdrasil-impressions-thread/3720#post_13152144

Summary: He is still not an MQA supporter

It is interesting to me that he does kind of bury the lead here which is that these MQA titles do sound really good.

I don't see Jason ever wanting to fork over royalties to Meridian, but with the software decoder built in to Tidal I'm not sure its an issue.

4 hours ago, jp11801 said:

I hope they don't jack the price for the masters mqa streaming. 

This is what I am worried about.

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9 hours ago, Dusty Chalk said:

I won't go if they do -- there just isn't enough of a catalog to justify it yet.

Yet...

I likely would't pay $40 for the service as at almost $500 a year I could purchase 25 downloads and own them. At say $25 it becomes more difficult as I would pay $5 more for access to a growing catalog of high res.  

 

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43 minutes ago, Hopstretch said:

I'm a HiFi subscriber and today the Masters category is empty for me. Worked fine yesterday.

:confused:

 

That might be a function of their interface, which seems to time out, so if your connection is slow, fails to show up.

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These tracks seem to play just fine (showing up as anything from 24/48 to 24/96 on the ones I tried) through Audirvana's Tidal integration. Not sure what this means exactly, since I don't know if Audirvana supports MQA natively or if these "masters" are plain old FLAC under the hood.

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1 minute ago, gepardcv said:

These tracks seem to play just fine (showing up as anything from 24/48 to 24/96 on the ones I tried) through Audirvana's Tidal integration. Not sure what this means exactly, since I don't know if Audirvana supports MQA natively or if these "masters" are plain old FLAC under the hood.

Just like HDCD is PCM under the hood?  Interesting, I thought it was an entirely different format...I guess I should actually read some of the articles beyond the first paragraph...

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