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HiWire

MQA-CD (oh no, not again)

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Found this Techmoan video on MQA-CD when I was checking out Meiko's latest album from Chesky Records, Playing Favorites:

 

 

I'm going to sit this one out for a while. It seems to be a Japan-only phenomenon for a while, and there are no mainstream players.

Edited by HiWire

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Yes, I've been reading about MQA since the hype train left the station, but it seems to be a controversial format (there could be licensing issues I'm not aware of).

I have trouble understanding the technology, for all the claims that have been made. The number of manufacturers that have decided against implementing MQA is also a matter of concern.

http://bobtalks.co.uk/blog/mqaplayback/origami-and-the-last-mile/

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/mqa-time-domain-accuracy-digital-audio-quality

Edited by HiWire

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Try re-reading Archimago's stuff again.

From a data encoding perspective it claims offer more hi-res-ness than could fit a standard-res container . HDCD 2.0 if you will.

But given that we can now stream 96/24 FLAC ( or above)  - with much less processing overhead - and we can support the bandwith ( netflix can stream 4K / UHD) at much higher data rates, 

what problem is it we are exactly trying to solve. Especially for extant works ( not those that are yet to be recorded and mixed).

Some (cynics? / realists?) argue that it's yet another licensing cash grab from those  who's patents are due to / have expired.

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Edited by Grahame
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Some interesting reading (didn't read all of it though). Bruno Putzeys knows his shit. MQA seems to be a farce.

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On 2/5/2019 at 8:03 PM, Pars said:

Some interesting reading (didn't read all of it though). Bruno Putzeys knows his shit. MQA seems to be a farce.

A farce I think so also , gotta keep the public buying so marketed new and improved stuff ,....

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Found an interesting snippet re: MQA (I was contemplating the future of my little music collection and physical media in general – Blu-ray Audio seems to be DOA)

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/sacd-vs-blu-ray-for-audio-quality-sonics

"Two main kinds of filter: Linear Phase and Minimum Phase (a third kind could be everything else in between). Linear maintains the phase relationship between ALL frequencies – this best preserves the timbre of instruments. Minimum Phase screws up the phase relationship and changes the timbre but it eliminates pre-ringing. Since music is all about the relationship between various frequencies then Linear Phase filtering will sound the most natural and if well designed the pre-ringing will not be audible. Minimum phase makes no sense unless you look at waveforms and dislike aesthetically the pre-ringing. 

That Bob Stuart is pushing minimum phase basically discredits him and MQA as a gimmick. He is pushing transient response (an engineering concept) over musical timbre (what we actually hear or how our ears work)."

 

If companies like Sony and Pioneer (I'm talking about the mainstream) want hi-res to be taken seriously, they need to make it available in car audio and elsewhere, and digital streaming services need to update their libraries. The conundrum is that digital platforms evolve so quickly that the electronics are becoming obsolete faster than ever while sales of "mainstream" hi-fi products are shrinking.

I don't subscribe to digital streaming services (or digital file vendors) because I don't want to deal with a limited library of titles. If I buy a disc, I can listen to it anywhere, without an internet connection, and I don't have to keep paying or have it arbitrarily revoked from my library. I can rip the disc to a variety of file formats, lossless, lossy, etc. and play it on any device I want, without restriction.

I had to revisit this decision when I bought a limited-edition CD yesterday – the album is available for $10 on iTunes, but I decided to have the disc shipped for significantly more money. Am I becoming a cranky old man? Yes – but I'll still have the CD, which sounds better than anything Spotify can offer in 2019.

 

This is what Sony has for high-res car audio (not great – I hope they are doing a better job with OEM systems – would that be Ford?):

https://www.sony.ca/en/electronics/car-audio-hi-res-audio
 

Here's Pioneer's list of high res products (starting at $300 for the portable player):

https://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/High-Resolution+Audio

Edited by HiWire
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I’m going to disagree.  Pre-ringing doesn’t exist in nature, so it’s intrusive if you can hear it.  I’m still pretty sure I prefer Linear Phase, but that kind of language (“...makes no sense...”, “...dislike aesthetically...”) is typical “trying to get in my head and tell me how to think my own thoughts” bullshit.  It just irks me.

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I read that snippet in the Simpsons' Comic Book Guy voice in my head.

Found a layman-friendly explanation with audio clips here:

https://www.audiomasterclass.com/newsletter/the-difference-between-minimum-phase-and-linear-phase-eq-on-transient-signals-such-as-snare-drum

I grabbed a copy of Sound On Sound magazine this month as I've been told we'll be recording musicians at work next year... it's fun to read about new gear, but I have to slow down to decode all the engineering jargon. Then I wonder if all those knobs and switches can be done in software instead of yet another box.

More filter stuff from Archimago:

http://archimago.blogspot.com/2018/01/musings-more-fun-with-digital-filters.html

Leave it to the trolls to sound reasonable and objective:

https://troll-audio.com/articles/linear-and-minimum-phase/

Edited by HiWire
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Ummm Pre-riding? Sounds like a marketing argument. 

I also prefer the physical version for the reasons mentioned but for car audio, for a party... for example I prefer the streaming. Why? Very simple, I consider my CDs and vinyls too valuable to lose. 

The problem of sales of "quality" or "traditional" audio equipment (and music)  has more to do with the education of our youth than anything else: they want all and fast (and free).They don't care about quality.
 

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I agree. I bought a Bluetooth speaker for parties and such this summer and I don't care about formats, aptX, Apple AAC wireless or any of that for simple listening.

If I want to listen to music on my phone or iPod, I'll rip it to 320kbps AAC or Apple Lossless, and my fancy-schmancy SACDs only get played on my Sony UHP-H1.

Heck, a lot of my music listening is done on YouTube, which is terrible for sound quality.

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Yes, sound quality is horrible but one of the great advantages of YouTube is that today, an unknown artist/musicians can make themselves known very quickly. 

Youtube has come to replace the radio in that sense: 

Youtube killed to the radio star....

 

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