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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:33 am 
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ripblade wrote:
tube54 wrote:
ripblade wrote:
What do they mean by "time smearing"? And how does MQA correct for it after the AD and DA conversions take place?


Time smear is another name for jitter, skew and drift in the sampling rate during playback. According to Meridian, the MQA files are already time smear corrected so even if you don't have the MQA dac to encode/unfold it you will still hear the improvement of the sound quality of the reconstructed signal.

https://www.quora.com/What-is-smearing- ... uses-of-it

https://community.roonlabs.com/t/mqa-ge ... n/8204/125
Thanks for the links. Exploring the 2nd one a little further I found this, the author of which, after some testing, posted this conclusion:

Quote:
1. First, there is a "de-blur" DSP being applied which supposedly improves time-domain accuracy (presumably based on measured parameters of the equipment / processing steps used in the studio). I think this is the primary audible component. This is why they claim even an undecoded MQA file played through a standard DAC sounds "better"; the DSP effect is already "baked into" the sound even without the decoding process to expand the ultrasonics.

2. Etc...

3. Etc...

Given that I believe Step 1 above is the most likely to change sonic quality, I really wonder what standard 24/96 or 24/192 "digital masters" sound like with the DSP applied to "correct" time-domain parameters in the studio before "encapsulation" takes out the lowest bits.


I have to agree with him that this 'corrected time smear' is actually some form of DSP. Correcting time smear after the recording has embedded the smear in the finished product is akin to sharpening an out of focus image. The sharpening DSP might improve the sense of clarity, but in actuality the DSP increases contrast at the colour transition boundaries...it is not really increasing focus since you can't really do that after the picture is taken.

So there's no real 'time smear correction' going on...just a sharpening tool being applied to increase dynamic contrast. And it seems that in the process the lower 8 bits are lost, in a sense losing the dynamic range it attempts to enhance.

I can see it being useful for streaming services, but rolling it out as the next advance in studio mastering is a little over stated, IMO.


Nice to have someone around that understands the technology and knows what he is talking about, even if he masquerades as a tree dwelling primate.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:56 am 
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I find it interesting to read of people villfying MQA as a money grab, not just here but in other forums and reviews. From an end-user perspective, MQA hasn't cost me anything thus far. The firmware upgrade on my DAC was free and access to the Tidal catalog is included in the Hi-iFi subscription at no extra charge.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:56 pm 
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milesian wrote:
I find it interesting to read of people villfying MQA as a money grab, not just here but in other forums and reviews. From an end-user perspective, MQA hasn't cost me anything thus far. The firmware upgrade on my DAC was free and access to the Tidal catalog is included in the Hi-iFi subscription at no extra charge.


Not yet, we haven't seen the corporate end game. MQA has nothing to offer the music lover that open source software doesn't provide for free already.

Have you checked out the high res classical music being streamed in Ogg Vorbis out of the former Czechoslovakia.

Be cool and be smart.....


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 4:40 pm 
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Unless I missed it, the OP didn't mention what DAC he's using now.

It could be that upgrading his DAC to one that also happens to offer MQA and DSD would improve his system's ability to reproduce regular PCM files as well. In this way, he might realize improvements even if he decides, in the end, that MQA and/or DSD don't have much to offer.

All depends on what he's presently using.

Among other DACs, I use a MyTek Brooklyn. I don't use it for either its MQA or DSD capability, but because it's got word-clock output that enables me to slave the transport to the DAC and because it's a very good DAC for Redbook or any other PCM-encoded source.

My all-time favourite remains the Universal Audo 2192, but the Brooklyn remains a fine DAC.

I'm listening to it as I type this, fed by a PS Audio PerfectWave transport. Preamp is an Esoteric C-03xP; speakers are my own custom design based on a pair of Tannoy 12" Superdual coaxials with dual 15" woofers for each channel yielding, in-room, a sensitivity of 98 dB and a flat response from 30 Hz to 22 kHz. Amps are MC2 Audio models supplying a total of 1600 Wpc.

I mention this to illustrate that the Brooklyn DAC is not embarrassed in fairly high-end company.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:13 am 
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I read somewhere that the UA2192 has fallen out of favour, because the designers intentionally inject DC on the outputs. They believe it sounds better.

This necessitates that somewhere in the chain, your system has a DC blocking capacitor or DC servo to remove this before it gets to your speakers.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:46 am 
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I am using my Esoteric K-03 as the DAC for my Mac Mini via a USB cable. I want to separate my CAS and disc players in my system, and the MyTek Brooklyn caught my eyes at the moment. Let us put the "Esoteric versus MyTek" comparison or the "it is not really an upgrade you should pick the X MQA DAC instead" aside what I am trying to get at is this: Should I get a new MQA compatible DAC at extra cost (there is no free lunch even if you are offered a "free" firmware upgrade) or pick one of the fine, used DAC such as the older MyTek DSD 192 or Chord Hugo TT which can't do MQA but are exceptional DSD/PCM DACs. Like I said I used Audirvana Plus which support MQA and partially decode/unpack the 24 bits content from a MQA stream. I like what I have heard so far on some of the albums on Tidal but the choices of music on MQA is still pretty slim on Tidal for now (I am interested in jazz and classical) and, honestly, I don't see a great future when Spotify, etc. are not licensing the MQA tech. for their service. I hate to pay extra for something I don't get to use often or at all in the future. on the other hand, I see the potential in MQA on properly recorded and mastered music based on my Tidal Hi-Fi "Master" experiences. I guess this is another First World problem that I have...


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:21 am 
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Should you invest in MQA? Unequvical definate maybe.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:28 am 
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According to this month's (September) stereophile in an article by Michael Fremer (Analog Corner - Notes from the Road page 21)...yes you should.

But...since it is written in stereophile, a magazine most of you never read and have a great disdain for, not to mention many who think Fremer is an ****...then the answer for you is now a definite 'no'. lol

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:52 am 
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It floors me when people think that this format is better than another...LP or CD, FLAC or DSD...on and on and on. It's the MASTER, the mic placements, the artists ability in their respective craft, the studio, how good is the hearing of the person responsible with mixing and levels? Do THEY prefer more treble? or bass etc. Did they just use headphones and didn't really consider the soundstage and spatialization?

Formats do not matter, unless you want to protect the content via DSD or LP...you cannot copy easily.

MQA is a money grab, and the money is paid by DAC manufacturers to support the license. They have to pay...same goes for DSD etc.

FLAC is free and lossless. If you think you hear a difference it's placebo or it's not the same MASTER, which is common for studios these days...they do not put out the same master on vinyl as they do CD...a quick look using Audacity or Foobar can show the dynamic range differences.

Enter MQA...hmmm how do we check that easily as a consumer?

Give me quality 16bit recording with well placed microphones and someone with good hearing and decent DR please...oh and use BOTH headphones and studio monitors!

There rant over, MQA = rubbish.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:55 am 
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Energyguy999 wrote:
It floors me when people think that this format is better than another...LP or CD, FLAC or DSD...on and on and on. It's the MASTER, the mic placements, the artists ability in their respective craft, the studio, how good is the hearing of the person responsible with mixing and levels? Do THEY prefer more treble? or bass etc. Did they just use headphones and didn't really consider the soundstage and spatialization?

Formats do not matter, unless you want to protect the content via DSD or LP...you cannot copy easily.

MQA is a money grab, and the money is paid by DAC manufacturers to support the license. They have to pay...same goes for DSD etc.

FLAC is free and lossless. If you think you hear a difference it's placebo or it's not the same MASTER, which is common for studios these days...they do not put out the same master on vinyl as they do CD...a quick look using Audacity or Foobar can show the dynamic range differences.

Enter MQA...hmmm how do we check that easily as a consumer?

Give me quality 16bit recording with well placed microphones and someone with good hearing and decent DR please...oh and use BOTH headphones and studio monitors!

There rant over, MQA = rubbish.


If you can't hear a difference then obviously your system sucks!!! :lol:

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:39 pm 
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Voodoo Funk wrote:
Energyguy999 wrote:
It floors me when people think that this format is better than another...LP or CD, FLAC or DSD...on and on and on. It's the MASTER, the mic placements, the artists ability in their respective craft, the studio, how good is the hearing of the person responsible with mixing and levels? Do THEY prefer more treble? or bass etc. Did they just use headphones and didn't really consider the soundstage and spatialization?

Formats do not matter, unless you want to protect the content via DSD or LP...you cannot copy easily.

MQA is a money grab, and the money is paid by DAC manufacturers to support the license. They have to pay...same goes for DSD etc.

FLAC is free and lossless. If you think you hear a difference it's placebo or it's not the same MASTER, which is common for studios these days...they do not put out the same master on vinyl as they do CD...a quick look using Audacity or Foobar can show the dynamic range differences.

Enter MQA...hmmm how do we check that easily as a consumer?

Give me quality 16bit recording with well placed microphones and someone with good hearing and decent DR please...oh and use BOTH headphones and studio monitors!

There rant over, MQA = rubbish.


If you can't hear a difference then obviously your system sucks!!! :lol:


LMAO, good one...maybe my listening room is too humid or my fuses have corroded. :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:42 pm 
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Energyguy999 wrote:

LMAO, good one...maybe my listening room is too humid or my fuses have corroded. :mrgreen:


...or seriously man...if you can't hear a difference...then your system does suck!!! 8)

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:23 pm 
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...or seriously man...if you can't hear a difference...then your system does suck!!! 8)



...or seriously dude...I can hear the difference in masters, and see the difference by measurements with Audacity, and Foobar.

Now tell me man, when you hear a difference is it real or is it not?

Do you have data to backup the differences? 8)

IME and IMHO MQA is another grasp at fooling people into the next big thing...there's a reason why MP3 won over SACD and DVD Audio...it's about the master NOT the format.

Millions of music lovers can't be wrong can they? :shock:


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:58 pm 
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Audio_Guy wrote:
What I can tell you for sure, is that neither DSD or MQA will deliver better music reproduction from microphone to speaker than what is already available through flac and Ogg Vorbis.


You are conflating several technologies that are not the same.

Free lossless audio codec (FLAC) is an audio coding format for the lossless compression of digital audio. Digital files can typically be reduced to between 50 to 60 percent of its original size and decompress to an identical copy of the original audio data. FLAC has nothing to do with the resolution of the digital file.

Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) is an audio codec using lossy compression and a form of file fingerprinting, intended for high-fidelity digital audio internet streaming and file downloads. MQA hierarchically compresses the relatively little energy in the higher frequency bands into data streams that are embedded in the lower frequency bands using proprietary dithering techniques. MQA-encoded content can be carried via any lossless file format such as FLAC or ALAC; hence, it can be played back on systems either with or without an MQA decoder.

Ogg Vorbis is a fully open, non-proprietary, patent-and-royalty-free, general-purpose compressed audio format for mid to high quality (8kHz-48.0kHz, 16+ bit, polyphonic) audio and music at fixed and variable bitrates from 16 to 128 kbps/channel.

Direct Stream Digital (DSD) encodes a digital signal at 2.8224 MHz (64 times the CD audio sampling rate of 44.1 kHz, but only at 1/32,768 of its 16-bit resolution). Super Audio CDs (SACD) are encoded using DSD while Redbook CDs are encoded using WAV files (at 44.1 kHz/16bit).

DSD uses delta-sigma modulation to convert the analog sound to the digital domain whereas PCM-files (i.e. WAV) use pulse code modulation. Due to the characteristic of delta-sigma modulation and the high sample rate, DSD has a slightly more analog character than PCM-files which a lot of audiophiles tend prefer. But DSD, like FLAC, is simply a storage mechanism - there aren't any digital files encoded in DSD format. DSD file formats are either DSD Storage File (DSF) or DSD Interchange File Format (DFF). Of the two, DSF is preferred because a DSF file could be transferred to different music players and retain the same metadata.

A 5 minute sound files size is very different according to the formats it is encoded in:

MP3 44.1kHz 320 kbps 11.4MB
WAV 44.1kHz 16bit 50.4MB
FLAC 44.1 16 6.69MB (same file as above)
DSF 2.8HMz 1bit 201MB

Regardless of the resolution of the encoding, what makes a great recording is the ..... the recording and mastering.

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