Topic: MQA is it possible?

Hi Guys

this is not supposed to be a discussion about the pros and cons of MQA!!

I just want to know if a software implementation of MQA decoding for the RME Dac is possible or maybe even already planned?

Re: MQA is it possible?

Is MQA free software or is a license fee required ?

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro20H2, Cub11 Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, ARC USB

Re: MQA is it possible?

ramses wrote:

Is MQA free software or is a license fee required ?

From the wiki

Commercial MQA-capable playback devices require payment of a royalty to MQA Ltd per unit sold. Based on information from Auralic, a manufacturer of Audiophile Wireless Audio Streamers, Meridian Audio prohibits digital output of unpacked MQA in any digital format, only allowing the unpacked data to be fed to an on-board MQA-compatible DAC and output in analog form. Some claim this to be a part of DRM process[15], which allows a proper MQA file to be authenticated and the full quality of the signal decoded only on commercially licensed equipment.

_

RME HDSP9652 | | RME Babyface Pro

4

Re: MQA is it possible?

RME units will not support MQA for the forseeable future.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

Re: MQA is it possible?

Was wondering if there's been any change of prospects here? My ADI-2 is my favourite piece of hardware, period.

Giving it the ability to perform the final unfold (perhaps a purple Spectral Analyzer colour when MQA is detected and played?), would mean squeezing every last bit of juice out of some songs in my library.

Re: MQA is it possible?

I don't want MQA support because it would raise the price of the device.

7 (edited by ramses 2020-07-18 20:02:51)

Re: MQA is it possible?

I see more of a marketing hype in MQA than really the potential for any improvement.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro20H2, Cub11 Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, ARC USB

Re: MQA is it possible?

Luckbad wrote:

I don't want MQA support because it would raise the price of the device.

Me neither... MQA is marketing BS, I personnaly avoid all brands with the MQA logo...

ADI-2 DAC (with stock PSU) - Neumann KH 310 A monitors - Cheap USB and XLR cables

9 (edited by Curt962 2020-07-19 05:21:20)

Re: MQA is it possible?

100% in Agreement with Ramses, and Noob.    I perceive MQA as simply the most modern effort to extricate $$$ from the end user. 

Have we forgotten "HDCD"??   smile smile

20+ yrs ago....The Promise of Sonic Glory!!!     And?? (Drum Roll)  More Hardware, and Specially Labeled Discs to Buy!!!

No Thanks!

I would prefer that a Music Industry "Quality Standard" be implemented rather than yet another expensive "Tech Tweak" that allegedly undoes poor workmanship in the Studio, simply via Data manipulation.  Get it?


Curt

Vintage 2018 ADI-2 DAC. "Classic Edition"
Cables:  Red Ones, and White Ones.
Speakers:  Yes (2)

10 (edited by KaiS 2020-07-19 14:18:37)

Re: MQA is it possible?

Curt962 wrote:

...another expensive "Tech Tweak" that allegedly undoes poor workmanship in the Studio, ...

"poor workmanship in the Studio" - as a general statement about music production?


This knocks down my colleagues an me, who are fighting for the best possible quality in recording every day.
And this is not limited to technology - which is on much higher standards than any layman can imagine - but to work with the artists to breath into the recording the maximum amount of musicality possible.


Bad sound can be traced down to one single reason: loudness war.


The jackass is on the side of the customers (represented by the sales persons and in consequence even by the artists themselves) who still don't hear the difference between better sounding and louder.
They force us to destroy perfectly sounding masters by squeezing out the last half dB ouf loudness, trashing every quality.


You can hear the result of this still raging "loudness war" everywhere.


Guess what - in audiophile forums I can read high praises about these obviously distorted recordings as "audiophile references".
Surrounded by cable discussions.


Even gemstones of music history become "remastered" in the same stupid manner, replacing the originals in the streaming services' catalogues more and more.
I'm starting to listens to CD's again these days, really!


This all is not the idea of us producers and recording engineers - it's the customers represented by the marketing department of the record industry.


Plus, it's super-stupid as most streaming services use loudness managment that dials down these loud masters back to the service's internal reference, changing such into a bad sounding master of average loudness.


I'm trying to teach this for ages, but it's really hard to come through.

The typical aswer is: "OK, I understand, but can't you simply make this louder than recording xyz?" - which usually is the most loudness war crushed recording on the market.


Fortunately 80% of my work is with music styles where sound quality still counts and stupid high loudness not requested, but I feel sorry for my colleagues on the front of the loudness war.

So - don't bash the studio people, we have to do what our clients demand.
Customer is king.

Re: MQA is it possible?

As always, stupidity is boundless..

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro20H2, Cub11 Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, ARC USB

12 (edited by Curt962 2020-07-19 16:36:30)

Re: MQA is it possible?

KaiS wrote:
Curt962 wrote:

...another expensive "Tech Tweak" that allegedly undoes poor workmanship in the Studio, ...

"poor workmanship in the Studio" - as a general statement about music production?


This knocks down my colleagues an me, who are fighting for the best possible quality in recording every day.
And this is not limited to technology - which is on much higher standards than any layman can imagine - but to work with the artists to breath into the recording the maximum amount of musicality possible.


Bad sound can be traced down to one single reason: loudness war.


The jackass is on the side of the customers (represented by the sales persons and in consequence even by the artists themselves) who still don't hear the difference between better sounding and louder.
They force us to destroy perfectly sounding masters by squeezing out the last half dB ouf loudness, trashing every quality.


You can hear the result of this still raging "loudness war" everywhere.


Guess what - in audiophile forums I can read high praises about these obviously distorted recordings as "audiophile references".
Surrounded by cable discussions.


Even gemstones of music history become "remastered" in the same stupid manner, replacing the originals in the streaming services' catalogues more and more.
I'm starting to listens to CD's again these days, really!


This all is not the idea of us producers and recording engineers - it's the customers represented by the marketing department of the record industry.


Plus, it's super-stupid as most streaming services use loudness managment that dials down these loud masters back to the service's internal reference, changing such into a bad sounding master of average loudness.


I'm trying to teach this for ages, but it's really hard to come through.

The typical aswer is: "OK, I understand, but can't you simply make this louder than recording xyz?" - which usually is the most loudness war crushed recording on the market.


Fortunately 80% of my work is with music styles where sound quality still counts and stupid high loudness not requested, but I feel sorry for my colleagues on the front of the loudness war.

So - don't bash the studio people, we have to do what our clients demand.
Customer is king.


Indeed Kai.   

I have had drinks with Artists who said much the same as you when asked..."what happened"???

The response was that the Release did not even resemble the Recording they had invested so much Time, and Energy into.   Of course the Studios do nice work...but some "Genius" in the Boardroom had other plans.

This is Sad, and I do believe that Marketing, and a largely un-caring, Volume-Addicted, Media Glutton Consumer is what drives this Slaughter of Sound.   Quantity over Quality.

MQA won't fix it.  God Bless RME for dismissing it.

Curt

Vintage 2018 ADI-2 DAC. "Classic Edition"
Cables:  Red Ones, and White Ones.
Speakers:  Yes (2)

Re: MQA is it possible?

If you use Tidal desktop app or Roon, you can do the first MQA unfold in software. The remaining unfold is just a low-quality up-sampling. I had a MQA dac before RME, and I noticed that unfolding in software and optionally up-sampling in software gave better sound in my system so I preferred a non-MQA DAC when I bought RME (no money for MQA that would just lower price/performance).

14 (edited by Curt962 2020-07-19 19:33:32)

Re: MQA is it possible?

Nothing touches the RME where Price vs Performance is concerned.

The discussion however has nothing to do with Sample Rates.

The "Train Wreck" that describes most modern releases is the same no matter how much resolution you "think" you've thrown at it.

Vintage 2018 ADI-2 DAC. "Classic Edition"
Cables:  Red Ones, and White Ones.
Speakers:  Yes (2)

15 (edited by rado 2020-07-19 21:44:34)

Re: MQA is it possible?

I don't think you can really hear MQA "benefits", especially its 2nd render.
Tidal is able to do first unfold via software (to 88,2/24 and/or 96/24) for master quality albums.
So RME is already getting nice 96/24 stream.
MQA DACs can also do second render, and move it a bit, up to 192/24, apply some "hinted oversampling".

Well, personally, I cannot hear the difference between 96/24 and 192/24, after second render.

But I do appreciate better overal DAC with better options, better functionality, better outputs, better filters, etc., that is why I switched from Pro-Ject S2 Digital w/ full MQA support to RME ADI-2 DAC FS Pro w/ no MQA support.

In fact, Pro-Ject S2 MQA support and firmware was buggy, I had to do first unfold via Tidal anyway, not rely on S2, otherwise the music would skip sometimes. Mytek Digital Liberty had this problem as well. Never had this problem with RME, with its SteadyClock FS.

So, not looking back. smile

Still, I *would* appreciate RME offering full MQA support one day, as Tidal is my main listening source, but it is not a deal breaker (at all!) if it does not have it now.

Re: MQA is it possible?

You do not get higher quality by upsampling. The initial quality is what counts.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro20H2, Cub11 Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, ARC USB

17 (edited by Curt962 2020-07-19 22:51:53)

Re: MQA is it possible?

@ Ramses

Amen!

+1

Vintage 2018 ADI-2 DAC. "Classic Edition"
Cables:  Red Ones, and White Ones.
Speakers:  Yes (2)

18 (edited by KaiS 2020-07-20 06:41:54)

Re: MQA is it possible?

ramses wrote:

You do not get higher quality by upsampling. The initial quality is what counts.

RME ADI-2's EQ sounds better with higher sample rates.
I tested by switching ADI-2's internal Sample Rate Converter.

I forced the SRC in and out by external clock switching, higher sample rate sounds "finer" with EQ treble boosts.

I did NOT measure if EQ frequency response curves changed (might happen), but the changes didn't sound like that anyway.


So, the recording itself did not change of course, but the DSP might benefit.
This is coincident with my studio experience, where some plugins benefit from "oversampling" too.

19 (edited by ramses 2020-07-20 08:05:17)

Re: MQA is it possible?

My focus was upsampling of audio material.

In regards to PEQ processing.
Is this proven by performing blind or double blind tests or is this only a subjective perception ?

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro20H2, Cub11 Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, ARC USB

20 (edited by KaiS 2020-07-20 12:27:58)

Re: MQA is it possible?

ramses wrote:

My focus was upsampling of audio material.

In regards to PEQ processing.
Is this proven by performing blind or double blind tests or is this only a subjective perception ?

No, not proven.

It's been the other way round, I did this accidentially when trying to find a universal setup:
Listening to an SPDIF source, while switching USB source to different SR rate for another reason.

I noticed a subtle sound change, then investigated in the reason.

Currently I'm using a different setup that allows for simpler source switching, so it's not big enough a difference to justify the hustle.

I do much listening to Tidal Master's high-res music, so ADI-2 Pro is on higher SR then anyway.


For those wondering:
No, one cannot compare Tidal Masters' high-res releases with the "normal" ones, often the high-res are different, new masters with different EQ and Dynamics processings made.
Might be new made transfers from analog sometimes too, that would be the correct way to generate a high-res releases of older productions.


Maybe I should put it in the "Request Feature" section of the forum:
"Use the SRC for internal Oversampling".

Re: MQA is it possible?

KaiS wrote:

RME ADI-2's EQ sounds better with higher sample rates.
I tested by switching ADI-2's internal Sample Rate Converter.

I forced the SRC in and out by external clock switching, higher sample rate sounds "finer" with EQ treble boosts.

Well - realtime SRC is a very different beast compared to "offline SRC", RMEs implementation being no exception. I would examine this "variable" to begin with, before arriving at any conclusion. Working at a higher samplerate than the source material negates the need for decrampling filters, but i'm sceptical of this phenomenon alone being responsible for the changes you are perceiving.

Rune Borup @ FishCorp
Producer / Engineer / Composer
RayDAT > 2 x ADI-8 QS | AES+SPDIF > ADI-2 Pro

Re: MQA is it possible?

Haha christ on a bike. Calm down people. A lot of people feel the same about DSD, and that is included.

After a simple question about the prospect of a feature getting added to a swiss army knife of a DAC, we've got people simply writing stuff like "As always, stupidity is boundless.." rather than respecting subjectivity.

Get a grip.

23 (edited by KaiS 2020-07-26 00:49:28)

Re: MQA is it possible?

Post #4 has the final answer for the topic starter's question.


So why not going further, just for fun, discussing what comes up?!

I feel the need to clear up the the statement about "poor workmanship in the studio", as I'm one of those people giving our best to make recordings sound good.

An average layman has no idea how a recording is done, so it's easy and natural to make the recording engineers responsible for the multitude of bad recordings out there.
Fact is, it's not that simple.


These all aren't questions of live or die, but still discussions can be quite passionate.
No problem for me as long as it doesn't get personal.

- PEACE -

(No bits where hurt during the making of this thread)