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CES 2017: MQA announces TIDAL Masters, and more

Discussion in 'Head-Fi Network & Industry News' started by joe, Jan 5, 2017.
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  1. Currawong Contributor
    That's a long way of saying that, much of the time, it isn't lossless. 3 bits of the 16-bit encoded file are not lossless -- it's in the patent.
    Anyhow: INXS. I went and had a listen to the HIFI vs. Master of Never Tear Us Apart and the MQA has a major change in pitch.  This seems to be the major confusion: People are hearing a difference, but are confusing a fundamental change in the actual recording with the fact that it is encoded as MQA.  They could re-master it and output it as a regular, non-MQA track and we'd get almost all the sonic benefits.
    castleofargh likes this.
  2. rkw
    Here's how you can compare between HIFI and Master of the same track. If you play Tidal on the web browser, the track will play as HIFI (16/44 undecoded). The Tidal Mac/PC app will play the same track as Master with MQA unfolding applied.
    When I've tried this comparison, I find that Master plays at a louder level than HIFI. You have to try to match the levels for a proper comparison. Member manpowre has also observed Master playing at a louder level:
  3. Currawong Contributor
    Someone else wrote about this. I can't help wondering why. From a logical point of view, the louder level means more bits there to encode the music itself, but it makes comparisons much harder, and might be seen by someone as MQA trying to fool people into thinking their version sounds better because it is louder.
  4. castleofargh Contributor
    they might just remove extra headroom from some tracks that have any before converting to MQA. given how many bits they are left with after MQA encoding, it could make sense to use all the dynamic range left for signal instead of keeping digital headroom.
    another possibility might simply be that they apply something like loudness normalization but only for playing the files a given way, or maybe it's pre-applied on usual files but not on MQA files(because they can't do it before the file is uncompressed or that would kill the data).
    or maybe they do make one louder as a marketing trick. let's not forget that tidal already fooled people with the online audio test where an EQ was applied on bass and trebles to make lossy files sound clearly different. [​IMG]
    but of course before considering such possibilities, we'd first need to know for sure that differences don't originate from using a different playback method, or simply from 2 different masters being played, or from bad testing method.
  5. manpowre
    Or, it means that noise floor has been lifted upwards to give bit-headroom for the different unfolding mechanisms.. Who knows what it means. Im working these days with a blog to show this, just working on the test methods for me and everyone else to fully understand it.
    Currawong likes this.
  6. Steve Buck
    TIdal updated on IOS but not Android
    25th april..
    Still no mqa/masters support but IOS gets a new GUI 
    Eagerly awaiting something for android.
  7. Steve Buck
    However... Glitches on offline saved to sd card seem to have been cured.

    1 album down and all good so far..

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  8. Steve Buck

    Sorry false alarm...ios only..
    Android not updated.
    ( but glitches gone from my pioneer ??)

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  9. erich6
    Glad my post was helpful.

    Yes, Tidal added the "M in a square" feature after I posted my rundown. It's a very helpful designator when sorting through a large grid of album covers. I see you figured out the desktop app works for MASTER quality. Enjoy!
  10. oscarp
    Is MQA on Onkyo a stand alone App or does it use Tidal's MQA unfolding App, I understand the MQA decoder on Explorer 2 is a hardware solution ?? So if Tidal settings for MQA is bypassed, the stand alone app would do the decoding to it's maximum resolution ? Also the bit I have read on Tidal ,(44 pages too much it affects my eye sight ) no one seems to mention that the file is smaller than normal decoding. Hope all of this has not been mentioned before.
    Last edited: May 5, 2017
  11. canthearyou
    Last edited: May 25, 2017
  12. JeremyLaurenson
    Its built into the Onkyo Music App on the Onkyo.
    I have downloaded and tested a few songs, "demos".
    Unfortunately in the U.S. despite the relentless marketing theres really nothing to buy in MQA.
  13. waveSounds
    Apart from the greatly reduced file size, you mean.
    Fatherwithhorns likes this.
  14. headfry
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