iBasso DX300 Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 Octa-core 6GB RAM 128GB ROM NEW Firmware 2/6/2021
Mar 1, 2021 at 10:44 AM Post #4,561 of 5,873

FooFighter

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I think your missing the point

My only interest is can I hear a difference in streamed quality from MQA to non MQA versions of the same track. And yes I can.

I have no practical use for doing A/B tests locally of files on the DAP with MQA or NON MQA versions because I only use MQA for online streaming because of the benefits it brings (streamed sound quality and associated file size)

For anything local I use FLAC or in Tidal terms "HiFi"
The suspicion is that your MQA and non-MQA versions of same track are based on different recordings.
Only way to check could be that you stream a MQA song in an App like UApp where you deactivate the unfolding and listen against activated unfolding in same app (not sure though if UApp meanwhile supports unfolding up to same level as Mango or Tidal native app on DX300).
Easy way to deactivate unfolding in UApp is to deactivate Bitperfect mode.
 
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Mar 1, 2021 at 10:51 AM Post #4,562 of 5,873

xand

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I wonder if Tidal intentionally makes their "HiFi" sound worse than it can - by using same FLAC MQA file but without enabling unfolding lol.

If so it should almost definitely sound worse.

Personally I'm happy enough with Tidal Masters/HiFi - I do think that at least some of my own rips sound better, but I like the variety, and CDs are actually quite horrendously pricey where I am, so.. *shrug*.

I can believe that Qubuz sounds better (this seems to be common) but as I don't have it locally and I don't want to futz with VPN I guess I'm stuck with Tidal until Spotify lossless arrives - at which point I expect Tidal to at LEAST remove any hobbling of HiFi.
 
Mar 1, 2021 at 10:54 AM Post #4,564 of 5,873

Whitigir

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts, very informative! May i know what changes you noticed from DX300 alone compared to DX300 and C9 stack? I’m still waiting for mine to settle more, only have about 150 hours, glad to hear it can still get better.
What headphones are you using?

The short answer is that if you're using MOST iems (but apparently not all) the C9 is a vast, dramatic, amazing improvement - and same thing for certain headphones.
Agreed about the C9 to bring a much better improvements. You can expect better dynamic, controls, imaging and staging. I use Z1R and Hd800S, EX1k. I can’t say for Fourte and Nio
 
Mar 1, 2021 at 10:54 AM Post #4,565 of 5,873

ScubaDrunk

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The suspicion is that your MQA and non-MQA versions of same track are based on different recordings.
Only way to check could be that you stream a MQA song in an App like UApp where you deactivate the unfolding and listen against activated unfolding in same app (not sure though if UApp meanwhile supports unfolding up to same level as Mango or Tidal native app on DX300).
Easy way to deactivate unfolding in UApp is to deactivate Bitperfect mode.

Will give that a go now as I have UAPP and check
 
Mar 1, 2021 at 10:58 AM Post #4,566 of 5,873

CANiSLAYu

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I wonder if Tidal intentionally makes their "HiFi" sound worse than it can - by using same FLAC MQA file but without enabling unfolding lol.

If so it should almost definitely sound worse.

Personally I'm happy enough with Tidal Masters/HiFi - I do think that at least some of my own rips sound better, but I like the variety, and CDs are actually quite horrendously pricey where I am, so.. *shrug*.

I can believe that Qubuz sounds better (this seems to be common) but as I don't have it locally and I don't want to futz with VPN I guess I'm stuck with Tidal until Spotify lossless arrives - at which point I expect Tidal to at LEAST remove any hobbling of HiFi.
Tidal is incentivized to make things sound as good as possible to accumulate as many subscribers as possible. Making non-MQA sound worse to push people towards MQA, which benefits MQA and not Tidal, is preposterous. If someone doesn't have MQA compatible equipment then they cancel the service because it sounds bad, how does Tidal benefit?
 
Mar 1, 2021 at 11:01 AM Post #4,567 of 5,873

xand

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Tidal is incentivized to make things sound as good as possible to accumulate as many subscribers as possible. Making non-MQA sound worse to push people towards MQA, which benefits MQA and not Tidal, is preposterous. If someone doesn't have MQA compatible equipment then they cancel the service because it sounds bad, how does Tidal benefit?

Hope you're right.

It could easily be a MQA contractual requirement, and perhaps HiFi using an MQA FLAC (which loses some bits) might still sound generally better than lossy compression.

Oh and you don't need MQA compatible equipment to use "Master" - just select it, and it'll work on any playback device. Might not be as good as where there is software/hardware support for additional "unfolds" though.
 
Mar 1, 2021 at 11:15 AM Post #4,568 of 5,873

DarginMahkum

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Tidal is incentivized to make things sound as good as possible to accumulate as many subscribers as possible. Making non-MQA sound worse to push people towards MQA, which benefits MQA and not Tidal, is preposterous. If someone doesn't have MQA compatible equipment then they cancel the service because it sounds bad, how does Tidal benefit?

You never know what the business level agreements are. There can be surveys and statistical analysis to find the sweet spot to maximize the profit for both Tidal and MQA, as Tidal is the main driving force for MQA at the moment and also the biggest content provider. Tidal might be getting profit with the increase of MQA content and certification demand. They are holding a critical position in the market at the moment, which, I don't think, has reached its plane yet. As @d3d3d3 indicated, we are all voting for where it will reach (end, hopefully), but because of their position, I don't see it as a clean voting system.
 
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Mar 1, 2021 at 11:18 AM Post #4,569 of 5,873

ScubaDrunk

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Tidal is incentivized to make things sound as good as possible to accumulate as many subscribers as possible. Making non-MQA sound worse to push people towards MQA, which benefits MQA and not Tidal, is preposterous. If someone doesn't have MQA compatible equipment then they cancel the service because it sounds bad, how does Tidal benefit?
I just re-read you comment - Apologies Hand slaps in my face lol
 
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Mar 1, 2021 at 11:25 AM Post #4,570 of 5,873

ScubaDrunk

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The suspicion is that your MQA and non-MQA versions of same track are based on different recordings.
Only way to check could be that you stream a MQA song in an App like UApp where you deactivate the unfolding and listen against activated unfolding in same app (not sure though if UApp meanwhile supports unfolding up to same level as Mango or Tidal native app on DX300).
Easy way to deactivate unfolding in UApp is to deactivate Bitperfect mode.


Same song with Bit Perfect Enabled and Disabled - Looks like same file is streamed to me (FLAC 44.1kHz 16bit 616Kbps) Noticeable difference in sound quality when using Bit Perfect Enabled and taking advantage of MQA standard.

Bit Perfect Enabled

IMG_0251.JPEG

BIT Perfect Disabled

IMG_0250.JPEG
 
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Mar 1, 2021 at 11:28 AM Post #4,571 of 5,873

xand

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Same song with Bit Perfect Enabled and Disabled - Looks like same file is streamed to me (FLAC 44.1kHz 16bit 616Kbps) Noticeable difference in sound quality when using Bit Perfect Enabled.

Emphasis mine, abov.

If this is true, then without doubt with unfolding it will sound better, since with an MQAed FLAC you're losing 3 bits (out of the 16 bits).

13 bits is pretty horrific.

If you try a 24bit flac the difference might be smaller, but again if it's the same file I'd expect the unfolding to easily sound better.
 
Mar 1, 2021 at 11:32 AM Post #4,572 of 5,873

DarginMahkum

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What a load of rubbish. Comments like this are why the Internet is full of conspiracy theories today .

If that was the case Tidal would offer another subscription up from HIFI called MQA

You get both HIFI and MQA Quality under the same subscription rate!!!!

Did you know that there was a hack years ago with nvidia graphics cards, that you could simply replace a resistor and obtain a much more expensive graphics card, as they were simply the same chips and one was sold as a professional card, and the other one a much cheaper consumer card?

https://club.myce.com/t/resistor-hack-turns-a-nvidia-gtx690-into-a-quadro-k5000-or-tesla-k10/304520

These things happen, they are not conspiracy. Just look at the WM1A/Z firmware, which could be replaced by the DMP-Z1 firmware and sound better. It is the same digital hardware, apparently! Companies don't just sell products, they do a market analysis and try to find the sweet spot for their product classes, also considering the competitor products. So, this is not an impossibility.

Also, apparently when you meant "objective reviews" previously, you meant "objective reviews in the Tidal ecosystem", not versus other content streaming solutions or sources.
 
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Mar 1, 2021 at 11:35 AM Post #4,573 of 5,873

ScubaDrunk

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Emphasis mine, abov.

If this is true, then without doubt with unfolding it will sound better, since with an MQAed FLAC you're losing 3 bits (out of the 16 bits).

13 bits is pretty horrific.

If you try a 24bit flac the difference might be smaller, but again if it's the same file I'd expect the unfolding to easily sound better.

I really don't see your point except for wanting to be right or being an MQA hatter or denier.

I notice a difference in streamed quality when using MQA so I prefer to use it. Simple as that.

I really dont care and have no use for testing MQA against FLAC and 24 bit this and that

I like to fire up a streaming service and listen to music.

When Spotify comes out with Hires I will trial it and if its better I will move

If another new service comes out that has cats and dogs encryption and its better I will use it.

At the moment the best all round highest streaming service that can offer me the biggest library and the best sound is Tidal using MQA

So I choose (CHOOSE) to use that!!! its a choice.
 
Mar 1, 2021 at 11:42 AM Post #4,574 of 5,873

xand

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@ScubaDrunk I'm not sure whether you realise you're talking to different people lol.

I'm just explaining why listening to the same file from Tidal, with MQA unfolding on or off, will almost definitely show MQA to be "superior", especially if your test track is a 16 bit FLAC.

I was assuming you were aware of MQA's technical claims. Since you may not be - MQA files are FLAC, where some of the bits are used for the MQA compression. If you play an "MQA" FLAC using a player which cannot decompress MQA, you are basically listening to a lousy FLAC, because bits used for MQA compressed info are simply lost, so you end up with a 44.1/13 file (rather than 44.1/16 for a "normal" FLAC).

In other words, testing Tidal HiFi vs Master is almost meaningless, because HiFi WILL generally sound worse than Master.
 
Mar 1, 2021 at 12:02 PM Post #4,575 of 5,873

ScubaDrunk

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@ScubaDrunk I'm not sure whether you realise you're talking to different people lol.

I'm just explaining why listening to the same file from Tidal, with MQA unfolding on or off, will almost definitely show MQA to be "superior", especially if your test track is a 16 bit FLAC.

I was assuming you were aware of MQA's technical claims. Since you may not be - MQA files are FLAC, where some of the bits are used for the MQA compression. If you play an "MQA" FLAC using a player which cannot decompress MQA, you are basically listening to a lousy FLAC, because bits used for MQA compressed info are simply lost, so you end up with a 44.1/13 file (rather than 44.1/16 for a "normal" FLAC).

In other words, testing Tidal HiFi vs Master is almost meaningless, because HiFi WILL generally sound worse than Master.

My apologies if that came across strong

So in essence we are in agreement. MQA enabled stream sounds better than HiFi. Works for me :)
 

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