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iFi audio Pro iDSD (Official) - NEW Firmware - MQA and more.

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  1. peterjgross
    "...most of the MQA tracks are very very high quality. One could hear, that the tracks is recorded and mastered on very high level." I must admit that ii don't know the full process of creating MQA files. But I do know that there are many MQA files out there with recordings that were made long before MQA existed. That said, i assume that in order to create MQA the recordings might have to be remastered. But the recording is the original recording.
    I am not sure what happens if a recording is done today, with this technology present. From the descriptions i read MQA is designed to fully recreate the sound in the mastering studio. But that is not the same as recording. Recording can happen in different studios for one and the same album or even one and the same track.
  2. webmi
    Best example, Tidal owner (Jay-Z) has MQA tracks. I think this was recorded before MQA. But it is available in MQA right now. MQA is only a container (as far as i understand it), therefore you could technically put in there what you want.

    MQA is not only about recreating the studio master, i guess. It is about business too. Jay-Z had to have MQA of his own songs. He owns Tidal. The certification part in MQA is not only about authentication, it is about money too, i guess.

    Technicly, the MQA implementation (full decoder) should compensate for the DACs individuality, so that the result should sound as identical as in the studio. I kind of understand what you are saying. MQA != MQA.

    What i can tell from listening to a lot of MQA is that most of them are pretty good quality. Beside that business part on MQA, there is really good music quality in most of them. Therefore i assume, that the studio that is doing the MQA, has a good studio gear. Therefore is assume the output quality of MQA studio is on average above the common nonMQA studio. If it is recorded in the same studio, with the same kind of high quality studio gear, i cant tell. I can image as you stated, not every MQA song is recorded with MQA in mind. But some of them at least sound like they are.
    Last edited: May 2, 2019
  3. iFi audio
    In 1000000% this. Some recordings are a pain to listen to. Poor file quality is one thing though, we'd throw poor mastering job as well.
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  4. webmi
    there are some tracks as you stated, that are a pain to listen to, regardless of file format or file quality itself, since it is already very high digital quality standard.

    for me one possible reason (beside poor recording etc) could be the studio someone is doing the mastering with. in my mind one dont has to be that good or has to have golden ears to do good mastering, since i dont have but can hear things that are not ok. if the studio is good enough one should be able to hear that there is a problem.

    And for me that is the point. its not about file quality or file format, but mqa is designed to throw good crap in there. even when thats not always the case...
    Last edited: May 2, 2019
  5. mobmob
    I think that, currently, among all the PCM audio formats, MQA excells. People always talk about the MQA’s benefits of smaller size, suitable for streaming, compatible with existing products (you will hear better than CD with non MQA playback devices) etc. What they don’t usually talk about is its killer feature: It is guaranteed to sound like the masters, whatever the quality of the master is, and whatever equipment (This is important!) you have. So, in my experience, and i’ve checked with usual hi-res copies of the same master (try with Led Zeppelin 96kHz and Led Zeppelin MQA. Specifically, test it with “What is and What should never be; 3:30), i’ve found that MQA ones are the tonally correct ones, imho.

    Sometimes, complex hi-fi equipment can make even a lossy file sound good, so i suggest trying it with a very simple system or a transparent one.
  6. applesnowleo
    For me MQA is an interesting solution for streaming services, smaller files better quality on streaming, is a win/win for user and the service that need to put out less digital resources like the amount of data that is needed to store and for the user do get the file.

    Differences that can be noticed is system dependent, if you listen to a very high expensive resolution audiophile system, is normal the the differences are apparent, in more modest systems like most of us use, sometimes differences and less apparent and difficult do justify.

    The Pro iDSD is more than capable of showing the advantages of different formats, and when paired to high quality revealing amplifiers and speakers it can be a surprise. My system is not in that category, is not that it isn't good and revealing for the price I have already invested, but is not also on pair with the High End offers from Wilson Audio speakers or Dan D'Agostino amplifiers, these are very revealing gear and when listened the only thought that comes to our mind is that "Uau!!! This is what I search and want to have someday", and then is better not to listen to your system for 2 or 3 days.

    Anyway, what can give us a better experience should not be seen as a negative, but I still think for streaming is a good choice, when I buy I prefer the non MQA version.
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
  7. gordec
    I think the whole point with MQA with regard to Pro iDSD or any MQA capable DAC is that sound quality differences may not be detectable whether you decoded as MQA or resampled in nonMQA format. I'm talking about the same MQA.

    I tried streaming some MQA tracks from Tidal and some MQA tracks I own. There are few songs that I have both MQA version and normal CD quality version. The MQA absolutely sounds better than the CD quality. It's just better recorded. However, the same MQA track sounds the same to me if I play it with full MQA decoding or resampling to another format so it's not fully decoded.
  8. o.fz
    Hi to all. I'm new here, coming from a sleepy forum on another website.

    I bought a Pro iDSD in November last year, and I have rather mixed feelings about it. On one side, I appreciate a lot its first grade sound quality, its many relevant options and its (relatively) modest price. But on the other hand, in my configuration, it suffers from an appalling flaw: it can't play gapless.

    It's my first streamer. I used a CD player until that, and I had no idea that such a basic feature as “gapless playback” could be optional. Imagine that the motor of your new car stops every now and then, for 2 seconds, and start again... That's crazy. Playing some classical works, electronic or rock albums that way is pure vandalism.

    I asked to the Ifi's representative in the other forum if they could fix the bug, but all I got was a rather patronising answer, and certainly not the promise that they will fix it. Since them, each time I ask again (barely once a month), I'm just confronted with the same dismissive/embarrassed silence.

    I found a workaround to this bug, using Neutron Music Player on my tablet. But this app is rather forbidding to use and it has annoying bugs too. In some circumstances, it is unusable.

    So here is my question: do someone know another Android application that can play gapless, even if the player doesn't support gapless playback?
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
  9. o.fz
    The description of my system may help:
    [Synology DS218play NAS > Proximus BBox3 router] + HDPlex 200W lps > D-Link powerline adapters > Wireworld Platinium ethernet cable > Ifi Pro iDSD streamer + Wireworld Electra 7 powercable > Esprit Eterna XLR cable > Gamut D3i preamp. + Esprit Eterna power cable > VTL XLR cable > 2 x Gamut M250 mkIII amp. > VTL cable > Harbeth SHL5+ speakers + Rogoz stands - Accustic Arts active power strip (streamer & preamp.)
    Samsung tablet with Neutron or mConnect player app.
  10. gordec
    Jriver and Audirvana are your best options if you want gapless streaming. BTW powerline adapters are super noisy. I assume you don't have wired connection in your listening room right?
  11. o.fz
    Thanks Gordek. Are you sure that both apps play gapless with the Pro iDSD through its Ethernet input? Did you try them in this configuration? I'm asking because I already paid for lots of apps that didn't work.

    I'm aware that powerline adapters have a poor reputation, but I don't have any other option at the moment. My NAS is too far away and I don't want to draw cables through my house. I made several experiments to limit the noise, whose conclusions are that:
    • The Wireworld Platinium ethernet cable is very good at transmitting the signal and limiting the noise. It's by far the best cable I tried.
    • The use of the HDPlex 200W lps on the router and on the NAS brings a spectacular improvement, as far as noise is concerned. It calms down the sound, reducing the high frequencies noise, and improving the soundstage.
    • The use of the Wireworld Stratus power cable to feed the HDPlex increases its benefits and improves the soundstage (this is the most surprising result - I just tried it because I had a spare Wireworld cable, I didn't expect to get such an improvement that way).
    • The iFi AC iPurifiers that I tried on the same plug than the powerline adapter and close to it only brought a homeopathic improvement, and I sent them back.
    Now, I'm very pleased with the sound that I get from that little iDSD, and if it wasnt for that pesky gapless bug, I would be very happy that way. Next stage would be to improve the acoustics of my listening room.
  12. gordec
    Jriver has gapless DLNA. I believe they have a free trial. Play with it first before trying. Audirvana has free trial also.
  13. o.fz
    mConnect is a fantastic non-nonsense application, indeed and I owe you its discovery. Unfortunately for me, it doesn't solve the gapless problem. I wonder why Neutron do that, and no other application that I know.
    flyte3333 likes this.
  14. o.fz
    I didn't find Audirvana in the playstore, neither a trial version of JRiver.
    The problem is tricky: the application may have the gapless option, but if the player doesn't support it, it won't ultimately play gapless. Only Neutron overcomes this limitation, with its own flaws, unfortunately.
  15. gordec
    Sorry those options require you to run the dlna on pc or mac.
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