MQA: Revolutionary British streaming technology
Dec 17, 2014 at 7:21 AM Post #16 of 1,869

ralphp@optonline

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  It doesn't matter whether it's redbook. I'd love to see someone discern AAC 256 VBR in a test with "HD" audio!


I think I read somewhere about a new revolutionary audio streaming technology that uses 10% of the bandwidth of true high definition audio and yet is indistinguishable from hi-rez audio.
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Dec 17, 2014 at 9:18 PM Post #17 of 1,869

Greenears

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  It doesn't matter whether it's redbook. I'd love to see someone discern AAC 256 VBR in a test with "HD" audio!

You're on.  I'm all set up, it's easy.  
 
Any preference on the encoder? At my disposal is Media Monkey Pro with the paid-for muti-codec plugin, Foobar and Sox.  All latest versions.  You spec how I should generate the 256 VBR and I'll try it.  If you have any additional HD tracks I can get straightforwardly in the US let me know (I have HD Tracks sampler and Linn)
 
Dec 17, 2014 at 9:42 PM Post #18 of 1,869

bigshot

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Can you discern lossless redbook from lossy? I have a sample for you if you want to try that.
 
Dec 18, 2014 at 3:03 AM Post #19 of 1,869

Greenears

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  Can you discern lossless redbook from lossy? I have a sample for you if you want to try that.

I'm sure I can discern 128k from redbook. But over 200k? I have reason to be doubtful.  What rate? 
 
You can give me a file, but also spec an encoder I have so I can try some other tracks.  No rigging the test please :)
 
Dec 18, 2014 at 1:06 PM Post #21 of 1,869

bigshot

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It seems to me that if lossy becomes transparent for you at 192, that there isn't much point testing super high bitrate/sampling rate files for audibility. Transparent is transparent, and anything above transparent should be transparent too.
 
Dec 19, 2014 at 3:35 AM Post #22 of 1,869

Greenears

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Maybe I'm just curious.  But the main reason is that 24 bit is getting a lot of press now and we seem on the cusp of large releases.
 
I want to know, for now and ever more, what is the final format I should archive my collection.  Is it worth acquiring some 24 bit, or is it a hoax and FLAC 16/44 is the final format you ever need. No way am I going to re-buy my collection in 24 bit I'm not that crazy.  But if it's a few dollars more I want to know if 24 is worth it going forward.
 
Dec 19, 2014 at 5:16 AM Post #23 of 1,869

Steph86

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKHQOKd7DfI
 
Dec 19, 2014 at 8:38 AM Post #24 of 1,869

Hudson

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I'd probably have something nice to say too if I was invited to the top of the shard for wine and canapés.
When I was studying in London there were enough recruitment nights for the big investment banks and consultancy firms that I could get sloshed for free about 4 nights a week!
 
Dec 19, 2014 at 9:35 AM Post #25 of 1,869

ralphp@optonline

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I'd probably have something nice to say too if I was invited to the top of the shard for wine and canapés.

The price of integrity in journalism these days is now down to a few glasses wine and some canapes. Is it any wonder that no one with any sense trusts the media.
 
Dec 22, 2014 at 1:40 PM Post #26 of 1,869

calaf

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this link
http://www.stereophile.com/content/ive-heard-future-streaming-meridians-mqa
contains some actual details about the MQA encoding algorithm. It is a clever idea, but I wonder how relevant in an age of commodity TB disks, and home networks capable to stream at 10x the 24/192k data rate (9.2Mbps according to the stereophile post)
 
Of course stereophile could not stop at presenting the technology, and had to hype it way up (read the "Listeners impressions" on page 2), but there may be something real behind MQA
 
Dec 22, 2014 at 3:01 PM Post #27 of 1,869

ralphp@optonline

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  this link
http://www.stereophile.com/content/ive-heard-future-streaming-meridians-mqa
contains some actual details about the MQA encoding algorithm. It is a clever idea, but I wonder how relevant in an age of commodity TB disks, and home networks capable to stream at 10x the 24/192k data rate (9.2Mbps according to the stereophile post)
 
Of course stereophile could not stop at presenting the technology, and had to hype it way up (read the "Listeners impressions" on page 2), but there may be something real behind MQA


A very interesting read, thanks for the link.
 
Now get out your list of standard high end audio reviewer nonsense phrases because the "Listener" who is giving their "impressions" is none other than one of Stereophile's many reviewers, Jason Victor Serinus
 
Here are a few passages from Mr' Serinus impressions.
 
not only did it feel as though a veil had been lifted, with far more color to the sound, but instruments also possessed more body. With more meat on dem bones, I also noticed less of a digital edge on the violin. I've heard Hahn in concert several times, and this was the closest to real I've ever heard her violin sound on recording.

and
Next I heard Herbie Hancock's version of Joni Mitchell's "The River" in 24/96. Not only were the subtle inflections of Corinne Bailey Rae's voice more audible with MQA, but the color and roundness of Hancock's piano also really stood out. The sound of brushes on drums seems far more defined and realistic than without MQA.

From my checklist of worthless audiophile phrases we get:
 
veils being lifted
digital edge
color and roundness to sound and pianos
 
What cannot be found anywhere in any of the literature on the this "revolutionary" new technology was any mention of double blind or even blind listening comparisons. My guess is that as a result of this in depth coverage Stereophile has guaranteed themselves at least several months of multiple page advertisements from Bob Stuart & Meridian. A big win for both of them but what about the rest of us?
 
Dec 30, 2014 at 3:53 PM Post #28 of 1,869

bigshot

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I read a post by someone who went into a Meridian store to audition MQA. The explanation he was given about how it worked was typically vague, but one aspect he mentioned got my interest. Supposedly, MQA uses psychoacoustic timing information to *recover* elements lost in the sound. It sounds like it includes some sort of DSP enhancer that analyzes inaudible frequencies or dynamics embedded in HD audio and uses the information to bring out details or suppress noise inherent in the original recording. If this is the case, then MQA might actually make an audible difference. It also explains why they are so vague about explaining how it works. High end audio is all about the purity of the zeros and ones. Audio processing is looked upon as taboo. If they build the DSP into the file format decoder and call it a file format, not an audio processor, then audiophiles won't know that the precious sanctity of their lossless files are being defiled. That is a very clever way around a deeply embedded bias in audiophile circles.
 
I definitely think that DSPs are the future of high end audio. Perhaps just calling them something else and not mentioning that the file isn't lossless any more is the way to get audiophiles to embrace it.
 
Dec 30, 2014 at 4:03 PM Post #29 of 1,869

ralphp@optonline

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I definitely think that DSPs are the future of high end audio. Perhaps just calling them something else and not mentioning that the file isn't lossless any more is the way to get audiophiles to embrace it.

The quickest ways to get audiophiles to embrace anything new are:
 
1) Make it ridiculously over priced.
 
2) First get the audiophile gods, i.e. the writers and editors of the various high end magazines, to declare that the new technology is the greatest thing since the invention of sound. This can be done with something as simple as a nice steak dinner in a fancy restaurant.
 
Once the gods are on board and the price set you can just sit back and watch the money roll in.
 
Jan 1, 2015 at 5:09 PM Post #30 of 1,869

bigshot

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OK... Finally some solid info. But it isn't good.
 
http://www.stereophile.com/content/ive-heard-future-streaming-meridians-mqa
 
Apparently all of the arguments here are based on assumption that sampling rates beyond 44.1 are necessary. Supposedly, we should want frequencies we can't hear. There is also an argument that reconstruction filtering in DACs "smear" over transients to an audible degree. It seems to me that if Redbook is accurately reproducing a 20kHz tone, it isn't smearing beyond 1/40,000th of a second. That is probably ten times faster than any transient in music, even the sharpest snare drum hit or triangle strike.
 
Can anyone point to the studies that discuss Meridian's claims about "transient smearing" in Redbook? It seems to me like that concept goes against the Nyquist Theory.
 

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