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MQA arrives on Tidal

Discussion in 'audio' started by jamesd, Jan 5, 2017.

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  1. Rodney gold

    Rodney gold Im just me...

    Could be a combo , the unfolding , must be some eq involved , the upsampling and dsp .dirac, my system, I dunno .. its their recipe and they intend to keep it that way..so dont expect the working papers from them

    Dirac is a full time and freq correction.. plenty eq in it if you fiddle with the target graphs
    I can switch it in or out MQA still makes a huge difference whether it on or out

    all ive seen is 24/96 and the output im using , a usb to spdif converter is only capable of 2496 ..so maybe it just says NO if the software is unfolding higher rates ..... im clueless
  2. Mark Dirac

    Mark Dirac pfm Member

    There's definitely a bug in the Tidal Windows app. I can reproduce it on two different PCs on three different DACs in two different locations. Sometimes the selection of my DAC/Exclusive Mode under "Streaming" flips back to "System Default". When this happens, Exclusive Mode is cancelled and my MDAC displays 16/44.1 and MQA stops. If I can get Tidal back to Exclusive Mode, then MDAC displays 24/96 or 24/88.2 again.

    I reckon this bug may be why some people cannot hear a difference. If their DAC didn't show them their bitrate, they would probably never discover that "System Default" had been selected.
  3. johnhunt

    johnhunt pfm Member

    Mine too. Has someone told tidal ?
  4. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    Several DACs don't do 88.2

    I notice that Joni Mitchell is one of the more "different" sounding examples. Many JM Cds are encoded HDCD, which means that without a HDCD player, they are compressed, so the MQA version SHOULD sound better
  5. Ian M

    Ian M pfm Member

    That's right with a MQA DAC I'm seeing most of the 2L material unfold as a 4 x multiple of this, 24/352.8.
    I think if any one is seeing these albums decode as 24/96 with software decoding then they have a problem. I hope I'm right;)
  6. mark-hants

    mark-hants pfm Member

    I played around with a Meridian Explorer 2 a while back.

    Have never really "done" digital before. 16/44 has always sounded ghastly to my ears right from the start and still now.

    MQA did indeed "fix" the various forms of distortion that I could hear present in everything where the sampling rate was taken down to just 44.

    The debate I see still seems to be the "16/44 is perfect because Nyquist Shannon said that it would be and therefore I am on the right side of this argument because there is mathematical proof that this is so."

    No, there wasn't, and there isn't. Something that works on paper can't necessarily be replicated in the real world and it never has been. We may have got close to it, perhaps. Maybe so close that most peoples' ears will "accept" 16/44 though still wondering just why it is that very good vinyl, a dated, anachronistic and thoroughly flawed medium, can sound so marvellous in a way that 16/44 never could.

    My findings - those of an improved sense of solidity in the stereo image and the lack of that horrendous crystalline glassy edge to things, especially on the fade, seem to be being mirrored in what people are hearing. It doesn't have that thing I describe as a "choppy sense of truncation" which I suspect others mean by "transients".

    Basically, per the post above, it's a bit like "good analogue".

    I intend buying the Mytek DAC though I might order another Explorer 2 to play around with for now as they're cheap to buy and there's a catalogue of stuff that now includes stuff that I'm familiar with.

    So having stayed away from hi-fi for about 25 years believing it to have died because of the 16/44 format enforced by those wretched plastic discs, it looks like 2017 is going to be a really good year.

    The return of "hi fi" and I'm really hoping that now Tidal is making MQA available to a wider audience that interest in it will pick up as people hear it and wonder "Why didn't we have this 30 years ago?"

    Digital can finally hold its head up high against an analog from master-to vinyl performance. And not only that, hopefully, walk all over it and give us something genuinely new.

    This isn't "about proving people wrong". I think people are right to be cynical that this may be a contrived attempt to install a proprietary format. However, some open-mindedness involving a potential acceptance that "red book" is not and *was never* "perfect" might be helpful.
  7. jamesd

    jamesd pfm Member

    Does anyone know what the volume setting on the Tidal desktop app should be? I usually keep iTunes at max volume and attenuate with hardware. Is Tidal the same? Does it matter?
  8. mark-hants

    mark-hants pfm Member

    I've ordered another Explorer 2.. (first one died)

    I do recall, from the instructions for that, the advice was to set the source output volume at maximum, indeed I think the suggestion was that MQA mode may not activate at lower levels.

    But then that's for *that* DAC.
  9. jamesd

    jamesd pfm Member

    Thanks. It's validating for me at half/default volume on my Brooklyn. I'll give full volume a shot
  10. jamesd

    jamesd pfm Member

    Looks like the software volume control is totally taken out of the equation. It has no effect
  11. simon g

    simon g Grumpy Old Man

    Of course, the $64k question is : how much will Tidal charge for a MQA subscription?

    OK, it's now included in a HiFi subscription but they're bound to charge once MQA is established

    How much would you pay?
  12. HarryB

    HarryB pfm Member

    Spot on. Tidal realises that MQA is a niche market. They'll need to squeeze their customers until the pips fly out.
  13. Rodney gold

    Rodney gold Im just me...

    i wont pay a cent more until all my albums I like are MQAed..and the only ones that will are the audiophiles anyway.. a minute market..
    Maybe it will stimulate change from premium to hifi subscriptions or draw more people to tidal...
  14. manicatel

    manicatel pfm Member

    I'm guessing Tidal will push up prices for MQA eventually, based on my opinion of some of the owners!
    I suppose Spotify, deezer, Amazon et al will be watching the uptake with interest to see if they want to get in on the hi-res market or not.
  15. adamdea

    adamdea You are not a sound quality evaluation device

    Deezer maybe - but why would those who haven't offered straight 16/44 flac bother?
  16. emollerstuen

    emollerstuen Member

    Well, my Rega DAC is now lighting up on 88.2-96K. I had to uninstall the desktop app and reinstall on my MacBook but everything is working great now.
  17. Mark Dirac

    Mark Dirac pfm Member

    Sort of. I reported back in the autumn (2016) that my Windows Tidal app was flipping out of Exclusive Mode and back to "System Default" for no reason. At that time, it didn't matter too much to me and I didn't push for a fix. Now, of course, it is a disaster 'cos it means I cannot listen to MQA software unfolding without faff.

    Tidal gave me a small refund - which suggest that they accepted the bug - said they would work on it, then closed the problem ticket without telling me.
  18. vln

    vln Shuns mooks. And MQA.

    What is your setup?
  19. diybry

    diybry pfm Member

    Harry, you can still upgrade to win 10 legally at zero cost. Microsoft still make the upgrade from from 7 or 8 free for users using 'assistive technologies- see these links.
    Hope this helps

  20. vln

    vln Shuns mooks. And MQA.

    I'll try that out tonight - I assume you are referring to "Court and Spark" by Joni Mitchell?
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