MQA Review - Technical Analysis

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by Woland, Apr 15, 2021.

  1. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    The Stereophile ORFAS is probably more open-minded than the younger ASR sheep.
     
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  2. nishan99

    nishan99 Friend

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    ^
    And more into conspiracy theories ime ;) .
     
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  3. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    So, tell them that BS is invading their audio system, trying to charge money for every earful of music, and reducing their fidelity.

    Oh wait... do they mind if the conspiracy theory is true? :cool:
     
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  4. mimart7

    mimart7 Friend

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    Wouldn't it have been less costly to provide lossless music, instead of this origami bs, to begin with?
     
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  5. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Of course! And has that solution existed since forever? Of course!

    But then there would not have been a new thing to (he hopes) put money in someone's pocket.

    The techie world and the music world make good bedmates in a way: they both like selling the same thing multiple times.
     
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  6. supertransformingdhruv

    supertransformingdhruv Almost "Made"

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    I seem to remember Stereophile being at least a little skeptical of MQA when it started popping up a few years back. At least they did some investigation and factual reporting on it-- and didn't seem to come off with a "It's the best thing ever!" conclusion. They also talk about needing more empirical testing ("which will require cooperation from Bob Stuart and the MQA team" that they presumably never got), but I don't know if there was any follow-up.

    Links:

    It'll be interesting to see if we hear anything from them now that folks are talking about MQA again, but... it's Stereophile, and they're usually 6+ months behind the conversation.
     
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  7. LetMeBeFrank

    LetMeBeFrank Won't tell anyone my name is actually Francis

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    Here's likely what the first installment of "co-operation" looked like:
    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Josh83

    Josh83 Friend

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    The part in the “technical appendices” where he, uhhh, addresses the lossless issue is something. The added distortion makes the original PCM file clearer!

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    Back in my day at AT&T/Bell Labs, I was well connected to the folks working on perceptual audio coding. The lossy audio codecs that are still in wide use (MP3, AAC) use some of their patents, as well as others from Dolby Labs and Fraunhofer. What I learned from them is that any lossy coding scheme involves assumptions about source material, transducers and human auditory processing that may be reasonable on average but may not hold equally given wide variability in material, transducers, and human hearing. My former colleagues were clear that they were seeking the best compromise given what was known then and the types of material that were in most demand for digital storage and transmission. None of them believed that one could design a lossy codec that would work equally well independently of all assumptions. IOW, no free lunch. "Also, the sound will always be clearer" is exactly the kind of free lunch that the inventors of much of modern audio coding knew was not possible.
     
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  10. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    I'll add one more. The technical explanations are good. We need easier explanations. I didn't realize how convoluted MQA was myself until after doing this:

    MQA.jpg

    Someone post this on Reddit for me.
     
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    Last edited: May 22, 2021
  11. GoldenOne

    GoldenOne Friend

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    I'll be doing a short part 2 video soon. Obviously much of the post is VERY carefully worded marketing speak.
    But there are some also more concerning things such as that the screenshots in Appendix 4 appear to be fake.

    Take the impulse response one for example.
    Firstly it doesn't look like the '88.2khz unfolded' file they're showing is 88.2khz as the spectrogram view only goes to 22khz. I tried manually adjusting the "more linear/more logarithmic" with identical window scaling on mine and could not get it to replicate as shown in their screenshot with an 88.2khz file.

    But perhaps more obviously, the impulse they're showing has no ringing!! Implying either they have literally just taken a screenshot of an 88.2khz (or 44.1khz) digital impulse response file. Or they have suddenly created a 'perfect' reconstruction system which would be better suited to making billions in all other areas of signal processing, data transfer, and econometrics, not audio.

    Even when fully zoomed out audition shows ringing as a dip below the -infinity line. So their screenshot seems to be fake.

    Also in the last week they've updated their FAQ page no longer say "Is MQA Lossless? A: Yes!"
    It now says "It's better than lossless!"

    https://web.archive.org/web/20210515030602/https://www.mqa.co.uk/newsroom/qa/is-mqa-lossless
     
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  12. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    Part of the conceit is exactly this - if it is as good as they claim then the military industrial complex would have locked it in, and even if regular citizens were ever to hear about it it would not be in relation to audio. Of course Audiophiledom lives and breaths the idea that it's in on something others are not.
     
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  13. Bina

    Bina MOT - Shanling

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    From my experience over past few weeks, there is no real impact of this on the "common customer". We got one angry email over MQA, sometimes 1-2 comments on some of our posts.

    People inquiring about which model supports MQA still outnumbers it by something like 20:1.

    Asked Chinese colleagues, somebody reposted it on some local forum a month later, but seems it got no traction?
     
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  14. GoldenOne

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    Part 2 is now available:
     
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  15. GoldenOne

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    Well that didn't take long......

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. bboris77

    bboris77 Friend

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    It's a shame as I was just about to post a response there. Well, here it is:

    Amazing work again. Methodically and patiently deconstructing MQA's response and demonstrating various flaws and outright falsehoods in their counterarguments. I also appreciate the fact that you acknowledge and concede certain points showing your maturity. You even go on to offer an olive branch to offer to further work with them to demonstrate potential benefits and value of MQA as an intelligent lossy format.

    The nutty thing in this whole MQA debate is that there really is no need for another lossy format in the current day and age where FLACs are easily streamable. Lossless digital PCM files from either original analogue masters or PCM-based digital masters are as good as it gets for all music recorded up to today. If someone wants to come up with a new technological solution to improve the overall fidelity of audio reproduction, they will have to come up with a new superior way of recording/digitizing music as well.
     
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  17. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    Fantastic!

    I wonder what would happen if someone collected all the factual data on MQA and marketing lies, and submitted it to the patent office as reason to invalidate the patent? It's been clear for years that the US patent system is a shit show, but still... Without it, do they even have a leg to stand on?
     
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  18. bboris77

    bboris77 Friend

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    BTW, you must have broken some kind of record for the fastest-banned post with the least amount of drama involved.

    Edit: The original thread has been reopened and merged with this new post.
     
  19. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    This is strange how ASR is acting a lot like why many of us left Head-Fi so many years ago. There's gotta be some money / payment involved here to shut down these threads so quickly.
     
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  20. GoldenOne

    GoldenOne Friend

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    I wouldn't be surprised.
    Chris Connaker said that Bob Stuart approached him to enquire about censoring discussion of MQA on Audiophilestyle.
    No reason he wouldn't do the same for ASR.
     
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