Are MQA versions sometimes different recordings?

so late last night I’m listening to Tidal via Roon, and I’m playing the MQA version of Grateful Dead’s American Beauty.

Sounds great, although I seem to hear some reverb in the recording where I never noticed it before. Thought it might just be that this MQA version is revealing never-before-heard characteristics. In “Friend of the Devil,” the point at which the drums come in has way more depth than I remember.

Anyway, the weirdest thing was with the song “Brokedown Palace.”

Usually there’s a measure or two of musical intro, then Jerry sings. But in the MQA version, he starts singing BEFORE the guitar/keyboards come in. Bizarre. Is it a different recording? Am i deliriously tired?

Can anyone verify or debunk my observation?

I have noticed that Natalie Merchant’s Tigerlily MQA version is definitely a different mix than the original.

@ternizator Yes, they appear to be different lineage. Brokedown Palace on the MQA version is 11 seconds shorter than the non-MQA version. Interesting.

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i know right

Sounds like someone might have given the MQA treatment to Mickey Hart’s American Beauty remix from @ 2003. See this link at the fifth through seventh paragraphs for more details about that reverb-heavy remix:


well dayum.

Nice detective work, bootzilla.

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I believe this is based on the remaster which IMO is worse off with additional compression and is clipped over the top on a few tracks.

Sharper sound but less musical.

As far as I know they still have not released the Grateful Dead studio box set as individual downloads. Bootzilla’s nailed it I think (not having listened to the Tidal version myself).

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So here’s an interesting thing… or not, ahdunno.

Finally got cleared for the Qobuz trial in the US, so i signed right up.

Wanted to see what versions/bitrates Qobuz had for American Beauty. They have the same versions that Tidal does. The 16/44.1 CD-quality version, and a 24/96 version. (But no MQA designation.)

Now if you remember from earlier in the thread, that the MQA version of Brokedown Palace on Tidal was a different mix than I’d ever heard before – perhaps some Mickey Hart remix.

So I played the 24/96 Qobuz version of Brokedown Palace, and it’s exactly the same remix as the MQA version.

Now, my humble system (or my humble ears) aren’t able to distinguish a quality difference between Tidal and Qobuz like some claim to, so I won’t even go there… but I did find it interesting that what’s called “MQA” on Tidal, is not listed as MQA on Qobuz, even tho bitrates and mixes are the same.

For what it’s worth, the 24/96 version track length corresponds to the original recording (4:09), rather than the Mickey Hart remix (3:58).

In response to the Thread title…uh, yup. Issue/Unanswered Question #1 from Day 1. Then there’s the Remastering by Robot Algorhythm thing ; )