Hi-Res MQA cd’s (UHQCD format) released by Universal Music Japan


Is one a data CD with high resolution files that you can load onto a computer/server?


good question, I’ll put it in a PC and see…


I put CD-1 in the computer and opened windows explorer, I don’t see any data files on that disc. From what I can tell it’s just vanilla CD. I have emailed CDJapan for an explanation.


Frustrating. High resolution files are useless if you cannot do anything with them.

UHQCDs themselves are gorgeously made but are “just” beautiful Redbook CDs.


So what is CD-2 in that hi-rez demo album, a less gorgeously made version of CD-1?

If CD-1 is just a beautiful Redbook CD then, is marketing and selling it as “hi-rez” truthful?


If it is not high resolution, this strikes me as false advertising given how audiophiles are accustomed to high bit-rate files and call this high resolution. UHQCD is marketed as Ultimate High Quality CD, not high resolution, and from what I know of the format this is fair.


I just looked at the link you posted. The “Hi-Res” CD is MQA. It states:

“Japan only Hi-Res CD (MQA-CD x UHQCD) compilation featuring two discs–one with tracks in Hi-Res CD quality and the other with the same tracks in standard CD quality so that you can compare the sounds. Green color label coating. If you play Hi-Res CD on MQA-enabled hardware, you can listen to the hi-res quality sound based on the original master. *Hi-Res CD can also be played on regular CD players in UHQCD 44.1kHz/16bit resolution. However, MQA-enabled hardware/software is necessary to harness the full potential of this Hi-Res CD.”


What is Hi-Res CD quality compared to standard CD quality, I wonder?

I played the MQA-CD on the best MQA enabled digital front end in the world and - from what I can tell - it played at CD resolution. Whether that was 16/44.1 Hi-Res CD quality or 16/44.1 standard CD quality I don’t know. Unfortunately I didn’t have CD-2 with me to compare one against the other.

If the marketing of it mentions 24 bit 352.8 kHz I expect to see a file at that resolution on the disc.


Me, too


I wonder if this UHQCD format will be supported in the TSS uber DAC? I’m assuming there is a particular hardware requirement for it to play MQA as intended. No doubt @tedsmith will enlighten us on that aspect soon.


UHQCD is not a format; it is a manufacturing process for a high quality Redbook CD (44.1/16). Any CD player will play them.

The MQA disc you received apparently needs to be decoded through MQA to its advertised high resolution.


So the questions becomes, will TSS uber DAC support MQA?


Brodric - From what i understand reading a couple articles about these MQA cd’s is that it requires the DAC to be able to handle MQA on the specific input from your transport. Seeing as how MQA cd’s are a newer revision of the MQA spec, a lot of people have been unable to play them. Their DACs like our DS’ are setup to decode MQA, but through the network or USB interfaces only, leaving the spdif/toslink/etc interfaces out of luck. Some DACs have released a firmware update to support MQA on the remaining interfaces, but of course that is up to the manufacturer to support. You may be able to open a support ticket with MSB to see if they have an updated firmware to address this. If you scroll down the page linked here, it lists the currently known DACs able to decode MQA from CDs.



That is interesting. The MSB wears the MQA badge, however it’s not in the list of MQA CD supported hardware. And I see that my Esoteric is in the list of MQA supported hardware. So I should try spinning that MQA encoded CD-1 in my Esoteric. I hadn’t thought of that. Nothing like being spoiled for choice!


The Esoteric on coax input is seeing that CD-1 as vanilla CD.
Unfortunately the optical drive in my MacBook is not working, so I can’t try the Esoteric USB input. Maybe the MQA decoding only happens on USB or network. I have no idea how to write a copy of that CD-1 to my NAS for network playback. Anyone?
The other thing that took me by surprise was my Kaleidescape disc importer identified CD-1 and CD-2 as being identical. So with CD-2 already imported on to the system it wouldn’t import CD-1 (because it can’t tell them apart so thought it had already been imported). I had to delete CD-2 from the server and import CD-1.


Thought the only purpose of MQA was to allow “High Res” compressed streaming. It doesn’t really serve any other purpose really. The Hype seems a little silly. Why would anyone buy an MQA CD when they can just download a DSD or high res copy? Seems like a wasted effort.Glad PSA didn’t give in and compromise the DS to accommodate MQA within the DAC.


@Brodric you’re not the only one having this problem…


The point in the MQA FAQ about the cheap chipset in the player not supporting MQA playback over coax + optical, I suspect that might apply to all the MQA players irrespective of price, and you will only get MQA on the USB input. Of the things I’ve tried on the MSB and Esoteric I couldn’t get an MQA flag showing.


Found this on the dBpoweramp board;

“dBpoweramp can rip MQA encoded CDs. Just ripped Supertramp - Breakfast In America (UHQCD) that has MQA 352.8kHz/24bit resolution encoded. The CD streamed to my PS Audio DirectStream DAC (via PerfectWave Network Bridge II) and it perfectly “unfolded” the MQA resolution.”


And you tried to see if MQA worked on coax or USB of the DS?


It’s not me on the dBpoweramp board, but mqa will not unfold using coax or usb of the DS, you need Bridge II for that…