Is MQA a scam?


#1

Over on the Computer Audiophile site the majority of posters believe that MQA is the devil’s handiwork.
There are a lot of technical discussions, hosted by super smart audiophiles, which boil down to MQA = Bad.
PS Audio, in my opinion, is a good company that always attempts to do the right thing.
So I guess my question is why MQA? Should we have to pay extra for PS Audio equipment because of the fees that PS Audio pays to a company that is, allegedly, bad for music.
MQA = DRM
MQA = no DSP
MQA = Lossey


#2

Don’t know if mqa is a scam. A lot of mqa files sound good, often a slight bit better than 16/44. But in my opinion mqa never beats native hi-res. On the contrary, native hi-res sound quality wise alway wins (to my ears and in my system :wink:). So ever since Qobuz proved that streaming native hi-res is 100% reliable i really don’t see any need for mqa.

Don’t think anyone pays extra for PS Audio gear because of mqa fees whatsoever. I owned my DS/Bridge combo and aTidal subscription before mqa came along. PS Audio delivered the Bridge mqa-update for free, as they do for all updates. That is one of the many reasons PS Audio is a great company!


#3

The only piece that deals with MQA in the PS Audio family is the Bridge II, and it is made by ConversDigital.

Paul has stated his position on MQA, and the MQA people have looked at what Ted is doing in the FPGA (at least in concept) and had no issues with it - which I interrupt to mean MQA brings little/nothing to the table that isn’t already being done and done with much more precision than MQA unfolding.

I don’t think it’s a scam but I don’t think it does much to improve reproduced sound except in that some better masters are used that we may not have had access to in the past. For this it is good, will it rule the world, no, but it might just generate some revenue for the license holders.


#4

PS Audio added MQA decoding to the existing Bridge II hardware at no charge to consumers. Nor has it raised the price for the relevant equipment. Whatever MQA charges, PSA is eating it.


#5

Good to know. Thanks.


#6

MQA is…unnecessary as a 64bit DAC would be.


#7

It’s been a very long time since I’ve thought about or listened to MQA. Not long ago Roon released a new version of their software that decodes MQA with the first unfolding to 96/24. What I’ve always wanted was unpacking of the MQA file to a higher resolution and then letting the magic of Ted’s dsd upsampling on the DS do its thing. After listening for a little while, I’m convinced this capability provides a big improvement over redbook streaming. I’ve never liked the MQA “second unfold” where they upsample and apply filters. The first unfold provides a real increase in digital information without messing with upsampling and filters. Roon gives you an easy way to input that digital stream into the DS without ruining the sound with the second unfold.


#9

Still listening to Roon streaming Tidal MQA first unfold to the DS and very happy with what I hear. Thinking about how stupid it is to neuter the DS and let the Bridge II do all the upsampling and filtering of MQA files. No reason to own a DS if that’s what you want to do!


#10

The DirectStream has a lot to do with the sound quality of streams brought in through the Bridge II. Case and point, the Bridge II is not a DAC so the DirectStream is still performing a meaningful task. And at $900 for the Bridge II, it is not a cheap afterthought. I trust that PS Audio designed and manufactured the Bridge II with superior sound quality as a tenant so that its use produces an overall quality of sound worthy of the DirectStream DAC name. I remember Paul talking about the reasoning behind the Bridge II as an add-on rather than it being integrated. Maybe he or Ted can chime in to shed some light.


#11

I have no problem with the Bridge II. I just don’t want it doing all the digital processing to play MQA files. As I understand it, MQA required “end-to-end” processing to be authenticated as MQA (second unfolding). That means MQA has programed all the digital processing, upsampling, and filtering on the Bridge II. I think the sound is much better with the Bridge II getting the 96/24 signal from the MQA file and then processing the digital information as it would with any input.


#12

My conclusion is the MQA second unfold is a scam, but the first unfold is of significant value.


#13

That’s a rather harsh opinion. I’ve made my opinion known about MQA. It’s not positive. Many other people feel that MQA adds a rendition of the music that isn’t faithful to it’s origin. That’s pretty much my opinion. My bigger fear is that the attributes related to compression benefits over ride what we value, Accurate music.


#14

We have already flac and dsf, so why MQA? Do we have storage problem? Bandwidth problem? No, we have money problem - everybody wants more and more - so do record companies. :wink: …and some are paid to advertise it - that’s it.