MQA: Major Labels Seem to be All In


#1

According to the Audiostream post, MQA is no longer a maybe.

  • The entire Warner Music catalog has been converted to MQA (yea, the whole thing)
  • If everything goes according to current plans/contract negotiations, the other Big Two label's (Sony and Universal) catalogs will be converted to MQA by next Spring
  • Tidal, as well as other streaming services who shall remain nameless at this point, will be streaming MQA content.
I'm rather surprised.

#2

Why are you surprised? The labels want more control over their music; this is not news. And of course it’s another opportunity to repackage and resell music that many of us already have. (Note that your second bullet point is a big ‘if,’ BTW.) Tidal et al. will benefit from reduced bandwidth consumption. I can say nothing about SQ since I have not heard MQA, but the business advantages seem pretty clear. Advantages to end users? Maybe SQ, probably faster streaming, if we want to go back to the days of DRM (despite MQA’s protestations that it’s not). What surprises me more is that many hardware manufacturers are so willing to let another company mess with the innards of their products.


#3
loop7 said According to the Audiostream post, MQA is no longer a maybe.
  • The entire Warner Music catalog has been converted to MQA (yea, the whole thing)
  • If everything goes according to current plans/contract negotiations, the other Big Two label's (Sony and Universal) catalogs will be converted to MQA by next Spring
  • Tidal, as well as other streaming services who shall remain nameless at this point, will be streaming MQA content.
  • I'm rather surprised.
I am doubtful it's true, to be honest. Warner has millions of tracks and the sheer manpower alone would seem insurmountable. But, perhaps stranger things have happened. I wouldn't place money on the fact this has happened. Color me doubtful.

#4
Paul McGowan said
loop7 said According to the Audiostream post, MQA is no longer a maybe.
  • The entire Warner Music catalog has been converted to MQA (yea, the whole thing)
  • If everything goes according to current plans/contract negotiations, the other Big Two label's (Sony and Universal) catalogs will be converted to MQA by next Spring
  • Tidal, as well as other streaming services who shall remain nameless at this point, will be streaming MQA content.
  • I'm rather surprised.

I am doubtful it’s true, to be honest. Warner has millions of tracks and the sheer manpower alone would seem insurmountable. But, perhaps stranger things have happened. I wouldn’t place money on the fact this has happened. Color me doubtful.


Could the conversions be performed via automated batch jobs?

#5

Audiostream Post


#6

I won’t question the validity of the statements made in the Audiostream post, I wasn’t there and have no way to confirm. What bothers me, though, is what is the impact of this on future purchases of, say, a Warner CD? For example, I have several CD’s by David Byrne on the Luaka Bop label which is a subsidiary of Warner. If they decide to reissue this in a “remastered” version, will it only be in MQA? If I listen to it on my DS will it sound any different as a direct result of the MQA? It seems pretty apparent at this point that PS Audio will not offer MQA decoding, so I’m assuming the sound will suffer if the disc is MQA encoded but not decoded on playback. Makes me nervous …


#7

Pmotz, this is a heck of a question. Makes me nervous too. But I assume that if nothing else file size issues would mean that the standard CD is going to continue to use standard redbook encoding. In any case, if MQA does end up taking over the world to the degree that it becomes the standard for hi-res downloads, I assume PS Audio will deal with it. Until it looks like that is happening though I myself am paying it no great attention, except for possibly streaming via Tidal.


#8
magister said What surprises me more is that many hardware manufacturers are so willing to let another company mess with the innards of their products.
^^^^^^^^^^. This. Same here.

#9

Exactly. That’s one of our main hesitations.


#10

I just received an email from a manufacturer advising me that they would arrange to have my high-end network DAC shipped to unnamed-country-in-Europe for a factory hardware update that would include Roon Core built into the machine. That’s nice, but since I run Roon on a Synology NAS and on a Mivera Superstream, I asked if there was any other reason to get the update. Among other thoughts, I was wondering if the update would allow me to operate the DAC on my network without requiring a Mac or PC running certain network technology. I would see this as a real improvement.

The response I received was that the update might also implement MQA technology. I shared with my rep what I thought of this [including the discussions here, by Benchmark and Schiit], which came as something of a surprise to him. He saw MQA as nothing but a benefit, and as near as I can tell, the thought that it was an ad hoc sort of DRM for MQA never occurred to them.


#11

The content sellers are desperate to convince people to buy the same catalog over and over again for some imagined “improvement” in the sound. Let’s not forget what happened to 4-channel…


#12

I have since heard from a software engineer at the company who insists there will be no MQA functionality implemented. For now.


#13

Tidal is now streaming MQA

http://tidal.com/us/masters?utm_source=vero&utm_medium=email&utm_content=control&utm_campaign=MQA%20Active


#14

Yes, we have been discussing this for a bit, starting here.