MQA - which sound good, which bad?


#1

We have engaged in a good deal of discussion about MQA. But there have only been a few posts about the sound of MQA files - which have been very interesting.

So, which MQA files sound good, which bad, which just different? Which have particularly impressed you?


#2

I think the Doors albums, Jethro Tull, and Neko Case are all enjoyable. But I haven’t done direct comparisons.

The Pretenders first album, comparing “Precious” the 16/44 is clearly superior, to the point that the MQA version may be a corrupted file.

But one of the best sounding albums on Tidal, that I listen to is the 16/44 of Richard Thompson’s “Acoustic Classics”, just vocals and guitar. It is the rare album where you could believe you were listening to him in a large club, with him playing through microphones. I highly recommend it.


#3

Jeff: +1 - the Thompson CD is awesome. Especially on the DMP. But that’s for the archaic-hardware-music-format forum ; )


#4

Great-sounding jazz MQA/Masters albums on TIDAL HiFi:

The Modern Jazz Quartet - European Concert, Vol. 1

The Modern Jazz Quartet - European Concert, Vol. 2

The Modern Jazz Quartet - Third Stream Music

Duke Ellington & His Orchestra - Afro Bossa

Brad Mehldau - Blues and Ballads

Brad Mehldau - 10 Years Solo Live

Great-sounding blues MQA/Masters albums on TIDAL HiFi:

Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee - Live at the New Penelope Cafe (Remastered)

Eric Bibb - Migration Blues


#5

There is a spreadsheet available with tidal/mqa albums, not up to date but it can help orientate:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10VtON9VjMAt3uyHC2-Oo2MjIa3orv9DKZfwiRQKmTAA/htmlview#gid=67340786&fvid=1968149103


#6

Bootzilla, I think it may have been you posted about the “Migration Blues” album, previously.

I have been listening too it ever since, thanks for that. I like the MJQ European concerts, but late at night I could do without the introductions, you are right about the sound though. And the Brad Mehldau files.

I will check out the Sonny Terry album. We may have similar tastes in jazz and blues.

Another good one is John Coltrane “Coltrane Plays The Blues”.

And we can add Jeff Tweedy " Together At Last"


#7
Bootzilla said

Great-sounding jazz MQA/Masters albums on TIDAL HiFi:

Brad Mehldau - Blues and Ballads

Brad Mehldau - 10 Years Solo Live

Now you're talking Boot!! Without a doubt, Brad Mehldau is my favorite current jazz artist. I love pretty much everything he's done. Ok, maybe Modern Music is a stretch for me, but it's growing on me. ;)

I just did a side by side comparison on Blues and Ballads Nonesuch 24/96 download (which is fantastic, BTW), the MQA version, and the Tidal 16/44.1 version. They were pretty much identical to my ears. That’s not a bad thing, IMO. Likewise I didn’t hear much difference between the MQA 24/44 and the non MQA Tidal 24/44 in 10 Years Solo Live - the few cuts I auditioned, anyway. I think my system is fairly resolving, but the my ears resolving power is up to debate, I guess! I did notice more of a difference in MQA Bowie Ziggy Stardust, which I though was fantastic and more palpable percussion and felt a little more precise in it’s imaging. Not by a big margin, however. I have noticed that, for me, I find the biggest difference in MQA, if at all, in percussion and imaging, FWIW. I like it, in general, but like I said, it’s not a big deal, honestly.

And @jeffstar, you’re totally right about the MQA version of The Pretenders’ “Precious”. It sounds horrid! The whole album isn’t great, but Precious is the worst. Something is definitely amiss on that one.

This is totally off topic here, but I purchased the 15 LP set of 10 Years Solo Live and, I must say, it’s not as enjoyable as the Tidal streaming file, which was a little bit of a disappointment. I found the vinyl to be slightly noisy and lacking in dynamics compared to the digital. That’s in contrast to Mehldau and Chris Thile’s wonderful collaboration, also put out on Nonesuch, that was an amazing vinyl release but the CD was almost unlistenable. Way too shrill for my taste. Thought I’d throw that out there.

Edit: The MQA version of the MJQ European Concert Vol. 1 is definitely an improvement over the non-MQA. Milt Jackson’s tones have more bite in the MQA version in addition to better shimmer in the cymbals. Great recording!


#8

EDIT: Ignore! Realized I wasn’t paying attention to whether something was MQA or not. My bad!

EDIT TWO: I have a question for anyone who feels like checking - When I play the MQA of the Fagen tune “I.G.Y.” It ALWAYS starts the same way - the first few seconds have what sounds like identical “wobbles” and a small skip.

I’ve updated to mControlHD 2.3.1, and no change. Is it in the file – or somewhere else? Thanks!


#9

“When I play the MQA of the Fagen tune “I.G.Y.” It ALWAYS starts the same way – the first few seconds have what sounds like identical “wobbles” and a small skip.”

That’s also what I’m hearing, has to be a corrupt file. Fortunately corrupted tidal mqa files are very rare smile


#10

IMG_0244.JPG

Another nice one


#11

I didn’t notice it, went straight into the song. Just listened again, heard the pop.Didn’t notice the wobbles, but am not in listening seat, but in corner on the desktop, balance skewed to the right.

“Magic and Loss” is one of Lou’s lesser known masterpieces. Well recorded, later in his career he cared about sound quality. For content and live sound “Animal Serenade” is excellent. Antony does a great vocal on “Candy Says” and the cello player, whose name I would have to copy off the case does a hot solo. My favorite live Lou.

“Take No Prisoners” deserves at least one listen, it is Lou’s comedy album. His story of “Walk On The Wild Side” is FUNNY!


#12

Lou Reed is one of those artists (also Dylan) I wish I got more enjoyment from. That includes Velvet Underground (who I really dislike). I know many people love his work but try as I might, I just don’t like it much. sorry_gif


#13

wijber - thanks for checking that. Not sure if we know that the MQA file is corrupt, vs. the copy of the file on Tidal, or something else. Also, dunno how you know that “corrupted tidal mqa files are very rare”?


#14

Re: Lou Reed, there are songs of his that have just risen above the vast majority of pop and rock. One is “Dirty Blvd.” - as good of a hardcore New York song as you’ll find, musically and lyrically (in the rock vein):

Pedro lives out of the Wilshire Hotel
he looks out a window without glass
The walls are made of cardboard, newspapers on his feet
his father beats him 'cause he’s too tired to beg

He’s got 9 brothers and sisters
they’re brought up on their knees
it’s hard to run when a coat hanger beats you on the thighs
Pedro dreams of being older and killing the old man
but that’s a slim chance he’s going to the boulevard

He’s going to end up, on the dirty boulevard
he’s going out, to the dirty boulevard
He’s going down, to the dirty boulevard

This room cost 2, 000 dollars a month
you can believe it man it’s true
somewhere a landlord’s laughing till he wets his pants
No one dreams of being a doctor or a lawyer or anything
they dream of dealing on the dirty boulevard

Give me your hungry, your tired your poor I’ll piss on 'em
that’s what the Statue of Bigotry says
Your poor huddled masses, let’s club 'em to death
and get it over with and just dump 'em on the boulevard

Get 'em out, on the dirty boulevard
going out, to the dirty boulevard
He’s going down, on the dirty boulevard
going out

Outside it’s a bright night
there’s an opera at Lincoln Center
movie stars arrive by limousine
The klieg lights shoot up over the skyline of Manhattan
but the lights are out on the Mean Streets
A small kid stands by the Lincoln Tunnel
he’s selling plastic roses for a buck
The traffic’s backed up to 39th street
the TV whores are calling the cops out for a suck

And back at the Wilshire, Pedro sits there dreaming
he’s found a book on magic in a garbage can
He looks at the pictures and stares up at the cracked ceiling
"At the count of 3" he says, “I hope I can disappear”

And fly fly away, from this dirty boulevard
I want to fly, from dirty boulevard
I want to fly, from dirty boulevard
I want to fly-fly-fly-fly, from dirty boulevard
I want to fly away
I want to fly
Fly, fly away
I want to fly
Fly-fly away (Fly a-)
fly-fly-fly (-way, ooohhh…)
Fly-fly away (I want to fly-fly away)
fly away (I want to fly, wow-woh, no, fly away)


#15
amgradmd said

Lou Reed is one of those artists (also Dylan) I wish I got more enjoyment from. That includes Velvet Underground (who I really dislike). I know many people love his work but try as I might, I just don’t like it much. sorry_gif


+1, RE: Bob Dylan…SMH

#16
badbeef said

Also, dunno how you know that “corrupted tidal mqa files are very rare”?


just a guess based on my experiences… could be wrong though.

I referred to Lou Reed because I was fascinated by the track ‘Magician - Internally’ which remembered me to my late lover. Four years ago she died after a chronic illness. Played this song on the funeral, lyrics reflecting reality.


#17

…incredibly sad. Lou Reed is one of those artists that can really touch people. The Blue Mask is the Lou Reed record that has that power for me.


#18

Bob Dylan as a performer is not for everyone. I even listen to his Christmas album once a year, because I know it was done with all profits going to charity.

But, as a songwriter Bob Dylan is got to be considered one of the top ten songwriters of our generation. And for me, no band did a better job of covering Dylan songs than the Jerry Garcia Band and the Dead. If you are “smh” ing go take a look at the songs Dylan has written. If you liked the Bryds, or Manfred Mann, both had big hits with Dylan songs. “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” or “Simple Twist Of Fate” are great songs. He is the most prolific writer of our time. And quality not just quantity.

Hey Beef, how about “Pale Blue Eyes”? It is one of my favorite songs. Lou wrote about the dark side of life, a preppy college kid was never going to be able to relate to " Heroin" or “I’m Waiting For The Man”. He also wrote some very beautiful songs. If you have Tidal check out " Tell It To Your Heart" or “Sunday Morning” on the album Animal Serenade.

We all have different tastes, and that’s fine. I am not a person who listens to much classical, but I recognize that Bach was a talented guy. I do have Glenn Gould’s complete Goldberg Variations, which I enjoy.


#19
jeffstarr said I recognize that Bach was a talented guy.
:)

#20
jeffstarr said

Bob Dylan as a performer is not for everyone…But, as a songwriter Bob Dylan is got to be considered one of the top ten songwriters of our generation…

Yes, as a performing Artist (i.e., listening to his songs/music, performed by him), I can barely get through a whole song (especially the ones that tend to be revered), let alone a whole album.

A “talented guy”, sure. 1_gif

To each his own.

Regards.