MQA streaming detailed analysis --- and it's not good

cpp

cpp

Audioholic Field Marshall
MQA, just another way to take you're money. Its like expensive cables, and cable elevators :)
 
mtrycrafts

mtrycrafts

Audioholic Slumlord
MQA, just another way to take you're money. Its like expensive cables, and cable elevators :)
At least I can actually see the expensive cables or lifters in physical form. ;):)
 
J

Jerkface

Audioholic
Sorry, hard to determine just what you're on about. Please refer to audibility of "jitter'
This is my last word on this discussion. Clearly, by your use of quotes around the word, you believe jitter is a fable, a nonsense word invented by expensive cable manufacturers.

I've been involved in the world of digital audio production for over 20 years. I KNOW that jitter is a real, observable, and measurable phenomenon, an artifact of mediocre D/A converters and RF interference on both the converters themselves and the cables which transmit digital audio. We used to have all kinds of problems with jitter errors in the early days of PC audio production, because the internal sound cards would get bombarded with RF from the CPU and damn near everything else in that box, and our noise floors were horrid. External AD/DA was a must, if you wanted any kind of listenable outcome, but it was also crazy expensive back in 2000, because the only way it was going multichannel was via SCSI, ADAT, or Ethernet. USB 1.0 couldn't handle 8 channels of 24/48 audio, never mind 24/96 or 24/192. Even shielded audio cards were stupid expensive compared to the average Soundblaster.

I've explained what jitter does to the audio signal, and I've linked you to a site where you can go listen to it yourself and draw your own conclusions. If you refuse to believe it exists or that it can be audible, that's on you.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
This is my last word on this discussion. Clearly, by your use of quotes around the word, you believe jitter is a fable, a nonsense word invented by expensive cable manufacturers.

I've been involved in the world of digital audio production for over 20 years. I KNOW that jitter is a real, observable, and measurable phenomenon, an artifact of mediocre D/A converters and RF interference on both the converters themselves and the cables which transmit digital audio. We used to have all kinds of problems with jitter errors in the early days of PC audio production, because the internal sound cards would get bombarded with RF from the CPU and damn near everything else in that box, and our noise floors were horrid. External AD/DA was a must, if you wanted any kind of listenable outcome, but it was also crazy expensive back in 2000, because the only way it was going multichannel was via SCSI, ADAT, or Ethernet. USB 1.0 couldn't handle 8 channels of 24/48 audio, never mind 24/96 or 24/192. Even shielded audio cards were stupid expensive compared to the average Soundblaster.

I've explained what jitter does to the audio signal, and I've linked you to a site where you can go listen to it yourself and draw your own conclusions. If you refuse to believe it exists or that it can be audible, that's on you.
I'm already familiar with the subject, have followed Amir for many years :)
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Samurai
Hey, what happened to the last word? Are we in the bonus round?;)
 
J

Jerkface

Audioholic
Who was trolling who? I didn't even ask you the question....
You did. Several times.

In real life jitter is what sort of audible issue?
Explain how a cable would add jitter please.
Sorry, hard to determine just what you're on about. Please refer to audibility of "jitter'
So, it kinda feels like you were trolling me when, after I went into a detailed explanation of jitter itself and my experiences with it as an observable and audible phenomenon and even kindly posted a link to a site where you could listen yourself, you finally said, "Oh yeah, I know all about it, *wink*"
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
You did. Several times.







So, it kinda feels like you were trolling me when, after I went into a detailed explanation of jitter itself and my experiences with it as an observable and audible phenomenon and even kindly posted a link to a site where you could listen yourself, you finally said, "Oh yeah, I know all about it, *wink*"
The point is it is simply not much of an issue in real life. Part of a poor defense of a bullshit codec too. Once you responded then I responded but that first question wasn't directed to you but rather the guy I quoted, John Parks, and was more rhetorical actually. Sorry if you took it personally.
 
J

Jerkface

Audioholic
The point is it is simply not much of an issue in real life. Part of a poor defense of a bullshit codec too.
Maybe you and I perceived the thread sequence (and its extraneous content) differently, but I thought the big excitement over cables causing jitter errors was part of the criticism of the bullshit codec.

But trust me, there's nothing worse than dealing with a 70dB or worse noise floor *per channel* when trying to multitrack a record because of jitter. Because that poop adds up. And it's definitely real life, just not the real life of the casual listener. ;)
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Maybe you and I perceived the thread sequence (and its extraneous content) differently, but I thought the big excitement over cables causing jitter errors was part of the criticism of the bullshit codec.

But trust me, there's nothing worse than dealing with a 70dB or worse noise floor *per channel* when trying to multitrack a record because of jitter. Because that poop adds up. And it's definitely real life, just not the real life of the casual listener. ;)
Oh am only speaking from a reproduction viewpoint as that's what we generally discuss here. I have absolutely no experience in recording. Excitement over cables is not my thing at all, as that's even more bullshit than mqa.
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Samurai
Let’s all agree to blame it on MQA. Then, we’ll hang it all on Apple when their “spatial audio” is released.:p
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Field Marshall
MQA? Now, with Apple's announcement of Lossless delivery of their entire library what need for MQA? I'll tell you, none.
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Samurai
Well, Amazon and Qobuz are already offering lossless without the use of MQA or some other proprietary format. Apple is playing catch up, as usual, but acting like they came up with the whole idea. I want to check it out. Not interested in the “spatial audio” experience but would like to see an update so that atmos works on Macs as it does on Apple TV. Currently, no 192/24 on Apple TV as Apple does not support it there but does so on Macs. So, it’s an either or proposition with Apple at the moment. Now, the bigger deal is the price. It will cost half as much as Tidal HIFI. So, we’ll see how it all goes.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Audioholic Chief
Well, in deference to Bob Stuart, I hope to follow up on the multiple appendixes he notes in his response. A lot of what he advocates is predicated on high resolution audio and recording at twice the bandwidth of the red book CD standard.

He isn't very convincing with some of his quotes though. For example:
"(4) FLAC is a lossless file format, a container for audio data. MQA is an advanced method for coding audio contents. MQA is normally delivered (losslessly) in a FLAC container from the music label. PCM is another type of audio that can be delivered by FLAC. Suggesting FLAC is better than MQA is like saying ‘bottles are better than wine’!"

For someone who is a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society he should know better than to make such a ridiculous statement. FLAC is both a container AND a codec. It's right in the acronym! Free Lossless Audio Codec. To keep things simple, the developers gave the associated simple container format the same name, so audio encoded with the FLAC codec gets stored in a FLAC container ending in .flac. He is using the fact that FLAC also stands for a file container format to muddle the issue and disparage the FLAC codec which happens to be royalty free. That just makes his other claims appear dubious.
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Samurai
Yeah, streaming music should be a far simpler affair than it is from everybody involved. The quality and convenience of it all depends on several things. A good CD quality stream has to get to you through a codec carried over an internet provider to your modem/gateway. It gets routed to a device via hardline or wirelessly. That device's output is sent through wires or wirelessly over the network to yet another device and so on and so on... I'm amazed the music can sound any good at all once it reaches one's ears. The world doesn't need another process such as MQA.

Hi-res music is no concern at all to some. Tidal's HIFI service includes access to "Master" albums and tracks but one can choose to set their output to HIFI(CD quality). This eliminates the MQA mess of unfolding the audio through two devices to get the full resolution. Can't say the difference is all that audible. On a few occasions, noticed a CD quality 44/16 version sounded better than a 192/24 version that only went through the first "unfolding" and played back at 96/24 on one device and 48/24 on another one. Eh, whatever.

If anybody hasn't tried Tidal and plans on looking into Apple lossless, try a free trial of both of them. Both will offer lossless and atmos. Tidal also has 360 Reality Audio for those who want an immersive experience through headphones. Apple is going with "Spacial Audio". Apple will also have Hi-res without using MQA. You can compare its Hi-res tracks to those on Qobuz. We'll see if Apple wants to open up a bit by making their service available to Roon or Audirvana for integration like Tidal and Qobuz. So, lot's of options out there with little or no cost to try for a bit. Try em' before Apple goes ahead and buys em'.:eek:
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
For someone who is a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society he should know better than to make such a ridiculous statement. FLAC is both a container AND a codec. It's right in the acronym! Free Lossless Audio Codec. To keep things simple, the developers gave the associated simple container format the same name, so audio encoded with the FLAC codec gets stored in a FLAC container ending in .flac. He is using the fact that FLAC also stands for a file container format to muddle the issue and disparage the FLAC codec which happens to be royalty free. That just makes his other claims appear dubious.
I think many experts know the theories full well, but some still would take advantage of the fact that it is easy to convince the public who are not knowledgeable in the related science and would therefore be prone to expectation bias. One thing I don't get is, why picked on flac (I guess because it appears to be most popular), when it is only one of several lossless formats? I have all kinds of lossless files and I have no doubt all else equal they don't, and won't make a difference, it is the recording/mastering quality that matters most. I prefer DSD files only because in my experience there seem to be more high quality recording/mastering contents available.

The likes of MQA (surely more to come..) seem to follow the successful strategy/path of the likes of Bose, Dragon fly DAC, that is, just tell people some reasons why the products will "sound better", repeat it enough time, mark up the price, and enough people will believe and purchase...;)
 
Eppie

Eppie

Audioholic Chief
I tried to follow up on some of the articles that he cites in his AES paper on High-Resolution Audio but unfortunately they require paid memberships or a one time fee to access them. There is some good science in there but it's mixed in with some vaguery that makes the paper confusing. I think the gist of the theory is that the brain can process sound faster than the highest frequency that the cochlea can detect, at around 8 micro-seconds. Thus the brain can detect phase differences and transients above the typical upper hearing limit of 18kHz so recordings should be sampling sound up to around 44kHz instead of 22.5 kHz. If you look into the recording chain from microphone to amplifier and speaker and in between and the various filters that get applied, then you need to sample closer to 100kHz to maintain accuracy in the analogue domain.

In the digital domain he does manage to show that 24 bit encoding is sufficient at current sampling rates. Higher bit rates improve dynamic range, but you need to take the level of back ground noise into consideration. Microphones have a fundamental noise limit (the most quiet sound they can pick up). The back ground noise levels in recordings result in 18 bits being sufficient (with 24 bits the next multiple of 8). Current standard for Hi-Res audio (suggested by the Japan Audio Society) is an analogue bandwidth of 40kHz and a sampling rate of 96kHz or higher. His paper proposes though that this is not high enough.

How MQA works and some of the misconceptions are discussed on Stereophile in this article. It's a pretty interesting read. The methodology is quite ingenious as well as how they made it backwards compatible and able to fall back to lower res formats when the full decoder is not available. I'm still not entirely convinced that the proposed improvements to temporal resolution and reduction in blur are actually audible. That requires having the full decoder and likely some high end gear in a proper listening environment. My other concern is the amount of pre-processing that seems to be required for MQA to show any benefits. The response to the GoldenSound tests concentrates on the encoders inability to handle the sound files that were uploaded due to the types of samples used and inappropriate use of certain bit rates. I can understand the bit rate issue, but what conclusions can be drawn from an encoder that is supposedly highly tuned to music files but fails on test tones? They are basically saying that it will do a great job on orchestral music but my recordings from Kraftwork will likely fail with encoding errors because it's not "natural" sound. I'd like to see the science behind that but that would require detailed knowledge of how the pre-processor and encoder functions.
 

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