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MQA - Thoughts (Read 5636 times)
Lonely Raven
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MQA - Thoughts
10/19/16 at 17:03:27
 

MQA was brought up in the General  forum, and I thought I'd drag that over here, our new Digital forum.  I posted about it last year, but all the info then was simply hype with no substance yet.

This is a great, short version of what I'm hearing about MQA from several vendors. When seen in this light, it doesn't look like it's really going to take off.

http://schiit.com/news/news/why-we-wont-be-supporting-mqa

And Paul McGowan's take on it thus far.

http://www.psaudio.com/pauls-posts/mqa-thoughts/



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beowulf
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #1 - 07/21/17 at 22:57:07
 
It looks as though PS Audio has accepted MQA and the DSD is now fully MQA compatible with the Bridge II.  If you are a DSD owner you can now stream Tidal with full MQA support to see what the hype is all about.  

The PS Audio DSD is the DAC that keeps on giving for sure!
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #2 - 07/21/17 at 23:54:24
 
I literally just installed the Bridge II last week on my newly acquired Directstream DAC. And on Monday when the latest MQA compatible firmware was released, I updated the bridge to allow truly, unfolded MQA.  I am a happy camper streaming true MQA Tidal directly to my DS DAC via the Mconnect Control app on my iPhone.  

I have to say, when considering the features, convenience, and of course sound quality, with this latest MQA capability, I can't see letting this DS go.  I can even control the volume with my phone which is a great ancillary benefit.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #3 - 07/24/17 at 19:24:08
 

How is the volume working for you? I have a lot of glitches and just general clunkiness with it. I stopped using it for several months, but seems to work better now...still clunky, but no lockups.
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #4 - 07/24/17 at 20:00:12
 
LR, are you referring to the Bridge II or Tidal?  

The only issues I am having with streaming Tidal through the Bridge II, and I would consider them more minor/annoying than anything else, is the Mconnect Control app (third party) used to stream Tidal to the Bridge II.  The usability of the app is fine, there are just a couple glitches that need to be ironed out.  

SQ is great and my setup with the DSD (w/ Bridge II) in place has never been better/simpler. And I love the ability to use my phone with the Control app as a volume control to the DSD.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #5 - 07/24/17 at 22:19:57
 
I forgot what I used to control the volume through the Bridge II before I got Roon, but until recently, remote volume control through the Bridge II was clunky and would just lock up randomly.

Currently I'm running Roon to Bridge II, and Tidal is an option - everything seems to be working, ignoring the lag time in volume changes. But at least it's not locking up!
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #6 - 07/25/17 at 05:08:22
 
Before this latest Bridge II firmware update, 3.3.3, I was using Roon to stream Tidal to the DSD.  With the latest firmware, I now stream Tidal via the Mconnect, since it is able to fully unfold MQA, which Room is unable to do until PS Audio releases their next firmware which will bring Roon and full MQA unfolding to DSD via Bridge II.  

Anyway, so far the volume control the the Mconnect app has worked flawlessly.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #7 - 07/25/17 at 16:10:05
 
Ahh, I didn't realize Roon wasn't fully unfolding with the Bridge II yet - I thought this latest firmware *was* to fully unfold.

I'm also having trouble finding the mood of music I'm looking for in Tidal directly. For example: I fired up Roon, and it suggested Dark Ambient as a Genre and that felt like it suited my mood to I pressed play on that, and enjoyed Roon pulling tracks/albums it felt was Dark Ambient in my library. But once that ran out, and I tried to replicate that genre in Tidal, I kept winding up with tons of Hip Hop in my feed, plus being force fed new albums by Jay Z or whatever. I'm hoping it's just a learning curve, and I'm missing a better way of finding what I want,  but unless I knew exactly the name of the band I wanted to cue up, or if someone happened to put together a playlist suiting my mood, it wasn't happening. I wound up just shutting the music off in frustration and went to watching SiFi channel on the big screen.
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #8 - 07/25/17 at 18:20:01
 
This update was supposed to also allow fully unfolded MQA through Roon as well, but in the 11th hour, something changed in the Roon SDK that wrenched it.  So, PS Audio decided to go ahead and release the new 3.3.3 firmware anyway allowing full MQA through the Mconnect app with plans for a quick follow up to fix the Roon MQA functionality.

Tidal is great if you know what you want, or your preferences happen to align up well with the in-house designed genres or tastes of the playlist creators.  Otherwise, Tidal via Roon to Bridge II is the way to go.  I have to imagine as Tidal exists longer, the genres will evolve and the playlist content will be a lot better.
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #9 - 08/08/17 at 20:15:30
 
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Lonely Raven
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #10 - 08/09/17 at 19:48:22
 

That is interesting - pretty much clinches what I was thinking about MQA. The benefit will be in bandwidth...but I recall them saying that it also helps with provenance of the high def track - only the studios with the original master tapes are supposed to be able to make MQA files. Which means we won't run into the debacles like where people were buying expensive HDtracks albums that were nothing but software upconverted CD files.
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #11 - 01/22/18 at 00:09:42
 
There is an in depth thread on MQA going on over at the Steve Hoffman Forums.  It was only posted 12 days ago and has gone over 32 pages at this point.  Even Archimago (who has been testing it on his website, etc.) is posting on it quite a bit.

I bet Lee Scoggins (the OP) wish he never even posted there! Grin

The more I research this format out ~ the less I like it and see it as a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #12 - 01/24/18 at 17:09:57
 
Wow, 45 pages and climbing.
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #13 - 01/24/18 at 21:50:36
 

Reading through the thread, I see some very knowledgeable guys that are really hung up on details that they are sure aren't an issue, but they are sure are imaginary issues - like pre and post ringing being out of hearing range, and MQA being a solution looking for a problem, or the only way to sample MQA is if you run out and replace your DAC with a new one (completely ignoring a partial unfolding).

I'm going to have to sit down and see for myself what I can hear with MQA. Honestly right now it's really difficult to beat my DirectStream DAC, or even come close. If MQA can hint at what my DS can do, that would give it a lot of credit in my book.

I wish I had access to that new TEAC NT-505 with MQA unfolding built in. That would give me a more even platform to play with where I can test original CDs, vs "High Def" vs MQA unfolded all of the same album and see what I think for myself.

I'm still skeptical, but when guys I trust like Palomino say they like the sound of MQA, it causes me to pause and give it a fair listen.

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beowulf
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Reply #14 - 01/25/18 at 08:45:06
 
Well, if Stuart gets his way the PS DSD will have to conform to MQA filtering standards otherwise it won't "authenticate" the files.  It's another reason to not like MQA due to the conformity of the process.  Also, MQA will not process if other factors are involved such as additional DSP and room correction so forget any of that.

IMO there is absolutely no need to cure ringing outside of the human hearing zone nor to compact a file into a lossy format in this day and age where you can stream a 1080p movie from Netfilx without even a flinch.

BTW the Audioquest Dragonfly Black @ $99 can completely render MQA throughout the entire process if you are interested in exploring MQA further.  Perhaps everyone who attends CDAPs can chip in a few bucks towards one ... I'd be interested in knowing your results.
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #15 - 01/25/18 at 11:37:05
 
beowulf wrote on 01/25/18 at 08:45:06:
Well, if Stuart gets his way the PS DSD will have to conform to MQA filtering standards otherwise it won't "authenticate" the files.  

Paul McGowan said last week that the DSD won't ever fully unfold MQA as it diminishes the sound quality of the whole DAC and he won't. MQA will be a Bridge thing.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #16 - 01/25/18 at 20:56:56
 
Quote:
IMO there is absolutely no need to cure ringing outside of the human hearing zone nor to compact a file into a lossy format in this day and age where you can stream a 1080p movie from Netfilx without even a flinch.


Netflix is heavily compressed and varies the picture quality constantly, being hugely lossy unless everything is perfect. Probably not the best example.

And I've come to learn that everything matters in sound - so even though the ringing is technically outside human hearing, doesn't mean it isn't heard in other ways.

Quote:
Paul McGowan said last week that the DSD won't ever fully unfold MQA as it diminishes the sound quality of the whole DAC and he won't. MQA will be a Bridge thing.


And the bridge only partially unfolds.

I gave some Fleetwood Mac a listen via Tidal in Roon to DS via Bridge II last night. It did indeed sound really good. Good enough that I'd have to sit down to a very dedicated listening session with the various copies of the same album and scrutinize. And again, that's only partially unfolded.
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beowulf
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #17 - 01/25/18 at 22:20:57
 
Lonely Raven wrote on 01/25/18 at 20:56:56:
Netflix is heavily compressed and varies the picture quality constantly, being hugely lossy unless everything is perfect. Probably not the best example.

And I've come to learn that everything matters in sound - so even though the ringing is technically outside human hearing, doesn't mean it isn't heard in other ways.

And the bridge only partially unfolds.

I gave some Fleetwood Mac a listen via Tidal in Roon to DS via Bridge II last night. It did indeed sound really good. Good enough that I'd have to sit down to a very dedicated listening session with the various copies of the same album and scrutinize. And again, that's only partially unfolded.


A good rule of thumb is to expect video streaming to require anywhere from 10 to 20 times the bandwidth as audio.  Even a huge video file with 3D and 1080p resolution and Dolby Digital Plus audio requires less than 10 Mbps.  

Netfilx streaming specs:

1 Mbps for viewing on a laptop computer
2 Mbps for SD video on a TV
4 Mbps for 720p HD video
5 Mbps for "the best video and audio experience" (according to Netflix)

So again ... there is no need to use a lossy compression algorithm for music streaming.  IMO let the DAC companies use their own filters to do this.  PS Audio makes one of the best DACs out their and if McGowan isn't falling for it there must be a reason and there are lots of other DAC manufacturer's disappointed with MQA's playback quality and tactics as well.

An interesting idea ... why don't you ABX them at CDAPS and see if you guys can pick the MQA ones out from the regular ones?  According to Scoggins and some other media pundits the MQA should be head and shoulders above anything else so you should at least have a 95% record of correctly picking them out during a blind test at CDAPs right?  I would be interested in hearing about your results.
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Lonely Raven
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Reply #18 - 01/26/18 at 06:01:13
 
Quote:
So again ... there is no need to use a lossy compression algorithm for music streaming.  IMO let the DAC companies use their own filters to do this.  PS Audio makes one of the best DACs out their and if McGowan isn't falling for it there must be a reason and there are lots of other DAC manufacturer's disappointed with MQA's playback quality and tactics as well.


On that we agree - I'm wondering if the lossy compression is some pseudo - DRM, or maybe they just started on this so long ago that lossy made sense then.  

Quote:
An interesting idea ... why don't you ABX them at CDAPS and see if you guys can pick the MQA ones out from the regular ones?  According to Scoggins and some other media pundits the MQA should be head and shoulders above anything else so you should at least have a 95% record of correctly picking them out during a blind test at CDAPs right?  I would be interested in hearing about your results.


That sounds right up Palomino's alley. I've already got a Belden cable ABX to do. LOL. But yeah, I agree with you. MQA did sound good, but not sure it sounded "better".  I'm leaning towards "different" right now, till we do a proper scrutinizing - just my cursory listen reminded me of hearing a different remaster of a familiar album.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #19 - 01/26/18 at 07:14:15
 

Grrrr, I keep forgetting that Roon doesn't do MQA yet - so I have to go back to MConnect or Tidal.

Also, interesting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGJ5eW-gBxA

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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #20 - 01/26/18 at 09:25:21
 
JRiver will not be supporting MQA (no real shock there as they don't even support Tidal after it being out for a couple years now).  They basically don't support $hit anymore and that's why I've stopped supporting them as well and have given up on buying any new iterations of their software since 2 years ago or so.

Audirvana plays back MQA files, but it's expensive @ $74 ... it also integrates with Tidal and Qobuz.  Of course then we need a DAC with high enough resolution so we can really try to hear the differences.  Michael Lavorgna said the Meridian Explorer was not up to snuff (not capable of the needed resolution to hear anything) and that the Mytek Brooklyn was better (it should be at 11 times the cost for $2195), but that is way too expensive to experiment with IMO +  I'm not a fan of any Sabre chips (they use the 9028) and so I would not even consider buying a Mytek anyways.

It was announced at CES that Roon will eventually be supporting MQA, but no firm dates on when they will implement it.

Of course, unless you have a DAC that will unfold it completely you're not going to get the end product and/or the most out of it ... and the only things cheap enough to experiment with like the AQ Dragonfly and M Explorer are in no way going to best your PS Audio DSD ~ I don't really know what else someone could do to get the full MQA experience other than basing a purchase purely on faith and jumping into a $1000 or more DAC which that aint going to happen for me.
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #21 - 01/26/18 at 13:07:45
 
Did you guys see the MQA thread on SHF got deleted? Along with the HiRes vs CD poll/thread I might add. Apparently the topic is just too controversial. The lengthy MQA is Vaporware thread on Computer Audiophile continues to prove interesting with Lee Scoggins weighing in and getting hammered by some of the same posters from SHF.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #22 - 01/26/18 at 17:30:45
 

I remembered that 2L recordings has MQA samples for free download - so while not my favorite tracks, I have about a dozen 2L MQA recordings, as well as the matching DSD and PCM files. Roon itself does send the files to the DirectStream via the Bridge II and the display reports them as such (to the highest resolution the Bridge II can muster). So maybe this will be our blind ABX test.

Again, still not fully unfolded.  

I'm thinking about pre-ordering the new Teac NT-505 and putting my NT-503 up for sale, but I am really happy with the 503, so I'm hard pressed to pass it on for what I assume would be equal to or possibly better sounding DAC, just to get Roon and Full unfolding.
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #23 - 01/27/18 at 01:11:31
 
Do you know when the NT-505 is due out?  I'm looking for another DAC for my bedroom system and this checks a lot of boxes for me.
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #24 - 01/27/18 at 01:47:53
 
So as an experiment ...

I was listening to The Doors' "Riders on the Storm" off the LA Women album last night.  I listened to it as a Tidal Master and I also have it as a hi-res 96/24 file from HDTracks.  As a little kid living in SoCal in the 60's I grew up with the Doors in my household as I had two teenage sisters who were into Jim big time and I have probably heard this song and album 1000's (perhaps even 10's of 1000's) of times.

It's been a while since I really listened to it and if I didn't have a Decware kit I may have not even noticed that when I was listening to it last night Jim's voice is overdubbed in a whisper over his main vocals in the song.  Perhaps I did notice it before, but it was not as pronounced/noticeable like this until I had Decware/Omega kit and 96/24 file from HDTracks as mentioned above.

So after countless plays of this song (unless my memory has gone wonky Cheesy) this is really the first time that I felt it was really noticeable was when listening to the HDTrack 96/24 version.  In comparison the MQA version there is barely a noticeable whisper as if the information is missing and someone laid a blanket over it.  

So it peaked my interest and I googled "MQA + Doors Riders on the Storm" and found out that I am not the only person to notice this occurrence as I found it in the comments section of a Stereophile MQA article where someone mentioned that this is caused by a reduction of bit rate and the MQA algorithm removed some parts of the file in order to compensate for file size streaming (similar to how the lossy MP3 removes portions of a file that "it thinks" we don't need).  Well, this became distracting of my enjoyment of the song because I knew that the info was missing from the file.

But before you think this is a total dis on MQA there were some things I liked about the MQA version and that was that it was not "in your face" as much as the hi-res version and seemed slightly smoother in its presentation ... that said I am a details freak and want to hear as much as I can into the recording without it causing listener fatigue.

So yeah the MQA sounded good, but at the cost of resolution and details.  That s not my cup of tea, but to others they may like a smoother presentation so to each his own I guess.

Remember that this is with JRiver, the Tidal app and a DAC that cannot unfold MQA so that me be part of the problem as well.  But I'm still going to try this test with more familiar songs to see of it leads me to the same conclusion that MQA'd file with it's reduced bit depth removes details from a song.
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #25 - 01/27/18 at 04:12:00
 
Nice post Beowulf the  doiors vinyl 45 rpm collection is out of this world.

We need to do a SoCal brewery listening tour maybe Jeff can make it down here to we go up!

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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #26 - 01/27/18 at 07:05:34
 
Martindfletcher wrote on 01/27/18 at 04:12:00:
Nice post Beowulf the  doiors vinyl 45 rpm collection is out of this world.

We need to do a SoCal brewery listening tour maybe Jeff can make it down here to we go up!



Thanks Martin ... the Doors on 45 is absolutely on my wish list of music purchases!  A SoCal listening tour would be awesome indeed!  Heading to the Qualcomm Brewfest this March and really looking forward to that  ... all the local beer you can drink and food you can eat for $35 (if you buy your tickets far enough in advance) is quite the deal IMO! Smiley
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #27 - 01/31/18 at 14:56:24
 
beowolf

this maybe my misunderstanding of mqa, but dont you need the gear that can play it?  i've been reading the last few articles in stereophile and sounds like if you don't have the gear to handle the file you're not going to get 100% of the mqa file.

can your DAC/player/OS be some of the problem (regarding missing stuff)?

i don't know... i am trying to get my head wrapped around if i like this idea/format or not, and am definitely NOT an expert, just trying to learn.
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #28 - 01/31/18 at 18:20:18
 

That's such a can-o-worms with the Doors track. Just daydreaming about it I see a few variables that can account for the differences.

In no particular order:

IMHO - PCM has a harder leading edge to is caused by that pre/post ringing we hear about. This could accentuate some sounds and/or textures and make some things pop out more than others.  MQA, like DSD, doesn't have that and sounds "softer" or "smoother", which gives the same tracks a slightly different presentation.

MQA Unfolding - As mentioned, it could simply be a result of the unfolding. MQA has two folds - the first can be done in software, which gives you high-rez, but not the full resolution the file was encoded in. To get full unfolding, you need a DAC that supports MQA and everything in the chain needs to be sending those MQA encoded files to the DAC correctly.

MQA Mastering - One of the MQA benefits is we know the provenance of the files since it has to be "Mastered" by the record company after they jump through the hoops MQA requires to be licensed. I've read that when they master the MQA file they could choose different filters during the processing according to the sound they like/want.  This is good because in theory, you know exactly what the file is your getting because it can only come from the record company. Whereas (and you may have read my diatribes in the past about this) with HDTracks and the like you have NO FRIGGEN IDEA where the file comes from or what the source is. HDTracks got called out because they were selling 192/24 files that when spectral analyzed were *exactly* like the CD with 18kHz cutoff and everything...simply upsampled and sold for a huge premium.  When they were cornered on it, they simply shrugged and said "this is what we were given by the record company".


To summarize, it could be the file format, it could be the unfolding, or is could even be the "mastering" and/or source files used.


Speaking of which, one thing that concerns me about MQA, is how do I know the record company went back to the original master tapes (or files if done in the digital era) to process their MQA masters? For all I know, they are just taking existing digital files and running it through a process and sending it back out to us - same stuff, different format with a little bit of filtering baked in. (shrug)
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #29 - 02/01/18 at 01:41:08
 
Tripwr1964 wrote on 01/31/18 at 14:56:24:
beowolf

this maybe my misunderstanding of mqa, but dont you need the gear that can play it?  i've been reading the last few articles in stereophile and sounds like if you don't have the gear to handle the file you're not going to get 100% of the mqa file.

can your DAC/player/OS be some of the problem (regarding missing stuff)?

i don't know... i am trying to get my head wrapped around if i like this idea/format or not, and am definitely NOT an expert, just trying to learn.


@ Tripwr1964 - that's correct, you don't need any special equipment to play MQA files, it's just that you won't get the full benefit of it (the complete unfolding and all that jazz).  My software JRiver doesn't support MQA as they think it will lead to DRM ~ nor do they want to get involved with the licensing (it's not surprising as they don't support or participate with anything Angry), nor do I have a DAC that supports it either.  So my listening impressions are to be taken with a grain of salt, that said I'm not the only one who recognized the veil over Jim's voice during playback of Rider's On The Storm so there are some issues that are not resolved and it leads me to believe there may be too much smoothing going on or as mentioned the lossy compression is removing some of the music.  I felt that track had a deadness to it.  

If they could find a way to make it more organic, but still as resolving without the use of that tech that required someone to go out and buy all new hardware and software I would be all for it.


Lonely Raven wrote on 01/31/18 at 18:20:18:
That's such a can-o-worms with the Doors track. Just daydreaming about it I see a few variables that can account for the differences.

In no particular order:

IMHO - PCM has a harder leading edge to is caused by that pre/post ringing we hear about. This could accentuate some sounds and/or textures and make some things pop out more than others.  MQA, like DSD, doesn't have that and sounds "softer" or "smoother", which gives the same tracks a slightly different presentation.

MQA Unfolding - As mentioned, it could simply be a result of the unfolding. MQA has two folds - the first can be done in software, which gives you high-rez, but not the full resolution the file was encoded in. To get full unfolding, you need a DAC that supports MQA and everything in the chain needs to be sending those MQA encoded files to the DAC correctly.

MQA Mastering - One of the MQA benefits is we know the provenance of the files since it has to be "Mastered" by the record company after they jump through the hoops MQA requires to be licensed. I've read that when they master the MQA file they could choose different filters during the processing according to the sound they like/want.  This is good because in theory, you know exactly what the file is your getting because it can only come from the record company. Whereas (and you may have read my diatribes in the past about this) with HDTracks and the like you have NO FRIGGEN IDEA where the file comes from or what the source is. HDTracks got called out because they were selling 192/24 files that when spectral analyzed were *exactly* like the CD with 18kHz cutoff and everything...simply upsampled and sold for a huge premium.  When they were cornered on it, they simply shrugged and said "this is what we were given by the record company".


To summarize, it could be the file format, it could be the unfolding, or is could even be the "mastering" and/or source files used.


Speaking of which, one thing that concerns me about MQA, is how do I know the record company went back to the original master tapes (or files if done in the digital era) to process their MQA masters? For all I know, they are just taking existing digital files and running it through a process and sending it back out to us - same stuff, different format with a little bit of filtering baked in. (shrug)


@ LR, good post ... not having the proper equipment I'm not closing my mind to MQA just yet, but how will that effect the masses if they also begin to notice these things.  I also agree about knowing if it truly came from a master recording or not ... how can we truly know?

I think I might just have to get that Teac NT-505 when it comes out, not specifically for MQA playback, but I do need a good second DAC for my system.  I hope that Teac does NOT lock out all the other filter options though or I'm going to pass on it ~ as I don't want to be stuck with a DAC that only supports MQA if/when MQA tanks as I think it might.
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #30 - 02/05/18 at 06:33:56
 
Quote:
Thanks Martin ... the Doors on 45 is absolutely on my wish list of music purchases!  A SoCal listening tour would be awesome indeed!  Heading to the Qualcomm Brewfest this March and really looking forward to that  ... all the local beer you can drink and food you can eat for $35 (if you buy your tickets far enough in advance) is quite the deal IMO!


Gents...  I'm in!  I have two conferences to attend in March, but if I'm in town, then I'm down for this Qualcomm event.  Do you have the date?

Regardless, if it doesn't work for me and you guys are down for a SoCal get together to support our local craft breweries, then just say the word.  
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #31 - 02/06/18 at 01:13:14
 
It's gone up $10 and now $45 for general admission (or $75 to get in an hour early as a VIP ~ if you're really thirsty): Mission Valley Craft Brew Fest 2018 March 31st 1:30 - 5:00 PM

BEER: INCLUDED
SPIRITS: INCLUDED
FOOD: INCLUDED

CONFIRMED SO FAR!
MORE TO COME!​

AleSmith Brewing Company
Alpine Beer Company
Artifex Brewing Company
Belching Beaver Brewery
Benchmark Brewing Company
Bitter Brothers Brewing Company
Cutwater Spirits
Division 23 Brewing
Eppig Brewing
Fall Brewing Co
Firestone Walker Brewing Co
Green Flash Brewing Co.
Groundswell Brewing Company
Henebery Celebrated Whiskey
Malahat Spirits
Nickel Beer Company
Pariah Brewing Co.
Reckless Brewing
Rock Bottom Brewery La Jolla
Savagewood Brewing Company
Sin Fronteras Brewing
Societe Brewing Company
Thr3e Punk Ales

FOOD:
Alpine Beer Pub
Doggos Gus
El Chingon
Farv's Pickles
Havana 1920
Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar
Meze Greek Fusion
O'Brien's Pub
PURE Cupcakes
Rotisserie Affair Catering
Taste & Thirst
The Cork & Craft
The Fast Food Company
The Good Seed Food Company
The Main Course Restaurant
Toronado

It's a given ... but unless you have a designated driver best to Uber or Lyft it!!! Grin
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #32 - 02/06/18 at 02:20:40
 
Excellent!  I will be in town that day.  

Thanks for the deets Beowulf.  I am in.  

Martin, are you able to make it that day?

The VIP is nice to get an hour to cruise the fest before the mass mob of people are let loose!  And they generally bring out special brews not available to the general admission folks.  Did you already purchase your ticket Beo?

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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #33 - 06/24/18 at 00:45:27
 
Another one bites the dust.  Of course many never bought and/or drank the MQA Kool-Aid in the first place, but it seems as if (after careful evaluation) more than a few have hopped off the MQA train at this point. EXOGAL has some pretty strong arguments IMO and I think McGowan had similar thoughts about the format as well.

I've read a lot about the format at this point and it seems like the presentations that had originally got all the audio reviewers so giddy were well contrived and never open about what masters were being used, etc.  A lot of real users are complaining about the product that it isn't all that great as well.  Not to mention Quboz is on the way and will be streaming (and has been streaming for some time now in Europe) hi-res files without any type of lossy decoder and puts another nail in the MQA argument about needing compression to get them to the end user.

EXOGAL Abandons MQA Development

June 22, 2018
For Immediate Release


EXOGAL Audio announced today that they are ceasing development of MQA for inclusion in EXOGAL products.

Said Jeff Haagenstad, CEO of EXOGAL: "We have been evaluating MQA technology and watching the wider MQA ecosystem since early 2016. After much research on the fundamental technology and more importantly on the market demand for MQA, we have reached the decision to cease the pursuit of adding MQA to our products for several reasons:

1) Our products by themselves exceed the performance of our products with the inclusion of MQA,

2) Regardless of the breathless hype by the audio press, actual consumer demand is just not there.

3) Regardless of the announced support from record labels, a suitable base of playable content is not widely available.

4) As for the technical details of our evaluation of the technology vis á vis our own technology, we prefer not to violate our NDA’s with MQA and Meridian.

5) Much like Wadia's technology before us, EXOGAL technology is already oriented in the time domain and does not suffer from the time-smearing effect which MQA is supposed to eliminate.

Suffice it to say we were never able to achieve the advertised level of performance using the MQA technology and thus it does not meet our standards for inclusion in our products. Many experts outside of our company have articulately made the case against MQA and we see no reason to elaborate or comment on those findings."

“We will continue to watch the market evolve but for now, we are out of the MQA game.”

About EXOGAL

EXOGAL was founded in 2013 by audio industry veterans who innovated for some of the biggest names in the industry. The founders – Jim Kinne, Larry Jacoby, Jan Larsen and Jeff Haagenstad – came together around a shared vision to create products that are – as our name implies – “out of this galaxy.”

Our design philosophy is to create products that provide for an optimal listening experience in our customers’ everyday lives, not just in the labs under ideal test conditions. Keeping our sourcing and manufacturing close to our Minnesota headquarters shortens design‐to‐manufacturing times and allows us to get to market more quickly with bold new products.

All EXOGAL audio products use open protocols and interfaces, which allow you to play your music no matter where you bought it or where the music stream originates.

For more information, please contact info@exogal.com
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #34 - 06/26/18 at 08:44:00
 
McIntosh passes on MQA …

"About the only standard digital format the C52 doesn’t support is Master Quality Authenticated (MQA, about which McIntosh’s engineers prefer to take a wait-and-see position, finding the format too lossy, with distortion that doesn’t meet the company’s high standards)."


Found on page 3 of McIntosh C52 Solid-State PreamplifierIntegration, Convenience, and State-Of-The-Art Performance

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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #35 - 06/28/18 at 22:12:06
 

I'm glad I didn't buy into it. I knew something was up when several brands got excited, but then didn't really roll things out like they said.

I did like the authentication part though - knowing the provenance of your recording is important IMHO. Hearing Master Tapes at Decware and my own tape setup really drove that home. The closer you can get to an original recording makes a difference!
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Re: MQA - Thoughts
Reply #36 - 06/30/18 at 07:17:15
 
Yeah, the authentication part was kind of cool, but it comes with a lot of baggage and I don't fall for that pseudo science study on post ringing … I feel it's just another answer to a problem that doesn't exist or even the slightest concern in the first place.

If someone really wants to straighten out music the real culprits and the loudness compression wars and fricking millennial whoop that is pretty much prevalent everywhere in modern pop … I mean even bands that I like such as Muse and Kings of Leon have started doing that stupid whoop. Roll Eyes
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