Higher rate of Tidal files than Qobuz?

well the MQA files are a strange contradiction simon

they claim “perfect from the studio” when in fact the original studio files goes through “only known to MQA” processing and so do we get the perfect studio file? not sure.

It presents music differently, and seems to be in some ways more interesting to listen to , I can’t put my finger on what exactly it is, but I prefer the bog standard file decoded by my Chord DAC.

Thinking about it, some aspects of the sound seem better, but at the expense of other aspects and overall the balance tilts in favour of the non mqa

There’s also multiple versions of what gets downloaded. for MQA capable source you get the MQA version at higher bit rates, for Non MQA but hi-res capable it can support 48/24 downloads (but not sure what that is exactly,) to my ears it is still a MQA file being rendered (but no decoded) by a non-MQA dac.

ho hum…

The technical experts such as Chord (world class experts in digital audio) claim the MQA processing do affect transients and overall seems to be more easier to listen to, but the overall emotion and feel of the song changes compared to non-mqa.

to my ears…

The official tidal app doesn’t give me the option of playing the non-mqa version (unless I select hi-fi - but then STILL not sure I am getting the MQA downsampled to 16/44.1 or the original 44.1/16 file !), but on other apps such as MConnect I can clearly see there are 2 versions of the albums, Masters and Non-masters.

Come on Tidal, please change your app to show both versions, that’s all I am asking for.

For a technology that was supposed to give us bit perfect files, I am not sure what I am getting now from Tidal unless I use a non-tidal app


for the sake of clarity - I have heard Def Leppard live, and own their albums on Vinyl, and know the songs since the last 30 + years

Simon, The reference here is their Hysteria live 2019 in O2 London album both MQA and normal versions available on Tidal, please listen for yourselves if you are interested and report back which one you like more… There’s also the Live in Vegas 2019 by Def Leppard.

I think much of this marketing speak for simply have a licensed control on the reconstruction and low pass filtering within certain tolerances, so that there is a controlled eq performance to MQA DACs… clearly there is still variation between devices… but the filter response is largely regulated.
With non MQA DACs it is entirely upto the DAC designer how the reconstruction and low pass filtering is done… so yes in these devices the artist/publisher/rights holder has no control what it will sound like… but with MQA DACs it’s more deterministic.

Nice idea, but flawed in my opinion, as significant variance can occur with headphones or speakers, and there is no MQA headphone response that I aware of. In fact the only response I know is the Harman response curve and Harman/Sean Olive are pioneers in this space.

BTW an MQA file rendered as PCM is possible (MQA was designed to allow this… ie provide a basic pcm comparability playback experience)… you can try it yourself by downloading MQA test and reference files … but they do sound quite compromised in my opinion… certainly in a Hi-Fi or DAP system.

You won’t be able to use the Naim app with Tidal to do this test, as Naim will not select MQA medium but only PCM, as clearly such files would not be befitting of a Naim system :grinning:

As far as MQA decoders, I only have one DAC that supports full decode, that is an AQ Cobalt… good though it is it’s a long way behind a Chord DAC or a good TI based DAC. I have let my Tidal account lapse, as I prefer hidef which I can get from Qobuz.
It is a shame, as I prefer the Tidal playlists… so I wrote to them when leaving that if they started providing lossless hidef I may be back… but that was before Qobuz dropped their prices… so not sure now.

Ah - if only Tidal would make available a straight hires file as well as an MQA file.

But I would imagine that Tidal has committed to only offer MQA hires files for a period of time.

I did notice that Darko - who was previously a fan and promoter of MQA - was openly questioning in his annual roundup video whether MQA might disappear as a format, iirc.

Indeed, that is what I assume too, perhaps in return for some attractive commercial offer.

If the initial period is only 3 or 4 years, we are probably not that far from the time when it ends.

And the way Tidal have created their ‘Tidal Masters’ sub-brand, they could probably continue with that name and idea but use lossless hidef files instead of MQA if they thought it would give as good or better SQ and be better for Tidal as a business to do that.

But I have not studied the case.

Presumably Tidal and MQA and others are tracking the popularity of MQA to see whether many users really value it.

Although it’s likely that hardly any users at all have ever taken the trouble to carefully compare MQA vs lossless hidef files.

Then I presume you are using either the Tidal app, Roon, or something else which can do the so-called ‘first unfold’ of an MQA file before feeding the signal to the DAC.

Not sure - the Mconnect app does not seem to do a MQA decode but asks for a 48/24 file which does appear to be a MQA processed file being rendered by a non MQA DAC. The reason for all this confusion is the way MQA and Tidal work…

knowing what I know though, there’s not much MQA decoding going on in a MQA DAC…
all what is going on is … when there’s a confirmation that there is an MQa DAC, then tidal will try to send the full 192/24 file is there is one available

But I also use Audirvana which does first level MQA unfold.

I preffered my Cobalt to the Mojo. Found it really boring to listen to didnt get my feet tapping at all. I also prefer to listen to the cobalt via headphones than via Naim and headphones. I really dont like Naim at all for Headphone listening either , which is most of my time now which is why I went with the RME DAC in the end.

Ali, that doesn’t sound right. MQA decoding involves a different process including reconstruction filtering.

Hi Simon

That’s the theory.

In practice though this would mean for an audio quest dragonfly dac playing an MQA file through it would mean it would switch off it’s internal ESS filter (as it uses an ESS DAC) and use another one from MQA?

I have an IFI DAC, which has it’s own internal filter, also MQA capable it would mean the same

I would like to see some confirmation from the DAC manufacturers that in fact, the MQA process does include reconstruction filtering.

As I am aware there is 2 parts to the MQA process.

1 first level software decode up to 96/24 , and then when there is confirmation that there is an MQA DAC, then another unfold to 192/24. If it is such a file

then there is the MQA processing in the studio to compensate for the A/D filter (what Bob Stuart called “de-blurring” used in the studio (and how do they know this, particularly for the remastered versions) and then this MQA reconstruction at the DAC end.

I do like the idea and the major effort that Bob Stuart has gone through, and indeed the whole world is not going to listen to music on a Chord DAC… so maybe his idea is the right one, but in execution and results, Rob Watts got it right to my ears. Like yourself, I have had so many musical sessions with my Chord DACs and just get lost in the music… truly magical to my ears

Anyway with the eventual release of the Chord Analog to digital conversion devices for recording studio… who knows … the future of recorded music looks bright to me

To my ears through there has been quite a big improvement in DACs - my I-fi Nano one dac allows a level of musical enjoyment which is quite good… quite pleased.

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it depends how you used the Mojo, all Chord DACs are very transparent to the source driving it.

I plugged it in to my phone and my pc not sure what else there is to do. I hear usb is weak on Chords so likely the reason. It’s a portable device marketed for pc and phone yet is not a good usb implementation go figure.

I have a nano as well it’s not half bad for the price.

I try and avoid USB for listening on any dac, much prefer SPDIF inputs

But it’s not always possible - I use an audio quest jitterbug, on the phone I switch off wi-fi and bluetooth (it is audible in terms of AQ), and use an iPhone for bit perfect output, for android I use UAPP too which bypasses Android resampling to 48KHZ.

The Mojo tells you if all these things were not done properly. Also on PC I use Jiver and make sure there is no software volume control.

It is a advanced dac, so it needs the proper support to get the most out of it…

USB cable matters, I use a quality one from Anker. Also tried others from vertere which are quite good.

The best results to my ears always from the SPDIF inputs…

On days the I use the Mojo with my phone and it doesn’t sound engaging - it’s always the case that I forgot to switch off the wi-fi on the phone.

Not only that, on my allo digione streamer, I recently connected it to ethernet cabled and switched off the wi-fi- wow , it was in instant jump in SQ and foot tapping - into my Chord Dave…

If you sold all these all little play dacs, and just got one proper Naim dac…

what support?
a sardine can?

well I have one for different rooms, and I would not say these are play DACs at all, they are quite amazing in their performance to price ratio…

Some ppl on the forum recently commented that the audio quest cobalt came dangerously close in performance to some hi-end sources… :wink:

I meant effort from the user in terms of the proper software settings.

I don’t want one. My RME is way better. I also listen in more than one room.

This is why it’s a flawed device. Sold for portable use and not fit for purpose if a phone it’s connected to interferes. Sorry but to me it’s just unacceptable for a £400 DAC to have this flaw. My RME dac is impervious to this and sounds amazing what ever the input.