Roon - Qobuz or Tidal MQA

Assuming there is a Roon Core to do the first unfold of MQA, what are people thoughts versus Qobuz?

A short demo for me left is squarely in the Tidal MQA camp.

Or this it more of a genre and catalogue decision, Tidal being US centric and Qobuz …

I haven’t been able to find vast problems with either catalogue in terms of what I am able to listen to in the UK, but I wasn’t impressed with MQA at all. Overall I preferred the sound quality of Qobuz, and also prefer the way they provide updates, news etc. Have discontinued Tidal now.

Productive morning, MQA sucks sticking with Qobuz, MQA just sounds messed around with.

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Unfortunately I have come to the same conclusion, and I think your summary ‘sounds messed around with’ is on the money… there are some processed MQA masters that sound ok, but not many, and I don’t get that stark realism one gets with PCM… there does seem to be much variability… I just don’t get this with PCM… so on Tidal now I nearly always check the versions status to ensue PCM as opposed to MQA processing… unless I am curious to hear how MQA processing is changing the sound.

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Hi Simon, it is my first proper MQA demo thanks to the Innuos, tracks I have used for 20 yts in some cases otherwise new likes, i know them well, they just sound messed up.

In summary if MQA is really how the artist intended, not sure I like it.

Also with Roon my dislike is you can go down the compare and despair rabbit hole, using the versions (I.e
Tidal, Qobuz, MAA, 24, 16bit).

It detracts from listening enjoyment, becoming analysis and boring.

Naim please do not bother with MQA, oops think you already have :hugs:

Yes I think that is more marketing mumbo jumbo… the MQA authenticated master means the compression tuning is locked in at compression encoding time and is maintained through the chain until reconstruction.
Effectively that says to me the ‘artist’ or more likely the production team can choose the compromises by choosing what sounds best in terms of the MQA compression algorithm, and those compromises in terms of how they modify the sound are reliably locked in… ie they can be ‘authenticated’ and reliably maintained through to decoding.

Of course if one is not wanting to compress or media transcode, then one doesn’t have this issue to worry about…

The artist will / may work with the the engineering and production team to agree how the mix master sounds … that is the one that matters… and that almost certainly be a lossless PCM master

So MQA is the master messed around with to try and make it sound like the master after compression.

Sounds and is for me, an unnecessary exercise clearly focused on just milking everyone in the royalty chain.

Kind of…I thinks it more about creating a new sounding master after the effects of MQA processing have been applied… From what I read of MQA there is trade off between parameters when choosing how to effectively achieve the compression for a given mix master.
I suspect one of the key target markets for MQA in terms of volume will be the mobile smartphone user, where it that use case there is benefit in reducing bandwidth, and the quality of the componentry is unlikely to expose the audio artefacts (that missed with effect)… so in that scenarios it sounds like it could be a win win?
Though if I am honest I find AAC totally acceptable and useful when listening on the move on my iPhone.

As we start to move to 5G then the speed and latency becomes less of an issue, assuming you have a signal.

Either way MQA seems to try and solve a problem that did not need fixing.

To some extent… 5G with a static base station has the benefit for great bandwidth, but in a car, train or building, unless there is a local pico cell, you may well find 5G not hugely greater than 4G in real world continuous throughput for mobile phone devices other than it should support higher densities of users… and later on will offer differentiated services/network slicing; ie may open up the possibility of paying more to get a better throughput in high user density areas .

That’s why I dont see why people wanting lossless do not download them via the Tidal or Qobuz apps.

Actually I can understand Apple products with a pittance storage.

That said my 256GB is all but maxed out, looking to hop over 512GB to 1TB.

Word spaghetti to one side, can’t you just download the things you like listening to from Qobuz/Tidal/Apple Music/Spotify and do so at the quality of your choice/service level?

I do just that on my iPhone and then connect it to my car using CarPlay and it works regardless of the mobile network connection quality.

I think it’s also easy to assume we all live in areas of good fixed and wireless coverage, even in the UK there’s rural areas where coverage is patchy so in that sense something like MQA can help to reduce the impact on the experience for a consumer where their connectivity isn’t so great or may even be metered.

Services like Tidal are also available in many countries (53 at last count) around the world so conditions elsewhere are equality as variable and unpredictable on occasion as in the UK.

I do use all of those streaming services as well as Roon but don’t use MQA at all, I’ve no personal opinion of if it’s better or worse.

Sorry downside of fat thumbs and typing on the go.

It’s nice to have options, we really are spoilt for choice in terms of service and hardware availability these days. It’s always challenging to implement those things with universal appeal however.

I may go and have a fiddle with MQA in Roon.
I do have an iFi DAC that supports MQA natively, might be a fun experiment!

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