Since I have the MQA decoder working with my Logitech Media Server, I have been listening to a selection of albums that I also have in CD format. I noticed 2 things:
- There are a lot of albums in MQA that have an original sample rate of 44.1 or 48kHz. I counted them in my playlist and 10 out of 19 were not HD, so more than half. This is consistent with findings of others that keep lists of MQA releases on Tidal. Obviously the studio’s are going for quantity over quality.
- Some albums sound strange, as if there is something wrong with it. The original CD or undecoded MQA file, up-sampled with the RevOne filter in my G68, sounds better and does not exhibit the issue. I have heard this problem before, read also my review and technical analysis of the Meridian Apodizing filter.
Wow, time is going quickly. It is already 3 years since my last post, and it did definitely not feel that long.
Last year MQA finally took off. In the beginning of 2017 Tidal started streaming MQA under their ‘Masters’ label. Also more hardware manufacturers added MQA decoding to their products. Most interesting was NAD adding support to their BlueSound product line. Already in June 2016 someone experimented with the decoding library of BluOS. A year later Måns Rullgård went further and released software to use this library to decode and render MQA and analyzed the way meta data is hidden in the stream.
Sometimes things are simpler than you think. Also sometimes you have all pieces of the puzzle and you still do not see the big picture. MQA seems to fall into this category.
I have been doing a lot of reading these last few weeks. There is quite some discussion on fora and audio news sites on Meridians latest invention called MQA. But what is MQA exactly and what is Meridian not telling us? This is what we will investigate in this article.
This article is based on info found on fora and audio news site, but mostly on technical descriptions from patents. I have not had the pleasure to listen to MQA myself, so I can not confirm nor refute any claims made on the quality of the sound.
The Revelation One filter can not only up-sample, as it is used in its default application, but it can also down-sample. This way it can be used to create a CD master from the original studio master. We already tested this some time ago, and it turns out that a CD master created using Revelation One is remarkable close to the original studio master, and clearly sounds better than the regular CD version.
We decided to offer this functionality of the Revelation One filter as a service. This way everybody can create this best sounding CD version of their painstakingly created studio master. And do not take our word for the quality of the conversion. We are happy to provide test files of some of your own songs free of charge. Please contact us for more information.
After my initial success with Dynamic Resolution Enhancement (see this post) it proved to be more difficult than anticipated. With some albums it worked great, but with most it gave issues. After a lot of testing and improving the program I am at the point that it now works properly with most albums, expect the ones with serious clipping. However to solve the problems there are now 2 parameters, so it does not work automatically as the original goal was. For one parameter I have made an evaluation function, but this means the track needs to be scanned in advance. For the other parameter I still need to find a good solution to integrate it into the program.
At the moment I am beta testing a completely new software solution for the Simple Audio Roomplayer. Key features include:
- GAPLESS playback … this is essential of course.
- Working PAUSE … not 100% essential, but still very useful.
- Native 3rd party iPhone, iPad and Android apps.
- Web interface.
- Spotify support. For people that have never heard of Deezer …
When new info comes available I will update this post.