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MQA listening test
2017-07-20, 00:09 (This post was last modified: 2017-07-20 12:03 by mcgillroy.)
Post: #1
MQA listening test
I just did an interesting listening test with MQA-like files on my DS. The test is offered by audiophile blogger Archimago who has done some excellent research on MQA and and DACs.

He recently has posted a set of FLAC-encoded music-files and asks people with good stereos to engage in a blind-listening test investigating the sonic effects of MQA-like rendering.

No MQA-DAC needed, these will render fine on any Linn-DS! See the Blog for details how he achieved this.

The samples he created are about 2 minutes each and the whole test together with filling out the report sheet takes about 25 minutes.

The goal of this test is to gain further understanding of the filter techniques and effects MQA uses to alter the sound.

For the files and further details see here: http://archimago.blogspot.de/2017/07/int...oding.html

I'll post my results at a later date but found the process very interesting.

Edit: added notice on no MQA DAC needed + fixed typo.

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2017-07-20, 06:57
Post: #2
RE: MQA listening test
Very interesting "de-masking" of what MQA is.
I hope it disappears soon.

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2017-07-20, 07:42
Post: #3
RE: MQA listening test
I'm so not interested I'm not even going to spend time testing it. I think enough has been said already.

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2017-07-20, 11:01
Post: #4
RE: MQA listening test
I am not clear how I can do a relevant test even if I wanted to TBH. Unless I have misunderstood something? This is very possible BTW and maybe even likely Smile I have various Linn DS but none of them process MQA. So I believe the only way to play MQA is to use other hardware to handle the MQA decoding. So what am I testing?
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2017-07-20, 11:29
Post: #5
RE: MQA listening test
(2017-07-20 07:42)timster Wrote:  I'm so not interested I'm not even going to spend time testing it. I think enough has been said already.

I can understand your fatigue but this listening test actually goes beyond MQA. It seems MQA's "de-blurring" comes down to a set of rather simple and well know filters easily implemented in any digital-audio chain. These soon might be offered by many vendors as the next big thing in digital-audio, making it sound more analog etc.

With his test files Archimago offers to educate oneself on the effects of such filters: how hearable are they and do they sound "better"?

Linn actually might already use similar concepts in their DS line - perhaps the sonic changes in the Katalyst line are attributable to a shift away from their linear-phase-upsampling to a different filter-topology.

Perhaps Linn can clarify on this.

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2017-07-20, 11:51
Post: #6
RE: MQA listening test
(2017-07-20 11:01)Martin H Wrote:  I am not clear how I can do a relevant test even if I wanted to TBH. Unless I have misunderstood something? This is very possible BTW and maybe even likely Smile I have various Linn DS but none of them process MQA. So I believe the only way to play MQA is to use other hardware to handle the MQA decoding. So what am I testing?

Good question Martin! You don't need MQA capable hardware for this test - these are plain FLAC-files in 24/176/192khz resolution.

Half of his test files are derived from MQA-files. The details how he made this possible are in the blogpost. That is why I wrote "MQA-like files".

This is perfectly legal and makes it possible to compare bona-fide flac with an MQA-like filter.

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2017-07-20, 12:21
Post: #7
RE: MQA listening test
(2017-07-20 11:51)mcgillroy Wrote:  
(2017-07-20 11:01)Martin H Wrote:  I am not clear how I can do a relevant test even if I wanted to TBH. Unless I have misunderstood something? This is very possible BTW and maybe even likely Smile I have various Linn DS but none of them process MQA. So I believe the only way to play MQA is to use other hardware to handle the MQA decoding. So what am I testing?

Good question Martin! You don't need MQA capable hardware for this test - these are plain FLAC-files in 24/176/192khz resolution.

Half of his test files are derived from MQA-files. The details how he made this possible are in the blogpost. That is why I wrote "MQA-like files".

This is perfectly legal and makes it possible to compare bona-fide flac with an MQA-like filter.


Ahhh - apologies I hadn't read the article in full, just skimmed it. I am still unclear how you can convert MQA into something else and then test it. Think my head hurts but I will go and read the article properly rather than blunder into more dumb questions. thx
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2017-07-20, 12:43
Post: #8
RE: MQA listening test
(2017-07-20 12:21)Martin H Wrote:  
(2017-07-20 11:51)mcgillroy Wrote:  
(2017-07-20 11:01)Martin H Wrote:  I am not clear how I can do a relevant test even if I wanted to TBH. Unless I have misunderstood something? This is very possible BTW and maybe even likely Smile I have various Linn DS but none of them process MQA. So I believe the only way to play MQA is to use other hardware to handle the MQA decoding. So what am I testing?

Good question Martin! You don't need MQA capable hardware for this test - these are plain FLAC-files in 24/176/192khz resolution.

Half of his test files are derived from MQA-files. The details how he made this possible are in the blogpost. That is why I wrote "MQA-like files".

This is perfectly legal and makes it possible to compare bona-fide flac with an MQA-like filter.


Ahhh - apologies I hadn't read the article in full, just skimmed it. I am still unclear how you can convert MQA into something else and then test it. Think my head hurts but I will go and read the article properly rather than blunder into more dumb questions. thx

Totally agree Martin, how can you test something that has been "converted". Surely it would be a simulated test. For me the only true test is to try the "raw" product which we cannot do on our Linn DS. My head hurts too. I think as Timster said enough has been said already.
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2017-07-20, 12:51
Post: #9
RE: MQA listening test
I appreciate the work Archimago is doing, and if it leads to something better in the end then all well and good. If not, then so be it and no loss.
If the simple filters or whatever it is that can be "easily implemented" do become the "next big thing", then I'll just wait for that to happen. In a passive sense that is.

Akurate EDSM | Majik ExaktBox-I [on Custom Design iRAPs] | Majik 140, REL T5
Rega RP1, [QNAP HS-251+, Jitterbug, MinimServer, Asset], Kazoo [Linx1010]

AV: Marantz NR1506 | B&W 620(C), M1(S), REL T5 (LFE) | Fronts powered by Linn
Net: NetGear DGN2200 | GS108 | AQ Forest x3

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2017-07-20, 19:36
Post: #10
RE: MQA listening test
(2017-07-20 12:51)timster Wrote:  I appreciate the work Archimago is doing, and if it leads to something better in the end then all well and good. If not, then so be it and no loss.
If the simple filters or whatever it is that can be "easily implemented" do become the "next big thing", then I'll just wait for that to happen. In a passive sense that is.

Yes - especially since the essence of that next big thing is actually old news which have been around for years. Still fun to play around with these.

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