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MQA listening test
2017-07-20, 19:54
Post: #11
RE: MQA listening test
I'll try the files this weekend, I'm very curious. Wink

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2017-09-06, 18:56
Post: #12
RE: MQA listening test
Just a reminder that the MQA listening test closes in 48 hours. It's fun and interesting. Had my partner doing the test this morning and she heard clear differences but in one case preferred a different version than me.

If you have 30 minutes to spare give it a try:

You can download the files here:

http://www.privatebits.net/archimago/201...20Test.zip

and enter your results here:

https://freeonlinesurveys.com/s/tkKU7UPY

For the full monty and more info look here: http://archimago.blogspot.de/2017/07/int...oding.html

Last not least: MQA is gaining traction and the music industry renewed its commitment at the IFA fair in Berlin this week:

“All new releases will come out in MQA.”

Bill Gagnon, SVP Business Development at Universal Music Group.

In addition to Pioneer, Onkyo and Sony supporting the format, Rotel, Electrocompaniet & dCS will also integrate MQA. Groovers, a Korean and Deezer a French streaming service will stream MQA.

This is a worrisome development and the more that can be done to understand MQA the better. The listening test helps with this.

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2017-09-24, 22:50
Post: #13
RE: MQA listening test
Results are in...

...and it's a draw. Votes came out almost exactly 50-50 in preference.

http://archimago.blogspot.de/2017/09/mqa...rt-ii.html

Based on this small test with three samples and 83 participants any talk about significant sound differences of MQA should be meet with scepticism.

As for my own results I had picked the high-rez over the MQA in the first two cases and the MQA in the third. My partner had picked high-rez in all three cases. Turns out she was the only woman participating at all Wink

Curios to hear if anybody else her gave it a try and what the results where!

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2017-09-25, 09:44
Post: #14
RE: MQA listening test
Interesting result. 50/50 is what you’d get from a group (if it’s large enough) if they just wildly guessed, so it doesn’t say much for MQA. As you say, it’s rather worrying that so many manufacturers seem to be getting on board with it.
As far as Universal are concerned, the sceptic in me says it’s so that they can sell us the same music yet again.

Mick

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2017-10-29, 03:55
Post: #15
RE: MQA listening test
(2017-07-20 00:09)mcgillroy Wrote:  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.

There are some clear and vocal opponents to MQA; however the particular 'test/comparison' on offer here (via Archimago) states it is a MQA-like rendering ? Is that even fair -actually is isn't, but is it even meaningful at all ? (I have some CD-Like music files/formats (WAVE, FLAC) that are CD-like, but damned if I don't find WAVE so much better.

I have yet to get my ears on some MQA (Mighty Questionable Audio ? -lol) yet it would be truly spectacular if so many professionals (record labels, engineers, mixing/mastering, audiophiles etc.) have all gotten it wrong ?

I'm not sure it was originally so much as a money-making venture (as it was to offer a more genuine/realistic rendering of the music (digitally speaking)

My technical credentials are non-existent, but sensitive/critical listening skills (in the most natural sense) has served me well. By no means am I a mathematical buffoon, but I couldn't write a piece of code if I was given instructions -I don't think (lol).

In any case, what is the MQA-battering stance today (October 28, 2017). Has is lightened up or has it gained strength ?

More important to me, if I had one question would be:

"What is the finest, highest fidelity manner/method of listening to music including downloading or transferring CD to computer ?"`
(I'm aware there may be several steps including software/hardware requirements and/or recommendations)

(It took me close to 20-years before I could begin to enjoy CD/digital sound -I ain't going back to a stone carving through a plastic substrate (that I respectfully believe is not essential (for great sound)

Many thanks in advance.

pj
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2017-10-29, 07:53
Post: #16
RE: MQA listening test
Very interesting indeed.....

Bruno Putzeys - Hypex amps and Kii-3 loudspeaker fame - wrote about MQA on facebook
http://www.linkwitzlab.com/links.htm#Putzeys

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2017-10-29, 11:53
Post: #17
RE: MQA listening test
(2017-10-29 07:53)fbee Wrote:  Very interesting indeed.....

Bruno Putzeys - Hypex amps and Kii-3 loudspeaker fame - wrote about MQA on facebook
http://www.linkwitzlab.com/links.htm#Putzeys

Is there a non 'Farse-book' link ?

pj
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2017-10-29, 12:06
Post: #18
RE: MQA listening test
[/quote]

Is there a non 'Farse-book' link ?


[/quote]

No idea, I m not a member at FBook

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2017-10-29, 13:59
Post: #19
RE: MQA listening test
(2017-10-29 03:55)allhifi Wrote:  There are some clear and vocal opponents to MQA; however the particular 'test/comparison' on offer here (via Archimago) states it is a MQA-like rendering ? Is that even fair -actually is isn't, but is it even meaningful at all ? (I have some CD-Like music files/formats (WAVE, FLAC) that are CD-like, but damned if I don't find WAVE so much better.

I have yet to get my ears on some MQA (Mighty Questionable Audio ? -lol) yet it would be truly spectacular if so many professionals (record labels, engineers, mixing/mastering, audiophiles etc.) have all gotten it wrong ?

Interesting that this comes up again today. Just yesterday meet with an electroacoustics Ph.D who had papers at AES, programs audio-codecs for hearing aids etc.

He had never heard of MQA and I had asked him to look into it beforehand. Basically he shook his head and couldn't' fathom how "these people dare to go in front of a technical audience with this."

So to answer your questions: those many professionals have been either bought of or duped by MQA. Maybe both. Also define "many" - by now the list of reputable engineers and pros having publicly critiqued MQA certainly is longer than the list of those in favour of it.

As for Archimagos test I'll refer you to his own explanation:

https://archimago.blogspot.de/2017/09/mq...art-i.html

Archimagos test is the result of reverse engineering MQA. It's the best we got until MQA - 4 years old now - dares to allows controlled listening tests. But as Bob Stuart himself admitted at AES last week "no scientific listening tests have been done so far."

For the full context of this quote here is Bruno Putzneys Facebook post also mentioned above:

"This isn't a prelude to suddenly becoming active on FB but I felt I had to share this.

Yesterday there was an AES session on mastering for high resolution (whatever that is) whose highlight was a talk about the state of the loudness war, why we're still fighting it and what the final arrival of on-by-default loudness normalisation on streaming services means for mastering. It also contained a two-pronged campaign piece for MQA. During it, every classical misconception and canard about digital audio was trotted out in an amazingly short time. Interaural timing resolution, check. Pictures showing staircase waveforms, check. That old chestnut about the ear beating the Fourier uncertainty (the acoustical equivalent of saying that human observers are able to beat Heisenberg's uncertainty principle), right there.

At the end of the talk I got up to ask a scathing question and spectacularly fumbled my attack*. So for those who were wondering what I was on about, here goes. A filtering operation is a convolution of two waveforms. One is the impulse response of the filter (aka the "kernel"), the other is the signal.

A word that high res proponents of any stripe love is "blurring". The convolution point of view shows that as the "kernel" blurs the signal, so the signal blurs the kernel. As Stuart's spectral plots showed, an audio signal is a much smoother waveform than the kernel so in reality guess who's really blurring whom. And if there's no spectral energy left above the noise floor at the frequency where the filter has ring tails, the ring tails are below the noise floor too.

A second question, which I didn't even get to ask, was about the impulse response of MQA's decimation and upsampling chain as it is shown in the slide presentation. MQA's take on those filters famously allows for aliasing, so how does one even define "the" impulse response of that signal chain when its actual shape depends on when exactly it happens relative to the sampling clock (it's not time invariant). I mentioned this to my friend Bob Katz who countered "but what if there isn't any aliasing" (meaning what if no signal is present in the region that folds down). Well yes, that's the saving grace. The signal filters the kernel rather than vice versa and the shape of the transition band doesn't matter if it is in a region where there is no signal.

These folk are trying to have their cake and eat it. Either aliasing doesn't matter because there is no signal in the transition band and then the precise shape of the transition band doesn't matter either (ie the ring tails have no conceivable manifestation) or the absence of ring tails is critical because there is signal in that region and then the aliasing will result in audible components that fly in the face of MQA's transparency claims.

Doesn't that just sound like the arguments DSD folks used to make? The requirement for 100kHz bandwidth was made based on the assumption that content above 20k had an audible impact whereas the supersonic noise was excused on the grounds that it wasn't audible. What gives?

Meanwhile I'm happy to do speakers. You wouldn't believe how much impact speakers have on replay fidelity.
________
* Oh hang on, actually I started by asking if besides speculations about neuroscience and physics they had actual controlled listening trials to back their story up. Bob Stuart replied that all listening tests so far were working experiences with engineers in their studios but that no scientific listening tests have been done so far. That doesn't surprise any of us cynics but it is an astonishing admission from the man himself. Mhm, I can just see the headlines. "No Scientific Tests Were Done, Says MQA Founder"."

Source: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.p...00006606498666

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2017-10-29, 15:34
Post: #20
RE: MQA listening test
Luckily all this is of no relevance of us as MQA is very much incompatible with Linns design of Exakt and streamers.

It is effectively having to choose between a blurry lossy format and SO (or SO and Exakt).
Not a difficult one me thinks.

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