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MQA and bang&olufsen

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paolomariano
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paolomariano posted on Sat, Jan 7 2017 10:17 AM
Tidal has just started offering MQA streaming. I have a question. If I stream music in mqa format from my notebook and then stream it to the Apple TV (via airplay) which is connected to my bv10 and bl12-3, will I take advantage of the mqa format? Unsure

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Millemissen
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No, you won't.

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

paolomariano
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Ok, thanks.

So, what should I do to take advantage of the upgraded quality?
Millemissen
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You will need an end point, that is MQA compatible and feed the analog-out into your receiver (or the BV10 in your case).

This would mean a cable from your notebook (assuming that the application is MQA capable and the sound setting is properly configured). 

This is tricky! Maybe you should try reading about the stuff - here and elsewhere:

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f22-networking-networked-audio-and-streaming/tidal-master-mqa-tidal-27528/

 

And (IMO) you should think about, what you would gain from it?

There are very few real 24/96(192) files available - upconverting from convenient studio material and older analog sources does not make them 'highres'.

Besides, I doubt that you - in any case - would hear any (!) difference with your setup.

 

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

CB
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CB replied on Sat, Jan 7 2017 11:48 AM

Hi Paolo Mariano

You should always avoid multiple convertions.

MQA is 24bits/96kHz

AirPlay is "limited" to CD-quality audio 16bits/44.1kHz (although it can handle 16bits/48kHz with the Apple TV)

--> you'd better stream with DLNA, not AirPlay

Make a trial first to "see" if you hear any difference...

 

Millemissen
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@CB 

You won't be able to stream Tidal content via DLNA.

MM

 

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

ssbrig
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If you're interested in playing back MQA files, consider obtaining a Bluesound streaming device.  Bluesound has the MQA decoder and plays MQA files and streams MQA via Tidal. The sound quality from MQA files is incredible - you will certainly hear a difference.  I have the Node connected to the 2014 Avant and use Bluesound to stream my music library, Tidal, Spotify, Radio Paradise, etc. 

paolomariano
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Thank you ssbrig!!

So, let me understand... as far as I know, according to tidal website, the streaming of mqa music is possible only using a personal computer. So, I should use one and then what? Once I own a bluesound then I can stream from the notebook to the bluesound which is connected to my system?

Please be patient with me. I am not an expert! Smile
ssbrig
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You'd have to confirm with Tidal and/or Bluesound...but if you line in from your computer to the Bluesound device, you theoretically should be able to get the music from your computer through Bluesound to your speakers. Both the Tidal app and Bluesound have MQA decoders so the handshake should follow through but again, you'd have to confirm with Tidal and/or Bluesound.  Aside from Tidal, if you have MQA files in your personal music library, Bluesound is an excellent player to enjoy the format

Millemissen
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You can use any software or hardware, that is MQA-enabled (they have to pay licenses to Meridian for that).

Bluesound supports MQA-decoding directly.

You should be able to use the Tidal app of the device - according to their website (and Tidal).

No need for your computer to run.

Connect the analog outputs of the Bluesound device to an analog input on your BV10.

Once you have configured the input on the tv/assigned it to a button on the remote AND you have started the playback from the Bluesound (Node2)/Tidal Highres, you will be able to hear the sound.

It probably won't work using the digital-outs (?).

 

MQA is a technology/a software that makes it possible to reduce the data, when digital higres files must be streamed over the internet.

It is - as such - pretty clever, but don't forget, that it can not make the sound better. What initially was in the files, is all that you get from them at home.

 

Tidal and the record companies claim, that they have access to (over) 30.000 highres files.

However, most of these files are upconverted from earlier versions - it would take years to find the original files/the analog tapes and master these again

Even if a recording is made in 24/96 (mostly 24/48 is used) a lot of these 'bits' are used during the mixing/the processing of the files, before the actual product for mastering is ready. Often more bits again are 'lost' during the final mastering for the delivery.

Recording in 24 bits is actually necsessary for having enough bits to process the files afterwards.

Most convenient audio products ends up with 8 or 10 bits, before they are converted to e.g. CD-quality (16/44.1), which in 99.999999% of the actual listening situations does not matter - the S/N ratio is low enough. Having the actual 16 bits of the CD would be more than fine - for the human hearing.....and for our playback gear.

The 96 or 192 kHz also helps a lot, beause it is much easier to handle the digital to analog convertion this way - it makes filtering much easier/preciser, when processing for mastering.

Do also remember, that human beings aren't capable of hearing anything above approx 22kHz - mostly (especially when you aren't young anymore) your hearing stops at a much lower level.

 

Often old master tapes (analog tapes) are used for these socalled highres files.

The problem however, is that they rarely are 1. generation master tapes - often even 3rd gen.

Each time you/they copy an analog tape, the sound quality decreases. Not seldom - in the earlier days - the initial tapes were overdubbed several times, they copied tracks from another tape onto them.

Usually the S/N ratio of these tapes (if they are good and played back on a good tape machine) is similar to a 10-12 bit digital recording.

During copying and the playback of the tapes a lot of the high frequenzies are lost.

You can not get anything near a genuine 24/96 digital recording from old master tapes.

Apart from all this - only very few loudspeakers would be capable of reproducing these higher frequenzies (if they were there).

 

Of course the record companies/right holders want to sell their products (once again). They have tried to sell us (the socalled) highres files as download for many years now - which did not really succeed on a wider scale.

A technology - like MQA - for streaming,  that makes it possible to shrink and stream these big  'highres' files using lower bandwith, is of course very welcome in the headquarters of the record companies.

 

If you consider, that you for the most part are paying for empty bits, you should consider, whether you are the one to fill the moneybags of the record company shareholders.

And the gear-makers are highly excited - time for selling us new hardware ;-)

For Tidal this certainly is a way to stand out against the competition - it is up to you, whether you want to pay the (over)price, they certainly will demand after a while or not.

 

On a sidenote:

Meridian speaks of 'master or studio quality' - these guys are clever!

They know that 'master/studio quality' does not have to be equal 24/96(192).

All they promise is, that their technology can transport, what is put into the stream, at a lower bandwith, than if it was not MQA-encoded.

 

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Barry Santini
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You are correct MM, except that MQA encoded masters of non-hi-res native digital content can sound better through their reduction in time smearing. It is not the frequency response of human hearing that is what hi res content > 44.1khz is about. It is about ultrasonics and timing. Psychoacoustics is beginning just now to first really appreciate how sensitive human audio perception is to subtle timing issues.

B
Millemissen
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Still - if it wasn't captured in the first place, it won't be there, when delievered to the listener.

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Millemissen
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Those, who are interested in digging deeper into the MQA-thingy, I can highly recommend reading 

Archimago's posting here:

http://archimago.blogspot.de/2016/02/measurements-impressions-meridian.html

And do read the comment section as well.

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Sat, Jan 7 2017 11:03 PM

Barry Santini:
You are correct MM, except that MQA encoded masters of non-hi-res native digital content can sound better through their reduction in time smearing. It is not the frequency response of human hearing that is what hi res content > 44.1khz is about. It is about ultrasonics and timing. Psychoacoustics is beginning just now to first really appreciate how sensitive human audio perception is to subtle timing issues.

 

B

Un huh...and let me know when Elvis gets here.

Jeff

I'm afraid I'm recovering from the BeoVirus. Sad

ssbrig
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ssbrig replied on Sat, Jan 7 2017 11:21 PM

Paolo is referencing what Tidal has stated in their press release and on their site (quoted below) - that MQA files will only play through their desktop app - which is why the question was posted about how to go from a computer to the B&O speakers..  While you can stream Tidal (and many other streaming statins/serfices) through Bluesound, the Tidal service in Bluesound is not streaming MQA files at this time - at least not in the USA.  . 

"All you need is a TIDAL HiFi membership to access thousands of master-quality albums only through the TIDAL desktop application."

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