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Beolab 90 and MQA

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Ditlev
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Ditlev posted on Tue, Nov 6 2018 4:32 PM

I know the whole MQA discussion very quickly becomes almost religious.
But none-the-less, I was wondering if there was any way to hook up the BL90's to something like an Aurender, Bluesound or OPPO streamer with MQA support and get MQA quality sound streaming from Tidal?

Thanks!

:)
D

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Puncher
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Happy WednesdaySmile - I've spent the evening mooching around YouTube, ably assisted by Red Wine.

(As an aside to the topic in had I will say that THIS is the best YouTube find I've made in ages).

Whilst being led from video to video I came across this quote and thought it appropriate! -

 

"Audiophile is not a skill or ability it's a self appointed title that has very little meaning"

 

I rest my case Your Honour.

Ban boring signatures!

Mr 10Percent
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oli:

Carolpa:

Simpel question: why listen to example MQA if one can listen to original 24bit 96kHz PCM?

Or

What is the additional advantage of MQA other than another compression format?

 

I listen MQA on Tidal because I don't have the suffisant bandwidth to stream the full Hi Res files from Qobuz. And I find the quality of the MQA above the 16/44 CD one for the same album . If I could stream the full HiRes files, I would. It is why I switched from Qobuz to Tidal recently, even if I prefer the musical orientation of Qobuz (editorial line). It is going through Audirvana Plus software unwrapping the MQA files to feed directly the internal DAC of the Beolab 5 (connected from USB on a MacMini to SPDIF via a M2TECH bridge)

 

Hi-REs is defined as anything over CD quality. MQA is just a delivery wrapper for a hi res file. The algorithms may add or subtract something over WAV or FLAC files but that’s it. Preference what you like. 

Millemissen
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poodleboy:

THIS!!

To each his/her own, but I trust the following because Mark Waldrep has made the creation of truly high resolution products his mission, and Neil Young's site because it features Orastream variable resolution streaming.

http://aixrecords.com

https://www.neilyoungarchives.com

When the source material is anything less than high resolution, the remastered product may be great, but it is not truly high resolution. Don't believe anything because I write it, but do yourself a favor and check out the freebies for yourself. 

The blog of Mark Waldrep is one of my goto sites: http://www.realhd-audio.com/

Mark is you of the very few, who made and sell true highres files.

I have and enjoy some of his DVD/Blurays (and I am a multi channel music lover just like him).

True highres fles/24/96 are as hard to find as a needle in a haystack.

 The big companies would love to sell yet another copy of old stuff as highres-24/96 - do I trust them....no!

 

Orastream/Neil Young:

Neil Young is now ditching the former business model in favour of the latter. His hi-res audio-for-all-vision will soon be exhumed as Xstream – an adaptive streaming service that developed in collaboration with Singapore’s OraStream.

According to Young, Xstream will be “an adaptive streaming service that changes with available bandwidth. It is absolutely amazing because it is capable of complete high resolution playback. Unlike all other streaming services that are limited to playing at a single low or moderate resolution, Xstream plays at the highest quality your network condition allows at that moment and adapts as the network conditions change.”

(Source: https://darko.audio/2017/04/neil-youngs-xstream-everybody-ponos-this-is-nowhere/ )

Might be a good way to handle streaming. But will old analog sourced material (e.g.from the back catalogue of N.Y) be better if served in a 24/96 bucket - I doubt it. And N.Y is definitely an analog guy, preferring tape recording.....because of the sound of it!

IMO in the end it depends on how well the music was recorded and mastered - the bitrate and frequency range of the delievering has a lot less to say.

 

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Geoff Martin
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Ditlev:

I know the whole MQA discussion very quickly becomes almost religious.
But none-the-less, I was wondering if there was any way to hook up the BL90's to something like an Aurender, Bluesound or OPPO streamer with MQA support and get MQA quality sound streaming from Tidal?

Thanks!

:)
D

Avoiding any discussions regarding the merits or demerits of MQA:

The MQA decoding is done in the source device, and it then sends a decoded LPCM to the loudspeakers - in this case, the BL90's - via one of its digital audio inputs. Or, if your source has a reasonably good built-in DAC, then you could choose to use an analogue connection instead.

This is the same as if you were using the BL90's to play materials in any non-PCM format (like DSD) or a "compressed" format (whether lossy or not) such as FLAC, ALAC, MP3, AC-3, Ogg Vorbis, etc. etc... The decoding to LPCM has to happen before the signal is sent to the loudspeakers.

Hope this helps.

cheers

-geoff

 

poodleboy
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MM wrote: "IMO in the end it depends on how well the music was recorded and mastered - the bitrate and frequency range of the delivering has a lot less to say."

True That. Another concern that many remasters don't involve the creator, especially when they are "tuned" for the streaming companies. As Chuck D said, "if you don't own the master, the master owns you", so my appreciation for Neil Young's approach is several:

1. NY was able to keep control of his original tapes for the most part so his remasters for this site are as close to his preferences as he wanted them to be.

2. Also to MM's point, IF there is something to ultrasonics from magnetic tape recordings AND NY site captured them, THEN the XStream codec would be a reasonable way to stream to devices that can handle it. 

http://forum.orastream.com/viewtopic.php?t=25

3. I think this could be big news. The door is now open for artists to take control of their work and get paid for it by using a model like Orastream (XStream) on their own web sites, or people like us stream our owned material at full resolution with Orastream Brio application. I got to know the creators years ago when they first started in Singapore and respect them for their efforts and tenacity. 

We as customers will benefit when we can use a service to satisfy our joy in accessing everything (Spotify, etc.) and also invest a little extra to access things that are special to us and better quality or at least mastered the way the author intended. 

 

 

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Thu, Nov 8 2018 4:12 PM

The whole argument about ultrasonics ignores the fact that no microphone out there has a response anywhere near capable of recording ultrasonics. Audiophools tend to obsess over the tail end of the recording chain, wires, encoding tech, etc. while completely ignoring, often due to ignorance, the severe limitations on the front end of the recording chain.

Meanwhile, true methods to improve the subjective experience of listening to recorded music, such as multichannel audio, are usually ignored so they can obsess over wires, magic dots, and endless BS about encoding schemes. The "HD" files that sound better than a normal CD have long been discovered to have been subtly or not so subtly remastered, which again points to limitations in the front end of the recording chain. Not every piece of music is well mastered. Sony, when they rolled out SACD, it was found that contrary to what was claimed, the SACD layer was not just higher bit rate, it had been remastered as well. Sony I think deliberately made it difficult to do a direct comparison by having the standard CD resolution layer and the SACD layer at different levels.

And once again, down the rabbit hole the audio world goes.

Jeff

Beovirus victim, it's gotten to be too much to list!

Millemissen
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@Jeff

After all there are things we can agree on :-)

Unfortunately the audiophile press seems to ignore the frontend of a recording process completely.

I guess there is more money from advertisers, when golden-eared journalists write about fantastic cables and revolutionary new DACs and encoding software.

And yes, the record companies really make it difficult to compare different format versions of the same piece of music.

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Millemissen
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Geoff Martin:

The MQA decoding is done in the source device, and it then sends a decoded LPCM to the loudspeakers - in this case, the BL90's - via one of its digital audio inputs. Or, if your source has a reasonably good built-in DAC, then you could choose to use an analogue connection instead.

It is more complicated than that.

In my understanding of the MQA process, you won’t benefit (if there are any benefits!) from the MQA encoded stream, If you send the stream via a digital output to a digital input (of the BL90’s) - you will not get the full outfold.

I did some research in order to find someone, who could explain this better than what I can.

It from this site: https://support1.bluesound.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/115008645467-Sound-quality-with-digital-output

The answering guy/last post has a BlueSound Node (which was also mentioned in the op) and a set of KEF speakers (ls50w ), which - like the 90’s have an inbuilt DAC (and therefor a digital input/toslink).

‘I happen to have both the Node 2 and the KEF myself. As Tony says, if you want to feed Tidal MQA digital out, you must feed it optical to the KEF, but you will get only the first unfold to 24/96. You will need to choose fixed output and NON MQA DAC in settings. If you choose MQA DAC you will get the raw  unprocessed MQA folded stream at only 24/48. To get the benefits of a full MQA decode you will need to allow the Node 2 to do the full decoding to 24/192 and feed the analogue outputs of the Node 2 to the analogue inputs of the KEF. One might think that the additional A/D to D/A conversion would destroy the sound, but it surprisingly does not as much as you would think.‘

So I’ll stick to my initial advice of connecting the analog output of a Node to the analog input of the 90’s.

And I really doubt that there should be any problems in that soundwise - especially not compared to the unfolded MQA stream through digital connections.

Here is KEF’s take on the same question:

https://www.kefdirect.com/blog/mqa-basics

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Thu, Nov 8 2018 5:24 PM

Oh, we definitely have points we fully agree on MM. And things we don't, which is what makes life interesting. Monocultures get boring!

You pegged it, audiophile mags, like any other enthusiast press, cater to the advertisers, and most if not all "advancements" are not designed to be advancements but to make you churn your gear. And buy your media all over again. Remember the scene in the original "Men In Black" movie, where he held up this little disc? "This is the thing that's going to replace CDs. Guess I'll have to buy the White Album all over again."

It's really hard not to get completely cynical isn't it?

Jeff

Beovirus victim, it's gotten to be too much to list!

Mr 10Percent
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Ditlev:

I know the whole MQA discussion very quickly becomes almost religious.
But none-the-less, I was wondering if there was any way to hook up the BL90's to something like an Aurender, Bluesound or OPPO streamer with MQA support and get MQA quality sound streaming from Tidal?

Im in the throes of installing a Melco N1ZH60/2 (N1) Music Server to my Beolab 90s and a BV Eclipse. This is to replace a WD EX4100 NAS Server which was noisy (electrically and sonically). It chewed HDDS regularly for some reason as was very very slow in loading-up data files.

The N1 was chosen based on its pricing and flexibility. It is also seen a "THE" in-player on the market right now. I was originally attracted to Aurender N10 but the N10 is getting a little long in the tooth. The W20 has a battery internal power supply but is even older and the price point is a place where im not prepared to go right now.

The Bluesound does not have its own internal power conditioning block and at the third of the price of the N1, it only does Coax (that connect on the BL90 is reserved for the Oppo105D) and I dont think it is natively DNLA. A downside to the Melco is that the Melco App has only just been released and is unassessed. I dont want to use a 3rd party App (Linn et al) and I can confirm that the BeoApp works well.

Ive taken a lot of effort to separate my power cords from signal cables and wrap them carefully in conduit (WAF). Ive got a number of options to work through (can be linked to a Network Player (Roon, DNLA, etc...)) or can play directly either via the USB-Audio or via the network on DNLA. Each has their Pro's & Cons. Ive even stepped over to the dark-side and purchase a couple of high quality cables.

The items im going to have to work through:-

1. Getting the Eclipse Music GUI to list tracks via DNLA. Then to trigger the USB-Audio on the N1 rather than Eclipse analogue Powerlink

2. Get the N1 to play via 3rd party app, BeoApp or BL90 App to trigger USB-Audio

3. Get the N1 to download (directly) Qobuz Hi-Res.

4. Evaluate my 16/44.1 FLAC titles with Hi-Res

5. Evaluate a SOtM SMS200Ultra I have use of as Network Player (N1 becomes a high quality HDD, NetPlayer does the heavy lifting - possibly with Roon front-end)

6. Figure-out if an Audioquest Carbon 5m USB cable does anything or nothing over a 5m printer cable!!

 

Without systematically going through all these parameters, my guess is that at 16/44.1 FLAC is limiting as is the quality of the BL90 in my room. Thus when Audiophiles hear improvements (air, spaciousness, imaging, deeper bass etc...) by having new spiked feet on their separates stand or a mystical metal weight on top of their gear, I really think a lot of it is driven by the thinness of their loudspeaker systems. (opinion). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

poodleboy
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Millemissen:

Geoff Martin:

The MQA decoding is done in the source device, and it then sends a decoded LPCM to the loudspeakers - in this case, the BL90's - via one of its digital audio inputs. Or, if your source has a reasonably good built-in DAC, then you could choose to use an analogue connection instead.

It is more complicated than that.

In my understanding of the MQA process, you won’t benefit (if there are any benefits!) from the MQA encoded stream, If you send the stream via a digital output to a digital input (of the BL90’s) - you will not get the full outfold.

I did some research in order to find someone, who could explain this better than what I can.

It from this site: https://support1.bluesound.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/115008645467-Sound-quality-with-digital-output

The answering guy/last post has a BlueSound Node (which was also mentioned in the op) and a set of KEF speakers (ls50w ), which - like the 90’s have an inbuilt DAC (and therefor a digital input/toslink).

‘I happen to have both the Node 2 and the KEF myself. As Tony says, if you want to feed Tidal MQA digital out, you must feed it optical to the KEF, but you will get only the first unfold to 24/96. You will need to choose fixed output and NON MQA DAC in settings. If you choose MQA DAC you will get the raw  unprocessed MQA folded stream at only 24/48. To get the benefits of a full MQA decode you will need to allow the Node 2 to do the full decoding to 24/192 and feed the analogue outputs of the Node 2 to the analogue inputs of the KEF. One might think that the additional A/D to D/A conversion would destroy the sound, but it surprisingly does not as much as you would think.‘

So I’ll stick to my initial advice of connecting the analog output of a Node to the analog input of the 90’s.

And I really doubt that there should be any problems in that soundwise - especially not compared to the unfolded MQA stream through digital connections.

Here is KEF’s take on the same question:

https://www.kefdirect.com/blog/mqa-basics

MM

This sort of blew my mind, so would it be fair to say promoting Tidal because it uses MQA is like selling BeoLab 90 with smaller drivers and and amplifiers to those who can't tell the difference? 

I wonder what country has the best electricity?

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Thu, Nov 8 2018 10:18 PM

Millemissen:

@Jeff

After all there are things we can agree on :-)

Unfortunately the audiophile press seems to ignore the frontend of a recording process completely.

I guess there is more money from advertisers, when golden-eared journalists write about fantastic cables and revolutionary new DACs and encoding software.

And yes, the record companies really make it difficult to compare different format versions of the same piece of music.

MM

Hmmm...wrote a post yesterday agreeing with you, but it disappeared into the ether. Yes, we often disagree, but if we agreed all the time where would the fun be in that? We do agree on some things, this being one.

And you peg it perfectly, you can't make money from the front end of the chain over which you have no control, but there's good money to be made convincing people the back end is more important, especially if you're selling junk like wire and such. And to think magazines aren't driven by ad revenue, well, have a wonderful bit of oceanfront property in Nebraska to sell you.

Much of it all is to get you to either churn your equipment (definitely NOT a B&O approach) or churn your media purchases. Kind of like in the original film "Men In Black" where K says, when showing J the little alien tech disk, "this is the thing that's going to replace CD. Guess I'll have to buy the White Album again."

 

Jeff

Beovirus victim, it's gotten to be too much to list!

poodleboy
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Jeff:

Millemissen:

@Jeff

After all there are things we can agree on :-)

Unfortunately the audiophile press seems to ignore the frontend of a recording process completely.

I guess there is more money from advertisers, when golden-eared journalists write about fantastic cables and revolutionary new DACs and encoding software.

And yes, the record companies really make it difficult to compare different format versions of the same piece of music.

MM

Hmmm...wrote a post yesterday agreeing with you, but it disappeared into the ether. Yes, we often disagree, but if we agreed all the time where would the fun be in that? We do agree on some things, this being one.

And you peg it perfectly, you can't make money from the front end of the chain over which you have no control, but there's good money to be made convincing people the back end is more important, especially if you're selling junk like wire and such. And to think magazines aren't driven by ad revenue, well, have a wonderful bit of oceanfront property in Nebraska to sell you.

Much of it all is to get you to either churn your equipment (definitely NOT a B&O approach) or churn your media purchases. Kind of like in the original film "Men In Black" where K says, when showing J the little alien tech disk, "this is the thing that's going to replace CD. Guess I'll have to buy the White Album again."

Be very careful what you ask for...

Millemissen
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poodleboy:

.......to say promoting Tidal

Speaking of Tidal - it seems that (some) audiophiles are ditching Tidal nowadays

https://www.computeraudiophile.com/ca/ca-academy/definitive-guide-how-to-copy-favorites-and-playlists-from-tidal-to-qobuz-r738/

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Ulrike
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Ulrike replied on Fri, Nov 9 2018 12:22 PM

Millemissen:

Speaking of Tidal - it seems that (some) audiophiles are ditching Tidal nowadays

https://www.computeraudiophile.com/ca/ca-academy/definitive-guide-how-to-copy-favorites-and-playlists-from-tidal-to-qobuz-r738/

MM

 

Perhaps due to Qobuz soon coming US Launch. Initially carried out in closed beta.

https://www.computeraudiophile.com/forums/topic/46611-official-qobuz-issues-thread/?page=28

 

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