CES Begins with Hi-Res Revelations from MQA, Qobuz, and More

For John Atkinson and me, CES began with a trip to the Hi-Res Pavilion in the Las Vegas Convention Center's enormous Central Hall. John must have been a dog in a past lifetime, because his ability to find the booth in the middle of that huge glittering morass, which could be euphemistically characterized as high tech on steroids, smacked of a sixth sense.

Marc Finer (left in photo), President of the Digital Entertainment Group and Executive Producer of the Hi-Res Pavilion, began a well-attended press conference by declaring, "This isn't about Hollywood; it's about music, and the emotional connection to music…Hi-Res has achieved some major milestones." Detailed in a report issued last fall by the NPD, US sales of hi-resolution devices in dollars increased 77% since 2014, and unit sales increased by 118%. Nearly 11 million consumers were expected to shop for a hi-rez music player during the 2017 holiday season.

With phones considered the gateway device to high-resolution audio, Finer touted new, MQA-enabled mobile devices from LG and Sony. He also pointed to a Revel-equipped Lincoln Continental, which was introduced by Jim Buczskowski (right in photo), a Henry Ford Technical Fellow and Director of Research and Advanced Engineering for Ford Motor Company. Since cars serve as the main listening environment for many people, the Lincoln Continental is now equipped to stream music from Tidal and other partners.

Lest you consider streaming to be a millennial/post-millennial phenomenon, 60% of all baby boomers get their music from streaming. According to a recent MusicWatch survey, 30 million streaming customers are potential consumers of "studio quality" premium services that stream high-resolution audio.

Next, Oana Ruxandra (center in photo), Senior VP Digital Strategy and Partnerships, Universal Music Group, pointed out that younger listeners may not be audiophiles, but they definitely want deeper engagement with the artists they love. Hi-Res, she said, was the means to achieve that.

Flanking the stage of the Hi-Res Pavilion were exhibits from hi-resolution providers MQA Ltd., Astell&Kern, Audeze, AudioQuest, Audio-Technica, Bluesound, dCS, Definitive Technology, DTS, Elac, Kimber Kable, LG, Marantz, Mytek Digital, Pioneer, Onkyo, and Sony. Tidal and Qobuz, the latter being the biggest streaming service in Europe, were also on display.

Of special interest was Qobuz's revelation that they have entered the US market, and will begin streaming 1 million hi-resolution tracks (up to 24/192 FLAC) by the middle of the year. The company offers various prices for its streaming tiers, with $350/year for high-resolution and $220/year for CD quality, and includes liner notes plus their own commentary. While MQA is not yet part of their streaming plan, they do offer WAV, FLAC, and AIF downloads for the same cost that other services offer MP3 downloads. Qobuz can currently be accessed via Audirvana Plus and Android UPnP.

While I couldn't stay for any of the Hi-Res Pavilion events—panel discussions that were sponsored by the Recording Academy Producers and Engineers Wing, executive roundtables sponsored by the RIAA and MQA, and special appearances by artists—I did have a chance to cover some of the new products on display. Those reports appear elsewhere here on Stereophile.com.

COMMENTS
spacehound's picture

However,
the biggest high-res outfit in Europe (a bigger market than the USA) is not using MQA.

They are using FLAC streaming at up to 192, which is already easily streamed in most parts of Europe. My 'no better and no more expensive than average' service can stream twenty 192 WAV streams simultaneously already and could do the same for more than 30 FLAC streams. And they are increasing the existing speed by 25% in the next few days at no extra charge. The USA will eventually catch up on its infrastructure too.

And it's REAL high res, not just bit-depth reduced, lossy, and upsampled stuff like MQA is. And there are no MQA fees to pay by anyone. Or new DACs to buy.

I told you so. Often. Looks like I will be discarding my recently started three month Tidal free trial before it expires.

allhifi's picture

Uhh, good for you that "You told us so" !

Now, carry on with something meaningful to say.

pj

spacehound's picture

Everything I have posted about MQA is factual.

And facts don't depend on your approval of them.

deckeda's picture

are somehow wanting hi res, according to Universal Music Group? That must explain why lossy sales and lossy streams overwhelmingly dominate the industry.

“OK, so we’ll fly you to Vegas, where you’ll meet with folks organizing some stuff for audio dorks. Say something vacuous and pithy for a quick quote. I’ll text you the talking points.”

spacehound's picture

It's all BS from increasingly desperate people. Amusing to read though.

Who goes to CES to look at audio anyway? Only a few days ago Stereophile itself said there were hardly any 'audio' people there, neither manufacturers nor potential customers.

Lincoln Continental a popular car in the USA is it?

This is a laugh:
"30 million streaming customers are potential consumers of "studio quality" premium services that stream high-resolution audio."

That's less than the total Tidal customer base, both 'regular', which is the vast majority, and the double the price "studio quality". And Tidal has only got one percent of the streaming market.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

The Hi-Res Pavilion is in the Central Hall of the LVCC, where the majority of CES's visitors go. Their number totaled 170,000 in 2016. They may have come with automated flush toilets on their mind, but most of them were listening to music on their portable devices as they flew in and out of town and whenever they weren't texting and walking into people and cars. Those who entered the pavilion when the lights were on learned a lot.

Second correction. This is an industry show. Consumers mainly interested in high-end audio often can't get in, and instead gravitate to regional shows in their country of origin (or a huge show like Munich High End.) Exhibits in the Venetian mainly target dealers and distributors.

Yes, Qobuz has not yet moved to adopt MQA. But things take time.

spacehound's picture

Jon Iverson's "What if they gave a show and nobody came" was wrong was it?

And as for your "industry show" how is a few industry people looking at each others stands going to sell anything? And you yourself said it was hard to find.

As for Qobus why should they "move to adopt MQA" once they've already adopted FLAC, which unlike MQA is pure, unadulterated high-res and of which we can transmit multiple streams already, even over phones, though not so many multiple streams as fixed broadband.

We can only listen to one at a time after all.

And I repeat this, a quote from your report and my reply:

"30 million streaming customers are potential consumers of 'studio quality' premium services that stream high-resolution audio."

That's less than the total Tidal customer base, both 'regular', which is the vast majority, and the double the price "studio quality". And Tidal has only got one percent of the streaming market.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

The Hi-Res Pavilion is in the Central Hall of the LVCC, where the majority of CES's visitors go. Their number totaled 170,000 in 2016. This year, some may have come with automated flush toilets on their mind, but most of them were listening to music on their portable devices as they flew in and out of town and whenever they weren't texting and walking into people and cars. Those who entered the pavilion when the lights were on learned a lot.

Second correction. This is an industry show. Consumers mainly interested in high-end audio often can't get in, and instead gravitate to regional shows in their country of origin (or a huge show like Munich High End.) Exhibits in the Venetian mainly target dealers and distributors.

Yes, Qobuz has not moved to adopt MQA. But things take time. If more hardware and software companies choose to become equipped for MQA unfolding and playback, and if the majors all issue MQA-encoded files in increasing numbers, things could change.

For a video report on how MQA sounds on the dCS Vivaldi One, stay tuned. It may take some days to edit the footage.

spacehound's picture

.....and adding your own 'further opinion' about Qobus, plus introducing dCS to the pot won't change reality.

Being about to be going to high-res FLAC instead of (or as well as) 44.1 there is no logical reason for Qobus to go to MQA, which is merely an 'intermediate' step that for streaming has already missed the boat in the continent where it was developed. And the USA is not going to stay still on transmission speeds 'forever'.

As for dCS I use a Rossini. I installed their free MQA 'upgrade' last week.
At least it works properly. Unlike the Mytec Brooklyn you don't have to fool around manually in the menu to disable MQA. It it's not seeing an MQA file it goes back to non-MQA and also reverts to whatever regular' filter you have previously selected automatically. And of course it will go back to MQA when it sees the next MQA file.

Opinion.
It's all subjective of course. Down to personal preference, not 'sound quality', which means 'high fidelity' which in turn means 'accuracy'.
And nobody actually records in MQA, unlike the MQA people claimed. They just let the MQA process mess with the recording afterwards, often a very long time afterwards when there is nobody left around to 'authenticate' it.

1) Playing 'straight' high-res WAV, FLAC, or DSD sounds best.
It has to, it's all lossless and it isn't reduced in bit depth, which is also a 'loss'. MQA isn't lossless. And for those who don't hear any difference between 44.1 and hi-res, MQA included, all high-res is a waste of time money, and effort

2) Setting Tidal to do the unfold so the DAC works in its 'regular' manner is quite good. Sometimes I even prefer it - it gives a totally false 'liveliness' to some music that can be enjoyable. But all the time I am aware that that it isn't 'real'. I suspect it is down to the 'aliasing' that gets splashed across the entire audio band by MQA and which everyone on Stereophile (and TAS) don't like to talk about.

3) The full MQA process (Tidal 'passthrough') is a waste of time though it's not inferior to 44.1.

CG's picture

It's funny you should mention this. I've been pondering this for more than a week and was going to post a comment following one of the MQA analysis articles, but thought better of it. But, since you brought it up...

Think about the entire conversion process.

Imagine that you're sampling at 44.1 KHz at the analog to digital conversion end. Any signal above half that frequency will be added into the encoded bitstream of the spectrum as an "alias" below 22.05 KHz.

That's the way the process works. (A zillion references will tell you as much)

This is why a filter is (supposedly) part of the conversion process. A filter prior to the converter will reduce or eliminate energy above half the sampling frequency before conversion. Therefore, no alias signals in the encoded bitstream.

The hitch is that making a very steep analog filter that is flat with good delay response up to half the sampling frequency but then drops like a cliff above there is difficult, at best. That's a combination of the associated math as well as the limited Q of components that you can buy. In addition, component value tolerances really wreck the filter response in the real world.

One solution to this is to move the sampling frequency much higher. For example, if you go to 192 KHz then only signals above 96 KHz will be added as alias signals in the converted bitstream. I've never measured, but I've read that there's probably not much in the way of sound energy that high coming out of musical instruments. Plus, most microphones start rolling off well below that frequency, so their roll-off acts as a filter by itself. So, there's nothing there to alias, as long as you keep bats out of the room.

Anyway, the alias products in that 44.1 KHz bitstream primarily appear at the top end of the 22.05 KHz output spectrum, since the alias spectrum is inverted relative to the desired spectrum. That is, if you somehow let a 30 KHz signal be converted, the alias would be at 44.1-30 KHz , or 14.1 KHz. (Another product appears at 44.1 +30 KHz, or 74.1 KHz, but most people won't hear that...)

It should be obvious that the only alias signals that appear in the desired 20-20KHz spectrum are those that are high in frequency - like harmonics of cymbal crashes and so on. Even then, they alias into the upper reaches of the 20-20 KHz range. If there were much higher frequency signals, like 43.9 KHz, they'd appear in the bass range (44.1 - 43.9 KHz, or 200 Hz).

The same thing happens in reverse at the conversion from digital back to analog. It's possible to use a digital filter to suppress the energy above and below the 22.05 - 66.15 KHz region found in a 44.1 KHz sampling system, and most DACs do just that. How great the suppression is below 22.05 KHz is a function of the filter roll-off. (Coincidentally, the shape of that filter also determines the shape of the desired passband frequency response, too.) Note that this contrasts somewhat with having a steep filter following the actual converter. See above for why those filters aren't normally used.

But, here's the thing... The alias energy at the tinkly part of the audio band is time synchronized with the original signal, like that cymbal crash. It appears right when you'd hear the high frequency frequency harmonics, if they were actually there (like in higher sampling rate systems). These may not be true harmonics, but there's some tinkly sounds there. I have no idea how your brain perceives these tinkly sounds, but there's a decent chance that a lot of people like that and find it desirable.

I've often surmised that this was the appeal of NOS DACs that were a rage for while.

So, you have a system that takes the high frequency components legally present in high sample rate systems and pushes them around until you get similar alias patterns within the 20-20 KHz frequency range. Measurements show this. (Along with additional dithering of the noise floor, which has long been known to affect the perceived sound.)

Maybe this is ok. Everybody has their own aural perception engines that are programmed differently. Maybe it's not ok.

spacehound's picture

You have increased my knowledge. I thought it was something like that but I wasn't 100% sure.

CG's picture

"There will be no charge" - Jacques Clouseau

omasciarotte's picture

On January 11, CG wrote:

Imagine that you're sampling at 44.1 KHz at the analog to digital conversion end. Any signal above half that frequency will be added into the encoded bitstream of the spectrum as an "alias" below 22.05 KHz.

Hey CG,
Usually that is not the case, as you said: all ADCs have anti-alias filters to remove input signals above Nyquist. Granted, some ADCs feature low order or slow rolloff anti-alias filters, and those do trade off letting some aliasing components through in exchange for better temporal response (lower group delay).

Plus, most microphones start rolling off well below that frequency, so their roll-off acts as a filter by itself. So, there's nothing there to alias, as long as you keep bats out of the room.

You are right in that dynamic mics certainly have poor HF response but, for well recorded acoustic events [from 2L, Water Lily or Reference Recording as examples], there is small but significant ultrasonic energy captured in the file. If you have a highly resolving playback system, you can introduce a low pass filter and hear what those ultrasonics contribute. For me, they inform my brain about the acoustic space in which the recording was made, as well as create more true–to–life sounding transients. Also, the various analysis apps that are out there for music enthusiasts, I use MusicScope, will show you just how much signal there is past 20 kHz in a high quality HRA file.

But, here's the thing... The alias energy at the tinkly part of the audio band is time synchronized with the original signal, like that cymbal crash. It appears right when you'd hear the high frequency frequency harmonics, if they were actually there (like in higher sampling rate systems). These may not be true harmonics, but there's some tinkly sounds there. I have no idea how your brain perceives these tinkly sounds, but there's a decent chance that a lot of people like that and find it desirable.

Actually, you probably do. It’s called distortion, intermodulation distortion, and it’s distortion that’s highly correlated to the actual signal. Your brain is quite good at picking out that particular form of damage because it doesn’t appear in nature. It sounds awful, even in vanishingly small amounts.

Maybe this is ok. Everybody has their own aural perception engines that are programmed differently. Maybe it's not ok.

Yup, each to his own!

CG's picture

I think I wasn't as concise and thorough in my comment as I should've been.

Yes, you are completely right about the use of anti-alias filters. My explanation was to try to describe what alias products are and where they fall with regard to the common sampling rates.

In the case of resampling and the kinds of things MQA purports to do, the filters used for the resampling are obviously digital computation based. The MQA folks have chosen to use shallower than "brick wall" filter slopes in their design. (Not a criticism - just an observation) So, I'd think that a lot of what was originally very high frequency tones above 22.05 KHz or so would show up in the high end of the first 0-20 KHz segment.

~~~~

A couple years ago, some clones of a 70's vintage solid-state preamp became available on eBay. The guy who originally designed this preamp even commented on a web forum that he was amazed and impressed how an Asian manufacturer could produce something like it for so little money. Being curious, I bought one.

What I found was that in some ways, the sonic presentation was remarkable. Too much so. On some recordings, it bothered me.

Other people also discovered that the preamp was marginally stable and had tinkly tones above 15 KHz. That's what I saw, too.

So, I took it apart, drew a schematic of what was actually on the board and compared it to the original JC-2 schematic. It seems that a part was missing. I modeled it in LTSpice and was able to reproduce the problem pretty easily. Adding the missing compensation capacitor fixed everything up.

Real life even followed the theory. Amazing.

I then found an official schematic for the preamp I bought. At one time, there apparently was a compensation cap in the right place of close to the right value. A note in the schematic was to not install the cap, since it hurt the sound.

These tinkly tones weren't exactly IMD products, but certainly were time synchronous with actual music being played. That shows that some people like this effect. As you said, each to his own!

omasciarotte's picture

On January 18, CG wrote:
…The MQA folks have chosen to use shallower than "brick wall" filter slopes in their design. (Not a criticism - just an observation) So, I'd think that a lot of what was originally very high frequency tones above 22.05 KHz or so would show up in the high end of the first 0-20 KHz segment.

Yup, that’s possible assuming that the ADC used was MQA-equipped. If not, then an industry standard MI or pro ADC would have been used, with its own anti-aliasing filter. Any aliasing would have been “baked in,” along with the group delay, (Gibbs) ringing and other “color” inherent in the digitizing process. Unless I’m mistaken, only Mytek Digital has recently shipped an MQA–enabled ADC, so the number of files available to consumers that were digitized via MQA ADCs is vanishingly small.

Though not germane, MQA encoding attempts to compensate for those first two sources of distortion, but does not address aliasing. MQA’s anti–image filter attempts to counteract those two factors in the reciprocal D/A process. Also, MI & pro ADCs generally go with standard, high slope anti–aliasing filter topologies due to (gasp) cost. So much for “pro” performance. ;) One only gets to choose flavors of anti-image filters, like slow roll or low group delay, in better quality CE DACs.

A couple years ago, some clones of a 70's vintage solid-state preamp became available on eBay…I found was that in some ways, the sonic presentation was remarkable. Too much so. On some recordings, it bothered me.

Other people also discovered that the preamp was marginally stable and had tinkly tones above 15 KHz. That's what I saw, too…Adding the missing compensation capacitor fixed everything up…

These tinkly tones weren't exactly IMD products, but certainly were time synchronous with actual music being played. That shows that some people like this effect. As you said, each to his own!

Fer sure! One dude’s ringing is another dude’s sparkle. Ain’t cost cutting great? Those tinkly tones were most likely extended ringing; undamped oscillation resulting from a seriously under–compensated gain stage. I used to work at an MCI/Sony beta site, and received a then new Sony mixing desk that sounded dark and wooly. A walk through the schematic revealed the use of over–compensation (!) to prevent oscillation no matter what. I replaced those compensation caps in the first few strips with less draconian values. After it’s maiden voyage on a John Mellencamp remote, I was told that the producer thought those first few strips sounded great, but the rest - not so much. As a result, the whole record had been recorded through the mod’d circuitry.

CG's picture

Let me try again.

I was only discussing aliasing as an example to explain how the process works.

I'll never do that again. Promise.

With high resolution masters, tones above 22.05 KHz are encoded into the digital stream. That's part of the process, right? Part of the point?

When you start moving these bands all around, you use digital filters to limit what is inside each of the bands. If the filters don't adequately suppress signals outside each band, these tones will land someplace you might not want them to. Just like alias tones from the A-D process. In fact, the results are fairly similar.

~~~~~

The high frequency tinkly stuff in that preamp example was the product of instability, which could potentially cause ringing, as you suggest. Upon measurement and analysis, the phase margin was way less than 40 degrees. Maybe not the best situation.

From the official preamp manufacturer schematic, it was made clear that the proper compensation was compromised by choice, based on the sonics. I don't really think that they were really trying to save on a single 5 cent cap per channel. They could've easily charged a buck more for the preamp, with nobody ever saying a word, to more than recoup the capacitor cost.

tonykaz's picture

Lincoln is quite popular. It's a quiet Car.

I'm certain that the entire Automotive Industry is aware of the marketing benefit behind branding their High-rez interiors for commuting customers who do the lion's share of their listening in their Cars. Now it might be with their smart phones.

Perhaps I should remind that the Car Dealers sell more HighRez audio gear than anyone else, far more, except that we suddenly have competition from phones. whew, it's a dog-eat-dog world out there.

Progress in the form of MQA is better ( for most of the World's population ) , it's uncertainly better for the argumentative and nitchy Audiophile, like us.

The "Big Tent" at CES is something that would blow you away. It's one hell of a Show. ( bring your ear plugs )

Heat Wave in thawing-out Michigan

tonykaz's picture

Lincoln is quite popular. It's a quiet Car.

I'm certain that the entire Automotive Industry is aware of the marketing benefit behind branding their High-rez interiors for commuting customers who do the lion's share of their listening in their Cars. Now it might be with their smart phones.

Perhaps I should remind that the Car Dealers sell more HighRez audio gear than anyone else, far more, except that we suddenly have competition from phones. whew, it's a dog-eat-dog world out there.

Progress in the form of MQA is better ( for most of the World's population ) , it's uncertainly better for the argumentative and nitchy Audiophile, like us.

The "Big Tent" at CES is something that would blow you away. It's one hell of a Show. ( bring your ear plugs )

Heat Wave in thawing-out Michigan

spacehound's picture

It's an intermediate process before the inevitable 44.1 and above 'regular' streaming appears. It's already available in Europe.

Cars.

I wouln'ts say no to a 1960s 'President type' black convertible Lincoln, without the platform for the security men which would be a bit 'over the top' at the supermarket.

Or a 1930s Cord or Duisenberg. The rest you can keep :):)

I could have had the 'Burmester' audio option in my Mercedes but as it only came as a package with the 'magic roof' which I didn't want I didn't bother.

-Rudy-'s picture

UMG can't even press a set of vinyl discs without screwing them up. If the mastering isn't poor, the discs are pressed on the cheap and are full of defects. UMG is not the type of company I would trust to get high-res right either. Pushing mqa is proof of that...

deckeda's picture

... did a fine job of pressing Rufus Wainwright’s "Out of the Game" on 2 LPs, if you didn't mind Side 3 actually being Side 3 of Florence + The Machine's "Ceremonials."

That was a fun one to explain to the record store. All I wanted was to exchange it, but insisted on the store opening up another copy. To their credit, they did so even though it meant eating every copy since labels no longer take back stock. They couldn't find a copy that wasn't also screwed up.

I've always wondered if customers who bought Ceremonials LP got what they expected.

Of course, all of this is also on United's shoulders just as much as it is for UMG being deaf to core production problems like this. There wasn't even a way to email anyone at Decca about the problem. It's like making a computer program that you can't envision ever being bad, you don't make a way to fix it, either.

AJ's picture
Quote:

US sales of hi-resolution devices in dollars increased 77% since 2014, and unit sales increased by 118%. Nearly 11 million consumers were expected to shop for a hi-rez music player during the 2017 holiday season.

I wonder how many people buying say, a LG V30 phone for example, are buying it as a latest and greatest "Phone", with a really good camera, email, texting and internet capability, etc, etc, etc.....rather than a "Hi Rez"/MQA music player??
Hmmmm....

spacehound's picture

And the Android ones, which are in the great majority, are all Samsung ones or cheap ones of 'minor' makes.

Not a single one is made by LG, not even the cheap ones, and LG has a vanishingly small share of the European market. I'm eccentric enough to have purchased a Chord Mojo to attach to mine, though I mostly bought it to use in my car which doesn't have a digital audio input, only a notably insensitive analog one so it needed a DAC which has a high output, thus the Mojo. That doesn't do MQA and I doubt anything Chord ever will as their well-known chief designer, Robert Watts (not known as 'Bob') is very much against it.

None of the people I know have the slightest interest in sound quality. My wife, who came complete with a Sony music system and a huge pile of pirated CDs from her son, had the two speakers on top of each other as she doesn't know or care what 'stereo' is.

None of them, some in their teens, have ever heard of Tidal or MQA, though some use the free, advertising supported, version of Spotify, whose advertising is not excessively intrusive.

Therefore to me anyone who thinks MQA will 'get off the ground' via mobile streaming is in cloud cuckoo land.

I suspect Stuart knows it too, which is why MQA now seems to be focused on the home hifi market, to which his original publicity paid almost zero attention. He hadn't made up the term "deblurring" then either :):)

AJ's picture

I have an LG V20. LG sells plenty phones here. You may want to chill a bit, your anti-MQA fervor here is a bit over the top.
Leave the rabid foaming at the mouth stuff to believers, try to comport yourself a bit more calmly, on the rational side, we're with you on this.
Peace.

spacehound's picture

It's a response to the constant pushing of MQA by the Stereophile staff and their refusal to comment on its known and proven failings/false claims.

But I am getting bored with it.

John Atkinson's picture
spacehound wrote:
I am getting bored with it.

:-)

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

spacehound's picture

:-) :-) :-)

ok's picture

Watching Jason’s saga of MQA-related show reports I found myself dreaming of catchy titles such as “The Empire Strikes Back” (appealing to anti-MQA resistance fighters), “Revenge of the Filth” (for hi-end purists), “The Alias Menace” (for "spacehound" exclusively - no offence man!) etc. Ok, just a thought..

dclark2171's picture

I cannot think of any reason, outside being compensated from the MQA group, for Qobuz to go MQA. MQA files, as they stand now, are too big to stream thru a cellular network anyway without reaching your carrier's bandwidth limit before throttling. Qobuz streams fine (even with 24/192) with general DSL/Cable internet. Plus, one needs special equipment/software to play full benefit of MQA. It's been a year and TIDAL still has a limited selection. Where pretty much anything available as a hi rez title somewhere is available as a hi rez stream on Qobuz. NOW, if the recording groups who are teaming with the MQA people decide to stop releasing non-MQA hi rez content and only go MQA, then something may change.

ednazarko's picture

Kohler was showing an internet-connected, Alexa based, voice command toilet, and it also plays streaming music. Did anyone get over there to check if it's MQA, or even high res?

-Rudy-'s picture

Maybe American Standard will make a competing model. Pure high-res, though. With the mqa logo baked right into the porcelain as a "target." ;) Although I feel some sort of articulating LCD screen would be a better bet, as I prefer to read when I'm in the "reading room"...

eatatjoes's picture

I read through the comments here and am at a loss to go out and buy a service or a device to feed powered speakers with internet based streams. Can someone bring this down to earth please? I am a consumer and ready to buy, right now. I have ATC speakers and a good internet connection.

-Rudy-'s picture

Shoving mqa down our throats...again? It's hard to believe any of the high end press in all this since at every turn, we are being continuously force-fed their opinions on how great mqa is. For most of us consumers, once again, it is an answer to a question that nobody has asked. I can stream Qobuz in full high-res without being fed some lossy equivalent that only the high-end press seems enthused about. (Manufacturers and record labels, of course, add support because they are not going to be outdone by competition; pure marketing.)

It also helps none that any time bob stuart's or mqa's feet are held over the fire, they run away, cowering. They will do controlled interviews or release white papers are way too wordy, verbose and full of technobabble that none of us really want to take time to wade through--give us the tl;dr version, and quit running away and hiding any time you're challenged (*cough* RMAF *cough*).

We (the consumers) smell a rat...multiple rats...and we're tired of having mqa shoved down our gullets any time this topic hits our newsfeeds. Remember, it is only the opinion of the high-end press that mqa is better; it is not a fact, fellow consumers.

Lighten up already. It's getting old.

John Atkinson's picture
-Rudy- wrote:
Shoving mqa down our throats...again?

This was the news at CES on the first day. Would you prefer we censor what you don't want to read?

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

tjf's picture

-- this rabid anti-mqa stuff brings me back to the days of the audiophile press distrust of CD back in the early 80's: "perfect sound forever", etc., etc., etc....
-- lots of high end mags and their reader's comments claiming CD's to be the devil's spawn and/or technically flawed...
-- here it is 30 years on and we're seeing it all over again...
-- arguments against Bob Stuart's evil plan for domination of the world's music delivery systems, tech criticisms of mqa's "lossy" encode designs, etc., etc., etc....

It's just another step in the evolution of media access, trading tech perfection for convenience - convenience wins every one of these contests...it's the future already -- get used to it...

Stop the "King Canute" play acting: trying to hold back the "ocean of tech commerce" & corporate (Warner, Universal, Sony,etc.) profits...
That ocean will never recede...

ToeJam's picture

Part of my subscription’s value is that the learned, experienced, and connected inform me about new developments in the business. MQA is certainly an appropriate topic, and it’s omission would be irresponsible.

What I find boring are the crass attempts to denigrate the topic and the editors.

spacehound's picture

That with 192 FLAC streaming readily available in most 'civilised' countries the lossy, bit-depth reducing, 96K maximum, damaging alias creating (all of which are proven) MQA is a backward step.

And the magazine editors such as John Atkinson, not bein stupid, must know it.

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