Music in the Round #84: Multichannel MQA Contacts

Sidebar 1: Contacts

MQA Limited, Latham Road, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE29 6YE, England, UK. Tel: (44) (0)1480-445678. Fax: (44) (0)1480-445686. Web:

Mytek HiFi, 148 India Street, First Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11222. Tel: (347) 384-2687. Web:

Gumbo2000's picture

Niche: Audiophilia
Micro-niche: MQA
Nano-niche: Multichannel MQA

Kal Rubinson's picture

Granted but it's in such obscure niches where one finds the gems. ;-)

Htnut1975's picture

I wasn't sure i understood the problem with room correction DSP and MQA. If the dac converts prior to sending to a processor or sends the unfolded MQA stream digitally to a processor, and suppose the processor is the unit applying room correction, what would be the issue?

Kal Rubinson's picture

But after the DAC, you have analog. So, in order to do any DSP, you would have to redigitize the signals. As a result, yes, you would have MQA but it is probable that any advantage that may be would be negated by any additional analog-to-digital-to-DSP-to-digital machinations.

mcdiamond's picture

All the USB DAC's were synchronized by WCLK in a daisy chain. How did you checked out, that there is no delay between L/R + C/LFE + SL/SR?

Kal Rubinson's picture

I didn't but I imagine that it is the reason for synchronizing the WCLK. If you suspect that there is a problem with this procedure (I have no reason to believe there is), ask Mytek.

FWIW, I erred, once or twice, in setting the CLK for one of the DACs to "Internal" and the sound was not good.

mcdiamond's picture

There is no doubt about the WLCK interconnection, that the DAC are in sync. Normal consumer OS are not able to give out a proper sync.

The question was about a constant shift between the stereo DAC.
E. g. the L/R could be earlier like the C/LFE and SL/SR are somewhere. You won't recognice it so easily, because there will be no extra distortion. Just the soundfield will be somehow different.
Was there any procedure to do?

Kal Rubinson's picture

Understand that point but there is no procedure involved as far as I know. The L/R DAC generates the CLK which is sent to the C/Sub DAC and then relayed to the SL/SR DAC. I doubt that this is a problem considering that the links were very short and any timing differences would be inordinately less than those caused by speaker placement errors on the sub-millimeter level.

Again, if you are concerned about this, ask Mytek as I am not bothered by it.

roeckj's picture

I really appreciated this column on MQA; I plan now to closely follow its commercial development.

I noticed in Manufacturers' Comments in the hard copy of Stereophile in which your column originally appeared that MQA's Bob Stuart observed that it is technically possible to perform EQ and other DSP in MQA, so I'm hoping that when multichannel MQA enabled units are ultimately sold to the public it will integrate DSP.

Multichannel DSD has the same problem. I am particularly concerned with speaker distance adjustments and bass management being only as good as the "fidelity" of the DSD to PCM conversion mechanics. Have you found a way to handle DSP purely in DSD?

Kal Rubinson's picture

I have not found an effective way to do DSP in DSD but I have also not found any significant disadvantage to DSD-to-PCM conversions.

roeckj's picture

I understand the necessity of DSD to PCM conversion when playing a multichannel SACD. But given the large file sizes, isn't more practical to stick to high resolution PCM multichannel downloads in FLAC, given that it is highly likely that the master was in DSD and the PCM conversion has already been made in the mixing process?

P.S. I really enjoy your Stereophile column; it is the first thing I look for when I open my copy of the magazine.

Kal Rubinson's picture

I am not concerned with the file size and I do not see a consistent advantage for PCM or DSD given the wide range of available resolutions.

Generally, I download in the format and resolution in which the recording was made, if that information is available.

Thanks for your comments.

egsp's picture

I have trouble understanding what the resistance to multi-channel is. Its superiority seems so obvious to me--truly glorious when well-implemented! A real advance in recorded music, IMO.

Thank you for your efforts--it seems like MC might disappear without it. I buy many of your recommended recordings, too. The 2L recordings are incredible!

PeterMrozik's picture

I acquired a copy of Reflections based on your review, and I received it yesterday. I noticed that there are a number of versions of the album in different formats, with different resolutions. It looks like the one to focus on is the 5.1 DTS-HD 24/384 copy, but I also wanted to mention that there is a lower resolution copy mastered (encoded? not certain of the appropriate verb here) in ATMOS, which should be fun to compare.
I also found to my delight that you can extract MQA encoded FLAC files, so I now have a great collection of 24/384 MQA titles to listen to on my MQA capable media player.
Interestingly, these are all on a Blu-Ray Audio disc, but they also include a copy on SACD. May I assume that the SACD version will be inferior to the 5.1 DTS-HD version or would I be in error in thinking that?
I'm very much looking forward to listening to this over the weekend. And it all of a sudden occurs to my why I might want full range speaker for my surround channels, since with this recording there is no "front" orientation, you are truly in the center of the action from what I understand.
Thanks for the recommendation. While I tracked down the winner of the Grammy for Surround recording, I also spotted that Dire Straits "Love Over Gold" is also available, one of my very favorite albums, so one of this is UPS'ing it's way to me at this very moment. Have you heard it? What did/do you think of it?


I listened to Reflections several times this weekend, what a wonderful recording! I settled on listening to the 5.1 DTS-HD version for a full listening, but experimented with the Atmos copy too. Overall, I think the Atmos copy did a slightly better job of the surround placement of instruments, but the lower resolution (96k) was a bit of a drawback when compared to the 384k DTS-HD version. I listened to the stereo MQA tracks on my Pioneer PMP and that sounded just outstanding, even on my lesser bedroom system.
There is also a SACD copy - I wonder, are there any advantages that this version may have that the ones on the Blu-Ray do not?

parnelligq's picture

I need a little advice. what are the best usb cables and hub for HIFI to connect a BlueSound vault to a PC and a DROBO? Any help is much appreciated.