Tidal MQA versus Qobuz - is MQA still a sticking point for WiiM users?

ZoydWheeler

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Before I switch from Qobuz to Tidal on 10th April I need to understand something better.

Tidal MQA versus Qobuz - is MQA still a sticking point for WiiM users? How much of Tidal’s hi res catalogue is encoded using MQA? If the WiiM cannot decode MQA will the resulting quality be CD quality or better? (ie Am I better just sticking with Qobuz after all, despite the drop in price of Tidal?)
 
Before I switch from Qobuz to Tidal on 10th April I need to understand something better.

Tidal MQA versus Qobuz - is MQA still a sticking point for WiiM users? How much of Tidal’s hi res catalogue is encoded using MQA? If the WiiM cannot decode MQA will the resulting quality be CD quality or better? (ie Am I better just sticking with Qobuz after all, despite the drop in price of Tidal?)
Wiim can do the first unfold, so up to 96khz. Or just send it on to the dac, which if it can't decode mqa will effectively just deal with a 'CD quality' file.
As for quality, some might consider (distributed) sample rate to be pretty meaningless in that regard, citing recording / mastering etc. instead.
Tidal will serve flac in preference to mqa where both exist.
 
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Thank you 🙏 This is a bit clearer now.
But I’m still unclear as to which platform - Tidal or Qobuz - has the biggest library of FLAC files? ie Which is the better option for
WiiM users like myself who don’t use an external DAC that can “unfold” Tidal MQA streams? 🙏🙏🙏
 
Thank you 🙏 This is a bit clearer now.
But I’m still unclear as to which platform - Tidal or Qobuz - has the biggest library of FLAC files? ie Which is the better option for
WiiM users like myself who don’t use an external DAC that can “unfold” Tidal MQA streams? 🙏🙏🙏
Well, I guess that as Qobuz is all flac and Tidal is still some mqa then qobuz has more flac.
However, which has more of the things you want to listen to?
As for mqa, the wiim can do the first unfold if you want it to, and send that on to your dac.

My advice / opinion - don't get hung up on high sample rates or mqa, especially as mqa is gradually being phased out of tidal.
Find the platform that has what you want to listen to and has the UI and functionality you want.
And stop looking at the app / dac to check the sample rate! :)
A well recorded song sounds fantastic in "only" 44.1/16, and a bad one will still sound rubbish at 192/24.
 
Well, I guess that as Qobuz is all flac and Tidal is still some mqa then qobuz has more flac.
However, which has more of the things you want to listen to?
As for mqa, the wiim can do the first unfold if you want it to, and send that on to your dac.

My advice / opinion - don't get hung up on high sample rates or mqa, especially as mqa is gradually being phased out of tidal.
Find the platform that has what you want to listen to and has the UI and functionality you want.
And stop looking at the app / dac to check the sample rate! :)
A well recorded song sounds fantastic in "only" 44.1/16, and a bad one will still sound rubbish at 192/24.
I think in this brilliant, considered reply you’ve helped me make a useful decision. I prefer the UX of Tidal Connect over using Qobuz (either via WiiM Home or via Chromecast from the Qobuz app).

So until Qobuz Connect arrives - if ever! - I’m going to use Tidal.

Thank you! 🙏
 
You're welcome.

I merely gave you permission to do something you were probably going to do (or at least try) anyway. ;)
Obviously everyone wants "the best", whatever that might be, but simply enjoying finding / listening to music has to be right up there, surely?
So, yes, go with the UX and casting method you prefer, and sit back and relax...
 
You're welcome.

I merely gave you permission to do something you were probably going to do (or at least try) anyway. ;)
Obviously everyone wants "the best", whatever that might be, but simply enjoying finding / listening to music has to be right up there, surely?
So, yes, go with the UX and casting method you prefer, and sit back and relax...
Amen. I’m perhaps getting too hungup
on “highest bitrates” at the expense of “actually enjoying listening to music”. 😊🙏
 
Firstly, let me say that MQA had a big misunderstood. It is a great way to save space and bandwidth, keeping the core quality of hi-res recordings. What was wrong, was the mystical aura that makers wanted to give to it. There was a royalties problem also...
Also, it was not lossy in audible range, it compressed only the ultrasonic part, using some of less significant bits.
It also has its own antialias filter algorithm, giving similar but not equal results as minimum phase ones.
When delivered via 48KHz 24bit files, it made sense. When delivered on 44.1KHz 16bit files, the space reduction part is lost, and it remains the own antialias part and less than 16 bits to use, loosing i my opinion, the need to use it. 44.1KHz 16bit mqa files, are nevertheless still very good to ear an no particular problems with them.
Nowadays, Tidal has quite all files coming from hi-res masters, available in hi-res flac, many of them are still available in MQA, if the device used is not yet compatible with Flacs (not the case of WiiM).
All new editions are substantially in flac hi-res format, just few ones are mqa and this depends from the producer, non Tidal choice.
In the whole library, are still presented some mqa derived from 44.1KHz 16bit masters and delivered in such bit depth. Nothing to blame about, since they sound equally good to CD quality counterpart.
With now available network speeds, it makes less sense use mqa, the only reason could be its different antialias behavior but why don't use original hi-res and feel happy?
So, to recap, it's not true that MQA is lossy in the way of common belief and it's not as bad as depicted.
 
Firstly, let me say that MQA had a big misunderstood. It is a great way to save space and bandwidth, keeping the core quality of hi-res recordings. What was wrong, was the mystical aura that makers wanted to give to it. There was a royalties problem also...
Also, it was not lossy in audible range, it compressed only the ultrasonic part, using some of less significant bits.
It also has its own antialias filter algorithm, giving similar but not equal results as minimum phase ones.
When delivered via 48KHz 24bit files, it made sense. When delivered on 44.1KHz 16bit files, the space reduction part is lost, and it remains the own antialias part and less than 16 bits to use, loosing i my opinion, the need to use it. 44.1KHz 16bit mqa files, are nevertheless still very good to ear an no particular problems with them.
Nowadays, Tidal has quite all files coming from hi-res masters, available in hi-res flac, many of them are still available in MQA, if the device used is not yet compatible with Flacs (not the case of WiiM).
All new editions are substantially in flac hi-res format, just few ones are mqa and this depends from the producer, non Tidal choice.
In the whole library, are still presented some mqa derived from 44.1KHz 16bit masters and delivered in such bit depth. Nothing to blame about, since they sound equally good to CD quality counterpart.
With now available network speeds, it makes less sense use mqa, the only reason could be its different antialias behavior but why don't use original hi-res and feel happy?
So, to recap, it's not true that MQA is lossy in the way of common belief and it's not as bad as depicted.
Thankyou for the clear explanation. Makes more sense to me now. So it was basically developed when we didn’t have today’s broadband speeds?
 
Thankyou for the clear explanation. Makes more sense to me now. So it was basically developed when we didn’t have today’s broadband speeds?
Yes and after the increasing of networks speed, I think they tried to give it other not really clear reasons...
 
MQA really tried to make it into CD sales (when there still was such a thing), not just streaming. If somebody tells you he can squeeze extra quality into a 16 bit/44 kHz recording for those who license/buy your proprietary technology and leaving the quality untouched for those who don't, then he's lying. That's where their bad reputation came from (and right so).

Had their business been more successful if they had marketed their product as what it was, a lossy compression algorithm for HiRes audio, (possibly) surpassing uncompressed CD quality? I don't know and we are not going to find it out.

As of now I have no doubt that MQA will eventually fade away completely.
 
Had their business been more successful if they had marketed their product as what it was, a lossy compression
I agree that they should have marketed differently but to be precise, there is not lossy compression on audio bandwidth, it's lossy on ultra sonic part only.
Only MQA carried by 24-bit files, really makes more sense, since 18 bits carry the main audible information without loss and the remaining 6 less significant ones carry the ultrasonic part in a compressive manner with loss. This part contains very little information, so those bits are enough, while the other 18 are even beyond the dynamic needs of the audible part.
Don't remember how the bit are distributed on MQA 16bit carried files but even I'm skeptical about they worth, they are really sounding not bad.
 
I wonder how Tidal renders MQA files to a WiiM when the MQA is set to Off?
 
I wonder how Tidal renders MQA files to a WiiM when the MQA is set to Off?
I can answer.
If MQA is off over WiiM and fixed volume is on, external DAC recognizes anyway that it's a MQA file and does decoding and rendering. As soon any volume variation or EQ adjustments are done, external DAC stops recognizing MQA.
 
I can answer.
If MQA is off over WiiM and fixed volume is on, external DAC recognizes anyway that it's a MQA file and does decoding and rendering. As soon any volume variation or EQ adjustments are done, external DAC stops recognizing MQA.
You mean when you're using an external DAC connected to a WiiM? If so, when the external DAC doesn't support MQA, what happens?
Also, does this apply to the internal DAC of the WiiM?
 
You mean when you're using an external DAC connected to a WiiM? If so, when the external DAC doesn't support MQA, what happens?
Also, does this apply to the internal DAC of the WiiM?
The whole premise is that files have not to be modified by volume or other processes, otherwise MQA info are lost.
When WiiM is MQA disabled and the external DAC does not support MQA, since it is still transported with flac files, it is played as usual, all significant bits, 18 for 24 bit files (don't remember how is for 16 bit files), are converted with pcm to analog, without any trick.
When WiiM MQA switch is on and decode is set for WiiM in preferences , first unfold happens at WiiM stage, 44.1KHz 16bit are transformed in 88.2KHz 24bit and 48KHz 24bit, became 96KHz 24bit, before they are sent to dac, regardless it's is or not MQA. Not sure if the first unfold is made by Tidal connect app or by wiim app.
The internal DAC of WiiM is not MQA capable.
 
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