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Old 08-01-17, 04:46 PM
mark-hants mark-hants is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2015
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Originally Posted by Rodney gold View Post
I think this guy on the meridian forums nailed it

The other thing is that the limited number of MQA albums on Tidal means that I've been going back and listening to old albums, which is not something I'd normally do terribly much of - I'm much more a new music kind of a guy. And part of the reason is that old albums don't always sound that flash in SQ terms ... so the MQA versions I've been listening to are just revelations.

There's a well known effect that whatever you listened to in your late teens is pretty much the defining music of your life. And part of the reason (in my case at least) is that the songs and the bands that you first heard during those impressionable years had this vivid quality to them, which - if you're into a bit of hifi - seems to get paler and paler as the decades roll by. The sheer impact of hearing Phil Collins drum his way through In The Air Tonight for the first time is never quite matched again; particularly as newer albums come out and the quality of the recording and the mastering is just so much better than anything that could be achieved in the 80s. Even when I've bought the the later hi-res versions of older albums, it was really for nostalgia's sake as they never quite recaptured the visceral quality of those first analogue listenings, IMHO.

MQA is completely different. Leaving aside the technological machinations, those old albums now have a life and an energy that instantly dragged me back to the first moment the stylus hit the vinyl and some new band exploded into my teenaged bedroom. So I've been working my way through the (limited) back catalogue on Tidal and the effect is the same, no matter how much of a muddy mess the original album was - I'm looking at you, Yessongs.

Over the last few decades of enjoying hifi, I'd come to expect that old albums are a bit like a slices of life preserved in amber - interesting, but no longer engaging in the way they were when they were new and fresh. MQA has utterly changed my view ... I don't know how it's done (alright, I kinda have an idea from tipping my toes in the shallow end of the technical descriptions), but I find the effect transformative - MQA can take a recording and turn it back into music. It's a truly stunning achievement, and Bob and team should be justly proud that they've not only improved the way new music is listened to, they've also found a way of exhuming and reinvigorating the past in a way that I didn't believe possible without a time machine.

So I'm completely convinced by the promises made about MQA. Someone should go grab Bob out of his office and stand him against the wall so we can all take turns throwing praise and accolades at the man.
I played around with a Meridian Explorer 2 a while back.

Have never really "done" digital before. 16/44 has always sounded ghastly to my ears right from the start and still now.

MQA did indeed "fix" the various forms of distortion that I could hear present in everything where the sampling rate was taken down to just 44.

The debate I see still seems to be the "16/44 is perfect because Nyquist Shannon said that it would be and therefore I am on the right side of this argument because there is mathematical proof that this is so."

No, there wasn't, and there isn't. Something that works on paper can't necessarily be replicated in the real world and it never has been. We may have got close to it, perhaps. Maybe so close that most peoples' ears will "accept" 16/44 though still wondering just why it is that very good vinyl, a dated, anachronistic and thoroughly flawed medium, can sound so marvellous in a way that 16/44 never could.

My findings - those of an improved sense of solidity in the stereo image and the lack of that horrendous crystalline glassy edge to things, especially on the fade, seem to be being mirrored in what people are hearing. It doesn't have that thing I describe as a "choppy sense of truncation" which I suspect others mean by "transients".

Basically, per the post above, it's a bit like "good analogue".

I intend buying the Mytek DAC though I might order another Explorer 2 to play around with for now as they're cheap to buy and there's a catalogue of stuff that now includes stuff that I'm familiar with.

So having stayed away from hi-fi for about 25 years believing it to have died because of the 16/44 format enforced by those wretched plastic discs, it looks like 2017 is going to be a really good year.

The return of "hi fi" and I'm really hoping that now Tidal is making MQA available to a wider audience that interest in it will pick up as people hear it and wonder "Why didn't we have this 30 years ago?"

Digital can finally hold its head up high against an analog from master-to vinyl performance. And not only that, hopefully, walk all over it and give us something genuinely new.

This isn't "about proving people wrong". I think people are right to be cynical that this may be a contrived attempt to install a proprietary format. However, some open-mindedness involving a potential acceptance that "red book" is not and *was never* "perfect" might be helpful.