Master Quality Authenticated – Wikipedia

Audio codec
MQA logo Master Quality Authenticated ( MQA ) is a proprietorship audio codec using lossy compression [ 1 ] and a form of file fingerprint, intended for senior high school fidelity digital audio streaming media and music download. [ 2 ] Launched in 2014 by meridian Audio, it is now owned and licensed by MQA Ltd, which was founded by Bob Stuart, co-founder of meridian Audio .

history [edit ]

MQA was launched on 4 December 2014 at The Shard in London, [ 3 ] although the concepts underpinning the development had previously been the capable of a presentation to the Audio Engineering Society british Section ( 10 June 2014 ) [ 4 ] and a wallpaper ( published 8 October 2014 ) presented at the Audio Engineering Society 137th Convention in Los Angeles, CA in October 2014. [ 5 ]

MQA was demonstrated to visitors to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2015. [ 6 ] Several download/streaming services, playback system manufacturers and record labels have subsequently announced back for the engineering. early on adopters included Pioneer Corporation, Onkyo, Meridian Audio, 7digital, norwegian label Lindberg Lyd ( 2L ), Mytek and others. [ 7 ] Warner Music Group announced the bless of a “ long-run license cope ” with MQA at the Munich High End show in May 2016. [ 8 ] In May 2016, the Recording Industry Association of America ( RIAA ), in cooperation with the Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing, the American Association of Independent Music ( A2IM ), and DEG : The Digital Entertainment Group, announced that services providing music encoded in MQA are eligible to carry the diligence ‘s official logo notice for “ Hi-Res MUSIC ”. [ 9 ] By 2017, democratic record labels Warner Music, Universal Music and Sony Music along with independent labels ’ body Merlin had partnered with MQA to make their music available in MQA sound recording. [ 10 ] In March 2018, MQA launched “ Live ”, a virtual concert-going serve designed to preserve the master sound quality of know performances. [ 11 ] While playback will be available on any device, only devices compatible with MQA ‘s proprietorship codec may access the stream ‘s “ full quality. ” [ 11 ] In July 2019, Xiami Music adopted MQA engineering though the music service was subsequently shuttered in February 2021. [ 12 ] In March 2020, MQA partnered with the british Music Embassy to present the british artists that were to appear at the cancelled SXSW 2020. The 30-minute sets were captured in MQA sound recording and HD video. [ 13 ] In April 2021, internet radio station Radio Paradise integrated MQA into all four of its mix channels on the BluOS platform. [ 14 ]

Codec description [edit ]

MQA encoding is lossy ; [ 15 ] it hierarchically compresses the relatively little energy in the higher frequency bands into data streams that are embedded in the lower frequency bands using proprietary dithering techniques, allowing for an apparent reduction in sample distribution rate and hence file size. After a series of such “ origami ” manipulations, a dither and shape interpretation of the original audio, together with a “ touchup ” stream ( the compressed difference between the master and limited stream ), are distributed as a single 24-bit current, with the most significant bits occupied by PCM audio compatible with non-MQA playback equipment. Depending on the implementation, ampere few as 13 bits may be reserved for PCM audio, with the lower-order bits rendered as noise by equipment without an MQA decoder. [ 16 ] One more deviation to standard formats is the sampling procedure. The audio current is sampled and convolved with a triangulum function, and interpolated late during playback. The techniques employed, including the sampling of signals with a finite pace of invention, were developed by a count of researchers over the preceding ten, including Pier Luigi Dragotti and others. [ 17 ] [ 18 ] MQA-encoded capacity can be carried via any lossless file format such as FLAC or ALAC ; hence, it can be played back on systems either with or without an MQA decoder. In the latter event, the resulting audio has easily identifiable high-frequency noise occupying 3 LSB bits, frankincense limiting playback on non-MQA devices effectively to 13 sting. MQA claims that however, the quality is higher than “ convention ” 48/16, because of the fresh sampling and gyrus processes. [ 19 ] other than the sample and whirl methods, which were not explained by MQA in detail, the encoding process is like to that used in XRCD and HDCD. however, unlike other lossy compression formats like MP3 and WMA, the lossy encoding method acting of MQA is alike to aptX, LDAC and WavPack Hybrid Lossy, which uses time-domain ADPCM and bitrate reduction alternatively of perceptual encoding based on psychoacoustic models .

reception [edit ]

praise [edit ]

While the technology has received little comment in the general and mainstream press, its release was covered by the audiophile and high-fidelity press. positive reception included The Absolute Sound and Stereophile. Robert Harley, editor of The Absolute Sound has referred to it as “ The most significant audio engineering of my life ”. [ 20 ] Editor John Atkinson writing in Stereophile magazine following the UK establish in December 2014 wrote “ In about 40 years of attending audio urge events, entirely rarely have I come aside feeling that I was show at the birth of a new global. ” [ 21 ]

criticism [edit ]

MQA has received criticism from versatile sources within the music industry. An article titled Digital Done Wrong [ 22 ] on the International Audio/Video Review web locate, concluded that MQA is founded on a basically fallacious agreement of correct digital sound recording serve and found that playback of a sample MQA encoding demonstrated gross distorted shape and reconstruction failure. It did however remark that some listeners may find the technical defects of MQA encoding subjectively pleasing. Artist Neil Young has expressed dislike for the MQA format, saying the masters are “ degrade and manipulated ” when encoded to MQA and has consequently removed his music from Tidal after finding out that his catalog on the service was encoded in MQA without his license, criticizing Warner Music Group ( who owns the label that Young has released most of his catalogue through ( Reprise Records ) ) for encoding music whose masters are no better than CD-quality in MQA. He besides characterizes the format as a way to collect royalties. [ 23 ] Some critical comments have been made in on-line forums such as the Audiophile Style forum [ 24 ] and in sound recording magazine web site comments, and a few writers have expressed concern in some areas. Over 80 detail questions, some of which voiced these concerns, were submitted to the editors of the Audiophile Style forum and subsequently addressed in detail by the godhead of MQA, Bob Stuart, in an extend question-and-answer article. [ 25 ] The editors of Audiophile Style forum subsequently updated the article with a disclaimer that “ Most of Bob Stuart ‘s answers have been debunked and the MQA technology is now seen as lacking any profit for anyone other than phonograph record labels and MQA Ltd. ” [ 25 ] audio merchandise manufacturer Schiit Audio announced that it will not be supporting MQA ascribable to, amongst other reasons, the understanding that “ …supporting MQA means hand over the integral record diligence to an external standards organization. ” [ 26 ] In a blog post title “ MQA is Bad for Music. here ‘s why ” [ 27 ] Hi-fi Manufacturer Linn Products criticises MQA ‘s license requirements, asserting that MQA is “ … an try to control and extract gross from every separate of the provision chain, and not merely over contented that they hold the rights for. ” [ 27 ] After having discussed several disadvantages for both the artist and the consumer Linn concludes that as a consumer you will “ …pay a higher price for the like music, and you ‘ll pay more for your hi-fi organization besides. And even if you do n’t buy into MQA, everyone will get less initiation, creativity and poor music as a solution. ” [ 27 ] In an consultation for on-line issue Positive Feedback, engineer Andreas Koch is critical of MQA due to its lossy algorithm and compaction, along with its license requirements ; besides saying that a format such as this “ does not solve any problem that the worldly concern presently has. ” [ 28 ] Koch was involved in the initiation of the Super Audio certificate of deposit, the development of the Direct Stream Digital codec, and is co-founder of audio product manufacturer Playback Designs. A YouTube video recording examining MQA through the use of author-created sound recording tracks released on Tidal was posted by GoldenSound, an sound recording equipment commentator. [ 29 ] Through analysis of tracks before and after MQA conversion, the writer says that encoding a charge in MQA alters the sound encapsulated in the file to its detriment. The YouTuber deduced that this method acting of encoding shows MQA has been providing baseless data on how their encoding and format exercise. In response, MQA deleted the files cursorily and stated that the files supplied were not dithered but truncated 16-bit files ( meaning they were of higher snatch rate in the first place ) leading to the issues in encoding. [ 30 ] GoldenSound disputes this, saying they have tested the track both dithered and undithered. GoldenSound besides reports ineffectiveness of the fingerprinting technique. [ 29 ] [ 31 ] [ 32 ]

Hardware and software decoders [edit ]

hardware decoders are manufactured by Pioneer, iFi Audio, Onkyo, Mytek, Meridian, Cocktailaudio and Bluesound. Selected prime products will support MQA thanks to a firmware update. On software side, the desktop application by Tidal supports MQA. [ 33 ] commercial MQA-capable playback devices require requital of a royalty to MQA Ltd per unit sold. Based on information from Auralic, a manufacturer of Audiophile Wireless Audio Streamers, Meridian Audio prohibits digital end product of unpack MQA in any digital format, only allowing the unpack data to be fed to an on-board MQA-compatible DAC and output in analogue shape. Some say this to be a kind of DRM process, [ 19 ] which allows a proper MQA charge to be authenticated and the full moon timbre of the bespeak decoded merely on commercially licensed equipment. The USB Audio Player Pro software for Android has a one-off, in-app leverage by the customer to activate the MQA decoder. [ 34 ] The Roon software illustrates an alternative pay-by-use charging exemplar. It supports decoding and handling MQA files and stream end to end. [ 35 ] Comments from the COO suggest a pay-by-use charging model. [ 36 ]
CDs encoded with MQA were released entirely in Japan in 2017 with label Ottava being the inaugural to release a MQA-CD followed by other labels like Universal Music Japan soon after. [ 37 ] An MQA-CD can be played with any CD player arsenic long as a MQA decoder is connected. If not then the regular PCM audio will play rather of the higher quality sound. [ 38 ] [ 39 ] [ 40 ]

Streaming services [edit ]

Starting in January 2017, Tidal provides MQA audio to subscribers of the Tidal “ HiFi ” software. [ 41 ] Tidal Masters songs are streamed at 96 kHz/24 bit. [ 42 ] [ 43 ] The lotion of the MQA technology has helped populate stream of 2020 ’ s SXSW festival, [ 44 ] and in british Underground ’ s livestream series, The Master Sessions. [ 45 ]

References [edit ]

promote read [edit ]

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