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stevesancarlos

stevesancarlos Avatar



Posted: Apr 12, 2021 - 10:41pm

I'm wondering if I should buy one of the BlueSound thing-a-ma-jigs just to listen to Radio Paradise and Quobuz -in ONE ROOM, where my receiver and speakers are (and Idagio, if I take up a subscription). No, I'm not kidding. My wardrobe is an embarrassment, we don't pay for cable TV, I don't play golf, I haven't bought a mid-life crisis Jeep or Tesla... So I've got the shekels. And frankly, the Sonos Port is a bit of a disappointment, audio quality-wise.

Yeah I know, the Sonos Port supports 16/44.1 - but really, the sound quality is underwhelming, and this is with me feeding a digital signal for my receiver's superior dual DACs to handle the conversion.
BillG

BillG Avatar

Location: Left Coast
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 12, 2021 - 7:33pm

 Currawong wrote:

The normal stream has the tracks overlapping, so if this is part of the stream, it wont work with MQA, that has to have bit-perfect passthrough. 

After doing some careful listening to modern, "real" MQA (and not the batch-processing of old music which mostly seems to add bass) it sounds like the modern stuff (take Jack Johnson as an example) has been run through something akin to one of those "3D" plug-ins, as the vocals are pushed back, and there is an artificial sense of space. So, my advice is, if you want the MQA effect, just install one or another of those 3D effect plug-ins and put it on low settings. You'll get the same result, without financially supporting what amounts to a scam.



In a post below I detailed how we encode the MQA stream. Please read that. Many of your assumptions here are incorrect. 

There are a lot of strong opinions about MQA, but — as I've stated elsewhere — all that really counts is whether you enjoy RP more via MQA or via our existing FLAC stream. 


Pick the one you like and listen to that. 

Bambudist



Posted: Apr 12, 2021 - 6:02pm

 Currawong wrote:


The normal stream has the tracks overlapping, so if this is part of the stream, it wont work with MQA, that has to have bit-perfect passthrough. 

After doing some careful listening to modern, "real" MQA (and not the batch-processing of old music which mostly seems to add bass) it sounds like the modern stuff (take Jack Johnson as an example) has been run through something akin to one of those "3D" plug-ins, as the vocals are pushed back, and there is an artificial sense of space. So, my advice is, if you want the MQA effect, just install one or another of those 3D effect plug-ins and put it on low settings. You'll get the same result, without financially supporting what amounts to a scam.

Cut the scam crap.  If you don't like it, just don't use it and STFU.  Find something else to complain about. There's lots of truly bad things happening around the world. 
This is not one of them.  Jeeze...

Currawong

Currawong Avatar

Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 12, 2021 - 4:31pm

 Mikey78 wrote:
Great to hear that RP is going MQA !

Great music, even better sound !

I use a Bluesound Node 2i however I use it as a ROON endpoint, my question is will you make the MQA stream available via ROON or will you be sticking with BLUOS ?

I can obviously access via BLUOS but I like to stay inside my ROON world if possible

Thanks in advance and keep up the great work !

Cheers

Mikey



The normal stream has the tracks overlapping, so if this is part of the stream, it wont work with MQA, that has to have bit-perfect passthrough. 

After doing some careful listening to modern, "real" MQA (and not the batch-processing of old music which mostly seems to add bass) it sounds like the modern stuff (take Jack Johnson as an example) has been run through something akin to one of those "3D" plug-ins, as the vocals are pushed back, and there is an artificial sense of space. So, my advice is, if you want the MQA effect, just install one or another of those 3D effect plug-ins and put it on low settings. You'll get the same result, without financially supporting what amounts to a scam.



Bambudist



Posted: Apr 12, 2021 - 3:04pm

Love the MQA option.  Thanks for making it happen.  I love it!!  
I appreciate your not listening to the trolling naysayers about MQA.
It's cool, NOT the zombie apocalypse and the end of civilization as we know it.  ;)
scoots_mcgoo

scoots_mcgoo Avatar

Location: Portland, OR


Posted: Apr 9, 2021 - 3:05pm

After enjoying RP for many months on my NAD C658 (milestone product btw) I was startled & thrilled today to see the MQA logo displaying. Sounds stellar. After following the mqa 'controversy' in Stereophile mag for a few years now, I much rather to sit back & enjoy it. I also became a paid monthly subscriber today as a result of the MQA addition. Super duper! 
Hifiguy1752



Posted: Apr 8, 2021 - 1:57pm

MQA is fantastic! Love the sound quality - space, the final frontier. Way to go Bill & Rebecca Goldsmith for being first! And way to go BlueSound for making such excellent products for us music lovers and committed audiophiles. Thanks! Hifiguy in Vancouver, Canada.
black321

black321 Avatar

Location: An earth without maps
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 8, 2021 - 10:11am

Just saw the new MQA streams in BluOS...
Will check out the streams this weekend to see how they sound/differ. 
reneng

reneng Avatar

Location: Purmerend, The Netherlands
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 8, 2021 - 3:02am

MQA@RP
Wowww.......after last update on my Bluesound were able to listen to RP in MQA!!!
Thanks Bill and your team for making this possible.

René and Lies (music lovers from the Netherlands)
BillG

BillG Avatar

Location: Left Coast
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 6, 2021 - 2:47pm



 jbuhl wrote:


 BillG wrote:




Here’s how it will work in the future: we assemble blocks of programming as 24/96 FLAC files, from uncompressed (non-MQA) masters of the highest available bitrate — 24/192, 24/96, 24/48, or 16/44.1 —
 

Is it possible that we will get the 24/192, 24/96, 24/48 as a strait FLAC stream? Maybe Just mixed in with the current FLAC option  and maybe with a little metadata indicating bit rate?  Roon already gathers displays the current rate.  Be cool to get the higher res stuff in there as well.  How about it uncle Bill yeah huh huh.....


 
When we're ready to launch a hi-res stream, it will be available as straight FLAC as well as MQA. 

Due to the nature of how we deliver our audio, it will never be a mix of different sample rates & bit depths. Everything needs to be standardized to the same rate, probably 24/96. Even if the only master we have is 16/44.1 it will be upsampled to 24/96 and will read out as such on your DAC. 

Because we mix songs together into a continuous flow, there is absolutely no way around that. 

jbuhl

jbuhl Avatar

Location: Boulder,CO


Posted: Apr 6, 2021 - 2:23pm



 BillG wrote:




Here’s how it will work in the future: we assemble blocks of programming as 24/96 FLAC files, from uncompressed (non-MQA) masters of the highest available bitrate — 24/192, 24/96, 24/48, or 16/44.1 —
 

Is it possible that we will get the 24/192, 24/96, 24/48 as a strait FLAC stream? Maybe Just mixed in with the current FLAC option  and maybe with a little metadata indicating bit rate?  Roon already gathers displays the current rate.  Be cool to get the higher res stuff in there as well.  How about it uncle Bill yeah huh huh.....


BillG

BillG Avatar

Location: Left Coast
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 6, 2021 - 7:12am



 HFH21 wrote:


 BillG wrote:


 Mikey78 wrote:
Great to hear that RP is going MQA !

Great music, even better sound !

I use a Bluesound Node 2i however I use it as a ROON endpoint, my question is will you make the MQA stream available via ROON or will you be sticking with BLUOS ?

I can obviously access via BLUOS but I like to stay inside my ROON world if possible

Thanks in advance and keep up the great work !

Cheers

Mikey
 

MQA will be available only via BluOS-enabled hardware like your Bluesound Node. The BluOS update for that is rolling out on April 7. 
 
Excellent, so in other words, any MQA encoded tracks as supplied by the "rights holders" would only be served to BluOS enabled devices, and all other devices shall receive a straight PCM track stream from RadioParadise, unadulterated?



 
That's not quite how it works, but you're essentially correct. Our FLAC audio is straight Redbook PCM.

black321

black321 Avatar

Location: An earth without maps
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 5, 2021 - 11:31am

Some more on MQA from Benchmark, one of the better DAC manufacturers.

A LOOK INSIDE THE MQA CHAIN

To those of us who are interested in the best possible musical playback, the small details are important. The promise of "improved sound" always catches our attention.

But, at the present time, I remain skeptical of the sonic advantages of MQA and even more skeptical of its commercial viability. There is no question that MQA degrades the quality of the audio for users who do not have an MQA decoder (of course this doesn't apply to RP, as the other non-MQA streams will remain). The compatible portion of the MQA signal is equivalent to about 13 to 15 bits at a sample rate of 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz. The loss of resolution is due to down sampling, dither noise, and pseudo-random noise from the high-frequency compression channel which occupies the lower 8 to 11 bits. When fully decoded, the resolution of MQA is limited to 17 bits at 96 kHz. Miska has shown that an MQA file actually occupies more space than a lossless 96 kHz 18-bit PCM file! Why settle for 17 bits when you can have an 18-bit file in a smaller package? MQA may be promising a sonic benefit and file-size benefit that it cannot deliver!

https://benchmarkmedia.com/blo...

mob

mob Avatar

Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 3, 2021 - 6:14pm

Hi Bill,

Is there a chance/plan that MQA streaming comes to other platforms in the future other than BluOS? I appreciate MQA (although i own 16TBs of hi-res PCM) and that’s the exact reason i spend more time nowadays on Tidal than RP, honestly (but i miss the curation) ðŸ˜. I speculate that even without an unfolding DAC, MQA tracks are more accurate to the source; without altering..So, bringing MQA as a radio to the mainstream will be a revoulution, even not everyone understands/appreciates how big this is, now.

 BillG wrote:


 Mikey78 wrote:
Great to hear that RP is going MQA !

Great music, even better sound !

I use a Bluesound Node 2i however I use it as a ROON endpoint, my question is will you make the MQA stream available via ROON or will you be sticking with BLUOS ?

I can obviously access via BLUOS but I like to stay inside my ROON world if possible

Thanks in advance and keep up the great work !

Cheers

Mikey
 

MQA will be available only via BluOS-enabled hardware like your Bluesound Node. The BluOS update for that is rolling out on April 7. 
 


HFH21

HFH21 Avatar

Location: NYC
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 2, 2021 - 11:29pm



 BillG wrote:


 Mikey78 wrote:
Great to hear that RP is going MQA !

Great music, even better sound !

I use a Bluesound Node 2i however I use it as a ROON endpoint, my question is will you make the MQA stream available via ROON or will you be sticking with BLUOS ?

I can obviously access via BLUOS but I like to stay inside my ROON world if possible

Thanks in advance and keep up the great work !

Cheers

Mikey
 

MQA will be available only via BluOS-enabled hardware like your Bluesound Node. The BluOS update for that is rolling out on April 7. 
 
Excellent, so in other words, any MQA encoded tracks as supplied by the "rights holders" would only be served to BluOS enabled devices, and all other devices shall receive a straight PCM track stream from RadioParadise, unadulterated?



HFH21

HFH21 Avatar

Location: NYC
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 2, 2021 - 8:42pm



 Mikey78 wrote:
Preference wise, I guess it depends, if the FLAC is limited to 16/44.1 and the MQA is higher then yes it should sound better...
Once it's launched I'll give it a listen and see what I think.

BUT if it does sound better via BluOS and MQA then I will go that route, I'm sure RP would not go down this route if they didn't feel there was a reason to do it, and sound quality can only be the reason IMHO.

Cheers
Mikey

"Higher" is therefore better? So a number in a display, as reported by metadata in the stream is automatically "better"? This sounds exactly like the stance of TAS, or Stereophile, and based on nothing more than the go-to "subjective" take that of course can never be refuted in any way, doesn't it?

What if the reason were purely that of financial gain at the expense of consumers? In other words, what if this were a transfer of money to RP, by Bluesound, via MQA, with the ultimate goal of consumer acceptance and market monopoly?
BillG

BillG Avatar

Location: Left Coast
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 2, 2021 - 7:31pm



 HFH21 wrote:


MQA tracks simply do not play back as normal 16/44.1, however if I'm understanding you correctly, this is a non-issue because you won't be substituting any MQA encoded material for PCM on the non-Bluesound streams, is that accurate?

In other words, those of us who wish to listen to unadulterated PCM on non-Bluesound platforms can continue to do so, and you won't be mixing in any MQA garbage that standard PCM DACs would then play as a semi-crippled effective 14-bit resolution because we've refused to pay any hardware manufacturer an MQA tax?

More succinctly, the Radio Paradise FLAC streams not on Bluesound hardware will not be encoded with MQA in any way, so we won't have to be concerned with the same situation as exists currently with TIDAL and the widespread substitution of perfectly good Redbook PCM  with Master Quality Approximated?

I thank you in advance for your response and hope to remain a staunch Radio Paradise supporter.

 

Yes, you understood correctly. Our normal FLAC stream is unadulterated 16/44.1. No MQA involved at any point. 

Bluesound users will also continue to have our normal FLAC stream as an option. 
HFH21

HFH21 Avatar

Location: NYC
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 2, 2021 - 6:33pm



 BillG wrote:


 Pete_1 wrote:


 
Will this mean that many tracks will be MQA and those who choose not to use MQA equipment will still be playing MQA tracks but not unfolded?

 

No. We’re not using any MQA masters.

Here’s how it works currently: we assemble blocks of programming as 16/44.1 FLAC files. Those are then encoded into MQA. The folding/unfolding is something that happens when MQA encodes higher resolution input files into 16/44.1 output files. That whole part of their encoding isn’t utilized by our MQA stream at this time.

Here’s how it will work in the future: we assemble blocks of programming as 24/96 FLAC files, from uncompressed (non-MQA) masters of the highest available bitrate — 24/192, 24/96, 24/48, or 16/44.1 — that are then encoded, with folding, into a 16/44.1 MQA bitstream. They will also be available as uncompressed 24/96. 

In neither case will be be forcing people — like Tidal does — to play MQA streams via non-MQA DACs.  In theory, MQA files play back as normal 16/44.1 on non-MQA gear, but there are some who challenge that, and in our case it won’t be an issue.
 
MQA tracks simply do not play back as normal 16/44.1, however if I'm understanding you correctly, this is a non-issue because you won't be substituting any MQA encoded material for PCM on the non-Bluesound streams, is that accurate?

In other words, those of us who wish to listen to unadulterated PCM on non-Bluesound platforms can continue to do so, and you won't be mixing in any MQA garbage that standard PCM DACs would then play as a semi-crippled effective 14-bit resolution because we've refused to pay any hardware manufacturer an MQA tax?

More succinctly, the Radio Paradise FLAC streams not on Bluesound hardware will not be encoded with MQA in any way, so we won't have to be concerned with the same situation as exists currently with TIDAL and the widespread substitution of perfectly good Redbook PCM  with Master Quality Approximated?

I thank you in advance for your response and hope to remain a staunch Radio Paradise supporter.

Bambudist



Posted: Apr 2, 2021 - 1:29pm

Super news, I'm excited!  Thanks for thinking about your listeners and offering them options.  Just sent another donation.  Keep it up! 

We very much appreciate your continuing hard work for your listeners.



BillG

BillG Avatar

Location: Left Coast
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 2, 2021 - 5:05am



 Cebolla wrote:

 BillG wrote:
No. We’re not using any MQA masters.

Here’s how it works currently: we assemble blocks of programming as 16/44.1 FLAC files. Those are then encoded into MQA. The folding/unfolding is something that happens when MQA encodes higher resolution input files into 16/44.1 output files. That whole part of their encoding isn’t utilized by our MQA stream at this time.

Here’s how it will work in the future: we assemble blocks of programming as 24/96 FLAC files, from uncompressed (non-MQA) masters of the highest available bitrate — 24/192, 24/96, 24/48, or 16/44.1 — that are then encoded, with folding, into a 16/44.1 MQA bitstream. They will also be available as uncompressed 24/96. 
 
Is that an oversight or will the MQA encoder that you've been provided with actually only produce 16bit/44.1kHz MQA (aka MQA-CD)  from the 24bit/96kHz hi-res input, so not the expected 24bit/48kHz MQA which contain all the higher frequency data encoded in the (missing) lower 8 bits?

 

Sorry. 24/48 is correct. 
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