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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Mytek Brooklyn arrives tomorrow: one of the few MQA certified DAC's on the market

I plan to connect it to Aurender X100L: according to Aurender it will pass MQA

there is a lack of MQA material: I understand there are downloads available, and high hopes of Tidal offering MQA soon...who knows

Anyone else trying this?
links for MQA material?

TIA

my current system: Aurender X100L > OPPO HA-1 (to be replaced by the Mytek) > Krell Foundation 4K > Parasound Halo amp > Focal Electras / Rythmic subs 5.2 system
 

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I think the MQA concept sounds like the idea we've been waiting for in digital playback. If we can get the record labels to join the game, we will all be the better for it. I understand Warner is already in. Norm.
 

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Excited about it, but haven't heard it yet, nor have any compatible hardware.
 

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I had a demo of MQA yesterday and it really floored me.

Doors, Riders on the Storm, a track that I must have heard hundreds of times and a favourite for demo and personal listening was just like nothing I ever heard before. it wasn't a typical hi fi type difference that is subtle and typically linked to more or less emphasis at some point, it just sounded much more natural and easier to listen to.

My immediate reaction was that it was something I would want to sit and listen to rather than do other things at the same time. I was imagining a nice two channel system for myself which is something I would normally have no interest in.

The system used was a top of the range all digital solution so no slouch with any source but really impressive with MQA.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Mytek Brooklyn

got the Mytek Brooklyn MQA DAC installed and working: very nice unit.

It does not have an external trigger in like the OPPO, and the IR control seems to be a toggle for on/off even when I use discretes: so I switch it through a Niles AC-3 switched outlet. The XLR output of the Mytek is hot so in bypass mode it overloads the processor: they give you jumpers to install to reduce the output in this case.

It runs cooler (temperature wise) than the OPPO: I had to add a USB fan to cool the OPPO: not needed with the Mytek

The Brooklyn has a toggle for MQA enabled/disabled, and the indicator changes color when MQA is detected (per the instruction manual)

now to find some MQA material to download: any links?
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
MQA success!

I found MQA sample material on http://www.2l.no/hires/ and downloaded Mozart: Violin concerto in D major - Allegroby Marianne Thorsen / Trondheim Solistene

downloaded the track to a PC: then uploaded to Aurender HDD: the Aurender is reporting 44.1 KHz 24 bit FLAC: the Mytek MQA light turned blue indicating it is MQA material being processed: it is reporting 24 bit 352.8k

sounds excellent but need time to listen/compare with MQA enabled/disabled
 

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I had a demo of MQA yesterday and it really floored me.
What was the exact nature of the demo?

So far, the only demo presented to demonstrate the claimed benefits has been MQA vs. 128kbps mp3. That might be enough to floor someone, but hardly a fair fight.
 

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Was a private visit to the Meridian Factory here in the UK. They have a central Sooloos system that runs all of the demo units across their facility so all high quality recordings. The MQA demo was not pre planned or prepared, we just happened to be sat in a nice room with a nice system providing background music to conversation. Talk turned to MQA and so we tried a few tracks.

It is really a long way from being my first time around the block with this type of stuff and as I wrote, the difference was immediately obvious. If you have been able to enjoy many 3D audio demos then you will know that their is an innate "rightness" to the effect which is much more relaxing and convincing to listen to (a key part of the Auro sales story is this effect). This was the first time I ever had a feeling like that listening to two channel.

As I explained, not the typical audiofile difference you hear swapping a cable or component just a much more lifelike and believable presentation.
 

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Was a private visit to the Meridian Factory here in the UK. They have a central Sooloos system that runs all of the demo units across their facility so all high quality recordings. The MQA demo was not pre planned or prepared, we just happened to be sat in a nice room with a nice system providing background music to conversation. Talk turned to MQA and so we tried a few tracks.

It is really a long way from being my first time around the block with this type of stuff and as I wrote, the difference was immediately obvious. If you have been able to enjoy many 3D audio demos then you will know that their is an innate "rightness" to the effect which is much more relaxing and convincing to listen to (a key part of the Auro sales story is this effect). This was the first time I ever had a feeling like that listening to two channel.

As I explained, not the typical audiofile difference you hear swapping a cable or component just a much more lifelike and believable presentation.
Did you just hear MQA-encoded content and compare that to your memory of how the song sounded in another format, on a different system? Or, did they A/B it to the same recording in another format, on the same system?
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)

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HI Guys,

I just happened to have received a demo of this content on the day that this thread was started and then posted my impressions. I did not AB test, I did not request a complete playlist nor did I supply a selection of my own vetted material. It was not my system and I had no prior experience of its performance. I listened to several interesting tracks, familiar pieces but not what I would listen to on my own time. Nice but nothing to form a conclusion on.

Riders on the Storm is a track that I like and know well from listening from dozens of sources and on dozens of systems over the years. I was immediately struck by the effect I have tried to describe a couple of times above that the presentation was distinctly better and easier to listen to than I was used to.

My feedback is nothing more than my immediate impression but I trust that my ears are pretty ok. My experience lead me to want to know more which I think is the best endorsement I can give the technology at this stage.
 

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Here is a full review done with a wide variety of content in both MQA and 'normal' formats so a true A/B can be done. He used the Mytek as well. As I expected, MQA is indeed an improvement.

http://www.digitalaudioreview.net/2016/06/an-inconvenient-truth-mqa-sounds-better/
I wouldn't take one man's opinion as fact of it being "an improvement". There are other reviewers with different opinions as to which version of the song was "better".

The problem with the review is that the reviewer can only compare the files he was given to each other on the basis of personal taste. For one, we don't know the provenance of the hi res PCM file he was given for comparison. All we know is that Meridian claims it comes from the same master. If so, then what accounts for the difference other than the "deblurring" done to the MQA version "to correct pre/post-ringing as a result of time smear from the original analog-to-digital conversion." Note that both ADC manufacturers and recording engineers are calling BS on this. Some say that there is no audible time smearing coming from the ADC. But, who should we trust...the people who have a vested interest in convincing you that there is an audible difference created by the ADC that needs to be "corrected" or the ones who have a vested interest in convincing you that they don't?

Does the MQA "deblurring" process do something other than "correcting for the flaws in the ADC" that audibly impacts the music? If so, wouldn't it be fair to say that MQA is less faithful to the original mastering than hi res PCM can be, regardless of which you might prefer? What if the recording engineer is mastering in the digital domain using hi res PCM? In that case, there wouldn't even be an ADC to correct for. If the recording engineer has achieved the sound he wants with his/her hi res PCM file and then converting that to MQA changes the sound, wouldn't that require additional work to "unchange" it to get the sound back to what he/she had approved?

I'm still very skeptical about the claims of superior sound quality, particularly when compared to the capabilities of hi res PCM. On the other hand, I really like the concept of being able to authenticate the fidelity of the copy of music for which you are paying. At least there is hope that we won't be buying someone's up-sampled CD rip, MP3, or digitized cassette recording, so long as MQA encoders don't fall into the wrong hands. Between that and the hope that maybe MQA will be the thing that finally gets recording execs to invest in higher quality production and fewer bad recording practices being used, there may still be potential in the format.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I had a major setback in my MQA testing: the USB audio ports failed on 3 expensive devices:

the Aurender X100L, the OPPO HA-1, and the Mytek Brooklyn USB audio ports all stopped working

the problem started with the Mytek connected to the Aurender: the Mytek started to output only digital noise: a reboot would restore operation for a few minutes and it would fail again: and this started to happen shortly after MQA was engaged

I used an AudioQuest Cinnamon USB 3M cable (other cables were used to rule out a cable issue)

I removed the Mytek and reconnected the OPPO (after powering down all components first): the OPPO worked fine for about 4 hours until it too stopped working

The Aurender still works from a secondary USB port to a Marantz DAC, but the USB audio port of the Aurender stopped working.

I must say the customer service I received with all 3 units was exceptional: but I am somewhat hesitant to continue testing after the units are repaired/replaced until I understand exactly what happened
 

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Here is a full review done with a wide variety of content in both MQA and 'normal' formats so a true A/B can be done. He used the Mytek as well. As I expected, MQA is indeed an improvement.

http://www.digitalaudioreview.net/2016/06/an-inconvenient-truth-mqa-sounds-better/
That is some expensive lean espresso to toggle off for a fuller creamer flavour.

If the MQA light is not visible does it still make vastly improved audio quality?

As I mentioned in another MQA thread I have listened to some content without the ideal requisite MQA hardware but a few comments proclaimed that despite that absence there will be clear audible improvement, yet I did not experience any 'POP'.

Hopefully folks double check those dynamic range numbers and ensure no level changes are afoot.

I am curious what the impressions are for those with more expensive gear than mine that do not prescribe to certain shenanigans.
 

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I had a major setback in my MQA testing: the USB audio ports failed on 3 expensive devices:

the Aurender X100L, the OPPO HA-1, and the Mytek Brooklyn USB audio ports all stopped working

the problem started with the Mytek connected to the Aurender: the Mytek started to output only digital noise: a reboot would restore operation for a few minutes and it would fail again: and this started to happen shortly after MQA was engaged

I used an AudioQuest Cinnamon USB 3M cable (other cables were used to rule out a cable issue)

I removed the Mytek and reconnected the OPPO (after powering down all components first): the OPPO worked fine for about 4 hours until it too stopped working

The Aurender still works from a secondary USB port to a Marantz DAC, but the USB audio port of the Aurender stopped working.

I must say the customer service I received with all 3 units was exceptional: but I am somewhat hesitant to continue testing after the units are repaired/replaced until I understand exactly what happened
Have you discovered the hidden secret of MQA? Not only will we have to replace all our hi-rez music files by buying MQA files. But all of our connected components without MQA will fail and we'll have to buy new ex pensive Meridian gear!:D:D
 

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Mytek people were at The High End Show Newport Beach, and gave a demo of MQA, including an instant A-B comparison using 2 tracks, Muddy Water's Folk Singer (a record I am intimately familiar with), and Steely Dan. This is show-condition report so seasoned audiophiles should know that there are limitations. Nevertheless, I've been to enough of these shows (listen "through" the limitations LOL and concentrate on factors not affected by room modes, etc.) and have some opinions.

The DAC used was Mytek Brooklyn. The provenance of the A versus B files are extremely important in these kinds of comparison, and I am assuming that Mytek has been rigorous in making sure that the masters are the same and the only difference is MQA.

Nothing new; as already reported by other seasoned pro's, the process is immediately noticeable, actually to the point that I was almost "bothered" by why the difference could be so huge. This is NOT cable difference we are talking about. The MQA file is immediately recognized to be different, less bright, grossly. Beyond the immediate difference, the audiophile in me recognized a less harsh high end, more depth to soundstage, a cleaner more focused image. Not too different from the difference between a cheap cd player and stand alone DAC, for example.

 

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Control?

Mytek people were at The High End Show Newport Beach, and gave a demo of MQA, including an instant A-B comparison using 2 tracks, Muddy Water's Folk Singer (a record I am intimately familiar with), and Steely Dan. This is show-condition report so seasoned audiophiles should know that there are limitations. Nevertheless, I've been to enough of these shows (listen "through" the limitations LOL and concentrate on factors not affected by room modes, etc.) and have some opinions.

The DAC used was Mytek Brooklyn. The provenance of the A versus B files are extremely important in these kinds of comparison, and I am assuming that Mytek has been rigorous in making sure that the masters are the same and the only difference is MQA.

Nothing new; as already reported by other seasoned pro's, the process is immediately noticeable, actually to the point that I was almost "bothered" by why the difference could be so huge. This is NOT cable difference we are talking about. The MQA file is immediately recognized to be different, less bright, grossly. Beyond the immediate difference, the audiophile in me recognized a less harsh high end, more depth to soundstage, a cleaner more focused image. Not too different from the difference between a cheap cd player and stand alone DAC, for example.
Hi Cannga,

What was the quality of the control files (bitrate, encoding etc.)

Thanks
 

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Hi Cannga,

What was the quality of the control files (bitrate, encoding etc.)

Thanks
Hi, to best of my knowledge the files were PCM, at least 24/96. For sure, they were high resolution files stored in the computer, and not streaming data. There is a reason for why I didn't stick around to ask more questions. Prior to the demo, the chap from Mytek, a very nice and helpful person, launched into one of the most interminable and awful speeches I have had to endure at shows. It was a 15 minute rambling that was about 14 minute 55 seconds too long (never trust any technical speech where the word "stuff" is used more than 5 times) and as a result I hightailed it out of town immediately after, being behind schedule big time.

Above speech did not include details of what seems to *amateur* me are two key aspects of MQA (anyone pls correct or chime in as needed):
1. It's an end to end process: best to encode MQA at very beginning of the process, where analog master is converted into digital with AD converter, and to decode MQA at the other end, prior to the final DA conversion step.
2. MQA's primary action seems to involve removal of pre and post impulse ringing. The ringing is a result of the brick wall digital filter used in the AD converter.
 
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