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Author Topic: MQA SQ and Albums  (Read 1017 times)
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briefremarks
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« on: December 31, 2017, 11:28:26 pm »

First, thanks Peter for all the work on MQA.  XXHE with Tidal is much easier to use than I had anticipated initially, and the added bonus of "unfolding" and playing MQA albums has been fantastic.

Almost all the MQA albums I have tried are better than the straight 16/44 CD versions.  Some MQA albums I have tried that sound really good.

Nick Drake (Five Leaves Left, Bryter Layter, Pink Moon)
Joni Mitchell (Blue, Court and Spark)
Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin, II, III, IV)
Eagles (Eagles, Hotel California)
Carlos Kleiber and Wiener Philharmoniker (Beethoven 5th and 7th)
Cassandra Wilson (New Moon Daughter)

I have not had to change settings specifically for MQA albums.

Happy New Year everyone, and looking forward to more music in our lives.

Thanks for all the work Peter!! It's been a great year.
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Audio PC: Stealth III PC; RAM-OS W10 14393.0. 
XXHE version 2.10c.
Music Server: XXHE PC, RDC to Audio PC
XXHE settings: Q1 30x10, Q3/4/5 1/1/1, SFS 140.19 (Max 140.19), Clock Res 15ms, Core Scheme:3-5, Driver Buffer 16ms, Balanced Load 35, Nervous Rate 10.
Audio PC -> Lush^2 USB cable (A:W&B and Y&R; B: W&B -> NOS1(a,75B, G3) -> Blaxius cables (BNC) -> Orelo Mk II active speakers
PeterSt
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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2018, 10:54:11 am »

Thank you, Ramesh.
Happy new year to you too !

Regards,
Peter
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For the Stealth III LPS PC :
W10-14393.0 - August 18, 2018 (2.10)
XXHighEnd Mach *III* Stealth LPS PC -> *Xeon Scalable 14/28 core* with Hyperthreading On (*set to 10/20 cores*) @~660MHz, 48GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 14393.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 30/-/1/1/1/ Q1Factor = 10 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 15ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = *140.19*  (max 140.19) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / Stop Desktop, Remaining, WASAPI and W10 services / Use Remote Desktop / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD Off (!) / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *35* / Nervous Rate = 10 / Cool when Idle = n.a / Provide Stable Power = 0 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = Optimal / Time Stability = Stable / *Arc Prediction Filtering (16x)* / Always Clear Proxy before Playback = On -> USB3 from MoBo -> *Lush^2 A: B-W & Y-R, B: B-W* USB 1m00 -> Phisolator 24/768 Phasure NOS1a/G3 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (16ms) -> B'ASS Current Amplifier -> Blaxius Interlink -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere (also from the PC).

For a general PC :
W10-10586.0 - May 2016 (2.05+)
*XXHighEnd PC -> I7 3930k with Hyperthreading On (12 cores)* @~500MHz, 16GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 10586.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = 1 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 1ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = 0.10  (max 60) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / All Services Off / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD On / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *43* / Nervous Rate = 1 / Cool when Idle = 1 / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = *Optimal* / Time Stability = *Stable* / Custom Filter *Low* 705600 / -> USB3 *from MoBo* -> Clairixa USB 15cm -> Intona Isolator -> Clairixa USB 1m80 -> 24/768 Phasure NOS1a 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (4ms) -> Blaxius BNC interlink *-> B'ASS Current Amplifier /w Level4 -> Blaxius Interlink* -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere.

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hudesigns
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2018, 05:52:39 pm »

Peter,
This post is intended as a record of my latest observation of the SQ difference between MQA and redbook formats of same music tracks from Tidal using a MQA enabled DAC, in my case iFi iDAC2 (32/384) with firmware 5.3  Here is the setup:

Music tracks:
Black Sheep from Natalie Merchant / Natalie Merchant
https://tidal.com/album/28901976 (MQA)
https://tidal.com/album/68592840 (redbook)

MQA playback:
XXHE settings - volume 0.0, ArcPrediction OFF, Custom OFF, fx OFF, NO upsampling. DAC indicates MQA stream.

Redbook playback:
XXHE settings - volume 0.0, ArcPrediction ON, Custom OFF, fx ON, upsampling 384000 MHz. DAC indicates PCM 384000 MHz stream.

SQ observations:

MQA:
1. bass extended to lower register, softer, more natural and more articulate.
2. vocal has more character, sounds more human, more particular.
3. more natural timbre in high frequencies. You feel you can almost hear the spits when sax is blowing.

Redbook:
All the above 3 qualities become less distinctive. Bass is more boomy, singer's voice has less a sense of being generated by a particular vocal chord. The whole presentation seems more generalized.

Best,
Zheng
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XXHighEnd PC -> I5-4460 (4 cores), @800Mhz, 24GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 10586.0 - Windows system, XXHE and XXHEdata on M.2 SSD on MoBo - Other temp folders on 2.5" internal SSD / XXHighEnd 2.10c, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = 1 / ClockRes = 1ms / SFS = 20.19  (max 60) / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 1-3 / UnAttended / Stop Desktop, Remaining, WASAPI and W10 services / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper Off / OSD Off / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = 49 / Nervous Rate = 10 / Cool when Idle = 1 / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Custom Filter second High 705600-> USB3 from MoBo -> Modified USB3 "Y" cable -> 32/384 async USB DAC iFi iDAC2 (in bit-perfect NOS mode) powered by battery--->

Setup 1: Fisher 80 mono preamplifiers -> 8417 (in triode mode) push pull mono amps -> Bi-wire with Naim NAC A5 speaker cable for woofer and military grade silver alloy cable to tweeter -> Linn Kan II speakers

Setup 2: Audio Research SP-3 preamplifier -> 45 (globe) single ended mono amps -> Altec 604e speakers
PeterSt
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« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2018, 06:16:35 pm »

Hi Zheng - Thank you for sharing this.

Now, assumed your observations are most distinct, what about :

MQA Playback:
XXHE settings, volume to what you want, Arc Prediction On, Upsampling 384000MHz, Decode MQA = Yes.

Now you will be comparing the MQA filters in the MQA DAC (you already listened to that) with the filters in XXHE, both situations MQA decoded.
If you like of course ...

Best regards,
Peter
Logged

For the Stealth III LPS PC :
W10-14393.0 - August 18, 2018 (2.10)
XXHighEnd Mach *III* Stealth LPS PC -> *Xeon Scalable 14/28 core* with Hyperthreading On (*set to 10/20 cores*) @~660MHz, 48GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 14393.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 30/-/1/1/1/ Q1Factor = 10 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 15ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = *140.19*  (max 140.19) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / Stop Desktop, Remaining, WASAPI and W10 services / Use Remote Desktop / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD Off (!) / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *35* / Nervous Rate = 10 / Cool when Idle = n.a / Provide Stable Power = 0 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = Optimal / Time Stability = Stable / *Arc Prediction Filtering (16x)* / Always Clear Proxy before Playback = On -> USB3 from MoBo -> *Lush^2 A: B-W & Y-R, B: B-W* USB 1m00 -> Phisolator 24/768 Phasure NOS1a/G3 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (16ms) -> B'ASS Current Amplifier -> Blaxius Interlink -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere (also from the PC).

For a general PC :
W10-10586.0 - May 2016 (2.05+)
*XXHighEnd PC -> I7 3930k with Hyperthreading On (12 cores)* @~500MHz, 16GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 10586.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = 1 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 1ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = 0.10  (max 60) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / All Services Off / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD On / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *43* / Nervous Rate = 1 / Cool when Idle = 1 / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = *Optimal* / Time Stability = *Stable* / Custom Filter *Low* 705600 / -> USB3 *from MoBo* -> Clairixa USB 15cm -> Intona Isolator -> Clairixa USB 1m80 -> 24/768 Phasure NOS1a 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (4ms) -> Blaxius BNC interlink *-> B'ASS Current Amplifier /w Level4 -> Blaxius Interlink* -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere.

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hudesigns
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« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2018, 09:38:36 pm »

Peter,
I have to say that the distinctions I was talking about are very very subtle. I had to use a little stronger words in order to differentiate and describe what were in reality very tiny, fleeing differences. But nevertheless, the difference is there. For example, if you just play one track blindfolded, I may not be able to tell which is which. But if you play the two one immediately following the other, I probably would be able to tell.

Yes I will try your suggested settings tonight.

Best,
ZH
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XXHighEnd PC -> I5-4460 (4 cores), @800Mhz, 24GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 10586.0 - Windows system, XXHE and XXHEdata on M.2 SSD on MoBo - Other temp folders on 2.5" internal SSD / XXHighEnd 2.10c, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = 1 / ClockRes = 1ms / SFS = 20.19  (max 60) / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 1-3 / UnAttended / Stop Desktop, Remaining, WASAPI and W10 services / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper Off / OSD Off / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = 49 / Nervous Rate = 10 / Cool when Idle = 1 / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Custom Filter second High 705600-> USB3 from MoBo -> Modified USB3 "Y" cable -> 32/384 async USB DAC iFi iDAC2 (in bit-perfect NOS mode) powered by battery--->

Setup 1: Fisher 80 mono preamplifiers -> 8417 (in triode mode) push pull mono amps -> Bi-wire with Naim NAC A5 speaker cable for woofer and military grade silver alloy cable to tweeter -> Linn Kan II speakers

Setup 2: Audio Research SP-3 preamplifier -> 45 (globe) single ended mono amps -> Altec 604e speakers
hudesigns
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2018, 01:19:16 am »

Peter,
Here is what I found out:

When I activate upsampling to 352 kHz, iFi DAD detects it as PCM, not MQA. But if I use Custom filter 352 Low, it sounds as good as, or as identical as native MQA stream!

So the following two scenarios are identical in SQ when playing Black Sheep in Merchant MQA album via MQA enabled iFi iDAC2:

1. Volume 0.0, ArcPrediction OFF, Custom OFF, No upsampling 88 -> 88
2. volume -1.5, ArcPrediction OFF, Custom 352k Low, upsamling to 352k

This is so interesting!

Best,
ZH
Logged

XXHighEnd PC -> I5-4460 (4 cores), @800Mhz, 24GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 10586.0 - Windows system, XXHE and XXHEdata on M.2 SSD on MoBo - Other temp folders on 2.5" internal SSD / XXHighEnd 2.10c, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = 1 / ClockRes = 1ms / SFS = 20.19  (max 60) / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 1-3 / UnAttended / Stop Desktop, Remaining, WASAPI and W10 services / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper Off / OSD Off / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = 49 / Nervous Rate = 10 / Cool when Idle = 1 / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Custom Filter second High 705600-> USB3 from MoBo -> Modified USB3 "Y" cable -> 32/384 async USB DAC iFi iDAC2 (in bit-perfect NOS mode) powered by battery--->

Setup 1: Fisher 80 mono preamplifiers -> 8417 (in triode mode) push pull mono amps -> Bi-wire with Naim NAC A5 speaker cable for woofer and military grade silver alloy cable to tweeter -> Linn Kan II speakers

Setup 2: Audio Research SP-3 preamplifier -> 45 (globe) single ended mono amps -> Altec 604e speakers
PeterSt
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« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2018, 04:50:58 am »

Hi Zheng,

Quote
I have to say that the distinctions I was talking about are very very subtle. I had to use a little stronger words in order to differentiate and describe what were in reality very tiny, fleeing differences.

Yes, this is fine (and honest). This is also when you try to A-B the lot which maybe is not the way to do it (well, I for instance can't). Rather play such albums of your liking as if you play and listen nicely to music, and watch yourself unconsciously just liking it, or get annoyed over it. You will see (later) that in either version it may happen. So, it may happen with MQA because you just don't like MQA or it may happen to normal Redbook because by then MQA "is" better (and I add carefully : to you). And don't A-B ... just play music.
Say that you won't be playing MQA all the time because not all is available in MQA of your liking and mood of the time, so you swich to Redbook automatically.

The only mere explicit comparison I made was with Heavy Metal, a faw months ago. Now, I don't like Heavy Metal so I was trying to find artists and albums that would sound OK and not overly compressed in the first place. In all cases MQA won that came (and I add again : to my ears).

Kind regards,
Peter
Logged

For the Stealth III LPS PC :
W10-14393.0 - August 18, 2018 (2.10)
XXHighEnd Mach *III* Stealth LPS PC -> *Xeon Scalable 14/28 core* with Hyperthreading On (*set to 10/20 cores*) @~660MHz, 48GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 14393.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 30/-/1/1/1/ Q1Factor = 10 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 15ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = *140.19*  (max 140.19) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / Stop Desktop, Remaining, WASAPI and W10 services / Use Remote Desktop / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD Off (!) / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *35* / Nervous Rate = 10 / Cool when Idle = n.a / Provide Stable Power = 0 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = Optimal / Time Stability = Stable / *Arc Prediction Filtering (16x)* / Always Clear Proxy before Playback = On -> USB3 from MoBo -> *Lush^2 A: B-W & Y-R, B: B-W* USB 1m00 -> Phisolator 24/768 Phasure NOS1a/G3 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (16ms) -> B'ASS Current Amplifier -> Blaxius Interlink -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere (also from the PC).

For a general PC :
W10-10586.0 - May 2016 (2.05+)
*XXHighEnd PC -> I7 3930k with Hyperthreading On (12 cores)* @~500MHz, 16GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 10586.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = 1 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 1ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = 0.10  (max 60) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / All Services Off / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD On / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *43* / Nervous Rate = 1 / Cool when Idle = 1 / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = *Optimal* / Time Stability = *Stable* / Custom Filter *Low* 705600 / -> USB3 *from MoBo* -> Clairixa USB 15cm -> Intona Isolator -> Clairixa USB 1m80 -> 24/768 Phasure NOS1a 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (4ms) -> Blaxius BNC interlink *-> B'ASS Current Amplifier /w Level4 -> Blaxius Interlink* -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere.

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