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MtnGoat

MtnGoat Avatar

Location: Kill your radio!
Gender: Male


Posted: May 21, 2021 - 3:07pm

 BillG wrote:


 
 
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. 




(Old post, I know but just arrived)
Thank you for that, Bill. It answers the question I often have on my mind regarding the future of RP.
Most of my digital music collection is 24 bit at least. I have a strong musical background and I believe there are many like me who can hear the difference between different violins, or pianos, or given an appropriate source, 16 bit CDs and 24 bit audio. I'm on my third LG Vxx phone mostly because of the built-in DAC. Wired into the stereo it's a beautifully full, detailed sound. Bluetooth doesn't cut it. I eagerly look forward to RP offering 24 bit audio (and I get the upsampling dilemma).
Thanks again.
barrie



Posted: May 21, 2021 - 2:16pm

 R567 wrote:

If you like the sound of MQA, that's fine, but any claim to fidelity seems dubious. 



I am just listening to RP using MQA through the Bludound node21.

WOW  simply wonderful My face is aching  smiling.
well done RP great move embracing MQA
R567

Location: UK


Posted: May 21, 2021 - 10:47am

If you like the sound of MQA, that's fine, but any claim to fidelity seems dubious. 

BillG

BillG Avatar

Location: Left Coast
Gender: Male


Posted: May 20, 2021 - 11:06pm

 HFH21 wrote:


There is no crap, it's a scam.  Who the hell are you to tell someone on a forum to STFU? You are right about the world, but thats irrelevant to this specific forum and topic.

MQA threatens the entire music distribution chain all the way down to the artist. There is no demonstrable proof that MQA improves anything, it's actually the opposite, there is proof to the contrary. 

Educate yourself as to the facts on this, rather than lecture others based on your acceptance of marketing-speak and TAS/Stereophile propaganda. MQA increases costs and decreases consumer choice. You appear to be ignorant to all of these real and verifiable facts.


Sure. Some services, labels, etc. could use MQA as a tool to do evil, exploitative stuff.  But we're not. We're just offering another listening option to a free online radio station.  Seems like an odd thing to get all worked up about. 


Let's confine the discussion here to *our* use of MQA, shall we? 
HFH21

HFH21 Avatar

Location: NYC
Gender: Male


Posted: May 20, 2021 - 10:21pm

 Bambudist wrote:

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...



There is no crap, it's a scam.  Who the hell are you to tell someone on a forum to STFU? You are right about the world, but thats irrelevant to this specific forum and topic.

MQA threatens the entire music distribution chain all the way down to the artist. There is no demonstrable proof that MQA improves anything, it's actually the opposite, there is proof to the contrary. 

Educate yourself as to the facts on this, rather than lecture others based on your acceptance of marketing-speak and TAS/Stereophile propaganda. MQA increases costs and decreases consumer choice. You appear to be ignorant to all of these real and verifiable facts.
HFH21

HFH21 Avatar

Location: NYC
Gender: Male


Posted: May 20, 2021 - 10:01pm

 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



OMG! My jaw dropped, and then I witnessed the birth of a whole new world.

MQA isn't just lossless, it's Better than lossless! Just drop 2 hits of acid and MQA's marketing-speak becomes reality.
black321

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Location: An earth without maps
Gender: Male


Posted: May 19, 2021 - 1:34pm

 BillG wrote:

If, in your opinion, the changes to the audio introduced by MQA detract from your listening experience, then listen to FLAC.

If all recordings were mixed and mastered perfectly — or even properly — then we'd have no need to ever process any audio files. But they're not, so we do. So that the recordings meet our standards —  ie: our opinion about what sounds best.

The statement that we make about our audio quality is that — in our opinion — it sounds better than anything else out there. And that, in our opinion, the MQA encoding adds to the enjoyment of the experience. 

Note the common thread in all of that: "our opinion". There is no right or wrong in the realm of music. Ultimately, it all comes down to preferences and subjective judgements. 

With a few exceptions (where uncompressed masters simply aren't available) all of our master files are uncompressed. Unlike most online stations — and all FM & satellite broadcasters — we do no overall processing of our stream. Well-recorded and mastered material is presented without alteration. But if you want everything to sound exactly like your CDs, then you should probably listen to those.  




Been listening to this "station" for about 20 years, the quality of which combined with the mix of tunes I've found to be unsurpassed. 

Thanks for your work.
BillG

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Location: Left Coast
Gender: Male


Posted: May 19, 2021 - 1:15pm

 hhudo wrote:

MQA is lossy format, compared to FLAC which is lossess. Its proven that MQA adds lot of distortion and noise, sometimes audible. Even I use Tidal, i am trying to avoid MQA as much is possible.

But, RP confirmed that they're processing audio stream with EQ/compressor/expander/... to sound "better", asked them once when noticed songs I know and own on  a CD sound very different on RP.
If MQA is "Master Quality Authenticated" - which means its original studio master - how can RP be processing it and still maintain MQA certificate? 
Also MQA is made for hi-res (48/24 and up), while almost all songs or RP are 44/16 - are they using upsampler? 
Are all songs on RP from uncompressed source?

If RP wants to make statement that its "high quality" and "hifi", think it needs to answer those questions first. And stop EQing the stream.
Until then, I will enjoy RP in 160/320kbps mp3, because everything above that is useless.


If, in your opinion, the changes to the audio introduced by MQA detract from your listening experience, then listen to FLAC.

If all recordings were mixed and mastered perfectly — or even properly — then we'd have no need to ever process any audio files. But they're not, so we do. So that the recordings meet our standards —  ie: our opinion about what sounds best.

The statement that we make about our audio quality is that — in our opinion — it sounds better than anything else out there. And that, in our opinion, the MQA encoding adds to the enjoyment of the experience. 

Note the common thread in all of that: "our opinion". There is no right or wrong in the realm of music. Ultimately, it all comes down to preferences and subjective judgements. 

With a few exceptions (where uncompressed masters simply aren't available) all of our master files are uncompressed. Unlike most online stations — and all FM & satellite broadcasters — we do no overall processing of our stream. Well-recorded and mastered material is presented without alteration. But if you want everything to sound exactly like your CDs, then you should probably listen to those.  

jwwindy

jwwindy Avatar

Location: Indianapolis, IN


Posted: May 19, 2021 - 7:17am

 black321 wrote:


Interesting, as i dont think Schiit has an MQA Dac...so you are not getting the final "unfolding" of the file.



Thank you for your comment.  Obviously my qualifications do not include being an audio engineer.  You are absolutely correct in that the Schiit Modi 3+ does not accommodate MQA.  That being said, the myriad of published positive and negative assessments of MQA really don't mean a lot to me personally.  My only audio "skill" is evaluating whether the music that I'm listening to sounds good or not so much.  As I commented previously, RP's MQA stream, through the Bluesound NODE 2i with or without utilizing the Schiit Modi 3+, sounds better to me .  Perhaps if I spend more $ on a higher end DAC that accommodates MQA I might find the stream better?  Today I'm happy.  Maybe an upgrade tomorrow?...I'm not opposed to improving my audio streams.
hhudo

Location: Dublin


Posted: May 19, 2021 - 2:01am

MQA is lossy format, compared to FLAC which is lossess. Its proven that MQA adds lot of distortion and noise, sometimes audible. Even I use Tidal, i am trying to avoid MQA as much is possible.

But, RP confirmed that they're processing audio stream with EQ/compressor/expander/... to sound "better", asked them once when noticed songs I know and own on  a CD sound very different on RP.
If MQA is "Master Quality Authenticated" - which means its original studio master - how can RP be processing it and still maintain MQA certificate? 
Also MQA is made for hi-res (48/24 and up), while almost all songs or RP are 44/16 - are they using upsampler? 
Are all songs on RP from uncompressed source?

If RP wants to make statement that its "high quality" and "hifi", think it needs to answer those questions first. And stop EQing the stream.
Until then, I will enjoy RP in 160/320kbps mp3, because everything above that is useless.
Dan888

Dan888 Avatar

Location: United Kingdom - South
Gender: Male


Posted: May 14, 2021 - 12:45pm

 jwwindy wrote:

Although a 20+ year streamer of RP, I'm just one month or so into streaming RP via Bluesound Node 2i utilizing a Schiit Modi 3+ external DAC.  Admittedly, I'm not an audiophile and I know little about the technicalities of music, thus my qualification to comment is limited to generic terms.  However, friends who are in the music industry, performing and broadcasting, describe me as a critical listener.  To my listening, in an A/B comparison, the MQA stream sounds "fuller" than the FLAC stream that I have streamed for several years.


Perhaps you could help answer these questions?
https://radioparadise.com/comm...

black321

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Location: An earth without maps
Gender: Male


Posted: May 14, 2021 - 9:27am

 jwwindy wrote:

Although a 20+ year streamer of RP, I'm just one month or so into streaming RP via Bluesound Node 2i utilizing a Schiit Modi 3+ external DAC.  Admittedly, I'm not an audiophile and I know little about the technicalities of music, thus my qualification to comment is limited to generic terms.  However, friends who are in the music industry, performing and broadcasting, describe me as a critical listener.  To my listening, in an A/B comparison, the MQA stream sounds "fuller" than the FLAC stream that I have streamed for several years.



Interesting, as i dont think Schiit has an MQA Dac...so you are not getting the final "unfolding" of the file.
jwwindy

jwwindy Avatar

Location: Indianapolis, IN


Posted: May 14, 2021 - 9:09am

Although a 20+ year streamer of RP, I'm just one month or so into streaming RP via Bluesound Node 2i utilizing a Schiit Modi 3+ external DAC.  Admittedly, I'm not an audiophile and I know little about the technicalities of music, thus my qualification to comment is limited to generic terms.  However, friends who are in the music industry, performing and broadcasting, describe me as a critical listener.  To my listening, in an A/B comparison, the MQA stream sounds "fuller" than the FLAC stream that I have streamed for several years.
Dan888

Dan888 Avatar

Location: United Kingdom - South
Gender: Male


Posted: May 13, 2021 - 10:09am

 NeilBlanchard wrote:
I am not seeing the FLAC as an option on my Bluesound Node 2i, which I am using the S/PDIF coax output to a Schiit Audio Bifrost 2. I would prefer the FLAC stream. I only recently got the Node, because I can sign into my RP account and listen to My Favorites, as well as the other four streams. This isn't possible on the Raspberry Pi4 Volumio unit I had earlier.


I think it's called "CD" in the BlueOS app

NeilBlanchard

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Location: Greater Boston area, Massachusetts Eaarth
Gender: Male


Posted: May 7, 2021 - 10:16pm

 ronald.dejong726 wrote:

Dear Bill,

firstly many thanks for your ongoing innovation! 
I have listened to the MQA stream for some days now and switched back to the FLAC stream .
I have the Bluesound Node 2i already for a year or so. I use this in conjunction with the DAC chord Qutest.
So I use the digital signal via Coax from the Bluesound into the DAC.
I have this set up because I have found the DAC of the Node 2i okay but not exceptional.
The chord Qutest DAC is a level up. So with this I have the MQA stream with its first unfolding step according to the MQA info I could find.
It is different but to my ears the FLAC sounds more coherent.. I also compared the MQA stream directly via the bluesound node RCA output ( this has the complete unfolding step)  with the FLAC via the Qutest..
Still the original FLAC does it for me. Off course it would be briljant if in the future you would send out the original Hi Res files!
anyway I thought I give the feedback, thanks again for all the great music!
Ronald




I am not seeing the FLAC as an option on my Bluesound Node 2i, which I am using the S/PDIF coax output to a Schiit Audio Bifrost 2. I would prefer the FLAC stream. I only recently got the Node, because I can sign into my RP account and listen to My Favorites, as well as the other four streams. This isn't possible on the Raspberry Pi4 Volumio unit I had earlier.

I just watched the GoldenSound video, and he is quite conclusive - the MQA is a problem, and is not as good as true high resolution FLAC. And the file size is larger than the equivalent resolution FLAC. They just upsample things, much of the time.
nickt1

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Location: Methven NewZealand
Gender: Male


Posted: May 4, 2021 - 12:25am

 david8 wrote:


The video I was pointing to is interesting because it looks at why some people prefer MQA whilst others do not like it. The author created his own master recording and uploaded it to Tidal so he could then analyse/measure the differences between his master and the MQA stream version. The differences are measurable/indisputable but what I find fascinating is why the MQA process alters the sound in a way that makes it more palatable to some ears. Nothing wrong with that as we have been doing it for years with slope filters, treble and bass controls. Even volume level affects our perception of how music sounds - ask my wife when I turn it up! Some people love free form Jazz whilst others reach for the off switch and you can say the same for Blues, C&W, Metal, Psych, Classical etc. The whole recording process and post production is tuned to the ears of the producer and not necessarily the intended audience. Then someone with different ears comes along and re-masters the music - see/hear the MFSL Beatles collection with the smiley face equalisation.

I don't have access to MQA (so no pony in this race) but I am interested as to the quantifiable perceptions of those that do.






Thank You Bill for constantly innovating for no other reason than-you can!
MQA sounds fantastic by combining what were previously mutually exclusive qualities-Organic analogue, natural sound and hi resolution.
Yes yes I hear the if you can't measure it you cant hear it brigade say Hi Res DSD etc. is better- well it may be but are you going to re record the last 50 years of music and then stream it to a phone? not going to happen. For this reason I feel MQA is the biggest format upgrade since CD and finally delivers what CD promised.
Here is a great explanation of MQA by one of its inventors, Bob Stuart, who has been involved in developing digital audio over the past 30 years:


david8

david8 Avatar



Posted: May 3, 2021 - 5:27am

 BillG wrote:


That's not a debate I'm interested in participating in. We're not presenting MQA as anything other than "something we think sounds great".

As I've said before, the only thing that matters is each listener's personal opinion about which RP option sounds better. If your ears prefer MQA, listen to that. If not, then don't. 

The video I was pointing to is interesting because it looks at why some people prefer MQA whilst others do not like it. The author created his own master recording and uploaded it to Tidal so he could then analyse/measure the differences between his master and the MQA stream version. The differences are measurable/indisputable but what I find fascinating is why the MQA process alters the sound in a way that makes it more palatable to some ears. Nothing wrong with that as we have been doing it for years with slope filters, treble and bass controls. Even volume level affects our perception of how music sounds - ask my wife when I turn it up! Some people love free form Jazz whilst others reach for the off switch and you can say the same for Blues, C&W, Metal, Psych, Classical etc. The whole recording process and post production is tuned to the ears of the producer and not necessarily the intended audience. Then someone with different ears comes along and re-masters the music - see/hear the MFSL Beatles collection with the smiley face equalisation.

I don't have access to MQA (so no pony in this race) but I am interested as to the quantifiable perceptions of those that do.




Listen!



Posted: May 2, 2021 - 1:06am

Thanks for offering MQA - it sounds fantastic, I agree 100% with your listening experiences at RP.   

We expected only subtle improvements when we first listened to RP via MQA, but what we heard was quite striking. We could hear new sonic details in songs we'd heard hundreds of times, and the listening experience — particularly on good headphones — was immersive and captivating.

QUESTION: Will these RP release MQA streams for ROON users in the (near) future as well?   This would be even better!

Cheerr!
Steely_D

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Location: Biscayne Bay
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 30, 2021 - 11:35am

 DoctorK wrote:

Listening right now to the BluOS feed via my new NAD AVR and am really blown away!  Keep staying ahead of the curve Bill



Got a new NAD 758 myself. Wish it broadcasted to my HomePods, tho. I enjoy sitting in the Good Room to listen to tunes, but can't always be sitting in there.

black321

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Location: An earth without maps
Gender: Male


Posted: Apr 30, 2021 - 10:27am

I've found that an MQA stream fed into a non-MQA DAC results in an inferior playback.  The sound is more forward, and harsh.

Through a MQA DAC, I notice a similar forward effect particularly for vocals, but less harshness from the MQA stream. Still don't know if I prefer one over the other....but that's a moot point as i prefer my Bel Canto DAC over the DAC in the Bluos Node 2i.




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