HIGHRESAUDIO to stop offering MQA

Online music provider to drop MQA, claiming format 'not lossless'

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HighResAudio HighResAudio Recordings,
Meridian MQA
HIGHRESAUDIO to stop offering MQA

From the HighResAudio Press Release:

HIGHRESAUDIO has stopped offering MQA. MQA is NOT lossless, the original signal is never recovered, estimate to recover at most 17bits (reduces the sampling rate), reduces the frequency range, SNR reduced by 3bit, aliasing with artifacts at 18kHz. MQA encoding filters manipulates drastically the original source. No analysis tools are available to verify the encoded MQA content. Therefore no quality control is possible. highresaudio.com stands for offering purity, original mastering source, none manipulated, tweaked or up-sampled content and codecs that are widely supported and offer use of freedom. 

"We hope that MQA will adjust all the above issues. We are truly disappointed, the way MQA has progressed in the past year. We have been mislead and blinded by trust and promises."

MQA Claims:

- Compressing High Resolution Audio for Streaming Applications by keeping the audio quality.

- Applying adaptive filters to do "time domain optimization"

MQA Summary:

- MQA is NOT lossless!!! The original Signal is never recovered!

- We estimate that MQA is only able to recover at most 17Bits at 96kHz

- The primary MQA benefit is the reduction of the bit rate. We will prove that an alternative method can reach a similar reduction but keeps the "Sample Rate" and therefore the "Timing" of the audio signal.

- MQA is not usable for "Legacy Devices" because of heavy Aliasing causing increasing distortions beyond 18kHz.

- Applying adaptive filters that permanently change the original signal will most likely do more harm than good. Well, we want the original signal and not something that tries to resemble it as good as possible. It may sound different, but how can it be better than the original record?

I have asked MQA weeks ago to correct the marketing communication towards the end user and media. As long as MQA is not prepared to straighten the facts, we will not offer MQA any more. The customer needs to know what he pays for, and we have to be able to check technically what we offer and sell to our customers. We are in a very sensible and delicate niche music market. Over the past seven years we have established a very good market position, created a new business for the music industry and artists and customers that cherish the best audible sound reproduction. We moved the music and HiFi-industry into a new business domain, with very little support from anyone. Our USP is that we guarantee (and this is not just said and done) your customers, nothing but the true, native and original source. We can analysis and verify any other audio codec (with MusicScope even DSD and DXD). For MQA is nothing available to assure that the customer is getting our "promise“. We are in the first and front rule, selling music and technology to a new and established customer, that truly expects nothing but the real thing! 

Selling HighRes Audio files requires so much dedicated and detailed work prior in selling (download / streaming) the music. This time needs to be invested by qualified audio engineers and a team that understands the total reproduction path. An extensive quality control is therefore a „must-have“ and needs to be in place to fulfill the "promise“. 

If these parameters are right, than we can provide our customers with honest facts to purchase MQA, and then we will continue to only offer "Authenticated MQA" again. Since beginning 2016 we offer native Studio Masters for MQA encoded, where we can trace and verify the origin of the source. Meaning from Mastering Studios that use MQA in their production workflow and process and are personally signed off. 

No matter whether downloading or streaming. The perception and expectations of the customer is different. We can not sell and promote HighRes unless HighRes is supplied! For our customers, quality, trust and reliability are the top priorities.

Am I now the bad guy? No, I would like that we continue to offer in the niche, customer native and original high-resolution music. There are plenty of new and established customers that are looking for high-resolution albums every day. The HighResAudio market would have grown rapidly and successfully, if the awareness among the responsible people in the music industry were familiar with our target group. Since 2010, we have been a single player on a broad front. Our mission: to offer music lovers, artists, hi-fi enthusiasts and manufacturers of audio devices to offer a new perspective in the digital age for the perfect music reproduction for a unique listening experience.

Lothar Kerestedjian,

Managing Director, HighResAudio

A technical document, which analyzes MQA as deeply as presently possible has been produced by Dipl.-Ing. Stephan Hotto of XiVero GmbH, is available here.

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