Why is everyone so down on MQA?

Ok. MQA is a little bit complicated to understand without doing a little research. First of all: MQA is not technically a lossy format. The way it works is very unique. The original master tape (Holy grail of SQ) is folded or compressed into a smaller format. It is later unfolded through a process I don’t claim to understand. The fully processed final version is lossless! It is the song version from the original master tape. FYI, original master tapes are usually the best sounding, they are also the truest version of any song- they are painstakingly produced along with the artist in the studio during the recording process. Ask anyone, they are the real deal. For some reason most people hate the sound quality! One caveat, the folding/unfolding process is usually carried out at one time by a dac. But some dacs only compress and do not unfold….I think Meridian should explain dac/ streamer compatibility issue. When your hardware supports the single step the sound quality is pretty amazing. They should have explained in more detail what the format is all about.


Engineering wunderkind Bob Carver was not impressed. That's enough for me. He says only a bat might hear a slight difference now. That MQA was changed from its demonstration algorithm when it first rolled out to how it is being currently implemented. 

More damning to me is that once the purveyors of it convinced some labels of its value, they took the licensing money and ran off into the sunset. 

Bob's engineering white paper is at this URL here:


For me, the decision wound up being made by my choice of DAC (I use Tidal).  I fell in love with the Benchmark DAC3 (no MQA) - the improvement in sound was just amazing.  Figured that difference in DAC was larger than the difference in MQA, so went with a good DAC that lacked MQA support

Just an explanation of the path I took and my own finding that the DAC made more difference for me than MQA (and Benchmark readily supports Hi-Rez downloads for music that I particularly enjoy - digital equivalent of buying LPs just for particularly beloved music. Perhaps if I had better ears or more expensive equipment I’d have a finer point of view on MQA vs redbook stream)

LOL Human perception is easily fooled.

Ya lost me there.

Surely perception has a lot to do with they way we hear, and if it's configured to help provide the best listening experience, then that's perfectly fine by me. Only a theorist would dare disagree.

Sounds like something a technophile might say and use as a reason to pick fault.


I am a professional symphony orchestra musician. I know music and I know good sound. I love MQA, and have yet to hear a recording using this format that does not sound better than CD redbook. It sounds more natural, and is easier to stream. I will not buy a streamer or DAC that does not support it. To the post who said there is no classical music on Tidal, I'm afraid you are incorrect. There is a ton of classical music available on Tidal. I have always found any recording I'm looking for on Tidal.