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#270521 - 2017-12-06 22:04 Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback.
Registered: 2006-07-31
Posts: 56
Locus Offline
Mostly harmless
Locus Offline
Mostly harmless

Registered: 2006-07-31
Posts: 56
Loc: London, UK
This topic has come up in passing a few times on the forum, but does not seem to have been addressed directly. Hopefully there are, or will be, many who are interested in MQA playback, of those few will have SE speakers. Most will use analogue equipment, and so this topic will be of interest to that majority. Meridian themselves do not seem to have offered any guidance in this area.

I thought it might be easiest to consider the simplest system: 'USB out from computer' into 'Explorer 2' into 'passive attenuator' into 'power amplifier' into 'analogue speakers'. The attenuator can be assumed to be transparent, inially, thus leaving the power amplifier and speakers, only, needing consideration. The question then is 'what electrical and physical parameters do those two items need to meet'?

From what I can gather it is the 'impulse response' of these items that needs to be adequate, but what exactly does that mean? VK mentioned that 'frequency response' and 'impulse response' are not the same, although I would suppose there is some relation between the two. My physics reaches its limit here. The other related problem is that manufacturers do not give any relevant information, at least as yet. Meridian, rather cryptically, only state the frequency response of the 8KSE as 'Frequency response in-room 20Hz – >32kHz ±3dB (for inputs at 44.1kHz or 48kHz)'. Not much help!

So, no answers from me, but perhaps others can offer illumination, or a picture can gradually be formed.

Locus.

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#270526 - 2017-12-06 23:52 Re: Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback. [Re: Locus]
Registered: 2009-11-10
Posts: 1,270
CMB Integrations - Bruce Offline
Meridian Partner Working on the ultimate question
CMB Integrations - Bruce Offline
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When it comes to MQA, once it leaves the Explorer2 it is in the analog realm so you have MQA regadless of what happens to the signal after as long as it does not receive further digital processing.


www.cmbintegrations.com

Personal System #1 Theta Digital Cassablanca 4, 218, DSP8000.2SE, DSP7200SEHC, Revel F228be, Revel B112, Monitor Audio Silver 10, ATI 200WX5 Amp, JVC RS15, Shunyata Denali 600S, Black Diamond Zero Edge screen. QNAP TS-251 3TB
Mark Levinson No515 Turntable

Crestron control and multi room audio via Meridian 258 amplifiers.
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#270528 - 2017-12-07 07:48 Re: Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback. [Re: Locus]
Registered: 2016-05-04
Posts: 138
Ogri Offline
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Ogri Offline
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Registered: 2016-05-04
Posts: 138
Loc: London, UK
+1! Having MQA is one thing, hearing the benefits another. SE speakers have high bandwidth amps and new tweeters, presumably to allow the effects of MQA to be heard. The new amp has similar electronics I believe. So the question asked sounds like - what analogue kit do you need to hear full fat MQA? What characteristics of amp, response of drivers, what does “fast” mean. I would be hugely interested in MQA if this were explicit. As nobody cares to flesh this out, and not knowing enough, my interest in MQA is minimal, SE speakers aren’t tempting at current prices with Meridian’s passing interest in this customer base. Shame really...

Anyone from Meridian reading?

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#270530 - 2017-12-07 07:58 Re: Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback. [Re: Ogri]
Registered: 2004-12-09
Posts: 6,215
ChrisLayerUK Offline
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ChrisLayerUK Offline
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Registered: 2004-12-09
Posts: 6,215
Loc: Colchester, Essex, UK
The way I see it, with MQA decoded, you have a Studio Quality Analog input signal. (As defined by MQA)
With this, your analog system will do what it has always done. The better the system the better the sound.

The analogy I would use would be; how would your system sound with the ‘Best Turntable’ on the input?
Although this analogy immediately breaks down as the best Turntable is compromised by its own technology inherent in producing recordings on discs. Something MQA professes to overcome.

I’ll take cover now lol


No 18 in the Hall of fame smile I have simple tastes; I am content to settle for the best: GIK monster bass panels, rear wall.
MC200 500GB, QNAP TVS 471i3. Roon into 2 MS200's. Explorer 2. Bluesound Pulse 2 and Mini. 596 v1.89.2, 518, G61R, M60.2 Rosewood, M33C, M33 Rears, M1500 Sub, Foxsat HD, Sony Blu Ray, Pioneer 5090, 2 Chromecast's for LRB videos.
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#270531 - 2017-12-07 08:25 Re: Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback. [Re: ChrisLayerUK]
Registered: 2004-04-15
Posts: 12,296
VirusKiller Offline
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Registered: 2004-04-15
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MQA is all about adding time domain response to existing frequency domain response requirements.

Richard Hollinshead once pointed out to me that the frequency response of a loudspeaker does not guarantee time domain response of the same order (the electronics might be more limited in bandwidth than the drive units), but it's an indication that it might be so. Conversely, equipment with a published spec. of 20kHz might have a much higher time domain response, but you simply can't tell. To my knowledge, no one apart from Meridian states the time domain response of their equipment, and Meridian has only done that in a round about way ("high bandwidth electronics").

Most manufacturers of audio equipment don't care (in their specs at least) about frequency response beyond 20kHz, but that is beginning to change.

To be "MQA ready", I would look for indications that downstream equipment has at least been designed with high frequency bandwidth in mind (minimum 25kHz, but 30kHz better). I've recently bought a small set of Focal analogue active monitors for my desk which feature their inverted Beryllium tweeter and have a similar HF frequency response spec. to SE loudspeakers - I feel that this is important - and they sound remarkably clean and clear with a very open top end.


Roon Developer and ex-moderator of this Forum
I am #25 in the HH1 photo of fame.
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#270532 - 2017-12-07 08:32 Re: Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback. [Re: CMB Integrations - Bruce]
Registered: 2004-04-15
Posts: 12,296
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Registered: 2004-04-15
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Originally Posted By CMB Integrations - Bruce
once it leaves the Explorer2 it is in the analog realm so you have MQA regadless of what happens to the signal after as long as it does not receive further digital processing.
I have to disagree with this statement. If the downstream analogue electronics do not have adequate time domain impulse response and smear the audio, the MQA goodness is lost, period.


Roon Developer and ex-moderator of this Forum
I am #25 in the HH1 photo of fame.
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#270535 - 2017-12-07 10:02 Re: Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback. [Re: VirusKiller]
Registered: 2004-04-23
Posts: 2,456
Cliff. Offline
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Registered: 2004-04-23
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I’m not going to pretend to understand the subtleties of MQA processing but I still don’t understand how you can get the full benefits of time smear correction without taking into account the influence of the room. Trinnov EQ makes time domain corrections for both group delay and very early reflections. Whatever they do, the sound quality (especially MC) has never been better in my room. The next generation MQA processing surely has to be integrated with state-of-the-art room correction. Until then I would choose the latter.


Main system - Sources (Kodi-HTPC, Vero 4k, FireTV, Sat) into Trinnov Altitude 32 (8-16) (+Roon), Trinnov Amplitude 8 amp & Vivid Audio (Giya G3, V1.5) and REL Stentor III speakers. Others: F80 + Raspberry Pi and other Pi systems.
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#270536 - 2017-12-07 10:26 Re: Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback. [Re: VirusKiller]
Registered: 2009-11-10
Posts: 1,270
CMB Integrations - Bruce Offline
Meridian Partner Working on the ultimate question
CMB Integrations - Bruce Offline
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Posts: 1,270
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So all the people who have been enjoying an Explorer2 with headphones and raving about the sound quality are all suffering from some mass delusion and have not been listening to MQA at all? And to further that point, the Ultra DAC, 808v6, 818v3 or 218 when used with an analog system won't provide real MQA unless they are paired with very specific amps and speakers? Where is this approved list? As with anything audio, the better the equipment, the better the result.


www.cmbintegrations.com

Personal System #1 Theta Digital Cassablanca 4, 218, DSP8000.2SE, DSP7200SEHC, Revel F228be, Revel B112, Monitor Audio Silver 10, ATI 200WX5 Amp, JVC RS15, Shunyata Denali 600S, Black Diamond Zero Edge screen. QNAP TS-251 3TB
Mark Levinson No515 Turntable

Crestron control and multi room audio via Meridian 258 amplifiers.
Edited by CMB Integrations - Bruce; 2017-12-07 10:42.
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#270547 - 2017-12-07 13:29 Re: Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback. [Re: CMB Integrations - Bruce]
Registered: 2016-05-04
Posts: 138
Ogri Offline
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Ogri Offline
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Registered: 2016-05-04
Posts: 138
Loc: London, UK
Are we all understanding MQA? How can you hear benefits if the equipment used can’t reproduce them?

I can understand a studio master sounding great but that would be missing the point.

The approved list ( or in less passionate terms, required characteristics for amp and driver) is exactly what this topic is about, so yes please, what exactly is required, specifically?

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#270548 - 2017-12-07 13:34 Re: Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback. [Re: CMB Integrations - Bruce]
Registered: 2011-02-02
Posts: 2,215
Hector Offline
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Registered: 2011-02-02
Posts: 2,215
Loc: Midlands, UK
Originally Posted By CMB Integrations - Bruce
So all the people who have been enjoying an Explorer2 with headphones and raving about the sound quality are all suffering from some mass delusion and have not been listening to MQA at all? And to further that point, the Ultra DAC, 808v6, 818v3 or 218 when used with an analog system won't provide real MQA unless they are paired with very specific amps and speakers? Where is this approved list? As with anything audio, the better the equipment, the better the result.


Hi Bruce
Does the missing approved list include "The Prime Headphone Amp" fed from analogue out of 808v6 or 818v3. Or am I also delusional?

Of course there is no MQA indication in this case on the Prime only on the 808 in my case confused

Hector


AV: Thorens TD160B, SME, ShureV15MK2, 500, 598, 861v4, DSP7200.1LR, DSP3300HC Samsung UE55, SkyHD.
DINING: MS600, AC200, DSP5200SLLR.
STUDY 504, SB Touch, 2x MD600, C15, 808.6, 5200SE, Mac & PC, Explorer v1, Prime+PS Grado GS1000i
HORIZONTAL: M80, MS200, Red Rose Spirit + Sonus Faber Toys
A capella to Zydeco
Edited by Hector; 2017-12-07 13:38. Edit Reason: Clarity
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#270552 - 2017-12-07 20:49 Re: Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback. [Re: Hector]
Registered: 2007-07-11
Posts: 1,050
Kswanson Offline
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Registered: 2007-07-11
Posts: 1,050
Loc: San Diego area, CA, USA
This is an interesting thread to me because I've wondered the same thing. Berkeley makes terrific DACs and their latest renders MQA but does not do the first unfold. What, exactly, does a DAC do when it renders? Does it add something to the electronics or speakers?

Ken


Main: G68J, 5K2s, 5Ks, HSU subs, Pio 151FD, Dish VP722, Roku, Wadia I70, Anti Mode Dual Core, Oppo 103D Vanity Lite
Office: SBT, Audience 2+2v2, Heed, JL e110, Dual Core, 218, Roon.
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#270553 - 2017-12-07 21:17 Re: Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback. [Re: Kswanson]
Registered: 2010-08-08
Posts: 419
Jeje Offline
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Registered: 2010-08-08
Posts: 419
Loc: New York City, NY, USA
Interesting tread as well, as I was wondering about the required specs of the power amplifier.

I remember JOB sys (Goldmund) having a Marketing Story about how "fast" their amplifier is.


In their Specs, they had a number for "Slew rate unloaded" > 80 V/us.


Is this what Meridian was referring to, the required upgraded specs of the SE amplification?


Jerome
Music: MC200 -> MS600 -> G68D -> DSP8.2k + DSP5200HC front / DSP33 Rears
Movies: NAS -> Oppo BDP-93 -> HD621 -> G68D -> DSP8.2k + DSP5200HC front / DSP33 Rears
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#270677 - 2017-12-13 07:55 Re: Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback. [Re: Jeje]
Registered: 2011-01-25
Posts: 464
bxd Offline
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Registered: 2011-01-25
Posts: 464
Loc: Southampton, UK
Hi,

The current issue of Stereophile (and now no the website) has an article that might prove interesting for this discussion.

Brian


Main: G65, MD600, MS600, 218, HD621, DSP5200SE, DSP5200HCSE, M6 & D1500.
System 2: G91A, MS200, DSP5000 (96/24v1), DSP3300.
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#270678 - 2017-12-13 08:17 Re: Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback. [Re: bxd]
Registered: 2004-12-09
Posts: 6,215
ChrisLayerUK Offline
President of the Imperial Galactic Government
ChrisLayerUK Offline
President of the Imperial Galactic Government

Registered: 2004-12-09
Posts: 6,215
Loc: Colchester, Essex, UK
Is the the link?

MQA tested part 1


No 18 in the Hall of fame smile I have simple tastes; I am content to settle for the best: GIK monster bass panels, rear wall.
MC200 500GB, QNAP TVS 471i3. Roon into 2 MS200's. Explorer 2. Bluesound Pulse 2 and Mini. 596 v1.89.2, 518, G61R, M60.2 Rosewood, M33C, M33 Rears, M1500 Sub, Foxsat HD, Sony Blu Ray, Pioneer 5090, 2 Chromecast's for LRB videos.
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#270680 - 2017-12-13 09:29 Re: Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback. [Re: ChrisLayerUK]
Registered: 2004-04-15
Posts: 12,296
VirusKiller Offline
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Registered: 2004-04-15
Posts: 12,296
Loc: nr. Milton Keynes, UK
From the horse's mouth: Question 7b and Bob's answer . A bit vague, but the question is still very valid. There *are* specific criteria for analogue kit being fed an authenticated MQA analogue output.


Roon Developer and ex-moderator of this Forum
I am #25 in the HH1 photo of fame.
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#270681 - 2017-12-13 10:26 Re: Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback. [Re: VirusKiller]
Registered: 2004-04-23
Posts: 2,456
Cliff. Offline
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It not obvious to me how a lack of linear response at stupidly high frequencies (>30kHz)could result in perceivable time domain artifacts. It that referenced article (in 7b) worth following up?

Edit: my amp appears good to 50kHz and my speakers are good but only measured to 36kHz. My ears are the problem.


Main system - Sources (Kodi-HTPC, Vero 4k, FireTV, Sat) into Trinnov Altitude 32 (8-16) (+Roon), Trinnov Amplitude 8 amp & Vivid Audio (Giya G3, V1.5) and REL Stentor III speakers. Others: F80 + Raspberry Pi and other Pi systems.
Edited by Cliff.; 2017-12-13 10:33.
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#270682 - 2017-12-13 12:07 Re: Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback. [Re: Cliff.]
Registered: 2004-04-15
Posts: 12,296
VirusKiller Offline
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Registered: 2004-04-15
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Originally Posted By Cliff.
It not obvious to me how a lack of linear response at stupidly high frequencies (>30kHz)could result in perceivable time domain artifacts.

If you are referring to a non-flat frequency response, you need to try and un-think what you have learned. It's the bandwidth that matters and, unless I've got it completely wrong, this applies equally to the bass sections (yes, 30kHz bandwidth important for reproducing 30Hz...).

Quote:
It that referenced article (in 7b) worth following up?

No, it's VERY statistical and a pig to read. The upshot is that it debunks the infamous Meyer and Moran (also AES) paper which "proved" that HiRes >RBCD was not audible (they completely failed to employ a test system with enough transparency).

Quote:
Edit: my amp appears good to 50kHz and my speakers are good but only measured to 36kHz.

As Bruce said above, the better the analogue gear, the better MQA will sound. My argument is that the science behind MQA hasn't – to date – been the driver behind the best analogue kit. I realize that this is a somewhat pedantic position to take, but I think that it's an important one: in the future much more kit will be designed with explicit time domain requirements. In any case, your amps and Giyas are fairly decent wink

Quote:
My ears are the problem.

Probably not. As Bob says, we may lose the top end of our hearing, but our audio acuity is an experience-based quantity.


Roon Developer and ex-moderator of this Forum
I am #25 in the HH1 photo of fame.
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#270683 - 2017-12-13 12:32 Re: Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback. [Re: VirusKiller]
Registered: 2002-02-14
Posts: 8,411
ncpl Offline
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There are several papers that show that timing sensitivity is not degraded with age in the same way that frequency is. There is hope for all of us.


Rgds,
Nick

#15SE
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#270684 - 2017-12-13 12:40 Re: Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback. [Re: VirusKiller]
Registered: 2004-04-23
Posts: 2,456
Cliff. Offline
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Cliff. Offline
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Registered: 2004-04-23
Posts: 2,456
Loc: South Wiltshire, UK
Thanks for the reply.

Originally Posted By VirusKiller
It's the bandwidth that matters and, unless I've got it completely wrong, this applies equally to the bass sections (yes, 30kHz bandwidth important for reproducing 30Hz...).

That's the bit I'm struggling with. I would have thought that all that mattered were the positions of the low and high frequency corners in the bandwith plot and also that the amp responded to signal amplitude changes equally over the frequency range. Amp design would surely play a major role for the latter.


Main system - Sources (Kodi-HTPC, Vero 4k, FireTV, Sat) into Trinnov Altitude 32 (8-16) (+Roon), Trinnov Amplitude 8 amp & Vivid Audio (Giya G3, V1.5) and REL Stentor III speakers. Others: F80 + Raspberry Pi and other Pi systems.
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#270690 - 2017-12-13 15:39 Re: Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback. [Re: ncpl]
Registered: 2011-02-02
Posts: 2,215
Hector Offline
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Originally Posted By ncpl
There are several papers that show that timing sensitivity is not degraded with age in the same way that frequency is. There is hope for all of us.
Hate to disagree but in my case frequency increases with age, however timing is crucial for uninterrupted rest.

Seriously though can anyone provide detail on the bandwidth range of Prime Headphone Amp.
Could only find this response to previous question in post #227413 reference answer from Bob.

Quote:
A7 ii. "Many of us have headphones." The Prime Headphone Amplifier, which has a very wide bandwidth and compact impulse response, is getting MQA decoding by firmware update. How cool is that!

Hector


AV: Thorens TD160B, SME, ShureV15MK2, 500, 598, 861v4, DSP7200.1LR, DSP3300HC Samsung UE55, SkyHD.
DINING: MS600, AC200, DSP5200SLLR.
STUDY 504, SB Touch, 2x MD600, C15, 808.6, 5200SE, Mac & PC, Explorer v1, Prime+PS Grado GS1000i
HORIZONTAL: M80, MS200, Red Rose Spirit + Sonus Faber Toys
A capella to Zydeco
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#272719 - 2018-02-06 08:08 Re: Analogue Requirements For MQA Playback. [Re: Locus]
Registered: 2012-04-07
Posts: 15
Don Bingaman Offline
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Posts: 15
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Here are two criterion that I have applied to all my adventures in phase-coherent analog audio and if I understand it, should be fully applicable to MQA:

Amplification - flat bandwidth to 100 KHz with less than 30 degrees of phase shift across the entire bandwidth from end-to-end. Tube amps need not apply (output transformers have tons of phase shift and hysteresis above 20 KHz).

Loudspeakers - either phase coherent DSP-based crossovers in a matched amp/transducer set, like Meridian uses, OR no more than 3 or 4 wide range drivers fed by first order analog crossover network (I.e. 6 dB / octave) with frequency response to 40-50 KHz. Loudspeakers that do this include Vandersteen, Duntech, Thiele, Von Schweikert and a handful of others. I use a Vandersteen 5.1 set-up in conjunction with an Audiokinesis subwoofer array. I have found that both the frequency response AND time domain response is better that the Meridian loudspeakers I have heard, probably due to driver count and configuration in regard to driver-driver acoustic interactions and room boundary interactions. Vandersteen uses either three drivers above 100 hz that are co-located in a vertical line, less than 18" tall, OR two-way arrangements with a co-axial tweeter, like the KEF LS50. Speaker directivity vs. frequency is also tightly controlled.

My first serious loudspeaker set consisted of a pair of Quad 57 ESL's topped by a pair of Sequerra T-1 ribbon tweeters that were tweaked to measure flat from about 50 hz to 100 kHz. ( I built a pair of KEF B139 subwoofers with transmission line cabinets which extended the bottom ). Phase coherence below 100 hz is really unimportant. This system was blazing fast, but ELS panels "shimmer" as they get bigger. Vandersteen believes the only phase coherent ESL is the Quad 63, which would likely work better with a ribbon at its center. Think of it as a BIG co-axial speaker !

The loudspeakers are really the weak link. For most listeners, the only transducers capable of achieving MQA compatible time-domain performance are good headphones.


#1 G68XXD, UHD722, Oppo UHD-205 Player, BAT VK6200, Vandersteen Quatro Wood, VCC5, VSM1 speakers, Audiokinesis Swarm subwoofer system, Pass XP-25, VPI HW-19 Mk. 4 with FR64fx arm and Koetsu Urushi MC, SOTA Sapphire TT with MDC-800 arm and Miyajima Shilabe MC
#2 AC200, M6, Sonos
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