To Doug Schneider,
I just finished reading your article on MQA and I think all the points you made are valid. There’s a set of tracks you can download for free from 2L (http://www.2l.no/hires) that includes MQA-encoded files as well as PCM and DSD copies at various sampling rates/bit depths, as well as the original digital “master.” Now you know the provenance of each file and can compare to the original. The Meridian Explorer2 I had on hand could only unfold up to 192kHz, whereas most (if not all) the digital masters are at DXD bitrates. I ended up using the 24/192 PCM transfers for comparison purposes. I found that MQA sounded decent, but it certainly wasn’t the same as the PCM version. Vocals had a thinned-out quality and there seemed to be less bass and midrange warmth present. I put down my thoughts on my blog, if you’d like to read them.
I’m glad there's somebody in the audio press that’s doing some critical thinking about MQA.
I checked out your article and found your comparisons and conclusions interesting. A couple days before the article was published, I talked to Bob Stuart about my article and MQA. He thought that they should send me an Explorer2 to hear MQA for myself. I hope they do send one so I can do some comparisons of my own. From what you wrote, the Explorer2 seems limited, but at least it is a start.
By the way, I am also surprised that more writers aren’t asking questions about how MQA works or demanding proper comparisons. Perhaps some meaningful discussions can finally get started. . . . Doug Schneider