MQA Really Is A Fraud!

A number of readers have forwarded links to the video below. In fact, I was in the middle of viewing it when I received a couple of emails. It was produced by a UK-based commentator under the name GoldenSound and it is absolutely spot on in its analysis and conclusion regarding the MQA format. I highly recommend you find 38″ and watch this video.

For those that are time-challenged, here are the main takeaways:

  1. MQA is NOT lossless
  2. MQA adds unwanted noise and distortion
  3. MQA is not usually sourced from a high-sample rate master
  4. MQA ‘authentication’ does not authenticate/guarantee anything (NOTE: the blue light is nonsense)

GoldenSound created an audio track that included a variety of audio tones, ultrasonic frequencies, and other test components and then had the files converted to MQA and uploaded to TIDAL. He reached out to the people at MQA ahead of his posting and they responded by having the file removed from the TIDAL platform. It seems MQA doesn’t want the world to know that it is perpetrating a hoax on the music and consumer electronics industries. They’re acting like bullies.

I have been in a conversation with an individual at Warner Music Group regarding the AIX Records catalog and distribution through streaming services. Just this morning I received an email that made mention of my request to remove ALL AIX content from TIDAL because they insisted on using MQA to encode my high-resolution masters. He wrote:

“I read your comment about MQA and Tidal.  Our former CEO for WEA, Mike Jbara, is the CEO of MQA.  Have you ever had a conversation with MQA about your concerns?  Perhaps it would do some good.”

I sent him the link to this video. It’s amazing that so many people in positions of influence have been fooled by the MQA juggernaut. Watch the video, read the articles, and I’m confident that you’ll come to the same conclusion I have — MQA REALLY IS A FRAUD!

GoldenSound’s YouTube page containing this video also includes a number of valuable references:

How to test MQA’s leaky filter:…

2018 RMAF MQA talk by Chris Connaker:…

Archimago’s MQA article:…

PS Audio vid on MQA:…

Schiit on MQA:…

Linn on MQA:…

Neil Young removes albums from TIDAL:…

John Atkinson of stereophile confirms low-level distortion:…

Further reading on MQA: GTO filter analysis:…

Benchmark Audio’s statement about MQA transient shifting:…

RealHD stops supporting MQA:

Archimago on transient smearing…

Rob Watts on digital filters:…

Benchmark on MQA:…

Meridian has doctored tests of hi-res in the past: https://audioinvestigations.blogspot….

Filter ringing (with a link to Mans/troll audio)…

Aliasing vs. imaging:…

Music aliasing distortion example:…

Linear phase vs. Minimum phase:…

Sox settings to duplicate an MQA filter:…

JA’s post showing signal aliasing:…

mansr’s original Dragonfly DAC analysis:…

Why MQA’s digital filters blur the music:…

A Survey of Musical Instrument Spectra to 102.4 KHz…

RealHD Audio on MQA:

Bob Stuart wanted to censor AS:…

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Mark Waldrep, aka Dr. AIX, has been producing and engineering music for over 40 years. He learned electronics as a teenager from his HAM radio father while learning to play the guitar. Mark received the first doctorate in music composition from UCLA in 1986 for a "binaural" electronic music composition. Other advanced degrees include an MS in computer science, an MFA/MA in music, BM in music and a BA in art. As an engineer and producer, Mark has worked on projects for the Rolling Stones, 311, Tool, KISS, Blink 182, Blues Traveler, Britney Spears, the San Francisco Symphony, The Dover Quartet, Willie Nelson, Paul Williams, The Allman Brothers, Bad Company and many more. Dr. Waldrep has been an innovator when it comes to multimedia and music. He created the first enhanced CDs in the 90s, the first DVD-Videos released in the U.S., the first web-connected DVD, the first DVD-Audio title, the first music Blu-ray disc and the first 3D Music Album. Additionally, he launched the first High Definition Music Download site in 2007 called A frequency speaker at audio events, author of numerous articles, Dr. Waldrep is currently writing a book on the production and reproduction of high-end music called, "High-End Audio: A Practical Guide to Production and Playback". The book should be completed in the fall of 2013.

13 thoughts on “MQA Really Is A Fraud!

  • April 15, 2021 at 3:20 pm

    Guess it’s obvious now, if it wasn’t already, why they wouldn’t send you MQA transcodes of your IIX 24/96 material.

    I had already ditched Tidal in favor of Qobuz but would recommend others do the same before they join the zombie apocalypse too

  • April 15, 2021 at 4:09 pm

    Thanks Mark,
    Another great post on the realities of MQA! It’s threat to the lossless distribution of 16-44.1 and better files is real and can’t be ignored. For decades the audiophiles dream was to have a way to get perfect copies of the master tapes for home playback. We got that SQ with the CD and the later High Definition downloads. Now we find the record companies colluding with the MQA owners to take that away on the lie that MQA encoded-decoded files sound better. How can that be, ask yourself if the claims are correct and the MQA files sound “different”, how can these lossy files be :better: than the mix the artists and producers approved in the studio?
    Don’t let these people scam you into accepting an inferior product based on the lie that a lossy file of the master tape is an improvement. ITS NOT
    Just Say NO to MQA

  • April 16, 2021 at 7:41 am

    Fascinating video, thanks for the head-up on this Mark.
    I’ve never understood the supposed benefits of MQA beyond the original basis of being able to push hi res music down inadequate broadband networks and unfolding it the other end. This seemed a good idea but as is repeatedly been stated is now pointless because decent broadband easily able to stream files at 192/24 is now pretty ubiquitous. The fact that the artists original mixed, mastered music files are being altered is utterly bonkers – how is this in any way ‘Master Quality Authenticated’! it’s nothing of the sort.
    Dear Sir, please find enclosed my latest artwork for you titled the Mona Lisa – oh by the way it has been altered slightly by someone else to guarantee it’s the original Yours Sincerely LDV….

    • February 15, 2022 at 10:09 am

      Also, the funny part about MQA is it is *worse* for inadequate networks, because it’s actually larger than a FLAC file of the same quality lol.

      They basically created lossy wav files. Low quality, high file size.

  • April 28, 2021 at 9:15 am


    You should tell the person at Warner that the opposition to MQA is more popular than MQA itself.

    MQA doesn’t sound better.

    And in the Hip Hop world vertical integration means Artist to Consumer, no middlemen including Warner. Jack Dorsey bought a majority share of Tidal for access to artists so he can cut out middlemen with Cash App. There is already speculation in the financial press he will shutdown Tidal in four or five years.

    • April 28, 2021 at 9:20 am

      I did…but it falls on deaf ears.

      • April 28, 2021 at 4:37 pm

        Hopefully some of these deaf ears come to T.H.E. Show in Long Beach this June. I can have a chat with them.

  • May 2, 2021 at 11:59 am

    I’ve studied both MQA and RBCD methods. MQA violates Shannon Nyquist without doubt. It cannot work as claimed. You can’t sneak a 96 kbps file into 24 kbps file by changing the voltage level and downshifting it in frequency. That is the essence of Audio Origami.

    The more I studied RBCD the more awed I become at the belt and suspenders skill of its inventors. They did EVERYTHING right the first time. It meets every criteria for recording the electrical signal of what are (incorrectly) called analogs of two channel musical recordings. It’s more than just the dynamic and frequency range being more than adequate, it is the redundancy, error detection and correction methods and all of the other data on the disc. You could say that the musical signal part of the information is only a small part of what’s there. While other formats may have superior technical performance properties such as wider frequency response and greater dynamic range they are either inaudible or beyond what is required for music. But they give up far more of real value that RBCD has than they gain in what is of no value to the user. For me it is the medium of choice for recorded music.

  • May 13, 2021 at 4:09 pm

    I do not understand why we need ‘hi res’ versions of digital masters which were originally 16 bit 44.1? You wont get any more audio than was originally captured on the original master and it all seems like snake oil bollocks to me.

  • October 28, 2022 at 6:01 pm

    Hi Mark, I was one of the 3 winners of the GCHQ Christmas contest some 5 years ago.
    I have studied mqa for several months around 3 years ago and I shared my conclusions on several audiophile facebook groups. One of the FB groups was “mqa development etc…” lead by a Dutch man Peter Veth. And in every group where I posted my finding, a group of his mqa trolls/marketeers gatherered together as a troup of wolves to try to debunk what I said. I was glad to see that you jumped in from time to time to tell them I was absolutely right. I was also spreading the truth about lossy mqa on the Roon forum and – I kid you not – those same marketeers – even PV also started bashing me there.

    Then one day that Goldensound video came out and suddenly all that I said there was confirmed but those trolls kept bashing me and suddenly I was banned from the forum without any prior notice. Those trolls however, still active there 24/24 7/7. Not a surprise as one of the admins of the Roon forum is working for… Meridian Unplugged…. Meridian as in mqa. Apparently that video made them realize that people revealing the truth could no longer be tolerated as it must have hurt mqa ltd and Tidal seriously.

    You can still see my explanations there on the Roon Forum. And you can see that a thread that was started by me (the PCM vs MQA comparison thread) was mostly answered by trolls : ChrisSlayerUK (he’s active on the mqa fanboy page as well as Chris Kyan), PeterVeth (he IS the admin of that same facebook page), Robbi Burdeck and Garye (real names unknown to me). They just hijacked my thread and eventually got ME banned from the roon forum – which shows how far they go in defending the lossy crappy format.

    Hope you are fine Mark. Take care.

    • October 29, 2022 at 10:35 am


      It is indeed unfortunate that the MQA people behave as they do. With as much money at stake as there is, I wouldn’t be surprised if the investors in Meridian weren’t funding a disinformation campaign. I’ve moved on. Those who know the truth can be confident that eventually the trolls will lose the battle. Thanks.


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