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New Cycle of Carpenters Albums To Be Released on MQAxUHQCD Discs

kc4ever

New Member
Thread Starter
Universal Japan has finally announced, as expected, the release of all 13 Carpenters albums on MQAxUHQCD discs in December 2018. It has already released The Singles 1969-1973 in this new format earlier in June this year.

The purpose of this thread is not to start a debate on the pros and cons of MQA and UHQCD (those interested in such discussions should head to the Stevehoffman forum where multiple epic threads on this topic exist), because I am interested in neither per se (I don't have, and not planning to acquire, the necessary hardware/software to decode MQA, and since I now rip everything to computer, the materials used in the manufacturing of cds, such as UHQCD, are largely irrelevant).

Rather, the real factor that piqued my interest associated with this new cycle of release is the fact that Universal Japan claims that it will be using brand new high resolution (352.8kHz/24bit) DSD masters prepared in 2018 for the albums. If so, I'd seriously consider a purchase. Does anyone have more detailed information about these new masters, and whether Richard has been involved in creating them?

For reference, The Singles 1969-1973 album released earlier this year in this new format utilized a master prepared in 2014. I don't own this disc, but am very interested in finding out how it compares with this album based on older masters in the past. Could someone who has this disc share some observations?
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Universal Japan has finally announced, as expected, the release of all 13 Carpenters albums on MQAxUHQCD discs in December 2018.

MQAxUHQCD???

As I posted a while back, I think the number of formats the albums keep getting released on in Japan is bordering on ridiculous. How much more better sounding can you possibly get them? I think the standard was reached some time ago.

One thing that does spring to mind regarding the timing though, I wonder if it’s tied in to the new album’s release date?
 

CARPENTERS-COLLECTOR

Well-Known Member
MQAxUHQCD???

How much more better sounding can you possibly get them? I think the standard was reached some time ago.

I couldn't agree more on this! I think at the end of the day, it`s just another way to get fan` to part with their money. I just don`t know how many times the same music can be released and expect people to keep buying it, but I guess folks do, or they wouldn't do it.
I`m not sure how a lot of you guy` listen to your music, but I don`t think you can beat the old `seperates` when it comes to hi-fi, especially a set-up with a good equaliser on it like I have, I set the music how I like it to sound and it works for me. I think no matter how good these cd` are, there only as good as the equipment their been played on!
I`d like to see more bluray stuff myself :)
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
For reference, The Singles 1969-1973 album released earlier this year in this new format utilized a master prepared in 2014. I don't own this disc, but am very interested in finding out how it compares with this album based on older masters in the past. Could someone who has this disc share some observations?
The 2014 Singles Platinum SHM-CD is the one that I have. (I don’t know if it uses this 2014 master you’re talking about.) To me, this master is ideal and sounds like a flat transfer of the source tape. The Superstar/Rainy Days/Goodbye to Love triad is not sped up (although “Goodbye to Love” speeds up incrementally as Karen sings “no one ever cared if I should live or die”) and “Yesterday Once More” is the single version.

Apparently MQA is a British invention, and it uses lossy compression. So, that’s something to keep in mind I suppose.
 

Joeyesterday

Well-Known Member
I couldn't agree more on this! I think at the end of the day, it`s just another way to get fan` to part with their money. I just don`t know how many times the same music can be released and expect people to keep buying it, but I guess folks do, or they wouldn't do it.
I`m not sure how a lot of you guy` listen to your music, but I don`t think you can beat the old `seperates` when it comes to hi-fi, especially a set-up with a good equaliser on it like I have, I set the music how I like it to sound and it works for me. I think no matter how good these cd` are, there only as good as the equipment their been played on!
I`d like to see more bluray stuff myself :)
Totally agree!
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
Apparently MQA is a British invention, and it uses lossy compression. So, that’s something to keep in mind I suppose.
Sure, like who wants to listen to, basically, glorified MP3 on CD? As I've said for years, mqa is a sham, and the stupidity of putting a lossy format onto a disc just shows how desperate bob stuart is to push mqa and collect his licensing fee. That's all it boils down to. Shame on Universal for falling for this sham, and even more shame on them for bilking innocent music buyers out of their money by playing this up as "audiophile" when it's not.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Give me lossless or give me iTunes! (only to save space on my SSD)
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
Funny that Japan and Universal will regurgitate these albums every couple of years to churn sales from collectors, while they've never bothered to release these in hi-res versions. Provided they were the original albums as released (no remixes, no re-recorded parts, etc.), I'd get those without even hesitating.

Hi-res and mqa should never be uttered in the same sentence...or the same universe for that matter.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
It’s to bad that Universal wouldn’t put out a DVD-/Blu-Ray-audio version of the albums. Anybody with a PS3/PS4/PS5 with optical drive/Xbox Series X? (again the one with the optical drive)/Xbox One or Blu-Ray player could play them back in PCM audio and even 5.1 PCM for the SACD tracks.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
SACD is still alive and well also. There are even ways to release DVDs with 2-channel lossless audio, up to 24/96, that will play in any standard DVD or BluRay player. (This was done prior to the DVD-Audio format in very rare cases--Classic Records had a couple of titles.) Downloads can be anything they desire--no restrictions on disc format or standards. Offer it as a FLAC download (as most hi-res companies offer) and it's all good.

What galls me more is how so few collectors have access to equipment that can play mqa digital, and that means the standard stereo program (non-decoded) is also compromised as well since it's a lossy format no matter what trickery is going on behind the scenes. So despite being labeled as a "high quality" sound, it is not as good as a CD. I won't get into the technical side of things, but those of us here who have an idea of how mqa functions already know about it. It's also telling that bob stuart only points people to his whitepapers on the topic, which are full of technical jargon, and nobody has ever been given the opportunity to hear mqa side by side with hi-res digital or even CD (with no difference other than switching mqa processing in and out of the chain)--this all makes us wonder what they are trying to hide with this.

Even the claims of masters being "authenticated" are a farce (mqa = "master quality authenticated")--the mere existence of hundreds of thousands of mqa tracks on the Tidal service makes that a suspect claim. No record label is going to create a separate mastering for some fringe software format. Not on their dime, that's for certain. Also, who is doing the "authenticating"? Record labels aren't going to spend a dime on it, not even to research their vaults and find out what a "good" master is. And who had time to listen to all those hundreds of thousands of tracks to "authenticate" them?

There's just too much baggage that goes along with mqa. I don't even know if Universal is still releasing anything using the format--I know this thread goes back three years, and Universal was dabbling in it back then. Hopefully they've moved on.

The only place mqa kind of makes sense is with streaming--it is better quality than MP3 and might come in handy over mobile devices that are on data plans. In the home, though, it makes no sense--we have sufficient bandwidth to play back multiple 4K video streams on a single Internet connection, and Qobuz streams up to 24-bit/192kHz, which is also doable. Storage space is also cheap. There's really no need for lossy audio anymore beyond mobile devices.
 

Murray

Well-Known Member
The only place mqa kind of makes sense is with streaming--it is better quality than MP3 and might come in handy over mobile devices that are on data plans. In the home, though, it makes no sense--we have sufficient bandwidth to play back multiple 4K video streams on a single Internet connection, and Qobuz streams up to 24-bit/192kHz, which is also doable. Storage space is also cheap. There's really no need for lossy audio anymore beyond mobile devices.
Even there it doesn't make much sense. As far as I'm aware, no mobile devices have native mqa support, so that necessitates connecting a mqa compatible DAC dongle, and using only wired headphones. I use my phone as a music player when I'm outside - going for a walk, bike ride, or doing yard work - and I can live with lesser sound quality, for the convenience of wireless earphones. With traffic and wind noise outside, I probably couldn't hear that much of a difference anyway.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
Even there it doesn't make much sense. As far as I'm aware, no mobile devices have native mqa support, so that necessitates connecting a mqa compatible DAC dongle, and using only wired headphones. I use my phone as a music player when I'm outside - going for a walk, bike ride, or doing yard work - and I can live with lesser sound quality, for the convenience of wireless earphones. With traffic and wind noise outside, I probably couldn't hear that much of a difference anyway.
Agreed. The only place I use my phone for music is in the spare car--the head unit has Bluetooth (which itself is lossy), so I download a few albums from Qobuz (you can save them for offline use, but can only play them back in the Qobuz app) and hit the road. There's plenty of room on the phone, and I don't keep much music on it.

I do have an Audioquest Dragonfly Black that has mqa capability, but since I don't have Tidal, that mode will never get used. But I'll use it with my phone on a trip, if I take my "good" headphones with me. (I usually opt to take a powered speaker instead.)
 

Joeyesterday

Well-Known Member
Over the years in the progression of music recordings on 78, 45, 33.3, reel-to-reel, 8-Track, cassette, CD, minidisc, etc., there hasn’t been much improvement (to my ears) in sound quality beyond the CD format that makes it worth purchasing again. As far as surround sound, put it out on Blu ray where most folks have access to the equipment.

I do enjoy reading about the new tech specs from forum experts on sound improvement and look forward now to formats that address surround, 3D, and spatial improvements.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Even FLAC files I’m not convinced they are totally lossless. Whenever I hear a FLAC, it never sounds as good as a PCM WAV, it sounds like a MiniDisc sounds next to a CD, even when the file claims to be “24/96” or whatever. But pure PCM, I can clearly hear the difference.

But SACD is also troublesome. Sony included SACD playback in the early PS3’s, but then removed it and never restored it for later PS3, PS4 & PS5. So SACD is like MQA,
 
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