Is There an Arch Program Which Allows MQA Playback?

Currently I do not have any music files which use the relatively new MQA format. I don’t even know if that format will “catch on.” (Frankly, I hope that it doesn’t.)

But, in the event that I would want to play such files, can anyone tell me if there is any Arch program which would allow it? I did a search in pamac-aur-git and found nothing.

Thanks for any information.

Lawrence

You can play them in VLC, but not with the correct samplerate I guess:

https://trac.videolan.org/vlc/ticket/18029#comment:6

Only if you play the MQA file on a non-MQA compatible player, like current VLC. Than you get 48kHz. If you play the MQA on a player that can encode the MQA stream properly, than you have the original mastering file and the sample rate from the original master tape, given as ORIGINALSAMPLERATE in the metadata.

And yes, it does sound like a format that shouldn’t take off:

Because MQA is patented, commercial, and proprietary, MQA plugins for Linux audio players are unlikely, although perhaps a binary-only non-free plugin may eventually come along for sale or free download. Thus, Linux users who want to listen to full-quality MQA files are forced to purchase an MQA-compatible digital-analog converter.

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Dear Mr. Tiedemann,

Thank you very much for this information. I have several DACs but none that decode MQA.

I play my music (and I have files up to 24/192) in Audacious (I play mostly classical music and I want a “gapless” playback program which, as I’m sure that you know, VLC is not).

I have my etc/pulse/daemon.conf file set to:

; default-sample-format = s32le
; default-sample-rate = 44100
; alternate-sample-rate = 48000
; alternate-sample-rate = 88200
; alternate-sample-rate = 96000
; alternate-sample-rate = 132300
; alternate-sample-rate = 144000
; alternate-sample-rate = 176400
; alternate-sample-rate = 192000
; alternate-sample-rate = 384000
; alternate-sample-rate = 768000
; default-sample-channels = 2
; default-channel-map = front-left,front-right

so I can play those HQ music files natively (and I will be able to go up to 32/768 if they ever get that high). (The DACs I have indicate which format - 16/44, 24/48, 24/96, 24/192, etc. - is being played.)

If I were to purchase an MQA-compatible DAC, in your opinion would that be all that I would actually need?

I am not planning to even try MQA at this time. I’m just gathering information for the future.

Thanks very much again for your help.

Lawrence

Found another thing:
https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=328651&pid=2829524#pid2829524

I guess it’s all about finding the right DAC that works with Linux.

EDIT: Wrote this before I saw your reply, but yeah…

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Every DAC I have ever bought works perfectly with my computers, all of which run GNU/Linux operating systems (currently six with EndeavourOS and one with Manjaro).

Thanks for the extra information.

Lawrence

Oh, that’s good to know. I’ve thought about getting one for laptops and other stuff that only have a regular mini-jack.
Not an audiophile but laptops etc. do have terrible speakers and I’m not always happy with the output on analog from them either.

You can play them with a player of you choice which is able to play Alac, Flac or wav audio. Per definitionem it’s not a new format. In the end it’s simply raw (PCM) audio packed in one of those containers. If the player does not know about MQA it will simply play the raw audio. Depending on the quality of the audio material you might loose some quality in playback. But where do you get such high quality audio material? It’s supposed to be even better than CD quality. So you need the original master tapes or something like that. In my opinion that doesn’t make sense for everyday use. I use Flac for backing up. That’s lossless and good enough for normal mortals.

Maybe Tidal is an interesting link for you.

But I read an interesting statement from Jim Collinson from Linn :

With MQA we have reached the worst form of music distribution. MQA solves a problem that has already been solved or can be solved through free and open alternatives. MQA demands money without adding value. This is pure capitalism and only serves to suck more money out of the system. That suffocates the creative process and harms society.
Those who suffer from it are those at the ends of the chain: you, the consumers and on the other hand the artists. You pay a higher price for the music and you pay more for your hi-fi system. The additional production costs are deducted from the license fees for the artist and the increased distribution costs lead to low license revenues.

Maybe worth thinking about.

I did the upper translation. I first found this statement translated to german. Here is the original article. Very interesting in my opinion.

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Dear Trekkie00,

I have read pro and con about MQA but your post pretty much sums up and confirms what I have been thinking. MQA may just be a way to “encrypt” music so that we would have to pay extra for it.

I have also read that it allows FLAC files as well as other lossless files to be “compressed” (“folded”) without losing anything but when the MQA files are played back, they are “unfolded” so that what you hear is essentially the lossless file (but you CAN’T copy it lossless).

Maybe that’s fine for PAY streaming services. But I refuse to pay for ANY streaming services. (And that’s for the same reason that I refuse to pay for cable TV, something I have NEVER had in my house.)

There is plenty of free music on the web (and most of it is “legal”).

By the way, while I use FLAC, my son, who uses only Mac, uses ALAC. Of course with Linux we can play any format we want.

In addition to the VLC Media Player (which I use exclusively for video), for music, I found that Audacious is the best in terms of sound quality and the fact that it is “gapless.”. But for DSD files I believe that DeaDBeeF is the best player out there for those.

I’m going to keep my eye on MQA and I appreciate all of the replies and information I have received here.

But I’m still going to hope that MQA goes by the wayside.

Lawrence

For the MQA music playback, maybe you could try Tidal music. It can provides high audio quality to you, which let you enjoy better listening experience. But if you want to listen the Tidal music offline, you need to use the third-party tool - Tidal Playlist Converter. With it, you could convert Tidal audios to plain formats so that you could use them on other devices.

Tidal states it offers MQA audio quality, I think you could give it a try. By the way, here I want to share a tip for you after using Tidal. If you want to get Tidal to other devices, then you could use the Tidal Music Editor to help you. Good luck.