Meridian MQA

While I was listening to possibly-defective high-priced systems yesterday, a DSP-oriented firm, Meridian, was busy launching its groundbreaking audio compression system that promises to deliver high resolution streaming in CD-sized files. All the theory and practice suggests that CD is already transparent, so this sounds similar to a question I have asked myself when archiving photographs: given that storage space is limited, would I be better saving uncompressed at, say, an already-acceptable 1920×1080, or compressing ultra-res 4000×2000 into the same file size? I think the sensible answer has got to be the latter. Anyway, Meridian can’t really lose, as even if there is no audible difference, high res scores higher on placebo points.

mqa graph

But selling is a dirty business isn’t it? They provide this ‘graph’ that actually undermines everything they have been commending to us for years. Analogue reel-to-reel (the audio bottleneck that digital was originally developed to fix) is placed as highest quality, and even the humble 1940s consumer distribution medium, LP, is placed higher than DVD-A. In fact, given that DVD-A can play back the highest resolution uncompressed studio formats already, this graph even undermines what they are trying to sell now. Unless the hope is that the consumer infers that MQA is a technology apart and is better than all the options shown. On that basis they might hope to snare the analogue-o-philes as well as digital people.

But can they cite any real evidence that the above ‘graph’ has any basis in reality? Maybe they meant it to be ‘quality as popularly-mythologised’ but didn’t have room for the extra words.


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