@designsfx I am agnostic to the debate about the virtue of MQA other than I think it is getting an undeserved bad rap on Audiogon regarding sound quality. IME relative sound quality is always determined by the quality of implementation regardless of format.
Assuming the “real thing” is live music, my thoughts are that MQA can provide a listening experience as close to that of live music as can reproduced music on any playback format. They all fall short of providing a perfect suspension-of-disbelief listening experience, yet the best implementation of each can get in the “spooky real” zone. How close each comes to being a convincing replication of the source event has much more to do with the recording and mastering quality of the media than the format and, of course, the quality of the reproduction chain is important. As the latter becomes increasing more accurate and revealing, the limitations of the former become the obvious ceiling for achieving truly convincing and satisfying reproduction of recorded music.