MQA Launches on Tidal Streaming Platform
Headlining the news out of this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is the announcement that music streaming service Tidal, has partnered with MQA (Master Quality Authenticated), a studio quality digital file format for audio developed by Meridian.
If you're not familiar with MQA, here's some further reading. Via the Tidal platform, subscribers on the 'HiFi' streaming package will be able to access 'Tidal Masters' from today via the desktop app, at no extra charge. No news on those using portable devices or those using Tidal via Roon integration as yet.
One workaround is via the Tidal desktop app and add 'Master' albums to a playlist. This playlist will then be available via other platforms with Tidal integration (Roon, for example). Even without MQA capable DACs, many users are already reporting remarkable improvements in sound quality.
MQA via the Tidal Masters service will typically be streamed at 96kHz/24bit as opposed to the 44.1kHZ/16bit standard for Tidal HiFi subscribers.
As streaming revenues surpassed physical media formats in 2016 (hitting $1billion for the first time), 'streaming' has stamped its authority as the dominant method in which music is now consumed.
Eric Boulanger, founder and award-winning mastering engineer at The Bakery in Los Angeles, helping demonstrate high res audio and MQA in particular to consumers at CES, said:
MQA will be the first opportunity, in the history of recorded music, to directly link the music listener to the mastering studio, revolutionising my job and its importance.
Many industry commentators have been sceptical about MQA and its potential to gain traction and penetration within the marketplace. Following MQA's announcement mid-2016 of a partnership with Warner Music however, combined with this new collaboration with Tidal, the future looks brights for the MQA format.
At launch today, Tidal says there are now more than 30,000 MQA compatible tracks within the Tidal library including mainstream artists such as Beyonce, The Eagles. Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie, Coldplay and more.
Adding more support for MQA, Technics, Audioquest, Audirvana, Mytek and Pioneer are all announcing new MQA products or support for the MQA format at this year's CES. Stay tuned for more news on these individual announcements.
If you've not tried Tidal yet, sign up for a 60 day complimentary Tidal HiFi account here.