TIDAL Introduces MQA Streaming “Master Audio” Support

January 5 2017, 05:00
As discussed for over a year, during CES 2017, TIDAL and MQA announced the much anticipated support for Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) on their streaming service. Until now only available on file-based downloads, the bandwidth efficient high-resolution audio format (HRA) is now available on a mainstream platform. TIDAL was previously the only music streaming service to offer a “higher-quality” subscription option. Those subscribers will now be able to access MQA encoded masters.

“TIDAL has integrated MQA, the award-winning technology that enables this innovation, and has offered it to all TIDAL HiFi tier subscribers under a new ‘Master’ listing. Initially available on desktop, a wide range of recordings are already available and the collection will grow rapidly,” the company says on the announcement.

TIDAL is a global streaming platform and so far the only music streaming service to actually differentiate the quality of the source files in its HiFi service, offering a “high-fidelity” lossless CD sound option - which until now has remained a mix-bag since it is very hard to notice any actual improvements on the quality of the music, while the extra bandwidth required does causes some buffering issues if the data rate is not sustained at all times. TIDAL is available in more than 52 countries, with more than 42.5 million songs in its catalog.

Now, those HiFi members will get their money worth, since TIDAL has announced the availability of MQA streaming or what the service calls “Master quality” recordings. A wide variety of content from labels and artists, including Warner Music Group’s world-renowned music catalog, is now available in Master audio across all of TIDAL’s available markets worldwide. This introduction will be a pivotal moment for MQA, demonstrating how effective the encoding can be, independently of the original files are effectively just CD-quality 16-bit/44.1kHz masters or truly high-resolution audio material, which might have been remastered from the original analog tapes. For most consumers this could be the first opportunity ever to listen to HRA material. The problem is that consumers need an MQA-capable hardware decoder to truly experience the full quality - otherwise, the file plays as a standard lossless CD-quality file.

“TIDAL is committed to bringing members closer to their favorite musicians and offering MQA sound quality will allow subscribers to hear music just as it was recorded in the studio,” says a TIDAL representative. “We’re thrilled to bring master quality sound to our members.”
Mike Jbara, MQA CEO, says, “TIDAL is an artist-centric music company. We could not be more excited that they share our vision of having fans hear the authentic performance of their favorite music.” TIDAL is now offering non-members the option to try out the quality of the service, with a complimentary 60-day trial. 
If you want to read more about MQA just click here.
www.mqa.co.uk | TIDAL.com/masters
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