US-based independent record label, Tremulant Records, is the latest label to release new recordings MQA. Eric Medley – producer, studio manager and owner of Tremulant Records – explains how MQA reveals the subtleties and nuances of a recording and why it’s a “game changer”
I've been in the music industry a long time, well before digital took hold. So, the awful moment of purchasing the 'official' street version of my productions and hitting 'play' only to be surprised by what I heard is old hat for me. Sometimes I was pleased by the first notes coming out of the speakers, others appalled.
However, being at peace with the lossiness of the process of vinyl replication, the brittleness of CDs, etc, in no way prepared me for MP3. This was the first time in my experience when I was not even recognising my work in the end product. I thought, “There's got to be a better way” And along came MQA...
The first project is a new release from Hilary Saunders titled Alchemy, a 6-song EP.
One of the main aspects of Hilary's music is that she doesn't like to stay planted in one genre. For her, the struggle has been to pick up on all the subtleties she’s layering into her tracks. She has a real gift for playing those kinds of songs where it's just her and a guitar. These songs are very intimate and vulnerable. Both she and I always felt by the time the tracks were released online, we'd lost the closeness and intimacy altogether.
Alchemy came out on Tidal in Master Quality and we couldn't be happier. I hear all those things colour changes and nuances described above both in headphones and on my home system speakers. As an engineer I appreciate the science of it. But as artists – those who create the music and those who produce it (myself and others) – I express my profound gratitude to whatever the secret sauce contains. It's obvious that those who created the technology are of like mind when it comes to music.
Having suffered through years of the music technologists telling us, “Get over it. Nobody cares what it sounds like...” it's so refreshing to hear streaming that is not only convenient and works, but actually sounds fantastic.
I can’t tell you what a game changer this is for us at Tremulant.
Listen to Hilary Saunders – Alchemy in master quality on Tidal