How it Works

MP3 files deliver just 10% of the original studio recording. MQA reveals every detail of the original recording.

Scroll down

MQA can be fully approved and authenticated in the studio and with our studio toolset, all playback scenarios can be previewed.

Continue scrolling

After capturing the recording, MQA folds the file to make it small enough to stream.

We call this ‘Music Origami’.

Continue scrolling

MQA will play back on any device to deliver higher than CD-quality. When paired with an MQA decoder, the MQA file reveals the original master recording.

Continue scrolling

Explore different levels of ‘unfold’

See how MQA ‘unfolds’ to deliver the best possible listening experience.

MQA core decoder
Unfold 1

MQA Core Decoder

This unfolds the MQA file once to deliver even higher than CD-quality. It is included in some products with digital outputs such as Bluesound, Pioneer and Onkyo players, as well as streaming services such as TIDAL and media players like Audirvana and Roon.

The first unfold recovers all the direct music-related information. Output is 88.2kHz or 96kHz.

MQA render
Unfold 2 Unfold 3

MQA Renderer

These products feature an MQA renderer which, when paired with a core decoder, can complete the final unfold. Renderers can be great portable products such as USB DACs and headphones. For example the AudioQuest DragonFly, or a range of iFi products, can connect to an MQA Core signal and complete the unfolding of the MQA file.

An MQA Renderer will include ‘stream lock’ but is not able to decode an MQA stream or authenticate it.

MQA full decoder
Unfold 1 Unfold 2 Unfold 3

MQA Full Decoder

Products with a full MQA Decoder unfold the file to deliver the highest possible sound quality. At this level of playback you are hearing what the artists created in the studio – with precise file and platform-specific DAC compensation and management. Partners include Bluesound, Brinkmann, dCS, Meridian, Mytek, NAD, LUMIN, Onkyo, Pioneer, TEAC and Technics.

Smartphones from brands including LG and Essential can also deliver a fully decoded MQA experience.

Visit Bob Talks

FAQs

What’s the difference between MQA and MP3?

MP3 recordings retain just 10% of the original studio recording, the rest is discarded to reduce the file size. MQA captures and reveals 100% of the performance.

What is music origami?

After capturing the performance, MQA folds the file to make it small enough to stream or download. We call this ‘Music Origami’.

Can I listen to MQA on my mobile?

MQA will play back on any device to deliver higher than CD-quality. If you have a smartphone with MQA capability it will decode and ‘unfold’ an MQA file to deliver studio quality sound. You can also experience MQA on the TIDAL mobile app.