London / (Virtual) Munich, 29 May 2020 – MQA, the pioneering audio technology company, continues to grow its network of international partners and expand its reach. While there may be no Munich High End Show this year, there’s an abundance of partnership news to share.
“Even during these extremely challenging times, we’ve seen strong business potential and have proceeded with campaign opportunities to support our partners,” stated MQA CEO Mike Jbara. “Development work continues uninterrupted, and we’ve been able to showcase MQA’s unique capabilities to deliver the best sound for live audio broadcasts, as well as within video, proving we’re ready to help existing and new partners navigate whatever the future brings. The one constant remains our quest to deliver the best quality audio, whatever the playback environment.”
Luxman, recently joined the MQA family with the release of its D-03X digital player (pictured above) which has MQA-CD playback capability. Another new hi-fi partner, Monitor Audio, has now officially launched its MQA-enabled IMS-4* music streaming solution – the product was demonstrated for the first time at ISE 2020. HiFi Rose released its RS201 network streamer late last year and will soon be adding the RS150 to its range of MQA-capable products. Other new joiners include Topping and its D90 (with MQA) DAC, and Magnet, which is gearing up for international distribution of its recently released Elite S DAC.
Existing MQA partners who have announced new products include the following:
- The recently released NAD T778 AV Surround Amplifier* and M33 BluOS Streaming DAC Amplifier* which is coming soon.
- Firmware upgrades for ARCAM’s SA30 integrated amplifier* and its Solo Uno streamer with built-in amplifier*
- Two new desktop DACs: Pro-ject’s DAC Box RS2, and the S.M.S.L M400;
- And two recently released DACs, the DA2 V2 from EMM Labs and Bel Canto’s e1X DAC and e1X Amplifier
(*subject to final test & certification)
NAD M33 BluOS Streaming DAC Amplifier
MQA On The Go
A new partnership with FiiO adds to the availability of MQA-enabled portable products, with MQA capability integrated into its range of portable players released earlier this year: the new M11 Pro and M15 players, alongside the existing M11 model which can now be updated. The dongle category, popular for boosting handset audio capability, has two new offerings: HELM Audio’s Bolt DAC/AMP can now be pre-ordered from for delivery in July; while Highscreen released its MQA-enabled TrueSound Pro rendering adapter in February.
New portable products from existing partners include: Astell&Kern’s A&norma SR25 player; iFi audio’s portable hip-dac; and a firmware update to upgrade the HiBy Music R6 and R6 Pro portable players, with the R8 coming soon.
In the world of in-car entertainment, JVC Kenwood continues to integrate MQA into more of its automotive accessories: during June and July, several Sat Nav products will be released to the Japanese market which support MQA-CD and MQA file playback.
HELM Audio’s Bolt DAC/AMP
MQA Transforms Sound Everywhere
Prior to lockdown, MQA teamed up with Bluesound and tastemakers Jazz re:freshed and British Underground, for the inaugural Master Sessions event at London’s British Grove Studios. At the event, Mercury Prize nominees SEED Ensemble performed an exclusive live set, which was broadcast live in MQA audio to audiences at Bluesound dealerships across UK, Europe and South Africa. The technology for live audio streaming was first demonstrated during South By South West (SXSW) in March 2018.
MQA then joined forces with British Music Embassy to provide a livestream for UK artists due to perform at the cancelled SXSW 2020 festival. For the first time, thanks to MQA’s unique audio technology, the original sound from these live sessions is captured within HD video, to showcase the artists and their music in the best possible quality.
Commented Fred Bolza of New Soil, who manages Theon Cross, “Theon’s trip to SXSW was to be a key part of his plans for 2020, acting as the culmination of activity around his 2019 album Fyah and the start of the next chapter of his journey. Despite the event’s cancellation we were resolved to find a way of bringing the music to people and, thanks to MQA, the British Music Embassy and Jazz re:freshed, Theon was able to perform, livestream and capture his SXSW set to a level of quality that was undoubtedly the next best thing to being there!”