What is MQA audio?
MQA is the breakthrough audio technology that enables music fans to stream the original master recording into their home, car or on their mobile. Working together with the music industry and global hi-fi brands, MQA audio powers the world’s best-sounding music services, videos and consumer devices. Digital Trends has named MQA’s hi-res audio format a “game-changer”.
Why is MQA audio so special?
Based on pioneering research into human neuroscience, the award-winning British technology captures every element of a recording’s resolution and timing. This level of detail recreates a natural sound. It enables the listener to position the instruments and performers to build a 3D sonic picture.
By identifying and focusing on the music information within the file, MQA’s unique encoding process enables high quality music to be ‘folded’ and delivered in the most efficient and sustainable way. Read more about this under Sustainable Tech.
Devices or apps with MQA decoding capability can fully ‘unfold’ the MQA file and reveal the original master resolution. They will also authenticate the file to guarantee that it is the definitive master recording from the studio. What Hi-Fi? has described that MQA does the following: “Wherever there is sound, MQA delivers the best version of it.”
MQA founder and creator, Bob Stuart, has been recognised internationally for his ground-breaking work in digital audio. Supported by many highly respected record producers and mastering engineers, MQA’s innovative technology has also been adopted by artists and record labels. Sony Music, Warner Music, Universal Music and Merlin (on behalf of independent labels), are all licensed partners. This means the availability of MQA music continues to grow worldwide.
How to listen to MQA audio
You don’t need special equipment to enjoy the benefits of MQA. For the very best listening experience, however, use an MQA-enabled product. Thanks to MQA’s network of international hardware manufacturers, there are millions of MQA playback devices that contain MQA’s decoding technology. From handsets and portable players, through to wireless speakers and custom install sound systems. View the wide range of certified MQA playback devices, streaming services, media players and download services.
Music services that currently support MQA include TIDAL, live specialists nugs.net, and e-onkyo music (in Japan). TIDAL Master files, for example, are encoded using MQA’s technology. The software on TIDAL will then ‘unfold’ and decode the file, delivering studio quality sound, however or wherever the music is streamed.
MQA’s philosophy is based on the three pillars of quality, authentication and convenience. This ensures that the artist-approved version of a song is delivered conveniently and efficiently, and in the highest quality, from the studio to the music fan. Find out more about how to transform your listening experience with MQA and TIDAL Masters here.
What’s more, MQA’s commitment to delivering the ultimate listening experience doesn’t stop at recorded music. Wherever audio exists, MQA ensures it’s the best it can possibly be; within physical formats, radio broadcasting, livestreams and video on demand.