The streaming service has used MQA technology to enable high-resolution music streams.

Music streaming service Tidal has announced that, starting today, it will be providing MQA Master Quality Authenticated) audio to subscribers of the Tidal HiFi package, at no extra cost.

MQA audio is a technology that was launched by Meridian, but is now a separate company. It works by packaging music files in a smaller size, so will be easier to stream, but also allows it a higher level of detail.

The hi-res audio streams will typically be 96 kHz/24 bit, according to Tidal, as opposed to the 44.1 kHz/16 bit CD-quality streams on the hi-fi tier. This can be activated by going into the 'Settings" menu, and choosing the "HiFi/Master" quality under “Streaming".

Tidal Masters hi-res audio streams will only be available on the desktop version of Tidal for now.

Music available in the new format includes albums by Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Coldplay, David Bowie, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Jay-Z and Joni Mitchell.

More after the break

The upgrade is one that we’ve expected for a while. Pål Bråtelund, Tidal's strategic partnership manager, told What Hi-Fi?  in 2015 that Tidal would have hi-res audio in 2016. MQA audio on Tidal was also demonstrated at CES 2016, but was subsequently delayed.

Tidal currently has approximately 4.2m subscribers, in comparison to Spotify's 30 million usersApple Music currently has around 13 million users.

You can read more about the service on the Tidal website.

Comments

TC's picture

How to listen?

I want to try it. What's the easiest way to get MQA streaming off of my laptop and onto my amplifier? Does chromecast audio support it?

Andy Clough's picture

Tidal Masters

I'm told that the MQA decoding is done within the Tidal desktop app, so if your amp has a digital input, you could feed the audio from your laptop to the amp. AFAIK Chromecast audio does not currently support MQA.

rwol1970's picture

Are the master pre-compression?

The resolution is fine, but not the most important aspect IMHO. What's more interesting is whether the compression that's normally applied to make the music living room friendly is applied? If not, it would be really a game changer. Maybe not so useful in average listening situations but it would be the first time to hear the music as the recording engineering team heard it in your living room.