There's a new streaming service aimed at audiophiles from the people behind MQA

Lenbrook and HDtracks logo
(Image credit: Lenbrook, HDtracks)

Lenbrook has announced plans to launch a new service built around MQA's Airia tech in a bid to take on the likes of Tidal and Qobuz

The high-res audio specialist, which acquired MQA when it went into administration last year, recently announced the formation of of MQA Labs and revealed its newly branded "Airia", Foqus" and "Qrono" initiatives. These include wireless streaming protocols designed to "bring audio processing enhancements across the music supply chain". 

Some of these protocols have found their new home. Lenbrook Media Group has unveiled its partnership with HDTracks, the established streaming platform aimed at delivering high-res audio to "discerning music fans". The partnership includes plans for a new service aimed at the audiophile end of the market. 

The new service will be the first to employ Lenbrook’s new "Airia" tech,. Airia is a transmission codec which aims to provide the best resolution possible regardless of bandwidth availability. Designed for low-latency wireless communications, Airia "brings the benefits of a format-agnostic, scalable codec with an unmatched combination of audio quality, reliability, and data efficiency", according to Lenbrook.

HDtracks

We reviewed HDTracks a few years' ago and, in general, we were impressed by its solid range of file types, easy downloading and competitive prices. (Image credit: HDtracks)

The service will offer users the chance to choose between listening to their music in PCM/FLAC or MQA formats, with Airia offering the delivery mechanism for transferring the files from the servers to the listener’s app or device.

The box-fresh platform will be available across a variety of mediums. In addition to its bespoke mobile applications, Lenbrook plans for the streaming service to be incorporated into "many of the world’s leading high-end audio ecosystems, apps, and brands", although no concrete names have been provided just yet.

According to HDTracks co-founder David Chesky: “We have wanted to launch an HDTracks streaming service for some time. In Lenbrook we have a partner with global reach to help us launch a service ensuring quality and consumer choice. Fans will get to choose their format – either PCM/FLAC or MQA - in a service that will ensure high-resolution audio streaming whether you are in your home or on-the-go.”

MORE:

At last! Lenbrook Group unveils its plans for the future of MQA lossless streaming

MQA audio: what is it? How can you get it?

MQA has gone into administration: what does this mean for Tidal and supported products?

Read our full Tidal review

Harry McKerrell
Staff writer

Harry McKerrell is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi?. During his time at the publication, he has written countless news stories alongside features, advice and reviews of products ranging from floorstanding speakers and music streamers to over-ear headphones, wireless earbuds and portable DACs. He has covered launches from hi-fi and consumer tech brands, and major industry events including IFA, High End Munich and, of course, the Bristol Hi-Fi Show. When not at work he can be found playing hockey, practising the piano or trying to pet strangers' dogs. 

  • Curt
    Such a shame 😒

    I really thought the end was near for MQA. Oh well, I guess snake oil products never go away.
    Reply
  • jthvac829
    I doubt any audiophiles will trust wireless streaming. They'll refuse to give up their $1000 network cards
    Reply
  • koshka
    Curt said:
    Such a shame 😒

    I really thought the end was near for MQA. Oh well, I guess snake oil products never go away.
    I expect we have another user here who has never heard a MQA track played on a high quality system which can natively play MQA and is just jumping on the bandwagon of misinformation.
    MQA CD's are an excellent source of high quality sound as anybody who has taken the trouble to sort out a proper stereo to play them on will testify.
    Reply
  • razorjack
    Will it be another scam? Like MQA
    Reply
  • cryanhorner
    it might sound great, but i'm worried it'll be too niche. it's annoying using a streaming service that has limited catalog and isn't used by anyone you know, so sending someone a link to a track/album/playlist you want them to check out is useless, etc. it's a drag building a playlist in say, Qobuz, and then having to run it through some app to try to transpose it to Spotify before I can share it with anyone else I know (and inevitably only about 60% of the tracks actually copy over accurately).

    until top quality sound is standard on the more ubiquitous streaming platforms, these little services are going to keep starting up and fading out the same way so many social media platforms have, because the environment doesn't lend itself to there being a whole bunch of different incompatible services. there's a reason digital platforms have a tendency towards monopoly, it is easier when everyone is using the same system just like the world would be easier if everyone spoke the same language.

    i've tried being the only person i know using Tidal, Qobuz, Apple Music, Youtube Music, etc, and while it sometimes sounds better, it's still too isolating and frustrating to be the great experience that was promised.
    Reply
  • Curt
    koshka said:
    I expect we have another user here who has never heard a MQA track played on a high quality system which can natively play MQA and is just jumping on the bandwagon of misinformation.
    MQA CD's are an excellent source of high quality sound as anybody who has taken the trouble to sort out a proper stereo to play them on will testify.
    It's not the sound of MQA I don't like, it's the marketing lies it was built on. Advertised first as "Lossless" and now advertised as "Better than lossless"

    It's marketing lies I don't like, not the sound.
    Reply