It’s Christmas come early for owners of (select) Pioneer network hi-fi components. Tomorrow (18th December), Pioneer is releasing free firmware updates to four streaming players/receivers, expanding their hi-res streaming capability.
The N-30AE streamer and SX-N30AE network stereo receiver (pictured) will be updated with support for both Tidal Masters and MQA (Master Quality Authenticated), while the N-70AE (five stars) and N-50AE music streamers and NC-50DAB network receiver (which are all already compatible with MQA) will get Tidal Masters support.
The free firmware update is due tomorrow (18th December). So what does that mean to owners of those select network components?
MQA support will allow the machines to play back MQA, which is a codec that efficiently packages hi-res audio into files small enough to stream and download, and store on devices. MQA music can be bought from hi-res download stores such as Onkyo Music.
Tidal Masters, meanwhile, are MQA-based, mostly-hi-res streams available on Tidal to subscribers of the streaming service’s £20/month Hi-Fi tier.