Tidal signs deal with MQA for new Masters service


Online streaming service Tidal is now offering ‘master’ quality audio music recordings thanks to a new deal with audio technology provider MQA. The move was announced at this year’s CES in Las Vegas.

A wide variety of content from labels and artists, including Warner Music Group’s music catalogue, is now available in ‘master’ quality across all of Tidal’s available markets worldwide.

Titles from Coldplay, David Bowie, Beyoncé, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Bruno Mars and Aretha Franklin are among those on offer.

Tidal has integrated MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) and is offering it to all its Tidal Hi-Fi tier subscribers under a new ‘Masters’ feature. The service will initially only be available on the desktop version of Tidal.

High-res download store HIGHRESAUDIO is also expanding its MQA offering with releases from selected Warner Music artists now available for download.

Said a spokesman for Tidal: “Tidal is committed to bringing members closer to their favourite musicians and offering MQA sound quality will allow subscribers to hear music just as it was recorded in the studio. We’re thrilled to bring master quality sound to our members.”

Spencer Chrislu
Spencer Chrislu

This year’s CES includes a Hi-Res Pavilion, where MQA is demonstrating its technology, as well as supporting the activities of partner companies.

Consumer electronics brand Mytek is using CES to launch a new MQA-enabled hi-fi headphone amplifier and DAC called Clef. It will be available in the second quarter of 2017.

NAD Electronics and Bluesound are offering demonstrations of several MQA-enabled products at CES (The Venetian hotel – Suite 30-235) and Pioneer is giving a demonstration of its next-generation XDP-300R digital audio player (DAP) and a sneak preview of its new entry-level model.

Onkyo is also showing off its DP-X1A DAP and a new model aimed at the lower end of the market.

AudioQuest has announced MQA implementation in its USB DAC products, DragonFly Red and Black. MQA will be available to AudioQuest owners later this month, via a free software update.

Speaking exclusively to ERT at an MQA CES preview event recently, Spencer Chrislu (pictured), MQA’s director of content services, said: “The big trend in audio this year will be the continuation of the movement towards streaming and high-res. I think it’s finally time for the audio industry to embrace high resolution. It’s time to let everyone know that there can be a premium audio offering in the same way that the TV industry has offered premium vision.

“People are finally comfortable with having a subscription to all of the audio that they might want. There is real value in connecting with your favourite artists and bringing back that emotional connection with music – it’s about everyone working together.”

Mr Chrislu added: “I’m really excited that on the main floor at CES there’s a Hi-Res Audio Pavilion – I think that’s the first time that’s happened. We can open up high-resolution music to everyone and they can all have the opportunity to enjoy it.”