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Meridian Lining Up Support For High-Res MQA Audio

LAS VEGAS – Meridian Audio is lining up support from CE makers, streaming and download services, and music labels for its high-resolution MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) audio technology.

The company announced that 7digital will become the first digital-music platform provider to support MQA-encoded music on the download and streaming platforms that it supplies to third parties. Current 7Digital customers include Samsung, T-Mobile, HMV, BlackBerry, and Yahoo. In the U.S., 7Digital’s platform powers the streaming service of cellular MVNO Rok Mobile, the on-demand streaming service for Pure’s multiroom -speaker system, and radio apps from select startup companies. Outside the U.S., the company is working with Panasonic and Onkyo on their high-resolution download services. 7Digital also offers its own download service direct to consumers in Europe but didn’t announce MQA plans for its site.

Meridian also announced that it is in “advanced discussions” with wireless multiroom-audio platform provider Imagination Technologies, the Tidal CD-quality streaming service, Onkyo, and British hi-fi maker Arcam to provide MQA-encoded music and audio products to consumers.

For its part, Imagination said its Caskeid wireless-multiroom platform will be the first wireless multiroomaudio platform to support MQA. Pure, the consumer arm of Imagination, already offers Caskeid-platform wireless multiroom speakers in the U.S. and plans availability “later in 2015” of next-generation speakers with MQA technology.

With MQA support, licensees of Imagination’s Caskeid platform will also be able to offer MQA-enabled wireless multiroom-audio systems, Meridian said. Licensees include Onkyo, Meridian, Frontier Silicon, European audio vendor Media-Saturn Group, with “many more to follow,” Imagination said.

Meantime, Meridian is lining up music-label support. Previously, Atlantic Records chairman /CEO Craig Kallman told TWICE that his company would offer MQA music. And Warner Music Group executive Mike Jbara has endorsed the technology by saying that “in terms of impact in audio quality, it’s probably the most important development since the introduction of the stereo album.”

MQA files deliver higher performance sound quality in smaller files compared to today’s high-resolution music files, Meridian said. “Unlike the huge files from super-high-sample-rate systems, the MQA file is extremely efficiently encoded, and yet it contains and protects all the sound of the original,” a Meridian statement said. The technology will also make high-resolution music streaming practical, Meridian said.

Music from analog, PCM and DSD masters can be MQA-encoded and placed inside any lossless-audio “container” such as FLAC, ALAC or WAV.

At International CES, Meridian will demonstrate MQA at Venetian Suite 30-235.