CES 2016: MQA High-Res Music Downloads Spread To More Sites

MQA files are smaller than other high-res files and make high-res streaming more practical.
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MQA files are smaller than other high-res files and make high-res streaming more practical.
Pioneer’s XDP-100R portable is among the audio products that decode MQA high-res music files.

More music-download sites are beginning to offer music encoded in the high-resolution MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) format, the companies announced at CES.

Beginning Jan. 11, 7digital’s web store will offer indie-label content to consumers, and on Jan. 8, Onkyomusic.com will offer the content. Onkyomusic.com uses 7digital’s download platform. 7digital also promises to make MQA content available for download and streaming to all of its 46 platform users in 33 countries.

The 7digital MQA catalog consists initially of hundreds of songs available a la carte from Nordic label 2L, but 7digital “expects thousands within the first few months as we will be adding labels weekly,” a spokesperson told TWICE.

For its part, 2L itself began offering MQA downloads on Monday from its web store  to consumers worldwide. The label specializes in classical, jazz, art music, chorale music, and folk and has offered SACD and Blu-ray audio discs. The label’s download store, available in the U.S., offers more than 120 MQA albums, 80 originating in DXD resolution.

The MQA end-to-end technology is promoted as delivering master-quality audio performance in files that are smaller than today’s high-resolution music files. The technology is also said to make high-resolution music streaming practical.

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

MQA inventor MQA Ltd., led by Meridian’s Bob Stuart, earlier this week announced that the Jay Z-led Tidal streaming service is expected to launch MQA streaming in the first half. And in product developments, MQA Ltd. said Auralic, Aurender and Lenbrook’s Bluesound and NAD are joining the list of companies planning MQA-decoding audio products.

For more on MQA developments at CES, see this story and this story.


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