Another music-download service and more audio suppliers have embraced the high-resolution MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) format.
High Res Audio, the international high-resolution download site based in Germany, launched 30 MQA-encoded albums and plans more in the coming weeks. It joins 7digital’s web store, Onkyomusic.com, and Nordic music label 2L’s own web store , all of which began offering MQA downloads earlier this year. Downloads from all four sites are available in the U.S.
2L’s download store offers more than 120 MQA albums.
Meantime, during this week’s High End show in Munich, two companies — Brinkmann and Bluesound — unveiled their plans for MQA products, and Mytek added its second MQA product.
Bluesound will become the first company to enable MQA playback through a high-res wireless-multiroom audio system. On June 1, the Canadian company will make MQA decoding available as a free firmware update on all of its players. It is holding live MQA demonstrations at the show.
Brinkmann announced fourth-quarter shipments of its MQA-enabled Nyquist DAC, on display in prototype form. And Mytek expanded its MQA line with the Manhattan II DAC, on display as an advanced prototype. It ships in August to join the Brooklyn DAC.
The $1,995 Brooklyn and $5,995 Manhattan II DACs decode MQA files and other formats, including 32-bit/384kHz PCM and DSD256. Both include a phono preamplifier and headphone amplifier.
For current Manhattan owners, Mytek will offer a $995 upgrade to deliver Manhattan II performance via a motherboard replacement.
Earlier this year, Meridian added MQA decoding to multiple products via firmware updates, and at 2016 CES, Auralic and Aurender demonstrated MQA-enabled products. MQA inventor MQA Ltd. also announced at CES that Berkeley Audio, dCS, Ixion and Kripton were actively planning MQA-enabled products.
Also in January, MQA Ltd. announced that the Jay Z-led Tidal streaming service was expected to launch MQA streaming in the first half.
MQA is an end-to-end technology 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.