The high-resolution MQA audio format continued to gain momentum as more hardware suppliers and music-download sites embraced the technology and Warner Music Group became the first major music label to support it.
In recent days, Warner entered into a licensing deal with format inventor MQA Ltd. to make MQA-format recordings available to download and streaming sites. Warner already makes songs available in other high-res formats for download.
The licensing agreement “will significantly increase music fans’ access to high-resolution music globally,” MQA Ltd. said.
“Warner Music will now work across its labels on release details,” an MQA spokesperson told TWICE. “More news on Warner’s back catalog and new releases will come very soon.”
Other music companies already supporting MQA music available in the U.S. are Nordic label 2L, Acoustic Music Records, Bauer Studios/Neuklang, Jazz Arts, Personality Records, Mons Records, Ozella Music and Triplet Records. For its part, Eudora plans to launch MQA versions of its songs during the spring and summer.
2L’s download store offers more than 120 MQA albums.
Sites of sounds: To deliver MQA downloads to consumers, High Res Audio began offering 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. Technics Tracks also offers MQA downloads but not to U.S. consumers.
Meantime, at least two more companies – Brinkmann and Bluesound—unveiled plans for MQA products, and Mytek added its second MQA product.
Bluesound said it will become the first company to enable MQA playback through a high-res wireless- multiroom audio system on June 1, when it will make MQA decoding available as a free firmware update on all of its players.
Brinkmann announced fourth-quarter shipments of its MQA-enabled Nyquist DAC. And Mytek expanded its MQA line with the Manhattan II DAC, which 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.
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.
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.