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MQA Said To End Tradeoff Between File Size, Quality

London — Meridian Audio founder Bob Stuart unveiled MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) technology that he said will enable the downloading and streaming of music files that preserve “exactly what the musicians recorded.”

“MQA gives a clear, accurate and authentic path from the recording studio all the way to any listening environment – at home, in the car or on the go,” Stuart said. “And we didn’t sacrifice convenience.”

The technology “captures and preserves nuances and vital information that current music files obscure or discard but in a file that is small and convenient to download or stream,” the company added in a statement.

MQA technology will be available early 2015, the company said without elaboration. Minimal details are available at

MQA’s benefits can be delivered through such lossless file formats as ALAC, FLAC, or WAV but with smaller file sizes. MQA uses metadata to deliver instructions to an MQA decoder and D/A converters on “how to create an authenticated exact reconstruction of the original analogue signal,” the company 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,” the company contended.

An MQA decoder can be an app, a software player or hardware, and it “reconstructs the exact sound approved in the studio along with an indicator to authenticate that what you are hearing is a true rendition of the original master recording.”

MQA works with all masters with 44.1 kHz to 768kHz sampling rates.

In the production business and among audiophiles, Meridian said, “there has been a kind of ‘arms race’ to capture at higher sample rates or data rates, believing that the bigger the numbers, the better the sound.” Although the higher sample rates can improve sound, “most of the encoding space created goes unused,” Meridian contended.

MQA will “reverse the trend in which sound quality has been continually sacrificed for convenience,” the company continued. “Vital elements of our music have been thrown away to fit thousands of songs into a pocket or millions in a cloud. With MQA there is no sacrifice; it brings us right back to the enthralling sound of live music.”

MQA is already getting broad support from the music industry, artists, recording and mastering engineers and record labels, Stuart contended.

Stuart invented Meridian Lossless Packing (MLP) technology used for the lossless compression of high-resolution multichannel music on DVD-Audio discs. The technology became the basis for the Dolby TrueHD multichannel surround format on Blu-ray discs.