Home » Blog » What is MQA Audio? All About Innovative Digital Audio Technology

What is MQA Audio? All About Innovative Digital Audio Technology

MQA, also known as Master Quality Authenticated, is probably something you’ve heard of if you’re good with audio systems or frequently read information about it. Still, unless you’ve done some serious research, you might wonder what MQA represents and why it attracted so much attention after it was made public in 2015. 

Does it make sense to get this innovative technology? What makes it unique from other formats? How does it function? In this blog post, we will answer all these questions and provide a comprehensive overview of MQA audio.

So if you want to improve your audio experience based on the latest standards in the industry, take advantage of MQA, and don’t forget to use the help of the professional team of Expert Tech.

What is MQA Audio?

Master Quality Authenticated, or MQA, is an award-winning novel method created by the British business Meridian for encoding and reproducing high-resolution digital audio. The technology emphasizes the time domain rather than the conventional forms of boosting bit depth and sample rate. MQA was created with the mission to employ cutting-edge understandings of digital coding and the fundamentals of human hearing, and that’s why it turned out to be successful.

Well, you might think that existing high-resolution audio formats already provide music at a higher-than-CD quality, so what distinguishes MQA? The answer is simple. This technology offers homeowners a streamlined multi-room listening experience with studio-quality audio as part of its mission to improve the wonderful home experience.

A Brief Overview of MQA Technology

Even if you’re aware of what MQA is, you might find it hard to actually understand how MQA technology works. Well, the truth is that it authenticates provenance while delivering the original sound in the best possible quality, with the most flexibility, and utilizing the least amount of data. 

In MQA, the original recording is captured, the file is “folded” for effective dissemination, and the file is “unfolded” based on the playback configuration and the device’s capabilities. So, the primary goal of MQA is to reduce file size while also boosting digital sound quality significantly.

Technically speaking, it’s a codec — a technique for reducing the size of enormous digital files so that a mobile device can download or stream them. With this method, it’s possible to turn the high-resolution audio track into a file just a little bit larger than a standard CD-quality file, enabling quicker and more efficient streaming or downloading over the internet without compromising quality.

How is this beneficial to regular users? High-resolution audio may be easily streamed on various devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and a wide range of HiFi streamers, thanks to MQA’s smaller file size.

MQA Audio Technology – What Does it Do to Music? 

To put it simply, MQA audio technology enables the listener to arrange the audio in a way to produce a fantastic listening experience. By identifying and focusing on the music information present in the file, MQA’s unique encoding technique enables the most efficient and long-lasting distribution of high-quality music.

It seems as though music is put into a box and encoded. Music can be played by inserting the MQA-encoded file into a different MQA-branded box. MQA uses a multi-step technique to compress original high-resolution studio recordings before storing them in a 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz container file.

Does Apple Support MQA?

While the Apple iPhone can play high-resolution music effectively with a third-party app and portable DAC, devices from brands like Samsung, Sony, and LG have all been able to deliver native high-resolution audio compatibility for Android smartphones.

However, there have long been reports that Apple wants to use Apple Music to disseminate high-res music. Could Apple ever offer MQA-encoded high-res music? At this moment, the answer is still unclear. Although it seems unlikely today, you never know what might change. There is little doubt that MQA is a technique that everybody should hear with an interest in audio quality. So, let’s wait and see.

Final Thoughts – Does MQA Worth It? 

To sum up the whole working process of MQA, the system simply takes the original high-resolution content, compresses and stores the high-frequency bands as data, and embeds them into the lower frequency bands using their unique encoding method.

MQA can scale to multiple use cases. This means that even if all you have is a Tidal HiFi Plus subscription and a mobile device, you should be able to tell the difference between the higher-quality bitrate tracks. Of course, you’ll need the best equipment to achieve the best results.

MQA’s goal to compress the signal as little as possible while maintaining the quality of music from beginning to end makes it worthwhile, but this is something you should try and test yourself to know where the actual truth lies.

All in all, if you’re aiming to take advantage of the audio services of Expert Tech and smarten your home, experiencing high-quality sound with MQA might be the best possible solution.

Get a Quote
Consultation & Project Estimate

    Get a Quote