How Can You Really Stream Better Quality Music?
Upcoming File Formats Like MQA Might Change Your Listening Experience
If you’re a fan of music, your whole home audio system needs to be perfect. But excellent sound in a dedicated listening space isn’t just about choosing the best speakers. You have to consider what’s playing on them. We’re not just talking about removing Nickleback from your playlist – we’re talking about selecting the best formats for streaming and storing hi-res, lossless music files. After the jump, we’ll break down how MQA just may revolutionize the digital music listening experience and how you can take advantage of it.
What Is MQA?
A little while after digital music began to dominate the industry, consumers began to notice something. The most popular file format for downloading and storing digital music, MP3, were lacking. You see, the reason you can store just about every song in the known universe on your iPod is because MP3s are compressed files. They take up very little space, and to make it work they drop Bits of information from the track, dropping the sound quality far below your average CD. This created a demand for high quality sound – something that would sound as good as, if not better than, a CD. So the technology emerged for “lossless” file formats, like FLAC and DSD. These high-res formats were popular among hardcore audiophiles, but not so much with the average listener. Sure, they sounded great (24-bit 192kHz compared to a CD’s 16-bit 44.1 kHz bitrate), but they were massive files that required a whole lot of storage. And you couldn’t even think about streaming lossless audio. However, new technology has developed recently. The emergence of Master Quality Authenticated high-res audio format has been making waves among audio professionals. MQA, as it’s more commonly known, offers completely lossless 24-bit 192kHz sound quality that only takes up as much space as your average CD. That means you don’t have to buy extra storage space (though, to be fair, it’s gotten a lot more manageable in recent years), and you can even potentially stream lossless audio over a standard 4G network. That means, if you’ve invested in high-res streaming services like Tidal, you may be hearing better audio quality than what you get out of those CDs boxed up in the attic!
How Do You Listen to It?
MQA was originally developed by Meridian, one of the world-leaders in high-res audio. But while they helped invent the format, they didn’t make it proprietary. That means just about any high-end audio manufacturer can integrate MQA digital audio converter into their components. So when can you listen to the format? Unfortunately, it hasn’t launched yet. The expected launch date is sometime in early 2017. However, if you love hearing the best quality music on your whole home audio system, MQA is something to keep your eye on. Still have questions? We have answers! Contact us today!