TIDAL Adds Millions of Tracks to Its Masters Catalog, Makes Finding MQA Tracks Easier Than Ever

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(November 12, 2020) TIDAL and MQA have fostered a healthy relationship over the last several years, injecting TIDAL’s Masters Catalog with MQA’s spin on Hi-Res Music. Today, TIDAL announced it's adding millions of new MQA tracks thanks to Warner Music Group. HiFi subscribers can now enjoy Masters-grade access to albums from famous artists such as The Notorious B.I.G., Madonna, Missy Elliot, and LCD Soundsystem.

“By paying great attention to the nature of sound and the way we hear, MQA opens a clear window and delivers all the detail and nuance of the original song,” explains MQA’s Founder, Bob Stuart. “The music industry’s catalog contains millions of significant performances from the early days of CD where, sometimes, the recording was created in 44.1kHz 16bit and where no alternative existed. We are delighted that Warner Music Group is bringing this content to TIDAL.”

TIDAL says interest in MQA tracks has been on the rise, with MQA users doubling since 2019. As a result, it's currently streaming 40% more tracks in MQA as compared to last year. To better service these Hi-Res seekers, TIDAL has created ‘Master Edition’ Artist Radio and Track Radio, both containing uninterrupted playback of MQA quality songs, and “The Master Edition of My New Arrivals.” The latter is an intelligently generated playlist of new music featuring tracks in full Master quality.

Customers paying for TIDAL’s HiFi tier also have access to a new “Connect” feature. With the press of a button, Masters-grade music can be streamed in full resolution to devices from Bluesound, Cambridge Audio, DALI, KEF, iFi Audio, Lyngdorf, Monitor, NAD, and Naim Audio. For more information on Connect, visit TIDAL.com/Connect.
 
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Witchdoctor

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View attachment 36822
(November 12, 2020) TIDAL and MQA have fostered a healthy relationship over the last several years, injecting TIDAL’s Masters Catalog with MQA’s spin on Hi-Res Music. Today, TIDAL announced it's adding millions of new MQA tracks thanks to Warner Music Group. HiFi subscribers can now enjoy Masters-grade access to albums from famous artists such as The Notorious B.I.G., Madonna, Missy Elliot, and LCD Soundsystem.

“By paying great attention to the nature of sound and the way we hear, MQA opens a clear window and delivers all the detail and nuance of the original song,” explains MQA’s Founder, Bob Stuart. “The music industry’s catalog contains millions of significant performances from the early days of CD where, sometimes, the recording was created in 44.1kHz 16bit and where no alternative existed. We are delighted that Warner Music Group is bringing this content to TIDAL.”

TIDAL says interest in MQA tracks has been on the rise, with MQA users doubling since 2019. As a result, it's currently streaming 40% more tracks in MQA as compared to last year. To better service these Hi-Res seekers, TIDAL has created ‘Master Edition’ Artist Radio and Track Radio, both containing uninterrupted playback of MQA quality songs, and “The Master Edition of My New Arrivals.” The latter is an intelligently generated playlist of new music featuring tracks in full master quality.

Customers paying for TIDAL’s HiFi tier also have access to a new “Connect” feature. With the press of a button, Masters grade music can be streamed in full resolution to devices from Bluesound, Cambridge Audio, DALI, KEF, iFi Audio, Lyngdorf, Monitor, NAD, and Naim Audio. For more information on Connect, visit TIDAL.com/Connect.
Thanks for the update Todd. MQA is delivering on their goals IMO. I had had a friend over listening to Abbey Road in MQA and within ten seconds he goes "Wow, it sounds like we are in the studio" and then I explained what MQA is and that is the goal, to replicate the master recording in your home. He was surprised to say the least. I have a Bluesound Node which is nice but got an Onkyo XP 1 DAP which is fantastic. I play it right through my home system using a cable with an adapter. I was going to spring for a nice MQA dac but the Onkyo is just so pleasant I decided not to mess with it. I can play Amazon HD tracks through it too. They both sound better than redbook but Amazon still sounds digital while the MQA is pure analog to my ears through the Onkyo.
 

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Can you hear a difference between MQA and other Hi-Res? If so, curious to know what you listen for?
 

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I tried, but could tell no difference between my CD decoded via dBpoweramp, Tidal MQA, Tidal non MQA and qobuz... all sounded exactly the same to me on the same tracks. They all sounded fabulous. It would be hard to get any better than what I was hearing. You'll have to have those really good ears to hear the difference, that is for sure.
 

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Great news that Tidal and Warner Music Group are collaborating. Thanks for sharing, Todd!
 

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Can you hear a difference between MQA and other Hi-Res? If so, curious to know what you listen for?
The easiest way to tell the difference is with vocals. In my system there is a human palpability you can hear on vocals like you are sitting in the studio. Other hirez sounds better than redbook but lacks the qualities of the actual artist standing there in the room the way MQA does. You don't need to spend a ton of money to get this result either. The Bluesound Node is good but my Onkyo DAP is much more analog sounding. I know there are $$$ MQAdacs available that might be better but I have 0 desire to change anything, just sounds so natural. When a non audio friend tells you in 5 seconds that it sounds like you are in the studio you know they delivered on the MQA brand promise.
 

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I know what you’re taking about, @Witchdoctor. It’s hard to put into words! I’ve tried to A/B material without a tremendous amount of luck. Going to give it another shot
 

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What a GREAT day of listening to these MQA drops. I logged into Tidal and start listening to the new Johm Lennon release "Gimme Some Truth" in MQA. At the top there is a little letter d so I tap it and a drop down menu opens of "songs you might like" and it was loaded with MQA tracks of classic rock. I really felt each one was like listening to a masters tape. The Who, Doors, Chicago, Jethro Tull, Chicago. Yes, and on and on. If you want a good demo of MQA listen to Rumors in MQA and Stevie Nicks voice is incredible, WOW! Then it was on to 80's rock with Talking Heads, Tears for fears, New Order, The Pretenders, Lou Reed, B-52's and on and on. Each track you get the chills as the first notes hit just crystal clear from every bass note to cymbal crash. It was not easy to stop as each time you hit that drop down menu there are a ton more tracks you want to hear. Oh yeah, Doobie Brothers, America, seals and Croft, the Eagles, lots of 70's stuff too. I gotta give the studios a LOT of credit for preserving their masters tapes like this and distributing it via Tidal.
 

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Great news! I love the good vibes you're spreading, @Witchdoctor! We need some good news right now! :-)
 

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If you want the full studio experience get a set of JBL studio monitors (I'm using the 230's based on the tech from the M2) and let it rip with an MQA friendly streamer. It is so raw, so real, so fresh, especially on tracks you heard like 1000 times before. Balanced headphones are good too but the speakers are more in your face.
 

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I am, as I always have, enjoying MQA tracks. I appreciate the effort to capture the master, hi-rez codec aside. I don't have the requisite gear to "unfold", anyway.
 

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The unfolding is interesting, it is very different from upgrading a DAC in my experience. It is more like going from a DAC to vinyl. It just sounds "right". I don't think you have to spend $$$ to get an MQA friendly streamer/DAC.
 

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Wish I could hear what you guys hear, but at least it all sound fabulous to me.
 

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Witchdoctor

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I did an A/B comparison of Tidal MQA vs Amazon Ultra HD today. I used my Onkyo DPX1 streamer which handles both formats and listened in my desktop setup in near field 2 channel stereo. Ultra HD sounds extremely detailed, there was a hit you in the gut type of bass and vocals were nicely centered between the speakers, just a tiny bit of digital hash in the treble but that may just be my setup. When I switched to MQA the bass just "fit" with the other notes and was less prominent. Stevie Nicks voice sounded more relaxed and you could hear her inhalations as she sung into the mic, soft and natural. On the Ultra HD those soft articulate touches were kind of etched over by the more forceful presentation of drums and guitar. MQA layers in the instruments, the background singers, the lead vocals and gives then there own space IMO.
I keep coming back to the word "analog" with MQA. Even though Ultra HD sounds great, it still seems compressed in comparison to MQA. Here is a quote from engineer Bob Ludwig:
"The thing about the authentication aspect of MQA is that I can know that the listener at home is listening to the identical analogue sound that I've approved and that the artist has approved."

The engineers do a much better job describing it than I can, check out the videos here:

 
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I just came from a long thread on the Roon forum where guys are seriously disappointed in MQA.

I guess there are those that love what it does, and there are those that hate what it does... then there is those like me... who simply enjoy either one. :bigsmile:
 

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Hi Sonny, you have a really nice front end and it took time, care, and $$$ to build it to your taste, I am sure it sounds great regardless of the file type you use.
It used to be we had to spend $$$ on SACD or "hi rez" and then carefully curate our equipment stack for the best SQ.
Now for the cost of a Tidal subscription you get access to millions of "Master" tracks that come very close to the actual master tape via MQA. Just plug a dac/headphone amp into your smartphone and even a Joe Sixpack is enjoying great SQ. This is an example:

 

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I rarely ... very very rarely listen to music except in my listening room or my truck... unless it's just background music on our back porch or in the back yard, at our cabin, etc. I do the headphone thing all along, but not often.

Here's another interesting read on MQA... https://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/application_notes/163302855-is-mqa-doa

I have several albums in my library that are MQA that I listen to. Not because they are MQA, but because I like the music and want it in my library, and it just happened be MQA. I still have no preference... it all sounds really good to me. I'm actually thinking about getting a pair of the Benchmark amps, which is how I stumbled across the MQA article. Imagine that... I can't differences in amps and considering a pair of these. :dumbcrazy:
 

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Paradigm PW Amp
Other Amp
Parasound Zamp 3
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Sony UHPH1/X-Box
Front Speakers
Paradigm Reference Active 40
Center Channel Speaker
Paradigm Reference Active CC
Front Wide Speakers
Paradigm Active Shift A2
Surround Speakers
Paradigm Reference Active 40
Surround Back Speakers
Paradigm Reference 20
Front Height Speakers
Paradigm Reference Active 20
Rear Height Speakers
Paradigm Reference Active 20
Subwoofers
Sunfire TSEQ10
Other Speakers or Equipment
Paradigm Cinema 100(VOG)/ Paradigm Cinema 400(CH)
Video Display Device
Optoma PJ
Screen
Daylite 120"
Remote Control
Fire Tablet and various apps
Streaming Equipment
Onkyo DP- X1 and Klipsh Gate for DTS-Playfi
Streaming Subscriptions
Tidal/Amazon HD
Satellite System
Whole House DTS Play-Fi
This new drop from Warner is the gift that keeps on giving. Tidal did a really nice job organizing a new section called Masters to make it easier to find stuff. My favorite feature is the little letter d you can click when playing a track. A menu opens with suggested tracks based on the one you are listening to. Easily identify which are Masters or not.
 
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