Today yesterday refreshed its app on App Store with support for the Masters Quality Authenticated audio tier (MQA), bringing master-quality sound to iOS devices for the first time.
Tidal has partnered up with all three major US record labels, as well as with independent label Merlin. According to the announcement, not all tracks are available in the MQA format. The company currently has more than 165,000 MQA-enhanced tracks from major labels, including music from its own artist owners and key independent labels.
“We will continue to add more master-quality content over time,” said the firm. Accessing MQA tracks requires Tidal’s Hi-Fi tier, which costs $19.99 per month (a 60-day free trial is available for new subscribers), along with a wired headphone connection.
Here’s how MQA works:
With Tidal Masters playback now accessible on iPhones and Android smartphones, as well as desktop and connected devices, you can experience studio quality sound wherever you choose to listen.
Using a process called ‘music origami’, MQA’s award-winning technology folds master files into smaller files that can be streamed on the go. The MQA decoder in the app recovers all the direct music-related information and also authenticates the source of the original master recording.
Tidal provides sample albums and playlists to test the MQA format.
The Masters Quality Authenticated audio tier was previously available on select music players, Hi-Fi systems and Android devices. Unlike FLAC, MQA is a lossy file format but the jury is still out as to whether MQA sounds better than CD-quality audio.