Some recent advances in tech and new devices have pushed hi-res music closer to the public, but there are still a number of factors that are holding this shift from entering the mainstream. The size of uncompressed hi-res audio files greatly exceeds MP3s and other compressed audio. This is an issue with storage and bandwidth holding us back. British hi-fi company Meridian unveil a new format that’s spent years in researching and development. MQA: Master Quality Authenticated (according to Meridian) contains all the sound of the original uncompressed audio, but in a much more efficient package, ready to stream or quickly download.
MQA is said to run at 1Mbps, which is easily streamable through modern 3G. This goes against the 4.6Mbps hi-res audio at 24-bit/96KHz will stream.
Meridian co-founder Bob Stuart claims MQA “brings together the three ideals of studio-quality sound, convenience and end-to-end authenticity. It uses a completely new concept of capturing the total essence of an original recording and conveying it all the way to the listener, assuring that what they are listening to is identical to the master recording”.
Many will pass this off as untrue. Real audiophiles will go to lengthy discussion to prove that the only way to gain true high quality audio, is through the original large file size files.
Bob Stuart is saying that existing formats are ‘doing it wrong’ right from capture – which means that any MQA file will need to be encoded direct from studio masters.
The next step for MQA is to gain support from record labels, producers, digital music stores and hardware manufacturers, and if all promises are true about the tech, high-res audio may come to the masses sooner than expected.