I guess this could be the beginning of the end for “pure PCM” in Tidal


I bet if you check the same MQA only releases in Qobuz, you’ll find they are only offered in hires. Not sure if anyone has issue with hires only since it can be downsampled if listening on the go.


I just looked at Tidal “What’s New”, via ROON, and I only show 10 MQA titles to the latest 63 albums.


In Qobuz, there are 40 hires albums for the first 63 albums listed in their new releases section.


I just checked on Tidal, The Lion King and new Ed Sheeran are only available in MQA. Those same albums are only available in Qobuz in hires. I’m not going to spend anymore time checking this but seems to be the pattern.

(Jim) #85

With regards to “Let’s Rock” from The Black Keys, it appears that Warner only made a 24/48 version available to stream for Tidal and Qobuz, with no option for Red Book 16/44.1. Though, I do see what appears to be a normal CD available to purchase on Amazon, with no obvious markings anywhere that might indicate some MQA-CD.

It would be interesting to analyze the audio signal of the CD to compare with both the MQA version from Tidal (full unfold, 1st unfold via Roon, and unprocessed) along with the Hi-Res version with Qobuz.

I would be content if a standard 24/48 PCM version became the next generation standard as CD production decreases, provided that the 24/48 version is using the same master as any higher resolution versions. Throw a sharp filter on it and I know that I have the highest quality I can expect my ears to be able to enjoy.

split this topic #86

2 posts were split to a new topic: I know Roon does the 1st unfold, but is it good enough?

(Jim) #87

Yes, thanks for the additional feedback. It does seem that this is all coming from the labels, and not strictly a move by Tidal. Tidal does not offer traditional Hi-Res, so their only option for subscribers to listen to this music is with the MQA format.

(Jim) #88

I’m seeing Lion King available in 16/44.1 on both Tidal and Qobuz. Though, since Tidal has no real Hi-Res options outside of MQA, the 24/44.1 is only MQA there, though Qobuz has the PCM version.


Thanks. I was only looking on my phone. Easier to check in roon for versions. But I think we’ve determined it’s the labels and not Tidal making the MQA only decision.

Nonetheless, if that’s all they’re offering, our choice is limited. I suppose we can complain but was easier to just switch to Qobuz and leave feedback on why I quit Tidal.

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(R. Neal) #90

But, but, but… mqa fans said this would never happen and it’s all about consumer choice!


If their original claim was true, this wouldn’t be an issue. That the folded MQA file was the same as the PCM CD version. This has been proven false.

If it was true, then they could have removed the other copies and just posted the MQA version. Seems some labels don’t care.

(Jim) #92

The issue is that when the labels are only providing some format over 16/44.1, Tidal can only make this available via MQA. Tidal does not offer streaming above 16/44.1 without the MQA format. To this point, a PCM option has been available to stream on Qobuz. I don’t have access to other streaming services, so this is a limited observation.

It is not MQA only. It is Hi-Res streaming only, and the subscription service’s method of delivery. To my knowledge, Tidal never offered Hi-Res in non-MQA formats. The new issue here is that the labels are not making all new releases available in 16/44.1. This may just be an issue with prioritization. Maybe these will be made available at a later time?

I’m going to continue to keep an eye on it.

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But I don’t think with Qobuz only having the hires version is an issue, is it? If suppose downsampling could be an issue.

Think Tidal only having MQA is a bigger issue.

I suppose we need to let the streaming companies know we’d like to have the PCM CD version available and they’ll contact the label. Beyond that, not much we can do.

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(R. Neal) #94

I recently purchased the previously mentioned Black Keys Let’s Rock album download from Qobuz in 16/44.1

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(Martin Webster) #95

I should have been clearer: What’s New, Masters. Amended post.

(Martin Webster) #96

Available in 16/44.1 elsewhere. Released 12th July.

Release date 19th July - TIDAL exclusive?


Qobuz has 5 versions of The Lion King but what I did notice is track 14 Spirit by Beyoncé was not available on any of them. I guess that track is exclusive to Tidal?

(David Hunter) #98

I’m slightly disappointed in the sound quality of Tidal MQA. For instance, I have 3 different versions of Eurythmics, Sweet Dreams; a ripped CD on my Sonic Transporter, Tidal MQA, and 96/24 Flac from HD Tracks. By a significant margin the CD sounds better than the other 2 formats. On other albums the same holds true. Theoretically the higher resolution music file should sound best but it depends what the source material is. To my uneducated ears the sound engineers of the past have often done a better job with sound quality than what engineers do today when they dig up older material and remaster it. I see why Sonos sticks to CD quality. I was hoping I would exceed CD quality with Roon, Tidal, and my Bluesound Pulse 2i’s but so far this has been elusive.

(Jim) #99

Seems like a normal expectation with capitalism that experiences regulatory capture and an unfettered corporate control of nearly every industry.

(David Snyder) #100

Chris, which Black Keys album? Looks like both are there, under “Versions”

But yes, the “Let’s Rock” album from 2019 appears to be MQA only on TIDAL.