MQA files and support

Where are they for sale @Ludwig?

2L in Norway is the first selling MQA.

The only problem is that no one appears to be decoding them yet, not even Meridian! (Expect this to change with firmware updates very soon.)

Back to the topic :wink: I need to be able to locate these files!

it’s not true. Many Meridian products support MQA at the moment. Have a look…

I’ve just bought the “Nielsen Piano Works” MQA album from 2L and even if Meridian claims that the Meridian Explorer² is MQA ready it doesn’t show that I’m using the MQA files.

Your explorer2 requires a firmware update to enable mqa playback.

Well, Meridian says it’s MQA-ready…

Yes, Ready not supported.
I hope the update will be available soon.

I’d sure like to know the answer to this. I, too, downloaded a 2L album in MQA format. Roon displays FLAC 24/44.1 2Ch. My Explorer 2 does NOT indicate that an MQA format is playing. Sounds good though. (Anyway from what I know about MQA, I’m not sure we should expect much difference for these pristine files.)

So the question is, is the Explorer 2 “MQA-ready” as the website indicates, or not? I suppose the answer as Peter has suggested is “not.” It would be good to have an official response, however. No firmware updates appear to be available. If anyone, official or not can tell us what they know in more detail I’d be grateful.


The website of the Meridian distributer in the Netherlands says the explorer 2 needs a firmware update to become MQA ready.

Good description of what MQA does, without a lot of tech, in this interview

There was an interview I think I saw on YouTube or maybe it was an article on MQA that had discussed its’ DRM side. I was hoping that someone else might have run across this video/article as I can’t seem to find it anymore.

In a nutshell, I remember (and my memory could be horrible on the topic) that MQA DRM working via security keys a la SSL, but different Key Levels. I would assume basic access is granted to the High Res side of the file if a matching key was found in the DAC software, otherwise it defaulted to basic “redbook”. However, the interesting side point in the video/article implied that keys could also be tuned to a specific content vendor. Thinking this through, this means that SONY could MQA its catalog but only allow playback on its own equipment or others who pay them a license fee for the SONY MQA key. I think this was the genesis for the blue Pono light to indicate whether a file being played was purchased from Pono or not.

I understand DRM was part of the original thinking but has be discarded.
@Carl said this, I think?

Hans Beekhuyzen covered this in the video that went along with this blog post:

The cryptography in MQA is to protect the authenticity of the music, not to control its playback. There is no DRM in MQA though, as has been pointed out, when Meridian started its MQA “journey” it planned for the possibility of DRM being a requirement.

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Nothing I said is incompatible with the concept of protecting the authenticity of the music.

2L has some MQA files you can download free of charge to play with. They are accompanied by various source files, most of which are in relatively exotic formats. However there is one track that is available both in the original as-recorded 44.1/16 and in an MQA version. That means that now you can compare undecoded MQA with RedBook (I felt the MQA had the edge), and as soon as you have an MQA-capable device you can decode it and hear THAT difference.

I have an Explorer2 and when I asked Meridian about a firmware upgrade earlier this week (MQA wasn’t finalised when they released the product originally, and the release version is slightly different apparently), they said that it was going to be ready soon - so I hope we are talking about a couple of weeks away in terms of being able to get it.

Yes I to had the same reply from Meridian. Let’s hope this update arrives soon as really looking forward to trying MQA.

True enough but I think what others are pointing out is that while authenticating or positively confirming provenance of files is part of MQA, conditional access or Digital Rights Managment (DRM) no longer is.