MQA Tidal to launch MQA Hi-Res audio streaming in 2016

And as I said, many don’t. Contention between users in those areas slows them down even further.

If Tidal want to provide a stutter-free service to those users they need to address these problems, not just consider those lucky enough to live in areas with high connectivity and bandwidth.

First world problems…

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Do you think that this will be an issue in the long term? I can see why rural users may have a longer term issue with this, but combine it with target audience and I suspect that it won’t be a big factor. These users may struggle to stream Flac as it is.


Of course not. However there are few streaming companies at present with the funds available to think that far ahead. Apple, yes. Tidal, probably not.

It’s not just rural users, even in London I find getting a reasonably stable 4G mobile signal can be difficult. Contention could be as much a problem as availability of masts.

The other aspect not considered is the cost to Tidal of streaming hirez versus lossy. Bandwidth = cost as far as Tidal are concerned, yet streaming hirez is also a key differentiator in Tidal’s offering. Tidal need as many subscribers as possible taking their premium services at as low a cost to the business as possible.

I’ve no idea what Tidal’s streaming cost of their bandwidth is per customer, perhaps someone in the know might comment on this aspect. If they can get two subscribers using MQA for the same cost of bandwidth that other providers spend trying to stream hirez to one customer (assuming the content cost is the same) it strikes me that it’s probably worth doing (depending upon the cost of licensing MQA of course).

I agree with your points and on a large scale there may be some significant cost benefits. There are lots of potential factors to consider.(bandwidth, subscription costs, MQA take up, storage, royalties, caching, bit torrent style sharing).


Precisely why adaptive streaming makes the most sense in terms of streaming costs.

Streaming costs, possibly. However Tidal can’t ignore all the other costs such as some of the ones gmt mentioned in the post immediately above mine: storage, caching, etc.

It’s hard to see why they would sign up to MQA if they believed the overall benefit to their business wasn’t likely to be positive.

Not sure why it doesn’t work with adaptive streaming. As long the streaming is bit perfect, it should… The large buffering at Roon should take care of steady stream to the DAC.

Adaptive means that a stream gets downsampled if the bandwidth available cannot accomodate the original size. So it is not bit perfect.

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The buffering is useful to cope with latencies and momentary decreases in bandwidth but if bandwidth is permanently too low for the original content then buffering cannot deal with it. What you’re talking about is downloading the file for offline playing, which spotify and tidal allow you to do only in their native apps (for good reasons). That is indeed bit perfect but is akin to downloading and not streaming.

One way to do adaptive streaming is MPEG-4 SLS, which is done similar way as DTS MA (and DTS 96/24 before that). In SLS there’s the basic lossy AAC beneath, plus extra layer that adds lossless capabilities on top - IOW, encodes the parts removed by AAC and bundles it together with the original AAC stream. This also makes it compatible with AAC capable decoders that cannot deal with SLS extensions.

You mean Tidal streaming is not 100% (depending on available bandwidth) bit perfect even when it is streaming FLAC? I’m confused…

When you choose Hifi as the streaming bandwidth in the app you get bit perfect 16/44. If your bandwidth drops during streaming you will get a dropout. I believe this is the only mode supported in Roon.

If you look in the Tidal mobile app, in the settings you will be able to choose your streaming bandwidth. If you choose anything other than Hifi the stream will be downsampled and not bit perfect compared to the original 16/44. There’s also an option here that you can turn on called Optimized Playback which is adaptive streaming: it will switch quality down automatically depending on the bandwidth to your device.

Spotify is essentially the same except there’s no 16/44 bit perfect option.

To clarify:

In Roon no downsampled Tidal is supported as far as I know. Tidal either is bit perfect or you get dropouts. This is an ok choice because the bandwidth to stream 16/44 with FLAC compression is available to most people at home.

My point on adaptive streaming is that if, say, Tidal stored and streamed 24/96 or 24/192 files, then not everyone might be able to get uninterrupted streaming at that rate, so you could switch Tidal (either permanently or adaptively) to downsample server-side. You would obviously get something not bit perfect compared to the original file but could get the equivalent 16/44 without the size overhead you have in an MQA file (which is 24/48 and harder to compress) since the MQA file must be streamed bit perfect.

You talk about this as if Tidal and MQA havnt thought about it.

V[quote=“Chrislayeruk, post:367, topic:5408, full:true”]
You talk about this as if Tidal and MQA havnt thought about it.
I am just going through the known facts so far. If I missed something, by all means please point me to that new information.

If for example MQA decides to provide a server side downsampler to Tidal so that they could take the MQA files and downsample them to say 16/44 flac when bandwidth is limited, then I would think that would be a very smart thing for MQA to do. Alas, we don’t know this to be the case.

You speak of the Tidal/MQA deal as a reality - I am not so sure it will ever happen - we shall see.

Things looking up…I detect some doubt about the certainty of failure.:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I’d love higher res and MQA as a means to assert high quality production would be really great. I’m just giving my opinion on issues I see in takeup as well as other options in terms of streaming. If others have different/better/more accurate info, by all means post it here.

I just scrolled up the last few pages and every second post is by you. In other words you are writing as many words in this thread as the rest of the forum members put together.

I don’t call that “giving my opinion”, I call that trying to bore people into submission, and I for one have had enough.


Perhaps it’s time to close this thread until we hear more information on when, or if, Tidal plans to start streaming MQA.

Feel free to contact a moderator if you hear of any updates and would like to post it in this thread.

Cheers, Greg