New TIDAL tiers and MQA

They replaced 1000’s of PCM files with 16/44.1 MQA versions when MQA is detected it instructs to upsample no doubt to push any aliasing their filtering system creates, non MQA users just get the a pseudo non 16bit file so Hifi users are not getting PCM 16/44.1 in these cases, a bit of a mess really


A bit of a mess indeed!
I’d assume the whole point of “MQA” at a minimum is to serve up a 24/44.1
I did some more testing with Volumio on a recently released “MQA Master”.
First 2 images show Tidal Connect set to Master, then HiFi - indicating a 24/44.1 and a 16/44.1 stream.
Third image shows same track on QOBUZ - 24/44.1

My initial thought is why bother stripping 8 bits off the 24/44.1 MQA (or the original 24bit FLAC) unless it’s to create a point of product differentiation.

Is that you, Dilett*******?

There is 16/44.1 MQA aka MQA CD.

It happens when you choose a MQA album but set (or restricted by subscription) the quality to HiFi, I believe.

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I agree. Although, I think some of this might be Roon specific.
Has anyone tested if Tidal is serving up MQA CD - ie 16/44.1 with MQA signaling?
Unfortunately I don’t have any MQA enabled hardware.

The MQA 16/44.1 are sourced from 16/44.1 CD masters.

MQA-CD are usually sourced from high resolution digital masters.

Are they though? The track I posted above seems to be a 24/44.1 (master) original. What is the point of using MQA-CD (ie 16 bit) on a streaming service.

Unless you want to create subscription “tiers”. In any case - doesn’t MQA-CD still authenticate and “unfold” (upsample) to 88.2

I can reproduce all these behaviors with native Tidal API and our native MQA decoder without going through Roon.

MQA Core Decoding of MQA CD will result in 88.2kHz. Rendering or full Decoding will result in even higher sample rate depending on the MQA DAC.

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Uhh… There’s no way to “look” at lossy. Either it is, or it isn’t. That’s like a woman saying she’s “almost” pregnant.

Yes, jump ship and ditch Tidal/MQA is a good thing, and a lot of us have, me gladly included. But the whole “more digital sound/lossy sound” with Qobuz?.. Yeah, you couldn’t be further from the truth if you tried.

What you just described there is the exact sound of Tidal/MQA and nothing more. a.k.a. - More digital/lossy sound.


The output signal of a conventional DAC is lossy compared to the signal from the microphone, the output signal from your amp is lossy compared to the input, the signal through cable is lossy, the sound coming out of your speakers is lossy due to air. It ALL lossy…as i said…it depends upon how you want to view lossy.

I went the other direction, from Qoboz to Tidal. As Qoboz sounded more digital to me a bit like SACD & DSD does to me. Some people prefer a bright sounding hifi, some prefer a warm sounding hifi. i prefer natural. MQA is more natural to my ears on my system…and thats all that matters. Whats best to your ears on your system.

We all define what WE like differently.

Ultimately its down to the Artists and Mastering engineers in the studio to decide what they think is best. Us the end customers get what we are given. More and more music is being released in MQA and i don’t see it going away anytime soon. No matter what a small number of people on an internet forum might think.


Care to elaborate? As far as I know is the opposite, it’s gain(y)!!!

Darren has it backwards that’s for sure. I’ve gone from Tidal>Qobuz>Tidal and now back to Qobuz again, and Qobuz is most definitely the less digital sounding of the two. I think many though confuse the accentuated treble in Tidal MQA as sounding better. Which is fine, if it works for you, but for many of us with neutral, revealing setups it sounds fatiguing and unnatural.


All i can take from that is you were not very clear or confident on the differences you hear between the two services if you’ve had to flip not once but twice on what you prefer…LOL

I at least liked Qoboz ‘until’ i heard MQA(through an MQA very neutral sounding DAC)…no flip flopping here. I’m obviously more confident with what i’m able to hear. i didnt even use up my free trial period with Qobuz. it was clear to me within listening to a couple of tracks. i deleted the Qoboz account from Roon but kept Tidal…even though Qoboz subscription would be cheaper for me to keep.

As i said no right or wrong…we like different sounds. i’m just in more agreement with the artists and mastering engineers as to what i think sounds best, you have a different opinion…so 1 for Qobuz 1for Tidal. Good for both services. Happy listening…until you change your mind again :wink:

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The green cross code tells you to check twice otherwise you may get run over.

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Oh, don’t worry, MQA will be going away. Especially when more and more artists and consumers learn about the lies MQA is feeding everyone. Lies about their own product/technology that they can’t even back up.

Anyway, I’m getting back out of this thread again as I find it just as annoying as MQA itself. Gonna go listen to more glorious, superior sounding Qobuz. :sunglasses:


No, the only reason I switched back to Tidal from Qobuz last year was that I was comped a free ‘lifetime’ sub to Tidal and thought why renew my Qobuz sub as I could save some $. But after six months of MQA nonsense, free just isn’t worth it to me anymore (plus I feel a bit guilty about not giving something back to the artists) so Qobuz it is again. Also I just wasn’t getting the recommendations (aside from hip hop which is not a genre I listen to beyond the early nineties) for what I listen to that I do with Qobuz. And Qobuz all around sounds better on my system.


Tidal should have left the PCM 16/44 files in their library and have given their customers the option of choosing PCM or MQA but thats not what they did. They force fed their customer base MQA. I dislike like that decision more than MQA itself. Let the customer decide what they like.


I don’t see why Tidal should do that. One selling point of MQA is it’s backwards compatibility and the subsequent savings in overheads, capacity and energy consequent to carrying and delivering duplicate files.
The standard MQA files sound great at CD quality with subsequent improvements via first and full unfolding.
Just lately I have been enjoying a Keith Richards binge in MQA Studio and I don’t think he would sign those off if he didn’t like the results. He is more self determined than Neil Young as far as I can tell… Listen to or read his autobiography to get a handle on that.
I don’t think the opinions of a few people on Hi Fi forums who migrate to another service will make any difference to Tidal, their plans and future.
These people would have gone anyway and as with any business, there is a churn.
I still don’t get why, once people have made the choice that suits them, they still feel the need to pursue this topic, but it’s a free forum and all are welcome…

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Well I want the choice . Since Tidal didn’t give me the choice , I moved on to Qobuz .


I did the same a couple of years back, though previously had thought Qobuz better on Redbook. I do wonder how many are posting of the superiority of Qobuz without recently checking out how good Tidal now sounds.

People talk of choice, as if a bad choice is a good choice.