Tidal “HiFi Plus” Introduced

Can you give more details about this e-mail? Received recently?

As I understand it, they’re separating HiFi (FLAC) and HiFi Plus (FLAC/MQA). Great in theory for those of us who don’t want MQA. But the reality is that the HiFi tier will likely stream the same lossy MQA files (assumption on my part)

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OK, see what happens. Haven’t received such an e-mail yet.
I want to stick with TIDAL because of their big library (compared to Qobuz) but I don’t want MQA…

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HiFi is the highest sound quality setting on TIDAL HiFi and Master Quality audio is the highest sound quality available on TIDAL HiFi Plus

Except there is no definition of what “HiFi” actually is. “Master Quality” is MQA obviously.

@guerph Thanks for sharing this.

In the app it still states HiFi at “Lossless CD quality”. So, that’s 16/44.1 but, as others have said, it’s probably still MQA encoded redbook.


That will be the case…


Hopefully not, but that should be easy enough to confirm/refute with Roon and the signal path.

Maybe not.

If it is not tagged properly as MQA they can still send the MQA, it won’t kick-in the MQA part of Roon, and it will just arrive as 16/44.1 FLAC with the “MQA bits” converted to noise. Remember, MQA looks like 16/44.1 or 24/44.1 until you apply the MQA decoding / unfolding stuff to it. That’s why it’s backwards compatible with non MQA aware devices.

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Roon does not use metadata tags to recognize Tidal MQA streams. That is accomplished through MQA in band signaling.

Even if a 16 bit MQA stream is unlabeled as such, Roon will identify as MQA. A 24 bit MQA stream unlabeled and truncated to 16 bit, Roon still may recognize as MQA – that depends on the validity of the 16th LSB.



Anecdotally, this communication has has come to a lot of Tidal subscribers in Australia overnight as an email. (Not all Tidal subscribers, but a decent number). Correlation for those receiving the mail seems to be that they have cancelled their Tidal sub and are currently in the “wind-down” period until their current (and last) month of service expires. Tidal will have no information to support the fact that these people have just subbed to Qobuz, but they’ll be suspecting it.

Tidal Hi-Fi Plus (the automatically available product) is priced at AUD 23.99 a month and interestingly the mail includes the following statement which flies in the face of @guerph’s notifaction if he’s not in Oz:

The lower tier now called “HiFi” is now priced at AUD 17.99 a month which is interestingly a buck and change less than Qobuz Studio subscription.


I believe it is possible that MQA decoding may still be activated (at a decreased quality due to loss of 8 bits) if the original master sample rate is a 44.1kHz multiple.

Quite odd that it’s only Australia. Anyone know what’s going on?

EDIT: I now why why they first announced this in Australia. Qubuz just launched there, along with a few other countries.

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Thinking more than damage control this is an anti-lossless Spotify measure that needs to be tested before Spotify deploys lossless.


So it seems after some testing, and if the signal path is correct, that if you setup a new Tidal sub to the HiFi tier expecting lossless 44.1/16 FLAC then you’re going to be getting something other than you bargained for.

Whilst not completely consistent (some artists and albums behave differently to others), it does seem like the HiFi (non-MQA) tier can and does serve-up MQA streams. I asked the tester to repeat the tests with the infamous Led Zep MQA only catalogue and sure enough, he got spurious results:
Choosing the 44.1 MQA version of the first eponymous release, he got MQA and subsequent upsampling.
Choosing the 96 MQA version of the same release, he got 44.1 FLAC with no additional upsampling.

This is in line with my expectation.

The MQA 96kHz won’t activate MQA decoding because by having (I assumed) Tidal resampling it to 44.1kHz for 16/44.1 delivery destroys all MQA signalling. This does not mean you’re getting a non-MQA processed album. If it was a MQA album in the first place, by paying less or forcing the quality to be 16/44.1 it is only decreasing the quality.


I wonder what kind of (leaky?) filter Tidal use.

Maybe as (leaky?) as used to upsample CD quality to ‘hi-res’, like people have found on HDTracks and Qobuz over the years :crazy_face:

May not have audible consequences but still, it’s all a beautiful mess.

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Thank you, Peter. I really appreciate your participation in this forum.

You are a legend amongst men.


There is clearly stated that FLAC is now real 1144kbs ( before max 900kbs) and highres is over 9000kbs. MQA is around 1600kbs max so no, they are Not MQA redbooks. That is urban legend, also the famous “mqa video” maker has now admitted he did not know how to do the test right way.

44100 * 16 bits * 2 channels = 1411200 i.e. 1411 kbps - this is true for redbook and MQA CD (before MQA Core decoding) after FLAC decompression.

I think the value “1141 Kbps 16 bit / 44.1 kHz” in the table is a typo. This is proven in the text below the table which does state 1411kbps.