Why do manufacturers support MQA?

Why do manufacturers support MQA?
As always, follow the money.
It is definitive not about the A, the way MQA is engineered and used is showing that.
Mass conversion turning other formats into MQA suspects it is about licensing and creating dependancy.
The first shot is free…


Let me fix that for you… Mass conversion turning other formats into MQA and removing the original formats altogether suspects it is about licensing and creating dependancy. :wink:


Isn’t this, like in many cases related to marketing, just plain ol’ FOBLO (Fear Of Being Left Out)?
So when consumers have this, and manufacturers as well, then you have your marketing dream. And it might be that in these cases it doesn’t actually matter if the marketing is negative or positive…

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As a user of both Meridian (founded by the same guy that was involved in the creation of MQA) equipment and MQA content, I couldn’t agree more that marketing has always been an extreme weak point for them. My perception is that they’ve always demonstrated a technologist’s view of 'if I build a better mousetrap . . .

In both cases, they’ve laid themselves bare to maximum FUD.

As to why the standard is supported by manufacturers, it’s probably been both a feature checklist item since so many content producers announced support (and, therefore, a pull from consumers), and a belief on the part of some manufacturers that they would be enhancing their products (i.e. a push) by doing so.

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The mere fact that they are getting it into so much gear, even when the manufacturer is not sold on it, seems to me to indicate that whatever they’re doing, it’s working. So what if they’re not out to convince people that it’s all roses and sunshine? The goal is to collect more and more license fees by getting more and more units to include it, and on the other side, get more and more music providers to use it, with the unified goal of enmeshing more and more of the world into an “MQA-required” stance. And they seem to be making progress on that goal. Marketing works, as you say.

I’m not sure about the revenue projections we’ve seen recently, either. Amazon lost money selling books for years, but in doing so they came to completely dominate the bookselling world. And developed industry-leading connections in other areas, as well. MQA, Ltd., through their contracts with music companies and gear companies, is doing the same kind of thing. Maybe they’re smart. God knows Bob Stuart has given every evidence of being smart, in the past.

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Sometimes the money leads to a dead end. We pay MQA to let you “Core Decode” in Roon. We don’t make money directly on MQA, we lose it! However, we do gain customer satisfaction for those who wanted MQA, which is in itself a form of being paid.

It’s crazy how hard we try to stay “Switzerland” when it comes to audio religion, but it’s near impossible sometimes. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.

I love the business dynamics of how the “masters” tier is free for TIDAL HiFi users. It’s brilliant. TIDAL gets to provide something other than CD quality for the same price (to the subscriber) and the subscriber can’t really complain about free, eh? Our vocal niche here is tiny. TIDAL is gigantic compared to Roon and the audiophile community. There are probably more people on TIDAL that wanted Beyonce’s Lemonade than there are people who know what a DAC is.

I wonder why TIDAL cares. Who were they competing with?


Worth bearing in mind that not all business decisions are well-reasoned. Some are just mistakes. Not saying that one necessarily is, but still… worth bearing in mind.

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I follow the explanation of Linn “MQA is Bad For Music”. Having Linn gear this seems to be a natural reaction :crazy_face:

No kidding, for me this concept seems to be a vendor lock in! I appreciate that Roon is supporting the decoding, because this is benefiting their customers and that is a good behavior. I personally do not like the concept of MQA!

Only my two cents


I think you hit the spot!

In the last few years before Covid 19, at the HighEnd shows in Munich (where I also listened to Bob Stuart’s presentation every time), I talked to many vendors of HighEnd DACs and asked why they offer MQA support. Almost everywhere the answer was: because many of our customers use TIDAL and to hear their “master files” in “best” quality, according to them, MQA is necessary to encode. So the demand is not directly on MQA, but on TIDAL.

Until recently, TIDAL was the only streaming provider in many markets with a CD quality offering, or even supposedly better quality with MQA. This has fueled the demand for MQA DACs among many “audiophiles”. The more and better alternatives to TIDAL in at least CD quality are available, the faster the desire for MQA support will decrease and many providers will gladly forego additional development effort and licensing costs.


Indeed. Especially now that Spotify is entering CD-quality territory and Qobuz is attacking new markets. In the absence of another elephant joining the MQA bandwagon (say, Apple or another major streaming provider), MQA will die a slow death.


We don’t actually know what Spotify is doing, right? Or did I miss something…


Interesting. In one of PS Audio’s “Ask Paul” videos, he estimated that 70-80% of PS Audio customers like MQA and what it does for their music. Thus his company chose to support it, even though he personally doesn’t like it. I’m starting to think this anti-MQA crowd is very vocal minority of people and they care more about posting negative MQA content than the pro-MQA crowd cares about posting comments defending it.


5 posts were merged into an existing topic: Comparison of PCM and MQA

We know they are going CD and/or lossless; and if they don’t embrace MQA, the marginal gain from that format will be close to nil.

I buy that to some degree, but I’d wager there are more of those non-audiophile people here than you think.

I remember the internal struggle we had for or against MQA very well. We ended up getting the software to extract/reapply the render data post-DSP. I also remember that when MQA was released, we had our largest sales month ever.

It’ll sting for sure, but I’d expect them to hang around going after niches.


But don’t forget that:

  • you said it yourself that there was pent-up demand for MQA in Roon back then; and

  • Roon’s target market is made of audiophiles, for whom MQA was a relatively novel and potentially interesting idea at the time.

Yet most people here care for hires/lossless sources; and once Roon accepts to diversify such sources further, there will be less reason to stick to MQA - demand elasticity for the latter is extremely high.


MQA in hardware doesn’t matter. Apart from the notion that the cost of adding MQA is transferred to the buyer, all MQA hardware I know of does the regular formats as well. MQA in software doesn’t matter. Again, the software does all other formats in addition to MQA. What matters is the music, and the fact that Tidal are now offering some tracks as MQA only. That is a direction which could be some cause for concern for what ever reason, be they genuine or of the ‘foil hat’ variety. But, those of us with MQA capable hardware and software are not overly concerned. We don’t care.

With regards to other streaming providers opting for ‘lossless’ offerings, consider the possibility of someone like Spotify doing lossy with MQA as their top tier, skipping a genuine lossless tier all together. Now THAT would be something to see!

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Hang on, don’t you think you should actually lay out your problems with it rather than leave that biggy hanging in your OP? I assume the author of the video could reply here.


As many others have said (or suggested) I think the reason manufacturers support MQA is because it’s another box on the great spec sheet list that, were they not to tick, many punters would take their money elsewhere.

It’s a bit like supporting crazy high sample-rate audio up to 32bit 768kHz and DSD 512 etc: do we really need it? No. Do we want it? Yes, even despite the fact that the amount of music > 44.1/48 represents a small fraction of what’s out there and when you go beyond 192kHz there is hardly any at all.


Would you, Mr. @danny, be so kind as to explainI why you combined just this movie, that doesn’t fit in any way, with this exactly business question - especially in the context of your bizarre ban…