Tidal class-action

MQA declared bankruptcy.  I smell the fear of a class action lawsuit against Tidal.  We could do that.  Tidal has 8 million subscribers, we don't know how many or how long they all were paying double by subscribing to the 'nobody can prove Tidal has any tracks higher than 44.1khz' plan.  They probably have lots of people on phones who haven't even heard of MQA who trust them and wanted the one that sounds better.  They're right not to have to listen to any talk about MQA if they want the plan that sounds better.

MQA means you can't prove the file is an original copy or not. That Beethoven track you like it says is 192 could actually be Dua Lipa at 11khz.

The bankruptcy move was probably to protect themselves from Tidal, who is the receiver of people's funds.



PS - I'm not sure what basis Tidal has for suing MQA.  I'm not a fan of MQA at all but I also can't see what the beef is with Tidal.

Tidal's defense against having to give everyone their money back for all this time, would be that they didn't understand that MQA was fooling them, and sure won't want to give all that money back to customers for not even having to spend more on streaming.  They would have to try to get whatever money they gave MQA back in their own separate Tidal v MQA lawsuit.  That's probably what MQA sees coming.

You're right not to be a fan of MQA, though.  You can't prove they have any files over 44.1khz.  You could think you're playing your new favorite Beethoven track at 192 like it says, and think it sounds great, but it's actually Dua Lipa at 11khz.

I don't see any basis for a suit against MQA. It looks like the company is going through what in the US would be Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which is really not that big of a deal. As long as MQA has a revenue stream, it's likely some entity will buy it. It won't matter to me if I'm wrong because I have no plans for MQA in my system.

I never liked MQA.

Regardless, please help me understand.  Tidal offers levels of their subscription service.  Their HiFi Plus plan at $19.99 includes:

  • Innovative Audio Formats
  • Up to 9216 kbps
  • Master Quality Authenticated (MQA), Dolby Atmos, Sony 360 Reality Audio, and HiFi

I don't see that they promise every file to be processed using the MQA  format.  I am trying to understand who has been injured/damaged, assuming the people on the HiFi Plus plan (me included) received MQA processed files to listen to.  Are you suggesting that one or the other, MQA or Tidal, knowingly and fraudulently advertised MQA files that were not in fact MQA files?  Even if MQA goes into administration, isn't it possible Tidal can still offer MQA processed music files to it's HiFi Plus members?  Please help me understand who is the injured/damaged party and need for a class-action suit.

MQA will only ever prove to be false.  They can't sell it, new engineers would spill the beans.  They already sent the money to Switzerland.

Tidal doesn't tell you very much about MQA at all.  You find out later that everything is being streamed as MQA 44.1, your cpu handles 'unfolding' until 96khz, but you need their little chip to go up to 192.  And you won't get identical output to what your gear would be doing if Tidal had streamed the unaltered higher res.

You can't go too wrong if you avoid the scam plan you showed, that says it's better than basic 44.1, I don't know what they do to change the 44.1's to 44.1 mqa, but in that case any addition would only make them have to stream that bit more.

No, you don't see them say too much about mqa.  The technology's purpose is designed to give you higher res without the servers having to use more bandwidth than 44.1.  But it doesn't work, and they still just charge you double anyway.  Double burn for you.  Anybody on Tidal with that plan is burned, unless playing a 44.1 track, except it says it's mqa, so we don't even know if they have the original track.  There is no question that the original files would be fine.  It's MQA's job to be able to prove that their versions turn out identical, which is not going to be possible in the first place.  There is no reason for the consumer to worry about fraudulent mqa files, any difference to the original can only be worse.  This is why it is good news that mqa is shutting down.  They are trying to tell you that Master Quality Authenticated files sound better than higher res files.  Well, it could have a nice ring to it compared to the more grass-roots sounding 'higher res', but it doesn't work, it measures badly, they lied.  We don't want MQA.  MQA sounds like My Queer Ambitions.  The injured\damaged party is anyone who is or has been paying for the plan you quoted.  You got noise instead of the originals.

They can't sell it, new engineers would spill the beans. They already sent the money to Switzerland.

Are you alleging illegal behavior?

... it is good news that mqa is shutting down. 

MQA Ltd. continues in operation, just as a US company would operate under Chapter 11. It's not especially uncommon. Qobuz, Kodak and American Airlines each went bankrupt. They're all still around.

The injured\damaged party is anyone who is or has been paying for the plan you quoted.

What injury did they suffer? Many people seem very happy with MQA. Were they also injured?

"Are you alleging illegal behavior?"

Is anybody getting what's advertised?

"MQA Ltd. continues in operation, just as a US company would operate under Chapter 11. It's not especially uncommon. Qobuz, Kodak and American Airlines each went bankrupt. They're all still around."

That's very bad news.  Weill, if they don't shut down, Tidal could get some money back from them for having to give us ours back.

If you buy an engagement ring, and a dealer says it's cubic zirconium, indistinguishable from diamonds, and still costs double the regular price of what that would be if it were a diamond, she might still be happy with it, too.  Would you suffer inury if you found out cubic zirconiums were not the same as diamonds, and were actually cheaper too?


So, I am still trying to understand, - MQA sold something to Tidal, that sold it to many of us, and nobody can prove it is exactly what they say it is?

That doesn’t sound so different from most of the audio tweaks we buy.

so a small hifi vendor with lots of ’alliances’ goes into receivership

so what? it still operates, the owners have their equity diluted or wiped out, debtors take a partial hit on their receivables, negotiate

some bigger fish in the pond (perhaps tidal itself, which is owned by private equity interests) will buy the ongoing concern or whatever assets, tangible or intangible, at a haircut, leave the mqa stuff in place as a selling point for the streaming service, or perhaps phase it out over time

life goes on

We get that you don't like MQA, @audioisnobiggie , but why get so excited about who is going to sue whom?  None of us will ever see any money from any lawsuit.  Calm down a little.

Compressing flac files again for use with a cpu the first unfold, need a cheap chip to go further, is never going to be real.  Tidal isn't proving they have the original higher res files on their drives in the first place.  Even if such a bandwidth saving chip existed, (no story why they say you need the chip to go higher than 96), we would still be paying double even without them having to use more.  You can't improve the format when you compress it.  Of course they'll choose the name Master Quality Authenticated.  It sounds the opposite of what they're actually doing.  My Queer Ambitions.

I'll pay $30/40 monthly for an uncompressed higher res wav stream with a good sounding default player, especially if Audirvana makes it work in theirs.  But I'd rather they just make streaming players decompress the track to a temporary hard drive file, and then play that.

Little fish, big fish, swimming in the water.  Those sales are good for people who don't have much capital, too.  Hey, maybe there's a nice desk chair at there?  Noo, it's MQA, you would be too.

The point is that we could go for our money back, because we can't prove that mqa tracks are the original unaltered streams that their licensing must have required, otherwise the artists could go after them also.  The thread is gauging the reaction to the hypothesis.



I'd join that class action suit but I'm too busy sliding bamboo slivers under my fingernails. Maybe next time!

I should be posting this in a lawyer’s forum.

Let's get Julia Roberts to find us someone like the lawyer from that poison water movie.


Surprised, but not surprised.

Ditched MQA long ago and Qobuz is finally coming to Canada in May, so it will soon be adios to Tidal as well.

What does intrigue me is what happens to the pirates at MQA should they be deemed to have scammed their clients. 

Put on the popcorn.

Well, I am a trial lawyer and a Tidal HiFi Plus subscriber.  I have absolutely no idea what @audioisnobiggie is talking about.  Is he claiming that MQA is really a red book rate, that is somehow upscaled to 96K?  If that is the claim, then there is some fraudulent marketing going on and there may be a claim based on false advertising.  But my understanding of MQA was that it actually takes a hi res file and “folds” it so that it streams using less bandwidth and then a DAC with the appropriate chip or software, “unfolds” it to its hi-res state.  If someone could explain what is going on, I could be a little more cogent.


Well, I am a trial lawyer and a Tidal HiFi Plus subscriber. I have absolutely no idea what @audioisnobiggie is talking about.

you certainly aren't alone... 🤣

Yeah, Qobuz is comingto Canada next month, we're making them work with a Quebec arm to make sure we have enough french content.  MQA has scammed their clients, nobody can prove that Tidal even has a copy of any higher res file.


mqa claims they are redbook rate that uncompresses to 96 with your cpu, but you have to buy gear with their cheap chip in it for it to be able to uncompress to anything higher, which will still be a redbook sized stream they say they 'fold' even more.  If it were possible to compress audio more, there would be a new file format with a codec, and people could compress and then fold their entire collections, even making 44.1 into something smaller.  The more you listen to the tech talk, the more obviously it isn't true.  There can only be fraudulent marketing supporting mqa.  They are using mqa to avoid bandwidth costs, while charging double anyways, and the result is output that looks like upsampling instead of the original higher res according to measurement devices.  Subscribers have been paying double for almost 10 years, and only been getting noisy upsampled results for it.  Even if it worked and unfolded to 192 and beyond from the same 44.1 stream, it won't sound the same as a simple stream of the same samplerate.  Many people don't seem to care to much about chip noise in their output, though.  But it doesn't work, it creates noise, anyways.  Since the mqa streams look like upsampling instead, Tidal can't prove that they even have an original copy of the mqa tracks, which is what the mqa name is designed to make it sound like they are even better at being.  False marketing.  Big ripoff technology.  Next, they'll charge double again and tell you you have to go buy the files and play them yourself.

People with 10k dac's are not talking about buying the same one with the new cheap chip.  They hate compression, even flac is not the original higher res stream, folding is upsampling.  There's no reason your cpu couldn't do the unfolding if it worked,  Actually they say it does do the first unfold to 96, then you need the cheap chip to make it to 192 with the same stream.

False claims.  MQA is currently still playing on Tidal, and many people are paying double for it to sound noisier than unaltered redbook would been.


who cares

what do we get for a class action against tidal other than getting some lawyers rich?


maybe a $3 check in the mail 

This is a bad argument IMHO, and I don't see any damages for anyone in a lawsuit! People are completely free to quit Tidal at any time they want. Frankly I'm sick of the whole MQA argument and the constant bickering and hatred people have for them! I have a very resolving setup and tried both Tidal and Qobuz and decided to stay with Tidal and I'm very happy with them as are many other people. If you don't like Tidal then feel free to move on and stop bashing them and MQA. 

If you prefer Tidal with MQA, you could ask them to start streaming everything at 22khz mqa rates.  Tell them you'll pay double for it.

I'll stick to my free pandora...never understood why anyone would pay to stream, when you can just own a physical copy. You own nothing when you pay a subscription. They own it 

The great thing about forums is that you don't have to read all the threads of stuff you're sick of.

If you think mqa works, ask why your processor can only handle the first unfold to 96, and then you need another cheap chip, that has to be in your dac, for some reason, to make it able to go to 192 and beyond, with the same sized 44.1 stream.

Streaming is the price of 1 album, 1 higher res album if you get a higher res plan (unless you get the Tidal mqa plan, which upsamples from 44.1).  If you listen to more than that, or especially if you want to explore new music to find out what to buy, streaming is great, though automatically inferior in sound output quality compared to files.

@mitch2 +1. good point!  

"...sold it to many of us, and nobody can prove it is exactly what they say it is?

That doesn’t sound so different from most of the audio tweaks we buy."


Dude, I never post here, just read, but I couldn’t pass this one up. 

I had no idea Audio has conspiracy theorists nut jobs!  Thanks for all the lolz reading your comments in this thread. 

But seriously, for your health, and the safety of others, please take your prescription medication. 


never understood why anyone would pay to stream

Streaming gives you access to millions of albums. If you add roon, you get links to other music you may be interested in every time you select an album to play. You also get additional information on many of the artists and albums, all at a reasonable cost.

If you like discovering new music or listening to albums you might want to hear once but not pay $10 to $15 for, streaming is the way to go.


artists and studios should start selling tiered levels of tracks based on more realistic pricing with bulk discounts.  Stream lossy, buy hires.  Streaming hires just uses too much bandwidth.  Tie tracks to key pair scheme and reissue keys for free, or a nominal fee to purchasers of record for 50 or 75 years. Get rid of physical media to reduce costs.

start stream of consciousness….  ;-)

Tidal mqa tracks frequently get interrupted and they use much more bandwidth than qobuzz”hd”.. (rural area)

I cannot even listen to an entire track from tidal “masters”.

streaming is a convenience… thats all.  Been too busy to do ripping, cataloguing, playlists etc.

personally would rather just buy hires and play from NAS. Finding what I want is a pita though.

And yes, I can tell the difference between a sparse and a dense file playing on my system.. especially as I increase the volume.

Wish the studios, or the artists, would just start, more widely and greater selection, selling tiers of product with increasing data density.

But I also get the whole piracy thing being a huge issue. Maybe utilizing some kind of key pair scheme with tpm (as long as you can transfer your keys to a new device)  Studios could eventually just sell the keys to enable playback.. then they wouldn’t have to provide as much bandwidth either..  say I give someone a copy of, lr torrent, a BD I burned as a backup, the recipient wouldn’t be able to play any of the tracks without a key.. I wouldn’t give them mine.. but they could just buy  a new key.  People sharing keys would need to be subject to penalties.

Though I will say that whoever is doing the selling MUST keep records for 75 years and re-issue keys, maybe for a nominal charge, for already purchased unlocked tracks. It’s just plain stupid that vendors can charge for a replacement copy of , or access to, a digital file.

However, a more realistic approach to pricing would help also.  
some people will always steal, even if the product were $00.01 apiece, but I think alot of people would willingly buy a 192/24 (or 32) at something like $00.25 song for a 2-3 hundred track collection.

I could get on board being able to buy an artist’s entire collection, say AC/DC or Metallica at 192 (not lars’s base heavy remix with his left to right circular crossfading bs though). Back it up on a blue ray and stick that in in a safe and use a nas on the lan for source to dac. add key to NAS for file unlocking.  Or even just an individual song for a buck.… have a discount scheme for purchasing an entire album or collection. Less money for lower “quality” (aka tiers of mp3,  lossy and lossless).  Studios could compete also on codecs… who does more etc and which ones (alac, flac etc) The whole physical media thing is not needed any longer anyway.. well, except for vinyl… those folks need to have a product to spend that money on…

Then maybe we could get away from these “ultimate quality” compression or “folding” or other types of bs, get the artists paid, the studios paid, control piracy a bit and everyone can enjoy the, honest, level of compression they are willing to purchase and listen to. (And no, I don’t care what anyone has to say about “all you need is 44.1”.. or 96, or 192 or whatever.  reminds me of gates saying no one would ever need more than 640kb of ram…). End of my rant for the day..

I don’t understand why people are trying to make sure audio streamers don’t have to stream very much. Look at what Netflix is doing for it’s price. Probably at least 50 times as much bandwidth for it’s movies compared to higher res audio.

Audio is where there are picky people, too. I looked for forums where people complain about low streaming bitrate for video, and found none, started my own thread, not too much interest. But most audio people hate low res. Very small trickle, the original usb 1 spec can handle what’s coming for, well it looks like it will be a long time.

Probably because chicks are always into blockheads.

That's what they all look like to uncompressed high refresh rate video gamers, the blockhead stars.

I'm not getting this either. MQA was developed by that one Meridian guy, then spun off into a company. It licensed its technology to various companies, including Tidal. From what I gather--I was not a close watcher of this technology, I'm an old vinyl guy--it claimed various benefits to "unfolding" which could, it was claimed, improve on the sound, as delivered through streaming, by offering more apparent bandwidth than the signal sent. Those claims were questioned.

Now, the MQA company has filed for a reorganization, in part according to their press release, to allow the original major money to get out-I don't know who that is. 

If there is something the OP is suggesting that Tidal itself did (is it an investor, did it market MQA beyond verifiable claims or at least the claims made by MQA itself), I don't see them holding the bag. It may change how they market higher rez audio. Beyond that, I have no opinion on the merits of MQA beyond the known controversies. I don't see Tidal dragged into this simply because they were delivering an MQA version of releases. 

One of the bigger issues I have with streaming services is what mastering they are purporting to deliver. I can listen to different versions of the "same" record that sound different because of who mastered, where it was pressed, by what plant, etc. Do you get that level of detail on streaming services? I trialed Qobuz for a couple months- it actually sounded decent-- but the deep catalog on jazz was anything but- it was quite shallow. It didn't supplement what I didn't have. I don't need remixes or reissues of common warhorses. 

If Netflix streams it’s 4k video at 15gbhr, that’s a bitrate of roughly 4166kbs. I haven’t seen anything released yet at 384kbs. but if you could be getting 192 for your track, that'ss roughly 21 times as much. That Netflix plan is 14.99 here, Tidal’s plan with the mqa that makes it stream only at 44.1, is 19.99.


The only merit would be for the provider to conserve bandwidth, chips add noise to the signal, they are full of transistors, which don’t sound as natural as tubes. But since it’s fake, they don’t spend any more, and you get noise for double your money.

Remasters happen in digital, they're starting to come out in higher res, now.  If you get real higher res files, it gets better than cd.  192 sure would be nice more often, but 96 is catching on.

No good can ever come from this streaming pigs in poke false tech.

And chapter 11 bankruptcy is usually used so owners of bust companies can cheat their creditors and get back into business the next week, free of debt.  It should be stopped.  Its existence encourages company managers to do the wrong thing and take business and legal risks knowing they will not be harmed.

My corn popping curiosity is enjoying the thread, but to be honest my ears are fine with an AudiFi, 4Stream and Apple Music Lossless. My MidFi system is noise tweaked and cabled well enough to be resolving and I feel I can hear the improvements at 24 or 44…but probably not beyond. FWIW I’m thinking the posters here making the best points are the ones suggesting there is a point in home audio where ROI is not a valid consumer quality claim. We can only be protected against ourselves so far. If MQA is totally bogus, the market may or may not deliver its own justice…as some snake oil has survived for decades.

Not a lawyer, but to me, the more likely outcome (if there is a false claim shown in the MQA pitch about the existence of master files) would be for the Fed Gov to levy a fine and prohibit use of the offending claim in advertisements. More an issue of future-facing consumer protection than financial damage to any subscriber.

MQA is in Administration. Individuals declare bankruptcy - not companies. In the UK administration provides a period of protection from creditors seeking to have a company wound up, while the administrator makes decisions on the future of the company.

I don’t know enough about the MQA technology to opine on it, but I know that I paid for the top tier to get access to hi-res MQA files.  If the MQA file is merely an upscaled Redbook file, it is false advertising.  It is that simple.

Boy am I glad I never delved into streaming and at 74 probably will not. I got back into vinyl during the pandemic and am really enjoying looking for some of my favorite albums used. 

I have well over 3,000 lps, a ton of cd's, ton of pre-recorded cassettes, about 50 mini discs, plus a Grace Digital Link for streaming both Amazon and pandora.  I think I'm all set!...plus my Marantz sacd player does DSD via USB, so if I ever wanted to, I can hook up my laptop and stream some free DSD files, not likely, but I could if I wanted to. 

@tomcy6 that's why I have my Grace Digital Link, a $179 streamer. Also have a topping bc3 Bluetooth receiver. I have zero interest in hi-res streaming. That is what I use my physical media for, serious listening is done with physical media. It's much more fun interacting with a physical copy of something. Watching that record spin, or the reels of the cassette spinning in the Nak or Aiwa....I own 5 turntables for a reason....they all do something different and are a joy to use. Yes, I sometimes get real lazy, and so I use the Grace streamer now and then. 

Are we not in the 21st century ? I am a HiFi+ Tidal subscriber . Whatever track I am streaming ,the bitrate is indicated on the display of my receiver. I don't have to wonder,guess, or question what is being streamed through my sound node. I guess Yamaha has been on to  something for quite some time since my RX-Z9 is 20 years producing quality sound.

I have concluded that CD rate of 44.1 is a more preferred sound for me. The higher bitrates tend to produce too much separation of sound leaving an undesirable emptiness between vocals and instruments as the score progresses to fruition.

I did notice approximately 5-6 weeks ago that the overall sound quality being streamed seemingly has diminished. Not nearly as detailed, regardless of rate being streamed. Until today ,reading these posts , I had no idea that all of this was going on with this streaming service.

I am no expert. I'm 64 and have been rockin it out dating back to when my sister used to stack pennies on the tonearm to keep it in the groove. Still in the "groove" and enjoying every session.

Can you create a playlist on Qobuz like you can on TIDAL? 

Is the user interface on Qobuz as good as TIDAL? Thx. 

Can you create a playlist on Qobuz like you can on TIDAL? 


Is the user interface on Qobuz as good as TIDAL?

That's a matter of personal preference.

Will be interesting to see what information comes out of discovery. Charging additional money for a service they could not delivery can only mean a couple things in todays charged world. Was it greed and the people in the company were padding their pockets? Or is it that they were being sucked into the dc cartel corporate extortion machine and not making their monthly contributions to b l m. We all know when you don’t pay your juice they will destroy you! Time and information will tell.


Will be interesting to see what information comes out of discovery.

There will have to be a lawsuit filed before there can be any discovery. So far the only guy talking about suing is the OP.

Charging additional money for a service they could not delivery can only mean a couple things in todays charged world.

I haven't seen any evidence that MQA failed to deliver service and there are many satisfied users of MQA.