Tidal removing all MQA

As the title states Tidal will be removing all MQA and replacing titles with FLAC instead.  Per an email I just received:


On July 24, 2024, we’re replacing the music in TIDAL’s MQA catalog with FLAC versions.


With MQA being sold to Lenbrook, I wonder why this is happening? 
 I don’t care much for MQA , but it also shows the downside of streaming.  If you liked the MQA versions you just loss access to them

I also have to feel sorry for people who bought MQA DACs primarily so they could get these tracks from Tidal

From the Tidal website


If you have an MQA track or album in your Collection – including in playlists – the track will automatically be replaced by the highest quality FLAC version that has been distributed to TIDAL.

If you have an MQA track or album downloaded for offline access, you will need to update to the latest version of the app on July 24. You will then be prompted to redownload these tracks. This will download the replacement FLAC version of any MQA track you previously downloaded.

360 Reality Audio:
If you have a 360 Reality Audio track or album in your Collection – including in a playlist or downloaded for offline access – you will see the track or album grayed out and unavailable for streaming if you try to select it.

Still nobody seems to get it. I have a pretty good streamer for shits and giggles that I won't identify but it's retail is $2500.00. I also have a $1,000 turntable that I always, always go to before streaming.All you streamers, just please for the love of God and all that is sacred in music, buy an entry level analog rig and find peace, and musical enjoyment unlike you haven't before.  

@fsgattuso For the love of God quit trying to preach that vinyl is superior to streaming, it is not. Vinyl’s sound quality is inferior and becomes more so incrementally every time you play an album. Then there’s the pops and hiss issue. Of course there’s the availability of, in an instant, millions of tracks, in most every conceivable genre, for a low monthly fee, many in high-res, that streaming provides.


Just stop, I’ve heard both, and have streaming.

@anotherbob - this is not always true and not because analog is superior or not. The reason is that mastering on quality LP is better. See, stream is often CD mastering, even if it is 24/96. They stream to you what was made for CD before downsampling. But CDs are often mastered for low end and car equipment. 

I made a simple experiment. I have certain CD, FLAC from HD Tracks and LP. I recorded LP into 24/96. This digital recording sounds quite a bit better than HD Tracks or hi rez Tidal stream.

All digital, mind you.

Vinyl and streaming can be both equally satisfying when done correctly. If anyone likes one over the other by a big margin, they are obviously lacking in one of their systems.

Left analog decades ago and I do not miss it. I loved the high cool factor but the upkeep would constantly ping my OCD. I enjoy music more without it.

Switched from Tidal to Qobuz long ago because I hated MQA so much. So: long overdue, IMO.

As others have noted on this forum, MQA was a "solution" to an Internet bandwidth problem that no longer exists. Its time as a lossy container for music has come and gone. Good. I have Tidal and will stick with them. I had Spotify and after they lied to us, I’ll never go back. I wasted over a year sticking with Spotify due to their promises.

I mainly like the fact that Tidal has Tidal Connect as an app that streamers can use. It makes life easier and when I get home and want to listen to music, "easy" is important. Supposedly Qobuz is going to have a "Qobuz Connect" app soon if not already. We just need more streamers to incorporate it. But hey, I like Tidal just fine. 

I like MQA sounds great on my system, D Agostino amp and preamp, estelon speakers. very revealing and good detail, better than 44.1  

The HDTracks linkup with Lenbrook is not a done deal, and may never be. They need to develop a service model and pricing strategy that is competitive with the established names. The need for special playback circuitry will be an impediment. I own a Node and Mytek and WiiM products and subscribe to Tidal. But this transition to FLAC will not have any negative impact on my use of or enjoyment of my systems. 


The HDTracks linkup with Lenbrook is not a done deal, and may never be.

The agreement is finalized according to Lenbrook. News release here.

Vinyl and streaming or just quality digital files all have something to offer us audiophiles.  Quality sound, ease of playing, etc.  I go either way (No pun intended).  Sometimes I’ll just load up a bunch of music in JRiver and kick back to listen and other times I’ll do some series listening to vinyl.  Each sounds different but have something to offer.  I do prefer vinyl if it’s a good recording and good vinyl but other times a good digital recording completely mesmerizes me.  

Now back to what this thread is about, MQA.  When it first came out and I read the technical papers on it and I thought, this sounds like a scam to lock in a copyright patent for the company.  Doing something like Sony has always has tried.  When the audio company I was working for incorporated MQA into our DAC/streamers I was able to do a lot of serious listening through the years to it.  I’ve never really cared for it.  It definitely changed the sound and I felt it lost something, but that’s me.  The important thing here is that here is a company that tried to sell everyone a bill of goods that would lock in a ton of music with their proprietary patented encode/decode product.  Now it’s flopping, so they sell it off to recoup as much as they can.  
I still stick with it being just another scam from a “Sony” type plan.  And it failed!


Glad that YOU think that analog is superior to digital.

Also glad that you think we will all find musical nirvana by switching to vinyl.

Now, can you please let everyone know what food, wine, movies, etc. that you like, because obviously personal taste doesn't exist.


Friendly reminder facts for @amvroofing and others


1. The native sample and bit rate of the mastering session is the best quality that any product could ever be

2. MQA is sonically distorted and lossy. Might be subjectively preferable distortion or might not, but it’s definitely distorted.


3. MQA is not master quality. (See 1.) MQA is not authenticated. It’s almost always bulk processed

@jl1ny - unfortunately, often digital material is mastered much worse than analog. I basically went back to get better sound. I don't often play LPs, I record them in 24/192 and play the recording. Remember reel-to-reel days?

I think sometimes records sound a little warmer if that's the correct term have a tube Pre Amp and a BHK 250 amp with a Hana Red Cart good combo for Jazz

Agree with Brian about streaming in native format.     I have Tidal and Qobuz.   Tidal mostly for live content and they have some artists that only have a few tracks available on Qobuz.   

I think the next time I sit down in front of my main system I'm going to co pare tracks on each platform.  

"MQA was founded in 2014 and is backed by several major labels, including Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, and Sony Music". 


That really says most of what you need to know in terms of how 'good' it is compared to free market solutions.


Listen to whatever media you like, (albums, digital, digital streaming, analog tape) and whatever file format ,(FLAC, MQA, raw analog, tape, digital lossless, AIFF, or low resolution digital files). There is enough room for all music devices and quality. It’s fair to say many audiophiles have hearing loss anyway. Listen and enjoy to your hearts content and don’t let grumpy or arrogant hi-fi snobs tell you you can’t or shouldn’t listen to MQA or anything (Bose wave radio or Oontz Bluetooth speaker) BTW I was in my garage yesterday listening to Chicago’s greatest hits ion an Oontz 3 speaker and enjoying every minute of it. When cassette tape comes back, many audio nuts will have plenty of fun. What’s wrong with it???

Switched from Tidal to Qobuz long ago because I hated MQA so much. So: long overdue, IMO.

@hickamore My exact sentiments exactly. I had to wait a while longer than most, as it took some time for Qobuz to open its doors in Canada but once they did I ran to them with open arms. 

I use both. There are some albums I like on tidal that just don’t live in Qobuz. 
I’m glad they’re moving away from MQA and I hope that results in hi res files sounding better than MQA now on a non-MQA equipment. We’ll see.