​Tidal Begins Offering "Master" Quality Recordings

BY Sarah MurphyPublished Jan 5, 2017

For all of its legal and personnel troubles since launching, Tidal remains dedicated to providing listeners with interesting (if not always smooth) streaming exclusives at CD-quality sound.
Now, the Jay Z-owned streaming service has announced that it will begin offering "Master" quality high-resolution audio to its HiFi service subscribers.
The hike in sound quality arrives courtesy of Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) technology by Meridian Audio. What Hi-Fi? points out that "market-leading Spotify and Apple Music, offer standard, lossy compression music streams, whether 256 kbps or 320 kbps, AAC, MP3 or Ogg Vorbis," while Deezer Elite and Qoboz opt for CD-quality lossless streams.
Tidal has now taken that a step further, starting by rolling out the hi-res "Masters" option on the desktop app. Meridian Audio claims that the MQA tracks will sound "exactly how they were recorded in the studio, without requiring huge amounts of bandwidth to deliver."
Rather than creating an entirely new file type, the hi-res audio can be packaged inside any lossless container such as FLAC or WAV, typically at 96 kHz / 24 bit, meaning the possibility of Tidal Masters coming to mobile devices in the near future is a definite possibility.

You can find out more about the MQA technology here via What Hi-Fi?
The entire Tidal catalogue is not yet available in "Masters" format, but you can browse the available titles here and more about them on Tidal over here.
As previously reported, Tidal's Premium service costs $9.99 a month, while the HiFi service costs $19.99; it doesn't offer a free tier.

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