MQAI hate streaming. One reason is the crappy sound quality. TIDAL think they are better. They offer something called MQA (Master Quality Authenticated). MQA is an audio codec using lossy compression (irreversible compression). This encoding method uses inexact approximations and partial data discarding to represent the content. This is opposed to lossless data compression (reversible data compression), which does not degrade the data. Why doesn't TIDAL offer lossless? The reason is that storage is money. Naturally, the amount of data reduction possible using lossy compression is much higher than using lossless techniques. MQA annoy audiophiles. Neil Young removed his music from the platform in January 2021. "TIDAL is calling their files of my songs Masters. But TIDAL’s MQA files are not my masters. I make my masters - not TIDAL. I made my masters the way I wanted them to sound. If TIDAL referred to their titles as TIDAL MASTERS, I would have no problem, but they don’t. They call them Masters. I had my music removed from that platform. They are not my masters." Neil Young isn't just a grumpy old man, he is also an advocate for audio quality, read more here (opens in a new window). The MQA hype is surrounded by a smokescreen. Not even its creators can explain the MQA technique. It's a lot of nonsense like "temporal deblurring", using digtal signal processing to tamper with the original sonics of the recording. Let's take the abbreviation MQA and break it down into pieces. It's not "Master". "Quality" is debatable and open for interpretation. "Authenticated" is questionable. Any media labeled as MQA under Tidal means that it was directly authenticated by the artist for use with this standard. Well, for sure Neil Young didn't give his approval. MQA is available with the $19.99/month subscription (Hifi). This is a hefty sum. Especially considering that FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is free. The choice is yours to make.

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