Speakers

Meridian Explains New MQA Lossless Audio Format, Authenticated by Artists Themselves

Meridian Audio reveals how its new Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) lossless audio technology works, how it will be released and what it means to consumers and the custom electronics industry.


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Can you catch lightning in a bottle over and over again? Meridian Audio is proving that it is possible.

The Cambridgeshire, U.K.-based company, which invented digital active loudspeakers more than 20 years ago along with numerous other industry firsts, is again pushing the boundaries of technology with its newly unveiled Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) technology that “folds” lossless music files on various formats to make them more compact yet maintains the highest quality possible. So high, that the files themselves are signed off on, or “authenticated” by the artists themselves.

The 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was the first chance for integrators to hear MQA at work. In its demo suite at the Venetian Hotel, Meridian CEO John Buchanan along with co-founder Bob Stuart were hard at work doing demos for intrigued attendees. Buchanan, along with Spencer Chrislu, director of content services, took time to explain some of the key questions about MQA and its benefits to the industry.

At the show, Meridian showcased several of its products that will render MQA streams. Meridian 800 Series products, the 808v6 Reference CD Player and 818v3 Reference Media Core will be available in April 2015 to provide the ability to decode and render MQA streams and files as well as adding lip sync control. Also, the company just debuted Explorer2, a portable, compact and rugged USB DAC (digital-to-analog converter) that can deliver excellent audio and support for MQA lossless audio files.

Already, several companies are supporting or are in discussions to support MQA. Following an announcement of support by 7digital in December 2014, other companies already in advanced discussions include:

  • Imagination Technologies and its Caskeid wireless multi-room audio IP platform
  • Onkyo, the Japanese electronics giant
  • Arcam, the British hi-fi manufacturer
  • TIDAL, the high fidelity music streaming service from the Aspiro Group, currently available in U.S, U.K. and Canada. TIDAL was streaming MQA files in demos at CES through the updated Meridian Sooloos digital media system.

Commenting on this wave of support for MQA, Bob Stuart said, “We are delighted to be in discussions with such highly respected brands. We are also progressing our work with the music labels, who continue to drive forward MQA content discussions, and we expect them to make announcements in early 2015.”

Mike Jbara, Warner Music Group, states, “In terms of impact in audio quality it’s a hugely important development and a big step forward. Meridian’s achievement is significant because it goes back to the source of the artists’ recording and provides studio master quality sound while not compromising on the convenience people expect.”

Question #1: What is MQA?

Question #2: What does MQA mean for the custom electronics industry?

Question #3: How does MQA make lossless files no bigger than a CD?

Question #4: How does MQA help make a direct connection between artists and listeners?

Question #5: How is MQA being released?



  About the Author

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]

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