Bob Stuart, founder of Meridian Audio, revealed details recently of MQA (Master Quality Authenticated), a ‘revolutionary’ British technology, which the company claims is poised to change the way people enjoy music.
Developed by Meridian, MQA is described as a breakthrough technology to reverse the trend, in which sound quality has been sacrificed for convenience during the move from analogue to digital sources.
Meridian says that with MQA there is no sacrifice bringing the listener back to the enthralling sound of live music, capturing and preserving nuances and vital information that current music files obscure or discard.
All this, the company promises, can be achieved in a file that is small and convenient to download or stream.
Bob says: “Music lovers need no longer be shortchanged; finally we can all hear exactly what the musicians recorded. MQA gives a clear, accurate and authentic path from the recording studio all the way to any listening environment – at home, in the car or on the go. And we didn’t sacrifice convenience. MQA is already receiving broad support from the music industry, artists, recording and mastering engineers and record labels.”
Meridian argues that high-quality music reproduction in not necessarily about creating every bigger files formats.
Whilst larger files sizes can help, Bob argues lots of this extra space can go unused and his new concept takes an entirely new approach bringing together the three ideals of studio-quality sound, convenience and end-to-end authenticity.
Meridian says MQA uses a completely new concept of capturing the ‘total essence’ of an original recording and conveying it all the way to the listener, assuring that what they are listening to is identical to the master recording.
Taking years to develop involving artists, mastering engineers and producers around the globe, Meridian explains that MQA begins with the sound that’s been signed off by the artist and producer and uses a new sampling method that can resolve the finest time divisions the human ear can hear and deliver them to the audience.
Bob says: “We call the process ‘Encapsulation’ it is informed by the latest neuroscience and psychoacoustic research that shows how we identify and locate sounds and that timing details of a few microseconds are important. This new technique combines this extreme level of time accuracy with authentic dynamic range.”
Meridian adds that MQA also uses lossless processing to build a file or stream which also delivers sophisticated metadata: details of the recording, instructions for the decoder and D/A converters plus how to create an authenticated exact reconstruction of the original analogue signal.
MQA can be delivered inside any lossless container, e.g. as ALAC, FLAC, or WAV.
MQA is decoded by a simple decoder – which can be an App, a software player or hardware and works for all masters between 44.1 kHz and 768 kHz sampling.
Meridian also explains that the technique is backwards compatible with existing digital playback hardware where instead of studio quality sound, the listener will get ‘CD’ quality sound.
MQA will be available early 2015.