Yes, you’ve heard that before. But what you haven’t heard, and what was announced on Thursday at CES 2017, is that:
Tidal has begun streaming MQA content for all Tidal HiFi tier subscribers. An initial 200 albums are listed at Tidal.com/us/masters,
with thousands more available via artists’ pages. “Masters” content, which is what Tidal calls MQA, is expected to “grow rapidly.” Many of the titles are from the Warner Music Group catalog.
Pandora and Rhapsody/Napster have announced hi-res streaming.
15,000 hi-res albums are now available from major and indie labels.
Technics will implement MQA into their Grand Class SU-G30 Network Player amplifier this spring.
AudioQuest will implement MQA in their DragonFly Red and Black later this month via a free firmware download.
Audirvana’s Plus 3 music player for Mac OS will decode MQA when it’s released this spring.
Pioneer and Onkyo’s digital audio players, and Onkyo’s new hi-res smartphone, are equipped for MQA.
The HiResAudio download store has expanded its MQA content with downloads from Warner.
Mytek’s new Mytek Clef headphone amplifier/DAC is MQA-enabled.
NAD and Bluesound’s Pulse Soundbar now supports MQA.
Bel Canto, Brinkmann, MSB, and Aurender all have products that support MQA.
All this information became available on the first day of CES, when a consortium of industry professionals gathered by the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG)and chaired by Marc Finer, President of the DEG (in the photo above)spoke to assembled press and industry supporters at a Hi-Res Audio Press Conference. The group announced a new consumer awareness campaign called Stream the Studio, which is designed to increase awareness of hi-res audio amongst millennials.
The speakers, who included representatives from Universal Music Group, Warner, and Atlantic, were buoyed by research, based on a study of 7000 listeners, concluding that music lovers want sound quality as good as that heard in the recording studio. It is believed that premium music services could potentially attract 12 million subscribers.
Craig Kallman, CEO of Atlantic Records, scored a bullseye when he stated, “We are the only industry that has spent 30 years downgrading the sound quality of its product Quality and convenience of delivery can now be in perfect harmony. We are ready to deliver. 2017 will be a watershed year like we haven’t seen in 35 years. The day for high-resolution audio has finally come.”
While David Chesky of HDTracks did not speak at the presentation, he was present. Indications are that new hi-res options that have been a year in the making will be forthcoming from HDTracks. In an email, Chesky hinted at “a super big surprise.”