MQA: Debunking Myths and Revealing the Truth about this Controversial Digital Audio Format

MQA (Master Quality Authenticated), a digital audio format by Meridian Audio, sparks controversy among audiophiles. While some see it as a game-changer, others dismiss it as overhyped. This article separates fact from fiction and explains MQA’s impact on audio quality.

MQA is a lossless compression format preserving high-resolution audio data using the "Folds" process, reducing file sizes without losing original sound data. Critics argue that it’s a marketing gimmick with no audible difference from other high-resolution formats. However, studies conducted by the Audio Engineering Society show improvements in sound quality.

Real-life examples illustrate MQA’s impact on sound quality, such as preserving subtle details and nuances in symphony orchestra recordings for an immersive listening experience. Meridian Audio CEO Bob Stuart describes MQA as a process, not a format, making high-resolution audio portable. Industry experts agree that while not essential for everyone, its benefits are undeniable.

  1. MQA uses lossless compression and authentication, preserving more data than other lossless formats like FLAC or ALAC, providing better sound quality.
  2. The Folds process identifies redundant data in high-resolution files and eliminates it while maintaining the original sound quality.
  3. Yes, studies conducted by the Audio Engineering Society show significant improvements in sound quality using MQA compared to other lossless formats.