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Tidal taps the Masters in latest trouncing of Spotify’s streaming quality

Tidal’s £20 a month HiFi membership is one of the best quality streaming options for those discerning listeners with speakers and headphones good enough to make the extra tenner a month worthwhile.

Now the company is upping its game a little further by introducing Tidal Masters, a selection of recordings that promise studio-quality sound from some of the best known artists on earth (via WhatHiFi).

Among the thousands of albums available include titles from Led Zeppelin’s first album, Beyonce’s Lemonade and Rumours by Fleetwood Mac.

Related: Is Apple considering a bid for Tidal?

Only Warner Music Group artists are available at the moment, but Queen Bey’s relationship with Tidal owner Jay-Z means her music makes the cut too.

The quality upgrade is made possible thanks to Tidal’s agreement with the Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) tech developed my Meridian. MQA Ltd which promises to bring the sounds of the studios to smaller music file (around the size of a CD track) without the usual drop off in quality.

The means you won’t need eons of extra bandwidth in order to stream the Master-quality recordings. The recordings will be 96kHz/24-bit compared to the 44.1kHz/16-bit quality offered through the HiFi membership.

In an FAQ on the streaming firm’s website, Tidal announced it “has partnered with MQA to deliver something infinitely better: an authenticated and unbroken version (typically 96 kHz/24 bit) with the highest possible resolution — as flawless as it sounded in the mastering suite. And exactly as the artist intended it to sound.”

Right now the MQA streams are only available via the Tidal desktop app and you’ll also need a MQA compatible device to make it work.

The launch of Tidal Masters has been a longtime coming. The agreement with MQA was originally announced at CES 2016. Better late than never.

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