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Tidal says hi-res lossless is coming, raising questions about its MQA format

Tidal CEO says hi-res FLACs are coming to the service, and this has raised questions about Tidal’s support for the MQA format.

During an Ask Me Anything Reddit session, Tidal CEO Jesse Dorogusker said that the service would soon be adding the option to listen to hi-res lossless FLACs. This new feature is set to be available for the service’s HiFi Plus subscribers, but Dorogusker did not give any details on when exactly this new feature would arrive.

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Tidal has always supported lossless FLAC streaming at CD quality, but its better-than-CD quality hi-res music has come in the form of the MQA format. This format is relatively controversial among Tidal subscribers as it’s not technically a truly lossless format in the same way FLAC is, so audiophiles have continuously had concerns about Tidal opting to use this format instead of something more traditional like a hi-res lossless FLAC file instead.

This news is especially interesting considering its timing, as the company that oversees the MQA format has recently been going through serious financial troubles, and this has led many to question whether or not Tidal will continue relying on this format for its hi-res music. Tidal is the only major streaming service to rely on the MQA format, and there are further complications when it comes to MQA, like the need for a DAC or amp that can fully handle the decoding required to play MQA files at their highest quality.

Tidal hasn’t announced any changes in regards to no longer supporting the MQA format, but it’s worth keeping an eye out to see if the service transitions away from MQA over to hi-res lossless FLACs instead. Though, it does seem unlikely Tidal is ever going to remove MQA playback from its service, considering its existing catalog of MQA music.

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