In a current Reddit AMA (Ask Me Something), Tidal CEO Jesse Dorogusker revealed the streaming platform will quickly be introducing hi-res FLAC audio to HiFi Plus members.
FLAC, or Free Lossless Audio Codec, is a digital audio format that may supply studio-quality sound with out requiring an entire lot of cupboard space. The small file measurement is necessary as these platforms have to have sufficient room for tens of millions of tracks. This explicit format already exists on Tidal in the usual HiFi tier (opens in new tab) the place songs are mentioned to have CD-like high quality. Music on HiFi Plus, extra generally known as Tidal Masters, presently runs on MQA, a controversial format that seems to have been a hot topic in the AMA (opens in new tab).
MQA or Grasp High quality Authenticated is an audio format permitting studio-quality sound to exist on file sizes smaller than FLAC. The corporate behind the digital music tech, MQA Ltd, lately introduced it was “entering into administration (opens in new tab)” which is the British model of Chapter 11 chapter within the US. This frightened TIDAL customers because it may’ve spelled the tip of HiFi Plus. Fortuitously, it isn’t over.
Switching over to a file format with a bigger measurement than MQA goes to alter quite a bit on the platform, however for now, issues will keep largely static. In a current report from Digital Trends (opens in new tab), an organization spokesperson informed the publication the “present MQA catalog will proceed to be obtainable on the platform” and that TIDAL is solely “including hi-res FLAC” instead. Dorogusker additionally mentioned within the AMA the service will present new “controls” over FLAC recordsdata; seemingly permitting a manner for customers to regulate their measurement.
Customers’ response to this transformation has been mostly positive (opens in new tab) from what we will inform. They appear to understand that TIDAL shall be providing, what some would possibly contemplate, a real lossless audio format within the service’s highest tier.
You see, there’s been some controversy concerning the validity of MQA really being lossless. Some have gone so far as referring to it as snake oil (opens in new tab). A YouTuber by the identify of GoldenSound took the time to check the format. According to his findings, MQA wasn’t pretty much as good as the corporate claimed it to be. So, there is a good likelihood Tidal HiFi Plus will get an audio improve.
The way forward for MQA
Contemplating the current chapter information, it is doable MTQ Ltd could quickly cease supporting its personal format, leaving TIDAL with solely FLAC. Jesse Dorogusker did not say something about rising the TIDAL Masters catalog. It seems in the mean time the platform is extra centered on constructing a FLAC music library.
We reached out to TIDAL with a number of questions. Will the MQA tracks keep on the platform and for the way lengthy? What precisely are the “controls” Dorogusker talked about within the AMA because it pertains to FLAC recordsdata? And is there a particular launch date in thoughts? This story shall be up to date if we hear again.
In the meantime, rival Spotify is content material with including a TikTok-like feed moderately than lastly including high-resolution audio. So in the event you’re pondering of leaping ship to Tidal, now’s your likelihood.
And in the event you do, be sure you take a look at TechRadar’s lately up to date checklist of the finest over-ear headphones for 2023. You are going to want an excellent pair to get essentially the most out of FLAC audio.