MQA And Bluesound

Master Quality Authenticated.

It is a method of getting music to you in STATE OF THE ART quality.

We have it NOW!

We have the Bluesound Node 2 ($500) which decodes MQA.
This is your “machine.”
You subscribe to Tidal for $20 per month. You’re good to go.

 

 

What Is MQA?

MQA is a delivery system for music. Music Origami.
The music is streamed FOLDED UP.
The music is UNFOLDED by an MQA decoder, like the Bluesound Node 2.

The nuts and bolts of MQA revolve around proprietary technology which eliminates the blurring that occurs with digital audio filters. MQA reduces “ringing” approximately ten times better than Hi-Res files. The result is, clearer sound. MQA delivers better transient attack, bass and more dynamic sound. Everything we equate to a better sounding musical experience is improved with MQA.

MQA assures you’re hearing the authorized master recording in the best possible fidelity.

Gestation

We have seen MQA in the works for a couple years. When presented to reviewers, it earned universal raves. Reviewers said MQA sounded superior to Hi-Res files- which take up too much bandwidth to stream anyway. And besides, do you really want to spend $25 a pop to BUY “Rumours” or “Hotel California” yet again? MQA takes you out of that rat on a wheel chase.

For a reviewer to review MQA, he used a $22k CD player, that had the decoder on board. He played files on CDs that were custom burned for him. These were not CDs that were for sale. Hence this system presented for review was a closed circuit system. The results drew raves from all corners.

Impressive as it was, the promise of MQA was in streaming, not selling expensive disc players and yet another format of discs. The “trick” to MQA is to stream it at small bandwidth (folded) to you, and then unfold it at your house through a decoder. Encode/Decode. Not only does streaming allow us the music and sound we want, it means record labels don’t have to complicate performance with
DRM (Digital Rights Management).

 

Feb 1, 2017

On Feb 1, 2017, Tidal began streaming approximately 2000 albums of MQA music. That’s when the experiment came to life. It is now real. It isn’t a closed circuit test pad. It works. Now. Today. We can demo it for you. You can have it at your house. Tonight.

For music to be delivered in MQA, record companies sign on and provide the content. Warner Brothers is IN. Universal Music Group is IN. With the big dogs signed on, the avalanche is sure to build. Both WB and UMG are aiming to roll out their entire libraries of music during 2017.

 

Do I Need MQA?

Yes! MQA is what we have hoped for. That is, we wanted music we could stream, as opposed to buying discs or files. The fidelity exceeds Hi-Res. After buying the Node 2 for $500, it only runs you $20 per month for Tidal.

Tidal is the first service to provide MQA. There are over 200 streaming services on the market and of course, there will be many competing services to offer MQA, sooner than later. You don’t sign a contract with Tidal. If you find a superior service, you can switch horses.

MQA is among the best things to happen to our great hobby!
You get state of the art sound at an affordable price.

 

Why wait?!

Bluesound Node 2 $500

The Node 2 gets you into the ball game at an affordable price immediately. There’s no reason NOT TO! $500. Sign up for Tidal. Have fun!

 

Alternatives

We’ve had a few shoppers bark, well, what if I want a Bryston DAC with MQA, wouldn’t that be better?

First of all, the smaller high end audio companies are not necessarily equipped to be in the first wave of such cutting edge technology. Bluesound is part of the NAD family. They’ve been in biz forever and have deep enough pockets to participate day one.

It is my expectation that Bryston and the other state of the art vendors will be on board with MQA sooner than later. The Bryston BDA-3 DAC sells for $3500 today. If they choose to manufacture a very similar product with MQA the price is likely to be $4-5k.

Is it a given that such a DAC would sound better than the Node 2? Node 2 does have the MQA decoder NOW. Will the decoder be better in a Bryston? Or might it be the same? The other electronics around the decoder will have some influence on the sound so I’m comfortable saying the Bryston should be somewhat better. But at 8-10 times the price, how many people will care about a tiny difference? It is likely to be precious few, which Bryston knows. Hence it might not dive into MQA for biz reasons, not performance reasons.

There ARE a few tiny audio companies that “nobody has heard of” that ARE on board with MQA now. Are they a smarter choice than Bluesound? No.

We don’t know if they’ll be around tomorrow afternoon, and it has nothing to do with MQA. Running a business requires a lot more than just having the right chipsets in your box. You can be sure that companies like Bluesound/NAD and Bryston are going to do it right and be around for the long haul. If any of their products have hiccups (Node 2 does NOT!) they’re honorable and capable. You won’t be stuck with a problem. The problem will be solved.

I have concerns about companies we’ve never heard of who purport to stream MQA within a server. Really? You want to pay for a server today? You want to pay $5-10k for a server that also has MQA streaming? Why not get Node 2 for $500 for the MQA delivery and then store your music on
a USB drive for PENNIES? My bet is that an expensive server/MQA decoder will sound exactly the same as Node 2, which will leave you paying ferocious money for a server that’s likely to be toast in five years. I look back at some of the servers our industry has SERVED UP over the years. Which of
them are in biz 5-10 years later? NONE. Frox. Escient. Fireball. Music Mountain. Russound etc etc.

 

Naysayers

There are some vocal naysayers re MQA. These are small potatoes outfits who are hoping MQA won’t fly- because THEY CANNOT BE IN THE BALLGAME. They don’t have the money or
technology to dive in.

It’s like… when CDs came out in 1982, a number of turntable companies said, CDs suck. They’ll never make it. The reason for the TUDE was that these companies were not remotely prepared to be in that biz. They were going to be left behind at the starting gate. So they wrote vociferous letters to TAS and other mags saying CDs aren’t going to make it. They were wrong, to say the least! In fact, ALL OF THEM eventually bought transports and chipsets- and came out with their own CD players. We’re seeing that again now with MQA.

My advice is to dive into MQA with the Node 2 from Bluesound. Don’t miss out on the fun. If
you decide down the road that you want a Bryston DAC with MQA for $4-5k, great. You can use your Node 2 to acquire the signal, then send it on to some other decoding DAC. Or, you can use Node 2 in another system. You’ll only have $500 tied up in it. Don’t pass on perhaps the coolest thing going in our music hobby!