MQA streaming detailed analysis --- and it's not good



Full Audioholic
GoldenSound on YouTube has performed a detailed analysis of MQA on Tidal. It is a technical analysis that may be beyond the level of the average audiophile, but for those that understand encoding methods and in particular those with recording engineering experience, it's a very interesting video. The first half of the video contains the technical details and the second half some personal opinion and comments.

Short answer for audiophiles is stay with FLAC. What MQA does to audio streams is not lossless and in some cases downright detrimental. How they market their services and make it extremely difficult for independent analysis is much too similar to what some dubious peripheral manufacturers are doing and is great cause for concern. With Tidal replacing FLAC streams with MQA streams and defaulting to the MQA version, they may be doing themselves harm in the long run and their subscribers a disservice. The MQA files can even be larger than the FLAC files so it's not even about bandwidth and appears to be all about royalties. Fortunately there are good people out there willing to take the time and effort to dig deeper and reveal the facts about some of these technologies. There is also a lot of other material referenced to in the description if you want to dig deeper, and he linked to every section of the video so you can jump to the conclusion and comments if you want to skip the details.

@Irvrobinson linked to the AudioScienceReview discussion in another thread and I added that link for more info:

Last edited:


Audioholic Field Marshall
Unfortunately, just another attempt at getting a few bucks out of participants for use of a process. And who can afford it anyway after dolby has picked everyone’s pockets? I do enjoy sampling atmos albums via Tidal, but will probably not renew my subscription after the three months for three bucks offer comes to an end.


Audioholic Overlord
I've yet to find a streaming service that equals my cd rips, even Amazon HD falls a little short, imo. I'm just gonna stick with my cd rips.

  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis