MQA & Partners Showcase Innovation, Continued Expansion at Munich High End
With new software and hardware partners, and growing momentum around MQA music availability, there will be a record number of MQA demonstrations at this year’s High-End show, as well as an exclusive MQA Live performance, streamed in real-time into partner listening rooms in the Munich exhibition halls.
MQA Music Wherever You Listen
MQA technology is ideal for streaming and downloads and has also been harnessed by mastering engineers to enhance CDs, as well as incorporated into MQA Live – a real-time encoding tool, which delivers live performances in the highest quality audio.
“MQA can be delivered across all channels to reach all types of consumers: from streaming fans in the US to CD buyers in Japan – wherever and however they choose to listen,”
explained MQA CEO, Mike Jbara.
MQA Live was launched at an event held earlier this year in Austin, with a special performance from Jake Isaac. In Munich, the MQA Live technology will be demonstrated via multiple MQA partners, with an exclusive live performance from jazz ensemble, the Misha Mullov-Abbado Group. The six-piece brings together some of the finest, multi-award-winning London-based musicians, and their performance will be streamed in real-time from The Pool recording studio in London on Friday 11 May [see notes for further details].
Two brand new partners who have confirmed future MQA integration are Hegel Music System and Lyngdorf Audio. Established Norwegian audio electronics manufacturer, Hegel, will be unveiling their new H590 amplifier at the High-End show. Danish-based Lyngdorf Audio develops, designs, and creates products for high-performance audio enthusiasts.
MQA’s relationship with LG continues with the launch of the G7 ThinQ handset. As per the earlier LG V30 smartphone – the first globally available MQA-enabled handset – the G7 ThinQ boasts impressive audio capabilities and has an inbuilt MQA decoder.
ESS Technology has announced that it will be launching versions of its popular SABRE Mobile DACs and Headphone systems with integrated MQA rendering. This will enable easy implementation of MQA across a wide variety of applications.
Additional new partners for Munich include HiBy and Novatron (with its CocktailAudio & Novafidelity brands); while recently announced partners, Hontron (PureAudio), M2Tech and Metrum Acoustics, have now released MQA-ready products and components.
Existing partners who continue to implement MQA across their product ranges include:
- Aurender, whose latest software update enables MQA core decoding across its product range (not S10 model)
- Brinkmann Audio has made refinements to its original MQA-enabled Nyquist DAC in the ‘Mark II’ version
- iFi is extending MQA rendering capability across its portable DAC range, including its newly released xDSD
- With their latest firmware 10.2 update, the entire LUMIN product line is now MQA certified;
Simaudio has now launched its new MQA-enabled 390 DAC and network streamer, with further new products planned
- Pioneer & Onkyo, Esoteric and TEAC family of brands is continuing to roll out new products, and is expanding its MQA offering to a number of network players
Media Player Updates
Roon has launched its much anticipated MQA integration: version 1.5, released on 2 May, supports and decodes MQA files and streams, as part of Roon’s multi-room, multi-user networked audio platform. Enno Vandermeer, Founder & CEO, Roon Labs, said, “We feel that the rapidly expanding ecosystem of ‘Roon-ready’ audio products, combined with the growing number of MQA-enabled products and services in the market, makes this a powerful partnership.”
Audirvana has been putting the finishing touches to its Windows version of Audirvana Plus. Due for public beta release by end of May, Audirvana Plus for Windows 10 will bring all the benefits of Audirvana Plus to your PC, as well as a newly designed user interface.
Amarra Play, the MQA-enabled mobile app from Amarra, is coming soon to the App Store.
More MQA Music
Onkyo Music continues to expand its range of MQA music, including a spotlight on artists from Warner Classics and Erato, as well as a celebration of Debussy’s music in the centenary year of the great composer’s passing. Daniel Escobar, Business Development Manager, Pioneer & Onkyo, stated, “We’re working closely with partners and labels to support key MQA releases and find interesting ways to highlight new recordings on a weekly basis.”
Norwegian singer-songwriter, Kari Bremnes, is this year’s High-End show brand ambassador.
Her two most recent albums – Og så kom resten av livet and Det vi har – are available to stream in MQA on TIDAL HiFi and there is also a TIDAL Masters playlist specially created for the show.
MQA CD Innovation
The third largest music market in the world (after US and Japan), Germany continues to over-index in terms of physical music sales, with CD albums still accounting for 45% of sales value in 2017 (source BVMI). MQA has brought innovation to the CD format, with recent MQA CD releases including Steve Reich’s Pulse/Quartet; the restoration of early 80s legendary Fairytales recording; as well as the June 2018 launch in Japan of 100 titles drawn from Universal Music’s rich back catalog.