Made official this morning, Essential Phone owners have just picked up MQA audio support for the Tidal application. Before you ask me wtf MQA is, it’s Master Quality Authenticated, which means it’s as close to the original master of the audio recording as you can get without being in the studio with the actual artist and mastering engineer.
While you’ll hear many companies talk about this, that is the idea of hearing what the artist intended, I’ll give you a bit of behind the scenes info from my own music recording experiences — the artist is usually never in the room when a mastering is happening. Their job is long over, along with the producers and recording engineers. Mastering engineers are the folks with speakers that cost more than your car in a room that has been calibrated to eliminate any type of echo or dissonance.
Anyway, versus HiFi’s resolution of 44.1 kHz /16 bit, MQA delivers a typical resolution of 96 kHz / 24 bit. When will this matter, you ask? It will matter if you have a legit headset or legit speaker system in your house. The point of this post, though, is to let you know that the Essential Phone now supports it, which is great if you’re already paying $20/month for Tidal’s HiFi membership.
After taking a look over Tidal’s “M” lineup of music, M standing for Master, it’s not terrible. Tidal even has Ghost’s latest offering Prequelle as an MQA file, so I’ve gone ahead and signed up for the free month. I don’t have the best audio equipment in my home, but it’s not bad either, and this album sounds absolutely delicious so far.
If you own an Essential Phone, be on the lookout for an update soon that includes this MQA support. Then, if you’re ready, check out the Tidal app on Google Play. It won’t hurt you to try it out for a month, but make sure you opt for the $20/month HiFi membership or else you won’t gain access to MQA albums.
If we have any audiophiles present, feel free to go into further detail how MQA ups the ante for music lovers in the comments section. I’m relatively ignorant on the subject.
Update: Essential just announced this update via Twitter and also included that current Essential Phone owners will receive a free 3-month trial to Tidal HiFi. Dope! Additionally, we have a new Audio Adapter mod that brings HiFi audio and a 3.5mm headphone jack.