TIDAL Will Soon Offer the Highest-Quality Streams In the World

Tidal for All!
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Tidal was laughed off the stage earlier this year, dismissed as a bunch of out-of-touch, complaining artists.  One million paying subscribers later, Tidal is trying another crazy stunt: ultra high-quality streaming on a level never experienced before.

Already, Tidal offers CD-quality streaming for an elevated, $20 a month, but consider that a mere HD floor.

Now, that package is about to get substantially better, with proprietary MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) complementing the CD-rich experience.  The launch coincides with the release of the Pioneer XDP-100R, the world’s first MQA-ready player that ships later this month with Tidal pre-packaged.

Actually, a firmware upgrade will be required for MQA playback, but that’s a tiny detail for tinkering high-end audiophiles.

MQA is a new file format that aims to deliver deep-range, hi-res audio in a small, streaming package.  Under the hood is a technology being dubbed ‘Audio Origami,’ for its ability to ‘fold’ lossless audio files into something portable (and practical).   Special hardware or software decoding will be required to enjoy the listening experience, which isn’t quite 24-bit but beats CD-level fidelity.


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24 Responses

  1. Martijn T

    Last week I had the pleasure listening to this. Very impressive and so much passion from the people that are making it.

  2. R.P.

    The problem is still the wifi speeds don’t make listening to Tidal fun. I have to wait to watch videos. We NEED Google Fiber in NYC!

    • Name2

      ?? Tidal on mobile devices lets you save tracks for offline listening.

  3. Anonymous

    Hey TIDAL –

    Unless you’re “HD” quality streaming is the same price as Spotify Premium, no one will care…actually, sadly, I don’t think anyone will care either way.

    Stop focusing on audio quality, and focus on user-experience & content. At least attempt to activate your existing user base by incentivizing them to spread the word about TIDAL to help drive subscriber rates.

    Where is this branding/marketing portion of the company? It seems non-existent. They really need to reposition themselves to help get pass the whole announcement/signing fiasco.

    • Name2

      Unless you’re “HD” quality streaming is the same price as Spotify Premium, no one will care…actually, sadly, I don’t think anyone will care either way.

      That’s the beauty of free markets. People who care.. can.

  4. Irving Mindreader

    “TIDAL Will Soon Offer the Highest-Quality Streams In the World”

    …because of all the market research data showing consumers care?

    Take a pile of money and set it on fire. That would produce the same outcome with more heat, and save a ton of wasted time.

  5. Steve

    Hi – I oversee the classical streaming and download site ClassicsOnline HD*LL from Naxos. We already offer high resolution streaming and have for about a year. We use a proprietary codec which delivers streams up to 44bit/192k – if the original recording allows. While we cater to a different audience than TIDAL, classical music has always been a genre where the quality of the recording has been concern from the start. Happy listening.


    • Name2

      Can you offer any insight as to why there are plenty of Naxos titles in Tidal’s catalogue, but none of them seem to actually… work?

      • Steve

        Hi Name2 – I would be happy find out. Could you give me an example of a title you have found a problem with so I can forward this to the appropriate person. Thank you.


        • Name2

          I just set the streaming bitrate to 320, and the
          following titles from my Favorites list yielded message:

          “Could not connect to streaming server. Check your internet connection”

          * Granados: Goyescas / El Pelele (for three guitars)
          Campanella Trio

          * Falla: Complete Piano works
          Daniel Ligorio

          Following titles yielded no such message:

          Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions
          Ramones “Road to Ruin”

          Over much experience, it’s clear that classical is the red-headed stepchild at Tidal. I get the same messages as above when I try to stream Sharon Isbin albums. I guess it’s ONE way to shape traffic.

          • Steve

            These two titles played at 320 kbps fine from our office. No connectivity issues or message.


          • Name2

            Well, glad to hear it, but in my experience, title-specific network problems are persistent. Getting specific… Tidal seems throw up its hands under adverse network connections immediately on some titles but not others. For ultra-popular selections, the client chugs away like the little train that could.

            If they’ve got bottlenecks, I guess it’s better to have two pissed off Sharon Ibsin fans than 200,000 Taylor Swift fans.

          • Jim Austin

            For what it’s worth, Name2, I just tried both of those Naxos titles from my home, FLAC speeds, and had no problems; sounded great. I changed to 320 with the same result: Played perfectly, no errors.

  6. Anonymous

    It’s always funny that Tidal’s biggest detractors have never used the service. All the anonymous comments on here are bitter people on the internet and no one knows why. It’s corny.

    • Name2

      It’s not just Tidal. I get the impression half the time that the blatherers aren’t actually in the consumer end of the market at all – buying/renting music from anybody, tweaking their hardware setups, solving practical problems with ingenuity, or even knowing which practical problems have been non-issues for literally years.

  7. Rick Shaw

    This will be really helpful to all the people who listen to music through earbuds attached to portable devices.

    • Name2

      Anybody who actually reads websites actually devoted to digital music news can tell you that “portable devices” can encompass not only $12 Sansa Clips, but a selection of toys which sell for four figures.

      • Rick Shaw

        OK, now you’re talking about fools for overpay for under-performing devices. Brilliant.

        • Name2

          There’s a bigger variety out there of hardware than there is data plans.

          Going the phone route, you’re already talking about a market where any robust audio-capable (and crappy sounding) device is cheap (i.e., under $600 or $700) without a contract (in the USA). And there are a handful of hi-res-capable phones out there.

          Bottom, line, people spend what they like on what they like, and they have a lot of choice.

          But a reasonable discussion of this should definitely include some talk of the future of bandwidth, which is bandwidth. Usage caps are already here for high-bandwidth users in many markets. Unlike physical storage and raw power, the future of bandwidth pricing isn’t set in stone, or even guided by the benevolent free hand of the marketplace to drive pricing down. My personal opinion is that it’s probably going to look a lot like cable. Which is a bigger problem for the whole market moving forward than the fact that a shitty-sounding phone is still $500.

          • Name2

            Oops. I wrote:

            Going the phone route, you’re already talking about a market where any robust audio-capable (and crappy sounding) device is cheap (i.e., under $600 or $700) without a contract (in the USA). And there are a handful of hi-res-capable phones out there.

            But I snipped a bit comparing that $600-$700 price level to the four-digit price tags on some of the dedicated, audiophile-targeted, portable music appliances on the market which lack features that “normal people” consider more important than sound fidelity. That’s how the word “cheap” got in there. I don’t think a $600 phone or tablet is cheap (but they sell like hotcakes, so SOMEBODY’S got that money).

  8. Jim Austin

    OK, but when? Me and my Meridian DAC have been waiting for it eagerly for months. I’ve heard rumors of it popping up in people’s settings, but it hasn’t popped up in mine.