- TIDAL Masters and Master Quality Audio
What is TIDAL Masters?
TIDAL has partnered with MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) to create TIDAL Masters and deliver guaranteed master recordings directly from the master source to TIDAL members in Master Quality audio. With unrivalled quality, clarity and depth delivering all file sizes (up to 24 bit / 352kHz) and using no more bandwidth than a CD quality (16 bit / 44.1kHZ) file, Master Quality audio is the only format that guarantees music fans that they are listening to the original master recording – exactly as the artist intended the track to sound.
What is the difference between HiFi quality and Master Quality audio?
TIDAL HiFi provides uncompressed lossless sound quality, streaming at 1411kbps or 16-Bit / 44.1 kHz. Master Quality audio reflects the original source and can stream up to 9216 kbps or 24-Bit / 192 kHz (typically 96 kHz / 24 bit).
With Master Quality audio, the label has mined their archives and confirmed that these are the definitive song releases. MQA’s technology ensures this original version is supplied via TIDAL directly to the subscriber: an authenticated and unbroken music file with the highest possible resolution—as flawless as it sounded in the mastering suite. MQA offers our members a more natural, believable, involving and immersive listening experience.
How does TIDAL deliver Master Quality audio?
MQA files are compressed through a process known as ‘Music Origami’ in order to make them small enough to stream or download. TIDAL utilizes MQA’s Core Decoder compression technology to achieve the first unfold and deliver higher than CD-quality. This first unfold is capable of an output of 88.2kHz or 96kHz.
MQA Renderers are capable of the second unfold. Renderers can come in the form of products such as Digital Analog Converters or headphones. When paired with a core decoder they can complete the final unfold enabling you to hear exactly what the artist created and recorded in the highest possible sound quality.
I'm already a TIDAL user, what do I do?
HiFi Members: As a HiFi member, you will need to upgrade to a TIDAL HiFi Plus membership to enjoy the TIDAL Masters audio feature.
HiFi Plus Members: All you need is your TIDAL HiFi Plus membership to access millions of Master Quality tracks, radio stations, and mixes.
How can I listen to TIDAL Masters (Master Quality audio)?
You can listen to TIDAL Masters on the TIDAL desktop application or your compatible Android or Apple device.
Make sure to select "Master" quality in “Settings" under the “Streaming" tab.
Where do I find a list of available Master Quality albums and tracks?
TIDAL HiFi Plus members can access millions of Masters albums and tracks through the TIDAL desktop or mobile applications by clicking on the home button to the left-hand side and scrolling down to "Master Quality Authenticated Albums" and “Master Quality Authenticated Playlists”. Or click on Explore and select the TIDAL Masters icon to explore Masters-only features.
In addition, all "Master Quality Authenticated” albums or tracks will have a 'Master' icon next to them.
How much music is available in Master quality?
We have millions of tracks across all genres, both from TIDAL's artist owners and the music labels. We continue to add more Masters content weekly.
How does MQA work within the TIDAL app?
The TIDAL app contains the MQA core decoder and performs the first unfold of an MQA file. You can learn more about how MQA works here.
What happens if I connect my Android or iOS device to an external DAC?
If you connect an MQA-enabled DAC, you will get the authentication light and the optimal audio quality.
Is TIDAL Masters also supported on other Apple devices eg, iPad?
Yes, it’s supported on iPad and iPod Touch devices that run iOS 15 or later.
Where can I find a full list of MQA-enabled devices?
Visit the MQA website for all MQA-enabled devices. You can also contact MQA at firstname.lastname@example.org for any device-specific questions.