Bluesound Adds MQA Capability

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by Marc Rushton

9 months ago

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Bluesound Adds MQA Capability

Bluesound, the Canadian company rising to the top of the multi-room audio category, demonstrated MQA playback to a press event at Munich's HighEnd Show today.

Bluesound first announced a technology partnership with MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) at CES early in 2016.

MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) will be available on all Bluesound Players starting June 1, 2016. With the upcoming BluOS firmware release, version 2.2, listeners around the world will now have the ability to stream MQA music through any Bluesound Player. 

Using pioneering scientific research into how people hear, MQA technology captures the full magic of the original studio performance. MQA is a revolutionary end-to-end technology that delivers master quality audio in a file that’s small enough to stream or download. And because it’s fully authenticated, listeners can be sure they are hearing exactly what the artist recorded and approved in the steudio. MQA is the first technology to capture this crucial timing information – to transport the listener to the original performance. 

Computer Audiophile ran a Q&A with Bob Stuart, co-founder of Meridian Audio and the MQA format that describes MQA in great detail, along with an overview of the format. You can read this here.

Bluesound's Greg Stidsen, Director of Technology & Product Planning was passionate in ensuring his message, that the addition of MQA capability reinforces Bluesound's philosophy that they are a "music company", not a "tech company". Quickly establishing themselves as a market leader in full resolution multi-room audio, we can't disagree.

One of the concerns voiced by enthusiasts and press since MQA's early announcements was the availability of content. For this reason alone MQA could only have limited traction at least until music labels and artists get onboard.

Warner Music Announces MQA Licensing Agreement

Warner Music Group MQAIn Munich today, Warner Music Group have confirmed they have signed a long-term licensing deal for MQA, the first between MQA and any major music company. With this deal, Warner's artists and their back catalogue of music will be made available in studio master quality via a range of online services.

Bob Stuart added, "This collaboration is a giant step forward for MQA and music fans everywhere.”

MQA music is currently available via High Res Audio, Onkyo Music, e-Onkyo, 7digital, 2L and Technics Tracks, but MQA says that over the coming months, MQA will expand to more streaming platforms and into download stores worldwide.

Craig Kallman, Chairman & CEO of WMG’s Atlantic Records division, told StereoNET:

The digital music era has been all about convenience. It is fantastic that we can listen to virtually any song, anywhere, any time. In that process, however, convenience has trumped sound quality, and we have gotten further away from the sound that artists work so hard to create. MQA makes hi-resolution music easy to stream or download to any device. Music fans will love it when they hear it, and WMG is thrilled to be partnering with MQA to take the next step in bringing hi-resolution music to consumers across the globe.

For those seeking a true whole-home music solution without comprising on sound quality, Bluesound with MQA is the answer. The range includes a streamer (Node 2) which can be added to any existing HiFi system, an integrated amplifier/streamer (Powernode 2), and the Vault 2 which will not only stream your music, but also rip your CDs and store them locally.

The Bluesound range also includes 3 speakers (Pulse 2, Pulse Mini, Pulse Flex) as well as a subwoofer and satellite speakers (Duo).

From June 1st, the firmware upgrade will enable MQA playback on all products, including Bluesound's first generation releases. With the announcement of Warner Music's licensing deal, we should now see much more content becoming available.

For more information visit the Bluesound website.

Bluesound is distributed in Australia by Convoy International.

Marc Rushton's avatar

Written by:

Marc Rushton

StereoNET's Founder & Publisher and still buried deep in the review room auditioning everything from docks to soundbars, amplifiers to headphones. Marc also founded Melbourne's International HiFi Show.

Posted in: Hi-Fi Lifestyle Integration Technology
Tags: bluesound  mqa  convoy 

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