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Definition: MQA


(1) (MQ-A) See high-resolution audio categories.

(2) (MQA) (Master Quality Authenticated) A high-resolution digital audio technology from Meridian Audio Ltd. that preserves the original music in a format that takes less space than a music CD. With MQA, the analog master recording is encapsulated in its entirety by compressing the higher frequencies into the lower frequency bands and storing the results in a lossless format such as FLAC or Apple Lossless (ALAC). What makes MQA unique is that it is compatible with existing players. If a file is encoded in MQA but there is no MQA DAC (no decoder) at the playback side, the sound quality is like a CD. However, if an MQA decoder is used, the high-resolution MQA sound is superior. See MP3, AAC, FLAC, ALAC and high-resolution audio.




One of the Early MQA Decoders
In 2015, this DAC from Mytek was one of the first digital-to-analog converters to support MQA. It also decodes 32-bit PCM at 384 kHz and DSD256. (Image courtesy of Mytek Digital, www.mytekdigital.com)






MQA in the DragonFly
In 2017, a firmware update added MQA to AudioQuest's popular DragonFly USB DAC and headphone amp. (Image courtesy of The Quest Group, www.audioquest.com)