TIDAL Masters Arrives on Android Devices
Fed up with not getting the full benefit of your top-tier Tidal subscription when on-the-go? Well, if you're an Android user, you now get Tidal Masters access.
It used to be that when enjoying music on the move certain compromises had to be made. A record player in a suitcase gave way to tape players. This meant lugging weighty vinyl or bulky tapes with you. Those personal cassette players then gave way portable CD players and then to digital audio players (DAP). DAPs were a massive leap forward as, all of a sudden, you could carry dozens then hundreds of tracks with you. Then, finally, streaming meant you didn't even have to store the music; you simply grabbed it from the ether. Unfortunately, the compromise here was quality. Bandwidth has been the main FLAC-blocker with lossless 24-bit 96kHz or greater audio files simply being too big to stream.
The British company, Master Quality Authenticated (MQA), changed all that a few years ago by developing a new audio codec. This kinder form of compression preserves the full quality of master recordings, yet simultaneously reduces streaming bandwidth to manageable levels.
Tidal, which already had a Hi-Fi subscription level that gave its customers a lossless collection of tracks, added MQA-encoded files in 2017.
The stumbling block here was that very few devices on the market at the time were capable of decoding MQA’s proprietary format. With Tidal’s MQA launch, you could hear the hi-res tracks on Windows, and devices from 14 different companies, albeit none being phones.
Now, thanks to the MQA decoder being bundled with the latest Tidal for Android update, Android users will be able to maintain an optimal audio quality experience between the desktop Mac / Windows versions and their phones, both online and offline. Hello, audiophile streaming!
This has been a long-awaited feature that I’ve been looking forward to. After all, bringing the Android version of the app in line with the desktop app has been overdue. Considering “Masters” are promoted to be Tidal’s best-quality recordings, it’s a no-brainer that a high-fidelity music streaming service would want to bring the feature to all mobile users.
Tidal’s MQA update for Android is rolling out to HiFi premium subscribers right now. I've already got it, have you?
iPhone users ... we're told it's “coming soon”.
StereoNET’s resident rock star, bass player, and gadget junkie. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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