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CES 2019: Tidal Masters coming to all Android devices

  • After almost twelve months of being exclusive to the LG V30 smartphone, its descendants and the Essential phone, Master support, powered by MQA, will soon roll out to the Tidal app used by all other Android devices. (Sorry, iOS users – you’ll have to wait).

    However, unlike the LG models and the Essential device, Tidal Master support for Android is limited to MQA’s Core Decoder where 24bit/44.1kHz and 24bit/48kHz streams are unfolded to 24bit/88.2kHz and 24bit/96kHz respectively. What your Android smartphone does with these unfolded, higher sample rates remains device dependent. According to MQA, the majority will decode sample rates up to 96kHz but readers are advised to check in with their smartphone manufacturer for confirmation.

    And because not all Android smartphones use the same internal DAC, there are presumably too many different DACs for MQA to know to tailor a ‘Rendering’ filter to each.

    Those wanting to nerd out on the full Android Tidal Masters experience – MQA decoding and rendering – will still need an LG V30/V40/G7 or an Essential.

    MQA is effectively treating this more generalised Tidal Master support as capable of turning every Android device into a streamer that puts hi-res audio, quite literally, in the hands of the mainstream but, thanks to MQA’s folding data encapsulation algorithm, at lower data rates than the native hi-res streaming offered by Qobuz.

    That’s useful intel for those whose only ISP is their smartphone provider and whose monthly data allowance is anything but unlimited. Offlining albums inside the Tidal app whilst tethered to a wi-fi network is one way to preserve a single digit GB data limit.

    Further information: MQA x Tidal Masters

    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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