Music Quality Authenticated • Sound. Too Good. But True. — Meridian
2012. Bob Stuart invites me into his lab at Meridian headquarters in Cambridge, England, and plays some music with a wry smile on his face. As Meridian’s number-one dealer in North America, I was treated to something whose relevance I did not fully comprehend at the time.
More than 40 years ago, Bob Stuart and Allen Boothroyd founded Meridian Audio, the most important and innovative audio company in the world, whose technology has surely touched your life if you’ve ever watched a movie in a movie theater or at home. I could write many pages about all the key technologies Meridian has invented, not to mention all the incredible products they make. And they were about to do it again.
The technology Bob showed me is called MQA, and now, three years later, it’s been perfected and released and is being adopted by recording studios, electronics manufacturers, and consumers. And it’s a big deal.
MQA offers four major benefits. First, and foremost, the fidelity and soundstage are better than other high-resolution recordings. Second, the recording is compressed in an extremely efficient manner, so it is possible to stream the songs in real time (rather than downloading the files first or buying them on cd). Third, the recording is authenticated so you know what you’re listening to is what the studio intended. And fourth, the format is backward-compatible with any standard playback device, so you only need one copy of the recording and it will work on every music system, MQA or not.
PERFORMANCE AND FILE SIZE
Bob and his team did a lot of research, discovering that very precise timing information has a profound impact on how we locate sounds. Our brains are extremely sensitive to minute differences in timing, so when a predator snaps a twig in the forest, you know exactly where it is. High-resolution audio does a pretty good job at capturing this information, but at the expense of file size. Meridian has found a better way to capture this information, more precisely and in much smaller files.
MASTER QUALITY AUTHENTICATED
After a recording is made and edited, it is “mastered.” is means that an engineer changes the characteristics of the sound according to her sensibilities and based on her equipment and speakers. is may be done on a large scale to the whole album or differently to each song, or sometimes even differently to different parts within a piece of music. Some albums are mastered by the studios; some are mastered by others with or without studio input. e White Album, for example, has been remastered and re-released countless times by many different people. And not always with very good results.
One important part of MQA is to authenticate the recording all the way back to the studio so you know what you’re listening to is what the studio intended. If you play the music file on an MQA system, you see a light or other indicator showing that the file is authentic.
And part of the mqa technology enables the studio to apply special audio lters that increase the delity of the recording based on the original microphones and recording equipment used, so they can to release recordings truer to the original intent than ever possible before.
Another very exciting part of mqa is that the les play on any existing audio equipment. And they sound better, even on existing equipment, because Meridian has found a way to remove an audio defect that is present on every cd you have ever purchased or downloaded from iTunes: a type of ringing caused by the way that music is digitized.
But if your equipment does understand MQA (and we can help you with that!), you will be treated to audio like nothing you’ve heard before. The soundstage and fidelity of an MQA recording are simply remarkable