MQA Goes Portable With Sony and LG

Hot off the press from IFA comes word that MQA’s high resolution unfolding technology will be implemented into at least three new portable products this year – and one of them is even a phone from LG. The German consumer electronics show takes place this weekend in Berlin and runs through Wednesday, boasting a sold out convention of 1,805 exhibitors.

The brand new V30 smartphone from LG will be the first globally available handset to feature the tech, and will even be capable of playback with the downloaded format. The flagship smartphone will have a focus towards high quality audio and be available to purchase within a month. Also slated to receive MQA are two new Walkman products from Sony, the WM-ZX300 ($699) and WM-A40 ($219). If you happen to be attending IFA this week, you can sample demos at the Sony sound booth in Hall 20 101. Pioneer and Onkyo will also have Tidal Masters streaming on their XDP-30R and DS-S1 players as well.

Another updates on the MQA front include the recent addition of Sonic Studio’s Amarra Luxe 4.1 playback software into the fold next month (for both local and streaming). The move will further expand MQA’s footprint on the software side of things, which already includes the latest version of Audirvana Plus. You can now download tracks from the Japan-based e-onkyo music store and also the highresaudio website. Hardware updates include an new iFi DAC product called Nano iDSD Black Label – sorry guys, no word yet of any Johnnie Walker partnerships for that one.

End of year partnerships do include Korea-based streaming service Groovers for mobile and desktop implementations and and HDmusicStream will also offer concert downloads and music streaming, respectively. Lots of arms are reaching out for the high resolution tech in all directions, interesting developments on the horizon to be sure.

More info:


7 thoughts on “MQA Goes Portable With Sony and LG

  • Balanced output on V30?

    • No definite specs on that front up yet. It would be great but I would consider the option very unlikely at this point.

      • ZX300 it is then!

  • Help me out here… How does one put MQA content onto a Sony DAP, which doesn’t have streaming capabilities? I vaguely caught a reference to an Onkyo store in the article… is that a store like iTunes and Amazon where you can buy tracks, download them without DRM, and sync to DAPs (like the Onkyo/Pioneer/Sony DAPs) for use listening on a plane?

    • MQA isn’t a streaming solution, but a streaming enabler. MQA is a “compression” format of high resolution audio so that, e.g., 24 bit with 88 kHz and higher (96 kHz, 192 kHz, etc.) takes less space than uncompressed music. MQA supposedly gives considerably higher quality than CD (16 bit/44.1 kHz), while supposedly requiring less than twice the amount of data. Because of the relatively low amount of data, it is possible to stream MQA = get high quality sound wirelessly — such streaming is not possible with uncompressed high resolution music. Currently, sells various albums in MQA format — these can be downloaded to your hard disc (or Onkyo/Pioneer/… portable players) and played by “streaming” from the local storage — no need to stream wirelessly.

      As far as I know, there is no DRM related to MQA. Of course, you need an MQA-ready player to play these files — just as you need a turntable to play the LP format. There is always the possibility to introduce DRM, I guess, but the owner of the MQA format reportedly has promised that there will be no DRM in the future. Thus, as far as I know, if you buy an MQA file and want to play it from two players (e.g., your Bluesound system and an Onkyo portable player), there is no hard-wiring of the file to a single player.

      From my point of view (having a library of some 400+ GB of mainly CD quality FLAC files, everything purchased and not illegally copied), MQA is probably a necessity in case I want to go for high resolution music. Also, the new SanDisk 400 GB micro SD card is highly welcome. I currently use a Sony portable player — essentially because of (a) storage capacity and (b) battery life — a portable player with a battery capacity of 10 hours is totally uninteresting to me, no matter how good the sound is. The main annoyances of my Sony player are: (1) the memory (128 GB built-in + 200GB micro SD card) is not contiguous, and tracks can only be put on playlists within each of these two memory banks (built-in and micro SD card) — which is horrible, and (2) the player messes up the sequence of songs in multi-disc albums.

      • Wow, extremely detailed and helpful response. Read it the same night you posted it, but I don’t have anything as nearly helpful to say in response. Just thank you! I knew some of that info already, but I learned quite a bit and it will hopefully be useful for others that come across these comments.

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