Tidal positions itself as a music streaming service geared towards those who really want a premium audio streaming experience that the likes of Spotify and Apple Music can’t provide. That’s why the company offers a $20 per month HiFi tier for those who want access to high-resolution audio. It’s making this offering even better by providing HiFi subscribers with “Master” quality recordings.
Tidal already provides HiFi subscribers with FLAC streams, they are lossless streams of CD quality that are streamed at 44.1 kHz / 16 bit. That might not mean much to the average user but it has a definite edge over conventional MP3 and AAC files.
However, despite the improvement over AAC and MP3 files, FLAC streams leave a bit to be desired if true high-resolution audio is what you’re after. Tidal is taking care of that now by working with a company called MQA.
MQA has an audio codec of the same name which has the ability to deliver high-resolution audio in a lossless container like WAV or FLAC at 96 kHz / 24 bit. It will enable Tidal to provide true high-resolution audio without requiring too much bandwidth from subscribers.
Tidal’s “Masters” feature will initially be available through its desktop app but it’s only a matter of time before it becomes available to subscribers on mobile devices as well. Keep in mind that the music streaming service’s entire catalog might not be available in Masters, but Tidal does say that high-res recordings from a wide variety of artists and labels will be included.
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