What devices support Tidal MQA?

Tidal is a music streaming service that offers lossless audio quality and high fidelity streaming. In 2017, Tidal partnered with MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) to provide subscribers access to master quality audio files.

MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) is an audio technology that delivers the sound of the original master recording. MQA encoding folds studio-quality audio into files that are small enough to stream. When decoded by an MQA-capable device, the listener hears the music as the artist intended it to sound.

With Tidal’s HiFi Plus subscription tier, users can stream MQA versions of tracks, labeled as “Master” quality in the Tidal app. This allows listeners to hear songs at the highest possible audio resolution, capturing all the detail and nuance from the original studio master recording.

What is MQA?

MQA stands for Master Quality Authenticated. It is a lossless audio technology developed by Meridian Audio that aims to deliver the sound quality of high-resolution audio in a file small enough to stream (What is MQA? High Resolution Audio Explained).

MQA uses a digital fingerprint to verify that the file being played back is identical to the original studio master recording. This authentication process allows streaming services like Tidal to deliver high-resolution audio quality while using less bandwidth and storage space (MQA audio: what is it? And should you care?).

MQA Support on Desktop

The Tidal desktop app for Windows and Mac supports the first unfold of MQA files, allowing you to stream up to 24-bit/96kHz hi-res quality. According to Reddit users, the Tidal desktop app has the MQA decoder integrated to handle the first unfold when streaming on a computer. To benefit from this, you simply need to download the Tidal desktop app from the Tidal website and log in to your account [1].

Streaming MQA through the web browser Tidal player currently does not support any MQA unfolding. The web player streams MQA files in their compressed form without applying any decoding. To experience the full quality of MQA on desktop, you need to use the Tidal desktop app [2].

MQA Support on iOS

Native MQA decoding is currently not supported on iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad. According to Tidal’s Supported Devices page, iOS devices can stream Tidal Masters content, but it will not be fully decoded and unfolded to the original source quality.

This lack of native MQA support is due to limitations in iOS and Apple’s policies. MQA requires certified hardware decoders to fully unfold the audio signal, which are not present in iOS devices currently. There have been requests and discussions for Tidal to add MQA passthrough support in the iOS app to allow external DACs to decode the signal, but this has not been implemented yet (Source).

To experience full MQA decoding and audio quality on iOS, an external MQA-certified DAC like the DragonFly Cobalt is required along with an Apple Lightning to USB adapter. However, the latest version of iOS is recommended for reliable playback of high-resolution MQA content with external DACs (Source).

MQA Support on Android

Android phones from select manufacturers like LG, Sony, and others support playback of MQA files. This requires having an MQA-enabled music player app on your Android device.

As of November 2022, Tidal’s Android app provides bit-perfect passthrough of MQA files up to 24bit/96kHz to supporting Android devices and external DACs. This allows you to take full advantage of Tidal’s HiFi Plus tier with Master quality recordings on compatible Android hardware (1).

However, not all Android devices fully support MQA decoding and playback. You’ll need an Android phone from LG, Sony, or other brands that have specifically enabled MQA functionality. The phone’s internal DAC and audio processing must be able to handle decoding MQA files. Alternatively, you can use an external USB DAC with your Android phone that includes MQA renderer support.

In summary, MQA playback on Android requires:

  • An MQA-enabled music app like Tidal
  • An Android device with compatible internal hardware decoding
  • Or an external USB DAC with MQA rendering

This allows Tidal HiFi Plus subscribers to enjoy the highest quality master recordings on selected Android smartphones and tablets.

MQA Support on Streaming Devices

Streaming devices like Chromecast, BluOS devices, and Bluesound wireless speakers allow you to cast high-quality audio from Tidal directly to your sound system. These devices support Tidal’s Master quality audio, including MQA tracks.

Chromecast devices like the Chromecast Ultra and Chromecast with Google TV support casting Tidal Masters including MQA tracks from the Tidal app on mobile devices or Chrome web browser (Source). However, some users have reported issues with getting full Master quality when casting to Chromecasts (Source). This may be due to WiFi network issues rather than limitations of the Chromecast hardware.

Devices using BluOS like the Bluesound Node 2i and NAD wireless speakers also support Tidal Masters and MQA via casting from the Tidal app (Source). The same applies to Bluesound wireless speakers like the Pulse 2i which can stream up to 96kHz/24-bit resolution audio including MQA tracks (Source).

So in summary, key streaming devices from Chromecast, BluOS and Bluesound all advertise support for full Tidal Masters audio including MQA. But some users have reported Chromecasts not delivering the maximum quality, which may relate to network factors rather than device limitations.

MQA Support on Gaming Consoles

Gaming consoles like Xbox One and PS4 currently do not support Tidal’s MQA audio format natively through a Tidal app. According to one Reddit user, Tidal’s smaller market share compared to Spotify and Apple Music means they are slower to roll out on gaming platforms.

As of now, there is no official Tidal app available to install on Xbox One or PS4 consoles that would enable MQA playback. To work around this limitation, some users have resorted to alternative solutions like connecting their phone’s Tidal app to their gaming console via Bluetooth to stream MQA tracks.

However, the ideal solution would be for Tidal to develop and release a native app for major gaming platforms like Xbox and PlayStation. Until then, MQA support will remain limited on these popular devices.

MQA Support on AV Receivers

Many major brands of AV receivers support playback of MQA files from Tidal, enabling listeners to experience high-resolution audio. According to Tidal’s list of supported devices, brands like Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, Pioneer, and Yamaha have models that are MQA-compatible.

For example, Denon’s line of AVR-X AV receivers can decode and render MQA files up to 24/96 when connected to Tidal via the HEOS app or AirPlay. Comparable capabilities are offered in Onkyo’s TX-RZ AV receivers which also support hi-res MQA streaming via Tidal. Marantz AV receivers with HEOS allow for proper MQA rendering as well.

Pioneer elite receivers like the SC-LX704, SC-LX904, and VSX-LX704 also have full MQA decoding and rendering according to their specifications. Yamaha RX-V series AV receivers are also indicated to have MQA playback support. Soaudiophiles have ample options from well-known brands when selecting an AV receiver for quality Tidal streaming.

Overall, many of the top AV receiver manufacturers recognize MQA’s audio benefits and have integrated decoding plus rendering capabilities into their products. This allows consumers to conveniently stream studio quality master recordings through Tidal at home.

MQA Support on Headphones

Wired headphones with built-in high-resolution DACs (digital-to-analog converters) can take full advantage of MQA playback and decoding. Many audiophile headphones from brands like Sennheiser, Audeze, HIFIMAN, and others contain hi-res DACs capable of handling up to 32-bit/384kHz audio, which is sufficient for rendering the original MQA file. The DAC in the headphones performs the full unfolding of the MQA file to deliver the highest possible resolution and audio quality.

Wireless headphones may require additional decoding of MQA files. Most Bluetooth headphones do not have the bandwidth to transfer the full uncompressed MQA audio, which can require streaming rates up to 384kHz/32-bit. However, some wireless headphones like the Nuraphone and others support MQA rendering to provide improved sound quality over standard Bluetooth codecs like SBC and AAC. An MQA-compatible digital-to-analog converter (DAC) or AV receiver can perform the decoding and send high-resolution audio wirelessly to MQA-ready headphones.

According to user reports on Reddit and audiophile forums, wired audiophile headphones that contain high-end DACs tend to provide the best results for critical listening of MQA files from Tidal. However, wireless headphones continue to improve their support for MQA and lossless audio streaming. With the right setup, both wired and wireless headphones can take advantage of MQA’s audio technologies.


MQA technology has widespread support on a variety of devices, ranging from desktop applications to mobiles phones to high-end AV receivers and headphones. The key platforms that currently offer native decoding of MQA files include desktop players like Tidal and Roon, Android devices, Apple devices running iOS, select streaming devices such as Bluesound players, gaming consoles like the Xbox One, AV receivers from companies like Denon and Onkyo, and MQA-enabled headphones from brands like Audioquest and Sennheiser.

With MQA built into the source file, listeners with an MQA-capable device can enjoy the highest possible audio quality, extracting every nuance of detail from the original studio recording. MQA’s clever technology ensures the file is losslessly delivered, authentic to the artist’s intent while remaining conveniently portable for our digital age. So audiophiles seeking an unmatched listening experience can rest assured that MQA has a bright future across a diverse range of playback platforms.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *