If you are an iPhone or iPad owner with a Tidal subscription, the sound of your favorite albums may be about to get that much sweeter. Tidal, the artist-owned streaming service that made a name for itself as the biggest proponent of super high-quality streaming audio, finally made its Masters Quality Authenticated tier — the highest possible audio resolution it offers — available for iOS users.
Masters Quality Authenticated sound, a codec that allows Tidal to compress audio to smaller file sizes while retaining extremely high fidelity, comes in partnership with several major labels, and allows the streaming company access to high bit-rate versions of the labels’ libraries, often equating to even higher quality audio than fans could get on CD. The new high-quality streaming tier makes it to iOS just a few months after it made it to Android, which began streaming MQA audio to Tidal subscribers in January.
The addition of MQA audio to iOS finally closes a major delivery gap for the company: At the time of the launch of MQA in 2017, only Windows 10 and 14 other devices supported the proprietary codec, and none of them were phones. That was a huge issue for a streaming audio company, seeing as the vast majority of us spend a significant amount of our listening time on the go.
It is worth noting that some iOS users may not get the full MQA experience through their iPhones, largely because the more modern phones themselves lack a headphone jack. Though the iPhone does have advanced AAC wireless encoding to provided high-quality Bluetooth audio, it simply lacks the resolution that is available via a wired connection.
Still, providing listeners with the highest possible audio quality has been a major tenet of Tidal’s long-term strategy. By allowing all mobile users — both iOS and Android — access to its best playback algorithm, Tidal is doing well to make sure it has all of its bases covered. Like its hardware and software support, Tidal continues to look to expand its list of MQA tracks, constantly developing new partnerships with labels to try to provide the best quality sound it can.
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