Yes sports fans, you heard that right—with a recent update, you can now stream up to 24/96 MQA-encoded music from Tidal to your iPhone. Hi-Res on-the-go! Since I own the AudioQuest DragonFly Red, I leashed it up to my iPhone with the handy dandy Apple Camera Connection adapter and my NightOwls and gave some Tidal Masters (MQA) tracks a listen. And you know what?
I didn’t die, the MQA police did not knock down the barn door and steal all of my non-MQA music, I didn’t have to pay anyone anything more than I was paying them before, and, this may be irrelevant to some people who spend a lot of time on hifi forums talking about MQA, the music I listened to sounded damn good. How good? Damn good. For those getting all uncomfortable with that fact, I’ll ease your mind by letting you know this was not a test.
Tidal / MQA is already supported on Android devices and just to clarify what this news means—in MQA-speak Tidal’s app performs the first “unfold”. In other words hi-res music that has been MQA encoded and made available on Tidal’s streaming service will now play back hi-res recordings up to 24/96 to any connected DAC capable of playing 24/96…music. If you want to get the full hi-res Monty for music that is encoded at rates higher than 24/96, you need an MQA-enabled DAC. In MQA-speak, the DAC handles that final unfold for greater-than-24/96…music.
As you can see, the DragonFly’s dragonfly lights up MQA Purple when playing MQA-encoded tracks because it’s blushing over how good a $200 DAC/Headphone amp can sound (I made that last bit up).
If you want to give this a whirl on your phone and already have a Tidal HiFi account, make sure you go to Settings in the Tidal app and set the Streaming Setting to “Master”. Then, all you have to do is listen (and enjoy).