Tidal Launches Max with HiRes FLAC Leading the Way

Anyone paying attention will have seen this day coming: Tidal Max is here.

So what’s the big deal about Max? Namely the introduction of HiRes FLAC as the format of choice for delivering streaming music over CD’s 16-bit/44.1kHz resolution.

From Tidal:

What file types are included in Max quality?

You’re getting the best quality version of any song on TIDAL by selecting Max quality. The source file you receive depends on the format(s) delivered to us by the artist, label, or distributor. The hierarchy of availability is HiRes FLAC, then MQA (Master Quality Authenticated), then FLAC, then AAC (compressed audio), meaning that, if we don’t have the file available in HiRes FLAC, the source file will be the MQA version and so on.

To clarify, MQA had been the go to delivery format for Tidal’s HiRes content, formerly called HiFi, but as you can read for yourself, it’s been moved into second place. When/if FLAC completely replaces MQA is anyone’s guess at this point.

Tidal’s Max tier remains $19.99/month, with CD-quality High coming in at $10.99/month. To my mind, having access to limitless music for this kind of money is pretty glorious.

Of course we all know that delivering music in HiRes FLAC doesn’t guarantee better sound quality in and of itself, which is like suggesting I can cook a meal equal to the best chef’s as long as I use the same pots and pans. And then there’s the issue of the quality of the music itself, the most important criteria of all.

To finish out my usual music format rant, the idea that a music delivery format is the thing that gets me most excited about listening to music is my worst nightmare. No thanks.

Music is what gets me most excited about listening to music. Harrumph!