MQA Technical Introduction

2018-05-24 15:52News

MP3 files deliver just 10% of the original studio recording. MQA captures 100% of the performance.

MQA captures 100% of the original studio performance. It then cleverly adapts to deliver the highest quality playback your product can support.

After capturing the performance, MQA folds the file to make it small enough to stream.

MQA call this ‘Music Origami’.

MQA can be fully approved in the studio. With MQA's studio toolset, all playback scenarios can be previewed.

MQA Core Decoder

This unfolds the MQA file once to deliver even higher than CD-quality. It is included in some products with digital outputs such as Bluesound, Pioneer and Onkyo players, as well as streaming services such as TIDAL and media players like Audirvana.

The first unfold recovers all the direct music-related information. Output is 88.2kHz or 96kHz.

MQA Renderer

These products feature an MQA renderer which can complete the final unfold. Renderers can be great portable products such as USB DACs and headphones. 

An MQA Renderer will include ‘stream lock’ but is not able to decode an MQA stream or authenticate it.

MQA Full Decoder

Products with a full MQA Decoder unfold the file to deliver the highest possible sound quality. At this level of playback you are hearing what the artist created in the studio – with precise file and platform specific DAC compensation and management. X-SABRE Pro (MQA Version) will be the first MQA supported product in Matrix product range. In the near future, we will introduce more and more MQA implemented products to music lovers all around the world.


The MQA technology has been developed from Bob Stuart’s life-time of work over the past 40 years. To get the full technical detail, visit Bob Talks.