Japanese record label Ottava has become the first to launch an MQA-compatible CD. The album A. Piazzolla by Strings and Oboe, recorded by the UNAMAS Piazzolla Septet and mastered by respected producer and mastering engineer Mick Sawaguchi, is available in japan from today.

After attending a JAS (Japan Audio Society) seminar on MQA technology presented by MQA founder Bob Stuart in late 2016, Sawaguchi and Synthax Japan’s managing director, Seiji Murai, were inspired by the news that MQA could deliver high-resolution audio, yet be backwards compatible with existing equipment. “We were both excited by the prospect that CD, combined with MQA technology, could herald a new era of hi-res audio,” says Sawaguchi.

MQA captures and reproduces original sound quality using less data, and the MQA CD works in exactly the same way as the MQA digital file.

With a conventional CD player connected to an MQA-enabled device – be it from Meridian, Mytek, Brinkmann or Technics – the MQA CD will ‘unwrap’ to the original sample rate.

Sawaguchi compared a test MQA CD with a normal CD of the same recording at SONA Studio, played back on a CD player with a Meridian amplifier and loudspeaker systems. “Listening to the MQA CD was a great moment in my life, as it no longer sounded like music from a CD,” comments Sawaguchi.

Bob Stuart, MQA founder and CTO adds, “This exciting release demonstrates that innovative music creators, like Mick Sawaguchi, are embracing MQA as the best way to master and deliver their recordings. While MQA is ideal for streaming services like TIDAL, where studio quality sound can be streamed in smaller file sizes, we also appreciate the importance of the CD format in the Japanese market.”

MQA technology recently launched on TIDAL’s streaming service as TIDAL Master Audio.


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