IRIVER Announces MQA Support

IRIVER is hopping on the MQA bandwagon, starting with its Activo CT10 streaming player, with other models to join in later. Is this good evidence that MQA is turning the corner to become the defacto standard bearer of hi-res music?

As you know, IRIVER is the parent company of Astell&Kern, one of the heavy hitters in the portable audio player market. Thus it is important that the company has embraced MQA. That endorsement is another chicken (or egg) in MQA's forward progress toward establishing itself as a preferred hi-res format. And with more hardware devices supporting MQA that in turn will solicit more content providers to provide MQA content.

The "Hi-Res Audio" nomenclature, while simple enough, still has enough wiggle room in its definition of "hi-res" to make it confusing for some consumers. When you buy "Hi-Res Audio" what quality are you really getting? On the other hand, at least to my thinking, MQA seems to assure a certain (high) level of quality. When I buy MQA, I have a mechanism that should deliver the goods I want. Yes, there are still holes in that argument, but MQA does have some weight to it. In the same way that MP3 connotes bad-sounding playback, I think that MQA will come to denote good-sounding playback. This simplification of thinking is ultimately what powers a new platform to widespread and successful recognition.

So, the Activo player will add MQA support and other IRIVER players will follow. The Activo CT10 is the real deal, with 24-bit/192 kHz PCM playback and up to double rate DSD playback (converted to PCM). The Activo CT10 uses the new Teraton TM200 unit that contains the DAC, analog amplifier, power unit, and clock on a single module. The CT10 supports Tidal.