When I received this 2L MQA-CD in my mailbox just before the holidays, I took one look at the back cover and knew I’d have to explain my position on the MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) technology. Let’s face it–things got weird around MQA for a while. Sides were immediately drawn, and the issue suddenly became politicized. I certainly moved on to other matters in high-end audio, ones far more interesting to me personally, so I’m not the one to explain it all to you.
Here’s my experience with MQA:
- I once attended a demo of the MQA technology at a high-end-audio show, in Sunil Merchant‘s room. It was a satisfying demo, and I gave it some good press.
- Jana Dagdagan once interviewed me on camera concerning my opinion on MQA. I gave a neutral and somewhat dim comment about giving it a fair chance when I could.
- I wrote a Vinyl Anachronist column on Perfect Sound Forever that merely announced the new technology in the context of the ongoing format wars in digital audio.
- 2L Recordings in Norway, one of my favorite record labels in the world, employs MQA and believes in it–as evidenced by this new sampler, 2L MQA-CD.
This might be the lone reason why I haven’t written MQA off. Morten Lindberg of 2L is at the forefront of so many recording technologies–Dolby Atmos, surround, Blu-ray Audio and MQA and much, much more. He’s also the person who puts wooden logs underneath pianos to capture the sound of the immense Norwegian churches where most of his recordings take place. 2L MQA-CD is a sampler, the first one I’ve received from 2L Recordings, and it focuses on a variety of tracks from recent releases, most of which I’ve reviewed right here. 2L MQA-CD is designed to show off the MQA technology so that you compare for yourself.
As explained in the 2L MQA-CD liner notes:
“This collection from the 2L catalogue was initiated as a cover mount MQA-CD for the December 2020 edition of AUDIO Magazine. Each track has been “white-glove” treated from its original master source to MQA encoding by Bob Stuart and Morten Lindberg.”
If I was still an intrepid blogger, digging deep into what’s happening in the world of audiophile recordings, 2L MQA-CD would be a truly excellent way to discover the advantages or disadvantages of MQA. If you listen to MQA, or you’re curious about it, this is the best tool you’ll probably find out there. I’ve already fallen in love with this music once, since I own most of the 2L catalog, so I’ll prefer to just relax and enjoy this incredible music without wondering the tech behind it.
That said, 2L MQA-CD is a worthwhile addition to your 2L Recordings collection, simply because this is an outstanding way to introduce new listeners to this amazing label. I sat back, listened, and was utterly charmed by both the content and that amazing 2L sound. 2L MQA-CD sounds fantastic, and that’s all I care about.