If you've wondered why 6moons hasn't yet formally covered MQA, you might have also wondered why not more hardware companies have signed up by now. After all, Dolby was massively embraced very quickly. Consider this information from an industry insider. Given three signed NDA, their contributions here are by necessity most generalized and terse to remain within bounds. Still, there's enough to spot a trend or attitude. "At the beginning we were informed about the fees for each product and the need for good administration. So we began what grew into a very serious amount in R&D and labor fees over two years to incorporate it. Not only was the MQA module of interest but our entire product range would be modified for the occasion. Once we received the definitive contract however, we discovered grave imbalances. Key points were that administration of MQA would include our entire dealer network and that they could penalize any error on our side (stating the incorrect amount of MQA modules sold) with an unlimited amount whilst for any errors on their end, we could maximally recoup 100 in our currency. On the technical side, we requested their decoder to develop proper unit-to-unit QC protocols as we have always done on our end. They only promised a few test tones. Those are insufficient to measure distortion, bandwidth, impulse response, linearity and noise to mention just a few. They seem to be very afraid to divulge more about their algorithm to us, their intended business partners. If we can't properly test our MQA-enabled product, how can we be confident to ship it around the world? Based on our listening tests, MQA can do well for cheaper converters. As converter quality increases, the need for MQA becomes less to eventually disappear. If your own DAC for example has perfect impulse response, MQA will only work 50% because now it needs to just correct on the recording end. Now the unfolding process is implemented simply to avoid copying and to create the profit model; not because it actually does anything. Had we seen the definitive contract upfront, we would never have wasted such a huge amount of money!"

To rewind a tad, all business is about profit. That's the nature of the beast. Nobody goes into business to work for free or give stuff away. However, when business involves collaboration with other commercial entities, it's common sense to expect balanced contracts which are mutually beneficial to all parties concerned. This certainly doesn't prevent mercenary or one-sided tactics. However, if indications to that effect exist, why volunteer to give such enterprises exposure in these pages? Based on the above and similar reluctance to support the format elsewhere, MQA at this stage does not appear to be a good thing for the small boutique firms which make up the core of our sector. Hence we should refrain from further editorials on the matter until this situation changes. And don't expect widespread coverage on this. Anyone who is appraised of all the details to talk full shop and the kitchen sink has been contractually silenced by binding non-disclosure agreements. The best measure of change here should be the quickness and breadth whereby MQA appears in high-end digital hardware by more and more brands ... or not.