Meridian looks to shake up global music industry

John Buchanan ' Scot runs pioneering audio firm Meridian. Picture: Contributed
John Buchanan ' Scot runs pioneering audio firm Meridian. Picture: Contributed
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A BRITISH audio company has developed technology that is set to shake up the global music industry.

Meridian, which was founded in the 1970s and has become one of the most revered names in the world of high-fidelity, believes that its new system can reproduce the full detail of a live or studio performance while avoiding the huge file sizes and slow downloading associated with hi-resolution audio.

Its music format – MQA, standing for Master Quality Authenticated – is said to be the result of years of research and development.

If successful, then music lovers can look forward to a big jump in quality from the low-resolution MP3-type formats associated with the likes of iTunes and streaming service Spotify, but at a fraction of the size of existing hi-res technologies.

The breakthrough comes as other proposed downloading services and music players, including musical legend Neil Young’s Pono system, look to exploit faster broadband speeds and cheaper and larger memory storage capacities.

Bob Stuart, co-founder of Meridian, which is run by Scots-born chief executive John Buchanan, said MQA would bring together “the three ideals of studio-quality sound, convenience and end-to-end authenticity”.

He said: “Music lovers need no longer be shortchanged; finally we can all hear exactly what the musicians recorded. MQA gives a clear, accurate, and authentic path from the recording studio all the way to any listening environment – at home, in the car or on the go. And we didn’t sacrifice convenience.”

The technology, which is going to work via a variety of home-based, mobile and in-car devices, is likely to receive a full launch early in the new year.

Iain Dewar, a consultant with Edinburgh-based audio specialist Loud & Clear, which is a dealer for Meridian, said: “We are among a privileged few that have had the opportunity to experience MQA and can vouch for the sonic advancement that it will bring to the world of music playback. It is something really special.”