Fortunately, you’ll still be able to pay well over the odds for a 13-bit FLAC — MQA’s IP assets were bought on Tuesday 19 September by Lenbrook, owners of audiophile brands NAD, PSB and Bluesound. They’ve also hired some of the MQA tech and sales teams.
Lenbrook bought “an assortment of significant patents” and the MQA and SCL6 codecs. MQA is equivalent to a 13-bit 48kHz FLAC, but paying swingeing fees to MQA. SCL6 was MQA’s failed attempt to get a low-res hi-res audio format into the Bluetooth standard.
As well as being an existing MQA licensee, Lenbrook does have considerable experience straddling the fine line between “very good sound equipment” and “green marker pen on your speaker wires.” Lenbrook has mentioned plans to use the SCL6 codec in PSB Bluetooth headphones.
And taking on only the formats and the staff means they avoid the expense that seemed to have sent MQA Ltd. broke: the ridiculous royalty payments to MQA’s original parent company Meridian Audio — much greater than MQA’s actual income from the formats.