Think of them like AIF or WAV fileS on steroids
The MDA file format was created by us and another reason why Pipes is in a category of its own.
A well sampled instrument requires hundreds or even thousands of individual samples, including different positions, velocity levels, and even round robins of every combination. Nobody wants to manage all those samples in order to play music, so we have created the MDA file. It is a single file containing as many samples as necessary to faithfully replicate an instrument.
MDAs contain special parameters which allow for fully sampled drums and all other aspects of traditional drum kits as well, which sets them apart from other compiled sample formats. As a matter of fact, other sample compilations, such as .EXS files and others, can easily be translated into MDA files for compatibility with Pipes!
All of this makes more sense when you see and hear the difference. Below is a video of Danny demonstrating our Mandala Drum product. This same technology is put to even greater use in Pipes.
Danny Carey, superstar drummer and casual wear enthusiast, performs a shootout between a real Black Beauty and our Black Beauty MDA file along with a competitor's drum pad and sound module. Close your eyes and you might not be sure if you are hearing the real thing or our Mandala version, however the competition's version will be painfully obvious...