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  • Apple Music Lossless, High Resolution, and Dolby Atmos Announced

     

     

    Hi Guys, Apple has finally announced its lossless CD quality, high resolution, and Dolby Audio tier to its streaming music service Apple Music. It looks like lossless (44.1/48 kHz) audio and Dolby Atmos will be included for the same price as the lossy tier, but high resolution audio will be an additional cost. The Apple Music app also has offline downloads for those who don't want to use up an expensive data plan streaming high resolution audio over LTE or 5G.

     

    Here's the complete release from Apple - https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2021/05/apple-music-announces-spatial-audio-and-lossless-audio/

     

    P.S. I don't like to toot my own horn, but I have to say I was right when I said in 2014 that high resolution audio wasn't coming soon from Apple (link). I guessed that it would be at least 5 years. Nearly 7 years later, we finally have it, and I'm very happy to see Apple finally flip the high resolution switch. 

     

    P.P.S. Amazon Music HD has now cut its prices as well, "The monthly price has now been cut from $12.99 for Amazon Prime members, to $7.99. Non-Prime users have had the price cut from $14.99 to $9.99 monthly."

     

     

     

     

    Apple Music announces Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos; will bring Lossless Audio to entire catalog

    The next generation of sound on Apple Music is coming to subscribers June 2021 at no additional cost
     
    Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio are coming to Apple Music subscribers beginning June 2021.
     
    CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA Apple today announced Apple Music is bringing industry-leading sound quality to subscribers with the addition of Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos. Spatial Audio gives artists the opportunity to create immersive audio experiences for their fans with true multidimensional sound and clarity. Apple Music subscribers will also be able to listen to more than 75 million songs in Lossless Audio — the way the artists created them in the studio. These new features will be available for Apple Music subscribers starting next month at no additional cost.
     
    “Apple Music is making its biggest advancement ever in sound quality,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats. “Listening to a song in Dolby Atmos is like magic. The music comes from all around you and sounds incredible. Now we are bringing this truly innovative and immersive experience to our listeners with music from their favorite artists like J Balvin, Gustavo Dudamel, Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, Kacey Musgraves, The Weeknd, and so many more. Subscribers will also be able to listen to their music in the highest audio quality with Lossless Audio. Apple Music as we know it is about to change forever.”

     

    Spatial Audio with Support for Dolby Atmos

    Apple is bringing Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos to Apple Music. Dolby Atmos is a revolutionary, immersive audio experience that enables artists to mix music so the sound comes from all around and from above. By default, Apple Music will automatically play Dolby Atmos tracks on all AirPods and Beats headphones with an H1 or W1 chip, as well as the built-in speakers in the latest versions of iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Apple Music will be adding new Dolby Atmos tracks constantly and will be curating a special set of Dolby Atmos playlists to help listeners find the music they love. In addition, albums that are available in Dolby Atmos will have a badge on the detail page for easy discovery.
     
    At launch, subscribers can enjoy thousands of songs in Spatial Audio from some of the world’s biggest artists and music across all genres, including hip-hop, country, Latin, pop, and classical. Apple Music is working with artists and labels to add new releases and the best catalog tracks, as more artists begin to create music specifically for the Spatial Audio experience. Together, Apple Music and Dolby are making it easy for musicians, producers, and mix engineers to create songs in Dolby Atmos. Initiatives include doubling the number of Dolby-enabled studios in major markets, offering educational programs, and providing resources to independent artists. 
     
    “Today marks the introduction of Dolby Atmos on Apple Music — a new music experience that is transforming how music is created by artists and enjoyed by their fans,” said Kevin Yeaman, Dolby Laboratories’ president and CEO. “We are working with Apple Music to make Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos widely available to all musicians and anyone who loves music.”
     
    J Balvin said: “I’m really excited to be part of this project with Apple Music because I always want to be a step ahead and I think this is one of those steps. With Lossless, everything in the music is going to sound bigger and stronger but more importantly, it will be better quality. Hearing myself and my music in Dolby Atmos for the first time, it was just crazy, it blew my mind, it’s indescribable. I think fans will really love this new experience.”
     
    Gustavo Dudamel said: “There are no words to describe the immersive, overpowering experience of being a conductor, leading a performance of Mahler’s towering ‘Symphony of a Thousand.’ But now, technology is advancing to bring that experience closer to our ears, our minds, and our souls. Share with me this monumental, live performance with my beloved Los Angeles Philharmonic, remastered in Dolby Atmos audio technology for the first time on Apple Music alongside my collection of Deutsche Grammophon recordings with the LA Phil, in rich, remarkable 3D sound.”
     
    Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter, and composer Giles Martin said: “Since recording began, artists, producers, and engineers have tried to paint pictures with sound, transporting listeners to worlds they never knew existed, even when the sound came from a single speaker. Now with the dawn of immersive audio, we can take the music lover inside the music. From the feeling of hearing your favorite artist in the same room as you, to the experience of sitting directly in the middle of a symphony orchestra, the listening experience is transformative and the possibilities for the creator are endless. This is a quantum leap in technology – I have so far had the pleasure of mixing some of the greatest artists in history in Dolby Atmos. With this work I have found myself falling into albums I love. There is a unique experience of being able to fully immerse myself in music that, although is familiar, suddenly sounds new, fresh, and immediate. As a creator, it is beyond exciting that we can now share this incredible experience through Apple Music.”
     
    Mixing engineer Manny Marroquin said: “Spatial Audio gives music a new identity. Every time I mix in Atmos it gives me goosebumps. The future has arrived.”

     

    Lossless Audio

    Apple Music will also make its catalog of more than 75 million songs available in Lossless Audio. Apple uses ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) to preserve every single bit of the original audio file. This means Apple Music subscribers will be able to hear the exact same thing that the artists created in the studio.
    To start listening to Lossless Audio, subscribers using the latest version of Apple Music can turn it on in Settings > Music > Audio Quality. Here, they can choose different resolutions for different connections such as cellular, Wi-Fi, or for download. Apple Music’s Lossless tier starts at CD quality, which is 16 bit at 44.1 kHz (kilohertz), and goes up to 24 bit at 48 kHz and is playable natively on Apple devices. For the true audiophile, Apple Music also offers Hi-Resolution Lossless all the way up to 24 bit at 192 kHz.1
     
    Producer Piper Payne said: “The soul and life of the mix is sitting in the extra bits of data that are stored in the lossless file. As a mastering engineer, having the ability to convey the music to the listener at its highest quality is the end goal of what I work for every day.”
     
    Availability

    Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio will be available to Apple Music subscribers at no additional cost.

    Thousands of tracks will be available in Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos at launch, with more added regularly.

    Apple Music’s catalog of more than 75 million songs will be available in Lossless Audio.

    More information, including a comprehensive list of compatible devices, is available at apple.com/apple-music.
     
      1. Due to the large file sizes and bandwidth needed for Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless Audio, subscribers will need to opt in to the experience. Hi-Res Lossless also requires external equipment, such as a USB digital-to-analog converter (DAC).

     



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    I think for Apple this will be lossless in all but name, I don’t see any hardware support for this and building a streamer PC or having a Mac mini with all the control issues will be a non starter.

     

    Plus you real hifi guys will question bit perfect etc, the result will be most of you will stick with Qobuz I assume, Spotify when launched may be different using connect.
     

    Apple are just playing a numbers game here.

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    10 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

     

    Why wouldn't I?

     

    Vagaries of onlline purchasing...  Amazon and, I think Apple, have pulled back items people purchased.  Note I am pulling from the dark recesses of my mind but I seem to recall stories but I do not recall specifics.

     

    If Apple makes the music stay in something like iTunes, they will have access.  

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    4 hours ago, katools said:

    If Apple & Spotify offer a way to stream lossless content to their DACs why would they choose to pay more to access the same content via those services?

    Because they aren't going to offer hi-res in the same way, aren't going to offer full integration with Roon, et. al., and aren't going to offer the same ability to control the PC side (endpoints, drivers, etc) that the "audiophile" services do. Note that I did say "hardcore" 

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    Well I would like to ensure that I am able to get the highest resolution possible with the least boxes but that doesn’t mean we are any less of any audiophile. In fact Roon and HQP don’t matter to me at all. There is a a big demand for something like Spotify connect that can do the highest res possible and I fall into that category. The app developed by an apple or a Spotify Will any day be more robust than what a 3rd party like Roon can make so we prefer. I guess that’s why we have many services for each of us. 

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    18 minutes ago, BrownMagic said:

    Well I would like to ensure that I am able to get the highest resolution possible with the least boxes but that doesn’t mean we are any less of any audiophile. In fact Roon and HQP don’t matter to me at all. There is a a big demand for something like Spotify connect that can do the highest res possible and I fall into that category. The app developed by an apple or a Spotify Will any day be more robust than what a 3rd party like Roon can make so we prefer. I guess that’s why we have many services for each of us. 

     

    I would absolutely love a "connect" type feature from all services, that could stream the highest resolutions available. 

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    Spotify HiFi Icon Spotted in Mobile App Suggests Imminent Launch

    https://www.macrumors.com/2021/05/18/spotify-lossless-hifi-option-spotted-app/

     

    Most likely Apple won't provide access to their API that could actually enable 3rd party developers to provide any kinda meaningful support for Apple Music, therefore it might seem to be a dead end of some sort?

     

    OTOH, Spotify already did a fantastic job and that's gonna be such a winner and a half IMHO.

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    37 minutes ago, new_media said:

    I believe that this may have happened with Apple Books due to some issues with publishing rights.

     

    But iTunes music purchases don't have DRM like the books do. Once you purchase something from the store, you are welcome to convert it to any format you like, burn it to CD, etc. As long as you make a back up, you effectively own it.

     

    It doesn't sound like they are going to be selling lossless/hi-res files anyway, so I guess it's a moot point.

    I thought movies were also an issue where they disappeared from purchased lists.

     

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    Where did you find that there might be an additional monthly cost for access to Apple Music Hi-Res audio? The press releases aren't very clear but I was under the impression that all Lossless (Redbook & Hi-Res) would be included in the $10 monthly cost.

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    Interesting that you can "download" hi-res for offline listening, but not purchase. Wonder what format/encryption will be used to try to prevent play outside of Apple Music.

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    Maybe Apple uses FairPlay DRM for streaming. Purchases are DRM free.

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    1 hour ago, KenG said:

    Where did you find that there might be an additional monthly cost for access to Apple Music Hi-Res audio? The press releases aren't very clear but I was under the impression that all Lossless (Redbook & Hi-Res) would be included in the $10 monthly cost.

     

    In the press release Apple is clearly making a distinction between Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless. 

     

     

    "Apple Music’s Lossless tier starts at CD quality, which is 16 bit at 44.1 kHz (kilohertz), and goes up to 24 bit at 48 kHz and is playable natively on Apple devices.

     

    For the true audiophile, Apple Music also offers Hi-Resolution Lossless all the way up to 24 bit at 192 kHz.

     

     

    Availability

    Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio will be available to Apple Music subscribers at no additional cost.

     

    Due to the large file sizes and bandwidth needed for Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless Audio, subscribers will need to opt in to the experience. Hi-Res Lossless also requires external equipment, such as a USB digital-to-analog converter (DAC)."

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    3 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

     

    In the press release Apple is clearly making a distinction between Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless. 

     

     

    "Apple Music’s Lossless tier starts at CD quality, which is 16 bit at 44.1 kHz (kilohertz), and goes up to 24 bit at 48 kHz and is playable natively on Apple devices.

     

    For the true audiophile, Apple Music also offers Hi-Resolution Lossless all the way up to 24 bit at 192 kHz.

     

     

    Availability

    Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio will be available to Apple Music subscribers at no additional cost.

     

    Due to the large file sizes and bandwidth needed for Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless Audio, subscribers will need to opt in to the experience. Hi-Res Lossless also requires external equipment, such as a USB digital-to-analog converter (DAC)."

    Thanks for the response. I didn't really interpret it the same way but you may be right. It isn't the most clear press release and I guess we'll find out the details very soon.

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    7 hours ago, Marco Klobas said:

    Maybe Apple uses FairPlay DRM for streaming. Purchases are DRM free.

    Correct. If you download a streaming track from Apple Music, it is protected by FairPlay Version 2 DRM. Tracks purchased from the iTunes Store or downloaded from iTunes Match do not have DRM. I assume lossless/hi-res streaming will use the same system.

     

     

    Fairplay.png

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    I sometimes wonder if the streaming industry will eventually run out of enticements for customers.

     

    MQA, lossless, High-res, spatial processing.

     

    What happens then?

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    37 minutes ago, loop7 said:

    I sometimes wonder if the streaming industry will eventually run out of enticements for customers.

     

    MQA, lossless, High-res, spatial processing.

     

    What happens then?

     

    Hopefully they'll start competing with quality of files and user experience/ease of use...

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    On 5/18/2021 at 3:27 AM, katools said:

    If Apple & Spotify offer a way to stream lossless content to their DACs why would they choose to pay more to access the same content via those services?

     

    I can't use Apple Music in Roon to stream over my network to my endpoints and to my DAC. I can't purchase Hi-Res tracks from Apple like I can from Qobuz. Etc...

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    On 5/18/2021 at 3:26 PM, AudioDoctor said:

    I have been thinking about this and I don't think this service, as it stands right now, is for us. It's for the average Apple user that Apple wants to keep in the Apple ecosystem of services rather than lose them to Spotify. Perhaps in the future it will grow into something to compete with Qobuz for our dollars and match it's integration into the other services we use, like Roon.

    Something Apple should of already done years ago in the first place!

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    Features is one thing they definitely need to improve. Other than that, sadly the video streaming companies may start to buy them out or start their own services to try and put them out of business don’t quite understand why they haven’t already except that it doesn’t make a lot of profit yet and it would suck because what if their video was good but bad on the music side and vice versa,  but may still be an enticement for those customers that want everything in one place. Although Apple and Amazon are closest to doing that. YouTube (Google) is also a possibility but not as close.

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    7 hours ago, loop7 said:

    I sometimes wonder if the streaming industry will eventually run out of enticements for customers.

     

    MQA, lossless, High-res, spatial processing.

     

    What happens then?

    Features is one thing they definitely need to improve. Other than that, sadly the video streaming companies may start to buy them out or start their own services to try and put them out of business don’t quite understand why they haven’t already except that it doesn’t make a lot of profit yet and it would suck because what if their video was good but bad on the music side and vice versa,  but may still be an enticement for those customers that want everything in one place. Although Apple and Amazon are closest to doing that. YouTube (Google) is also a possibility but not as close.

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