Jump to content
  • 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).

     



    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    4 minutes ago, Marco Klobas said:

    It's an "elegant/smart" answer about iTunes purchases to inform that it's not possible to upgrade owned purchases to ALAC, inviting users to subscribe to Apple Music if they aren't already. 🙂

     

    That's my interpretation.

    Mine too. It's a very circuitous way of saying "no."

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I have an old iPhone 7 that I just pulled out of a desk drawer, and it is going to become my dedicated Apple Lossless streaming device. I totally wiped it and disconnected it from my iTunes Match library.

     

    With regard to iTunes Match, I know that matched tracks can't be redownloaded in lossless, but I am at least hoping that they can be streamed in lossless from my main phone so that I can take advantage of my existing playlists.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    It's so sad to read here and and on other audiophile forums just how many 'audiophiles' who have invested in niche, small company, 'boutique' audio gear are ready and willing to throw the niche, small company streaming services under the bus to try and save a few dollars (or to 'simplify' - yeah right) with the gigantic corporations that really don't give a shit about audio playback beyond numbers (number of users and now the resolution numbers as marketing).

     

    Vote with your minds, hearts, and conscious and please continue to support the likes of Qobuz and/or Tidal (despite their MQA nonsense). Qobuz may struggle to grow with the advent of Apple, Spotify, and Amazon hi-res, but they can stay stable if their core users do the right thing and stop with the bandwagon, knee jerk responses and continue to support them even if it's a 'whopping' $50 more per year (pretty much the cost of a lunch in these times). 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Also, and I say this as an AirPods Max owner...
     
    Womp womp.
     
    Can I listen to lossless audio using AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max?
    AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and Beats wireless headphones use Apple’s AAC Bluetooth Codec to ensure excellent audio quality. Bluetooth connections don’t support lossless audio.
     
    Can I listen to lossless audio using the AirPods Max Lightning to 3.5mm Audio Cable?
    The Lightning to 3.5 mm Audio Cable was designed to allow AirPods Max to connect to analog sources for listening to movies and music. AirPods Max can be connected to devices playing Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless recordings with exceptional audio quality. However, given the analog to digital conversion in the cable, the playback will not be completely lossless.
     
     
    I don't think that Apple has ever been very specific about what the AirPods Max Lighting to 3.5mm Audio Cable does, and there is apparently some A→D→A action going on there.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    31 minutes ago, Marco Klobas said:

    It's an "elegant/smart" answer about iTunes purchases to inform that it's not possible to upgrade owned purchases to ALAC, inviting users to subscribe to Apple Music if they aren't already. 🙂

     

    That's my interpretation.

    Yes. This is very clear to me as well. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Also, are people following the Epic Games/Apple lawsuit? The reason I ask, is because one Apple upper manager stated that the reason there is so much malware on Apple computers is because people can download and install software for anywhere on the internet. They want to be able to control that and hence, control what can be used on Apple PC's. This may eventually affect the whole Apple Ecosystem, meaning if you can't get it from the Apple store, you can't use it.

     

    Hence Apple is closing wanting to close their system, rather than actually fixing the flaws that are in the OS, to me.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    On 5/20/2021 at 7:47 AM, wklie said:

    Spotify HiFi at lossless CD quality when that becomes available

     

    Are you allowed to say something about the release? 

    Will it be in summer or later?

    Thanks

     

    Matt

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    44 minutes ago, botrytis said:

    Also, are people following the Epic Games/Apple lawsuit? The reason I ask, is because one Apple upper manager stated that the reason there is so much malware on Apple computers is because people can download and install software for anywhere on the internet. They want to be able to control that and hence, control what can be used on Apple PC's. This may eventually affect the whole Apple Ecosystem, meaning if you can't get it from the Apple store, you can't use it.

     

    Hence Apple is closing wanting to close their system, rather than actually fixing the flaws that are in the OS, to me.

    I think Apple way overstated the malware on macOS thing because it bolsters their argument in the lawsuit. As soon as it’s over, look for Apple to shows facts detailing how little malware actually exists on the platform. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Actually there is plenty. I remember the Adobe acrobat fiasco several years ago in which Linux and MS both had patches out in 2-3 days of the announcement - it took Apple 1 year to get out the patch.  After all, Steve Jobs once said, that malware and viruses are for MS and Linux, not Apple.

     

    Just because it can't be detected, does not mean it isn't there.  I mean, the human genome is full of virus information - hence what Chicken Pox to Shingles occurs.

     

    When I was in LA, I got to to meet an Apple OS developer, met at a bar, and he was saying that Apple is planning to totally close their OS systems (with the M2/M3 chips coming out) so they can protect their IP more and also to control who and what develops apps for them.

     

    Just saying.

     

    Use what you will but with open eyes.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    16 minutes ago, botrytis said:

    Actually there is plenty. I remember the Adobe acrobat fiasco several years ago in which Linux and MS both had patches out in 2-3 days of the announcement - it took Apple 1 year to get out the patch. 

    Yes, there is plenty, but I think there’s more to it than “it took Apple a year to patch the flaw.” If the company really wanted to or saw an immediate need, it would’ve been done it a couple days. There’s no shortage of cash at Apple. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    My iPhone is on the beta of 14.7 and I do not have any "quality" option to select higher res music.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Apple has become the gold standard of controlling the conversation and flipping an issue upside down.

     

    I am curious how they'll do this with the recent bombshell piece in the NYT regarding encryption and data access to users in China.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    7 minutes ago, loop7 said:

    Apple has become the gold standard of controlling the conversation and flipping an issue upside down.

     

    I am curious how they'll do this with the recent bombshell piece in the NYT regarding encryption and data access to users in China.

    I don’t think it’ll matter one bit. 
     

    I thought everyone just assumed that to do business in any country you have to follow the laws of that country. In China that means the Government has access to everything. Nothing really new. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    So, you can stream hi-res to your computer and play it through your DAC.

    Or you can download it to your computer, iPhone, or iPad for later listening, or remove the DRM with one of the many tools available and do what you will with the result?

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Homepod and Homepod mini will receive an update to support lossless, hurray!
    By the way, iOS 14.6 and macOS 11.4 are out and some albums now have the Apple Digital Master badge, a quick listening comparison between the two using my Airpods Pro, Marshall Minor II and HyperX Cloud II (to remove any DAC difference out of the table) makes me prefer the ADM versions, they sound a bit fuller, nothing about when they activate lossless yet tho

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    On 5/22/2021 at 7:07 AM, Mike Rubin said:

    This is in Apple's FAQ and it is clear as mud:

     

    "Can I redownload my iTunes purchases in lossless?

    "If you subscribe to Apple Music, you can redownload music in lossless only from the Apple Music catalog." 

     

    Does this mean that Apple Music acts like iTunes Match to extent the content is now available in the Apple Music catalogue, so you can play the downloaded file on devices that are not linked to Apple's infrastructure?  Or does it just mean that, so long as you remain an Apple Music subscriber, you can download any Apple Music material (including your iTunes purchases) for offline playback in Apple Music?  Or does it mean something else altogether?

     

    I worked at Apple for 12 years.  Helping Apple avoid transparency for the sake of liability avoidance was a chunk of my job.  That culture hasn't changed, so I doubt that Apple will be much more forthcoming about this and we will just have to wait and see what works and what doesn't. 

     

    That said, if being a subscriber means being able to upgrade to lossless my purchased files and be able to play them after my subscription ends, this streaming-service-non-fan happily will subscribe to Apple Music for as long as it takes to upgrade my purchased content. 

    I was wondering about this, too.  This story answers the question:

     

    https://www.idropnews.com/news/sorry-itunes-fans-apple-wont-be-offering-purchased-tracks-in-lossless-formats/159594/

     

    To save people time, the answer is "no."  Instead, low resolution Apple 256 aac files that are redownloaded in high res will only be available for Music subscribers.  When you cancel your subscription, your music goes "poof."

     

    That limitation rules out this option for me, as I don't stream.  I only purchase downloads.  In the last few years, I have purchased downloads nearly 100% from Bandcamp and Qobuz.  I used to purchase from HDTracks and a few others.  I have around 9,200 tracks.

     

    I use JRiver for my music player at home and jetaudio for my iPad and iPhone in my car.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    12 minutes ago, Wilderness said:

    I was wondering about this, too.  This story answers the question:

     

    https://www.idropnews.com/news/sorry-itunes-fans-apple-wont-be-offering-purchased-tracks-in-lossless-formats/159594/

     

    To save people time, the answer is "no."  Instead, low resolution Apple 256 aac files that are redownloaded in high res will only be available for Music subscribers.  When you cancel your subscription, your music goes "poof."

     

    That limitation rules out this option for me, as I don't stream.  I only purchase downloads.  In the last few years, I have purchased downloads nearly 100% from Bandcamp and Qobuz.  I used to purchase from HDTracks and a few others.  I have around 9,200 tracks.

     

    I use JRiver for my music player at home and jetaudio for my iPad and iPhone in my car.

    Thanks for this.  I guess that's that.

     

    However, one thing in the article contradicts what I have read elsewhere:  "While everyone else has offered a two-tier system, with Apple Music there will be no tiers at all — everybody gets Lossless Audio, assuming of course your hardware can handle it."  That seems to contradict the notion that the Apple Music 192khz files will take a surcharge.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    In their documentation, Apple states that on the Mac, you need MacOS 11.4 for lossless/high-res lossless (+ a suitable DAC, obviously). Which kind of sucks for me, as my late 2012 Mac mini can’t be upgraded to Big Sur….only as far as 10.15.7. I can play my ALAC CD rips 16/44.1 and my high-res downloads (ALAC 24/92) all part of my iTunes/Apple Music library, thought the Apple MIDI controller makes it awkward. (Was using Bit Perfect but it doesn’t seem to work with Apple Music). So why can’t they just update the Music app in MacOS so I can play Apple Music lossless tracks instead of having to update MacOS to 11.4? And yes, an Apple Connect feature would be nice too. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    3 minutes ago, Mc-ornell said:

    In their documentation, Apple states that on the Mac, you need MacOS 11.4 for lossless/high-res lossless (+ a suitable DAC, obviously). Which kind of sucks for me, as my late 2012 Mac mini can’t be upgraded to Big Sur….only as far as 10.15.7. I can play my ALAC CD rips 16/44.1 and my high-res downloads (ALAC 24/92) all part of my iTunes/Apple Music library, thought the Apple MIDI controller makes it awkward. (Was using Bit Perfect but it doesn’t seem to work with Apple Music). So why can’t they just update the Music app in MacOS so I can play Apple Music lossless tracks instead of having to update MacOS to 11.4? And yes, an Apple Connect feature would be nice too. 

    Oh wow, that’s not cool. Lossless and high resolution audio don’t require much power and work totally fine on far weaker and older hardware. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    16 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Oh wow, that’s not cool. Lossless and high resolution audio don’t require much power and work totally fine on far weaker and older hardware. 

    Even though I worked at Apple for a dozen years and was a fan of the platform in general, I moved to Windows (and Linux for Roon) because of stuff like this.  Managing the industry-standard FLAC and DSD even with third-party applications and dealing with output configuration seemed complicated for reasons that appeared more of benefit to Apple than me and I never found that Macs sounded any better than did Windows machines with JRiver. (This was before JRiver ported MC to the Mac.)  I guess that anyone still using a Mac for hi-res these days isn't likely to switch if he or she hasn't already done so, though. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    The weird thing is, in my current Apple Music settings I can choose a resolution for video playback/downloads (up to 4K/HD), so why they can’t enable lossless/high-res lossless for my current version of MacOS doesn’t make sense. I’m hoping the information Apple is currently putting out re: lossless on the Mac is incorrect. If not, I guess there will be one of the other lossless services in my future. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    54 minutes ago, Mc-ornell said:

    The weird thing is, in my current Apple Music settings I can choose a resolution for video playback/downloads (up to 4K/HD), so why they can’t enable lossless/high-res lossless for my current version of MacOS doesn’t make sense. I’m hoping the information Apple is currently putting out re: lossless on the Mac is incorrect. If not, I guess there will be one of the other lossless services in my future. 

     

    Same thing. My only guess is that it wont be available until June.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    6 hours ago, Mc-ornell said:

    In their documentation, Apple states that on the Mac, you need MacOS 11.4 for lossless/high-res lossless (+ a suitable DAC, obviously). Which kind of sucks for me, as my late 2012 Mac mini can’t be upgraded to Big Sur….only as far as 10.15.7. I can play my ALAC CD rips 16/44.1 and my high-res downloads (ALAC 24/92) all part of my iTunes/Apple Music library, thought the Apple MIDI controller makes it awkward. (Was using Bit Perfect but it doesn’t seem to work with Apple Music). So why can’t they just update the Music app in MacOS so I can play Apple Music lossless tracks instead of having to update MacOS to 11.4? And yes, an Apple Connect feature would be nice too. 

     

    I'm sort of in the same boat. I have a 2019 iMac, but I am clinging to macOS 10.14.6 (Mojave) because I run BIAS Peak Pro 7 all the time, which is a 32-bit app. If I upgrade any further, I won't be able to use it.

     

    I'm not too worried about it, though. I will continue to play my own library of CD rips and hi-res files from the Mac and use an old iPhone to play lossless and hi-res files from Apple Music.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    On 5/17/2021 at 10:02 PM, One and a half said:

    Hmm. The footnote mentions to play higher than 44.1/48kHz, the defacto for Bluetooth,  an external DAC is necessary, which also means it will show up in Audio Midi for example and Apple will play to it. Guess that the Apple music program will detect the DAC and play to it, but how does it know that it's a Dolby atmos capable for example. This is the domain of network AV receivers which have protocols already built in, big audience.

     

    Bring on the Apple DAC'S. (Or 3rd party partners like Apogee?)

     

    The Apple stores will surely be selling something for it?

     

    And how about a new Apple hi res Bluetooth codec? (To compete with LDAC)

     

    And everyone having buy all new Bluetooth headphones / earpods to use it? 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    3 hours ago, Pro Jules said:

    Bring on the Apple DAC'S. (Or 3rd party partners like Apogee?)

     

    The Apple stores will surely be selling something for it?

     

    And how about a new Apple hi res Bluetooth codec? (To compete with LDAC)

     

    And everyone having buy all new Bluetooth headphones / earpods to use it? 

     

    I think Apple is just making this move to keep up with Spotify and Amazon. They seem fully committed to wireless audio, both with AirPlay and their high-end headphone options. I'd be surprised to see anything in the Apple Store that would compete directly with them.

     

    I can only see them releasing a lossless Bluetooth codec, at least in the short term, if existing AirPods can utilize it with a firmware upgrade. The aren't about to make $550 headphones that were only released 5 months ago suddenly obsolete.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now



×
×
  • Create New...