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Article: Apple Music Lossless, High Resolution, and Dolby Atmos Announced


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Agree, Apple is usually tight lipped with press releases or even keynotes. Consequently a flood of speculations and questions arise around the web.

 

With this Apple Music update (very welcome upgrade, BTW) I see already questions about AirPods/HomePod/AppleTV compatibility, Bluetooth, AirPlay 2 etc.

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So I'll be the old guy and ask whether iTunes downloads will be available in lossless or hi-res. That's the best way to know exactly what is getting fed to my DAC.

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I have to admit I don't totally get the rationale for Apple Music to go lossless.

Most of their devices playback music wirelessly via lossy AAC anyway. That said, when I listen to an AAC/mp3 track off a wireless AAC headphones, it sounds worse than a lossless ALAC file going to a wireless AAC headphones. I'm just not sure how many people would notice or even truly use the full lossless stream. I do Airplay lossless files to HomePods but is that something most people would notice? Not sure.

 

But as our great leader @The Computer Audiophile likes to say, "I like options". In Canada, Tidal is my only option with Roon and it has been driving me nuts with all the MQA tracks. So if Apple Music has Roon integration, maybe I'll switch to Apple Music? Or maybe I'll switch to Hang Loose Convolver from Accurate sound for playback with Apple Music? Not sure yet.

Roon (convolution filter using Acourate) > ultraRendu > Peachtree X1 (Toslink) > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Chord DAVE > Chord Etude > Dynaudio Confidence C1 Signature

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23 minutes ago, new_media said:

So I'll be the old guy and ask whether iTunes downloads will be available in lossless or hi-res. That's the best way to know exactly what is getting fed to my DAC.

A previous report had suggested that lossless and hi-res lossless would indeed also be available for download too, however I didn't see any mention of that in the official release.

no-mqa-sm.jpg

Boycott Radio Paradise

Boycott TIDAL

Boycott Warner Music Group

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1 hour ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Reading through Apple release again, I'm reminded of what I dislike most from Apple, it's lack of details and transparency with respect to technical items. The talk of Dolby Atmos is cool and I love what it can do, but it may be like pulling teeth to get Apple to talk about how to play this audio on non-Apple hardware. 

Like this I guess:

 

How can I listen to Dolby Atmos music?

.....or by connecting your Apple TV 4K to a compatible TV or audiovisual receiver.

 

(So Apple TV via HDMI only I think)

Windows 10 PC, Roon, HQPlayer, SOtM sMS-200Ultra, tX-USBultra, Paul Hynes SR4 (x2), Mutec REF10, Mutec MC3+USB, Devialet 1000Pro, KEF Blade.  Plus Pro-Ject Signature 12 TT for playing my 'legacy' vinyl collection.

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This is great news! And it must sending some shivers to the competition. 
 

What I an eager is to know how do we stream in high res to our dac? 
 

Airplay 2 is not the answer since it not lossless and it goes through the device hence draining battery.  So is Airplat 3 in the works? Are we getting an Apple Connect?

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17 minutes ago, Confused said:

Like this I guess:

 

How can I listen to Dolby Atmos music?

.....or by connecting your Apple TV 4K to a compatible TV or audiovisual receiver.

 

(So Apple TV via HDMI only I think)

Yes, with Apple hardware. I'm thinking about other ways and the nuances that are bound to appear. For example, finding an official Apple statement about which audio is supported over AirPlay is like pulling teeth. Sure, it can be done usually, but it isn't easy. 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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Idea. If someone here has a Mac Mini M1 and an Apple Music account, please try using the Black Hole program to connect Apple Music and HQPlayer together on the Mini M1 and see if it works. This would be one way to to do it.

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30 minutes ago, BrownMagic said:

This is great news! And it must sending some shivers to the competition. 
 

What I an eager is to know how do we stream in high res to our dac? 
 

Airplay 2 is not the answer since it not lossless and it goes through the device hence draining battery.  So is Airplat 3 in the works? Are we getting an Apple Connect?

 

This will be a journey. Without integration into products from Roon, Aurender, Lumin, Audirvana, etc... it will be really tough. Apple Music won't change the sample rate automatically, so we are back to the Audio Midi issues of 2007. 

 

Sonos may eventually get lossless or 48 kHz from Apple Music, but that's not incredibly exciting. 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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The Amazon announcement means that Tidal is clearly an inferior offering. More trouble for MQA/Tidal.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Quite a few things to understand how hi-res will be handled.

 

Will Airplay 2 be updated to support up to 192 kHz? Technically it's feasible (it's a WiFi/Ethernet protocol after all – bandwidth isn't a problem). Is to be seen if Apple is interested...

 

Actually, even AirPlay 1 cloud be pushed to 192 kHz if only Apple would be interested.

 

Who knows, maybe at the upcoming WWDC there will be some news for AirPlay.

 

Many streamers implement AirPlay through Shairport-Sync, which is an AirPlay 1 only reverse engineering project. No AirPlay 2 on the horizon.

 

The Mac-DAC link (via USB or whatever) and its sampling rate managed by Audio MIDI Setup, as @The Computer Audiophile pointed out, is another issue.

 

Let's wait a few weeks and hope that Apple Music Hi-Res Lossless will somehow fit for audiophiles.

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20 minutes ago, JoshM said:

Very happy to see no MQA. Hopefully this deals a death blow to it as a format.

 

As of now, though, I don't see Apple as likely to overtake Qobuz in quality. (See Amazon HD.) Unless Apple 1) demonstrates that they're actually streaming lossless hires, 2) creates a quality standalone app, and 3) allows developers to integrate the service into audiophiles players like Audirvana, it's not going to be an option for serious audiophiles. It's hard to say whether that matters at all to Apple, though.

 

This is, however, a belated victory for Neil Young, who tried to convince Steve Jobs to go the lossless hires route pre-Pono.

The hard core audiophiles will stay with services like Qobuz, Deezer, or Primephonic, who all offer quality hi-res or lossless streaming.  For more "average"  people who just want quality sound, the Amazon and Apple offerings (and upcoming Spotify) will be all they need. I don't think Tidal is going to be attractive to them at all, the way it is currently structured. Of course, the tiny number of MQA fanboys will stay there. But they are a drop in the bucket and insignificant. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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3 minutes ago, ChipotleCoyote said:

I also noticed KEF's LS50 Wireless II page now lists the Apple Music in addition to the AirPlay 2 logo, making me wonder if they have, or plan to, integrate it directly.

My guess is that KEF is using a StreamUnlimited card, so this service comes with the card as an option. If HiFI companies want Apple Music lossless etc.. this is probably the way to get it. Working with a much larger vendor who can work with Apple. 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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