Rumor: 'AirPods 3' to launch alongside 'Apple Music HiFi' on May 18

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  • Reply 21 of 31
    thedbathedba Posts: 650member
    Zeebler said:
    Nobody can tell the difference between 640 x 480 and 7680 x 4320 content when played on a black and white 12” Zenith TV from 1974. 
    Some people with 8k TV’s think they can see a difference - but it’s just voodoo. 
    There was a test done where videographer’s were shown 640 x 480 video and 8k video on an 8k OLED tv and they were only able to guess the 8k video 60% of the time. 

    It doesn’t matter anyways, because Apple TV will never stream more than 640 x 480 resolution - because nobody can see the difference and 640 x 480 looks awesome! 


    A feeble attempt at trolling there, junior. 
  • Reply 22 of 31
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,077member

    I recently downloaded a classical piece and did stream it to my HomePod. 
    It was in Apple lossless format.

    Point is in order to get the most out of lossless music you need specialized DACs, preamp/amp setups with dedicated speakers and a very quiet listening room in your house. Maybe then, some can actually “hear” the difference. 
    Gone are the days of 64 bit MP3s downloaded from Napster/Kazaa et al. Today’s 256 bit AAC is pretty damned good. 

    Any headphone or earbud over $75 will play lossless music!
    What does this mean? Any $12 earbud will also play lossless music. 

    Wireless headphones/headsets are pretty much invariably Bluetooth-based, though, and will NOT play lossless music, because rather than opt for lossless formats via A2DP, they tend to play AAC or aptX, both of which are lossy formats. 
  • Reply 23 of 31
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,103member
    rob55 said:
    AppleZulu said:
    Side-stepping the perennial back-and-forth about what increments of sound quality people can or can't hear, I predict the real game-changer is going to be surround sound formats that can come with the HiFi tier. Up until now, surround sound has been a small niche market that requires special hardware as well as expensive special edition physical media. Those added requirements have always prevented surround sound music from ever really taking off, going all the way back to quad systems in the '70s.

    Now, all the millions of people who own a relatively recent iPhone and AirPods Pro will instantly be able to listen to surround audio formats as soon as Apple turns on the HiFi option. Surround sound music will go from an audiophile niche to mainstream in an instant. That will be something that people can listen to and tell the difference, creating an immediate "wow" factor. (Add to that all the people who already have an AppleTV box tied to a surround sound system in their den. Wow again.)  Amazon and Tidal have already ventured into this arena, but with abysmal implementation, charging extra for the option, and then burying the content in a terrible user interface. It looks likely Apple may include this option in existing subscription deals, and delivering it through the Apple Music app, which is vastly superior to Amazon and Tidal's apps. 
    My understanding of how Apple's Spatial Audio works is that it requires multi-channel audio on the input side. This is why it's primarily supported by video streaming apps (like HBO Max, Disney+, Hulu, etc.) that have content with existing multi-channel audio. Unless I missed something (my apologies if I did), I don't think Apple going lossless means that their music library / offerings are magically going to become Spatial Audio compatible. If you have information otherwise, I genuinely would like to read / hear about it.
    Yes, the content has to first be mixed to a multi-channel or object-oriented surround format like Dolby Atmos. There are a small but growing number of recordings that are mixed in those formats. For example, the Beatles' Abbey Road 50th Anniversary set was remixed in Dolby Atmos by Giles Martin, the son of George Martin, their original producer. It sounds amazing. Current artists are also making new music available in Atmos and other surround formats, so the content is there. Apple going lossless does not necessarily mean they'll include these formats in Apple Music, but it would make sense if they did, and if they did, it would drive additional consumer demand for content mixed for surround/spatial audio distribution.
    edited May 14 thedba
  • Reply 24 of 31
    AppleishAppleish Posts: 352member
    All I know for now is that Apple's 256 AAC sounds better than Spotify's 320 MP3. Apple clearly has superior conversion algorithms. 

    My AirPods Max are ready to 
    test out Apple Hi-Fi or whatever they call it. 
    thedba
  • Reply 25 of 31
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 1,195member
    thedba said:
    The HomePod is an ideal candidate for Apple Music HiFi, or whatever the streaming service will be called. 
    I hope Apple releases something to replace it. Once you've listened on the HomePod, the Mini is not an option.  
    I beg to differ.
    I recently downloaded a classical piece and did stream it to my HomePod. 
    It was in Apple lossless format.
    I had also converted it to AAC to put on my iPhone and streamed back to HomePod as well. 
    Absolutely no difference whatsoever. 

    Point is in order to get the most out of lossless music you need specialized DACs, preamp/amp setups with dedicated speakers and a very quiet listening room in your house. Maybe then, some can actually “hear” the difference. 
    Gone are the days of 64 bit MP3s downloaded from Napster/Kazaa et al. Today’s 256 bit AAC is pretty damned good. 

    I think the op's post was more about the HUGE sound difference between the OG Homepod and the Mini with the possibility of higher quality from AM possibly making it sound even better.

    I wonder if there could be any quality difference if the HomePod plays AM HiFi directly as opposed to using airplay from another device back to the HomePod?

  • Reply 26 of 31
    thedbathedba Posts: 650member
    jcs2305 said:
    thedba said:
    The HomePod is an ideal candidate for Apple Music HiFi, or whatever the streaming service will be called. 
    I hope Apple releases something to replace it. Once you've listened on the HomePod, the Mini is not an option.  
    I beg to differ.
    I recently downloaded a classical piece and did stream it to my HomePod. 
    It was in Apple lossless format.
    I had also converted it to AAC to put on my iPhone and streamed back to HomePod as well. 
    Absolutely no difference whatsoever. 

    Point is in order to get the most out of lossless music you need specialized DACs, preamp/amp setups with dedicated speakers and a very quiet listening room in your house. Maybe then, some can actually “hear” the difference. 
    Gone are the days of 64 bit MP3s downloaded from Napster/Kazaa et al. Today’s 256 bit AAC is pretty damned good. 

    I think the op's post was more about the HUGE sound difference between the OG Homepod and the Mini with the possibility of higher quality from AM possibly making it sound even better.

    I wonder if there could be any quality difference if the HomePod plays AM HiFi directly as opposed to using airplay from another device back to the HomePod?

    My difference of opinion with the OP was whether Apple Music song streaming at 256 kbps AAC on HomePod would be any different to the human ear to Apple Lossless stream at 16bit/44.1kHz or 24bit/44.1 kHz or 24bit/96kHz..... 

    As to your 2nd point, I can't see why telling HomePod to play such and such song would be any different from streaming the exact same song from your Mac. 
  • Reply 27 of 31
    CarmBCarmB Posts: 44member
    If one really wants to compare the quality of a lossless file vs ACC, the last thing you would want to do is stream the file. Right from the start you are limiting yourself to the best that the streaming technology can deliver. You can’t really hear a difference if the delivery method is no better than the weakest of the file formats. Feed the digital file to the DAC in its best form and then you might be able to tell the difference, assuming that the DAC and the amplification and the speaker system is up to the task. If any one of the pieces in the system is incapable of delivering the quality that the original files possesses, the comparison falls apart. As has been said for a long time regarding sound reproduction, you’re system is only as good as the weakest link. If you have a superior digital file but any one of the components of the system is incapable of revealing the quality that is there, that file will no doubt be indistinguishable from a lesser version if the best a system can deliver is on a par with whatever quality the AAC file possesses. The biggest difference that I have discerned using a quality system is that lossless files feel more alive. There is something rather sterile about lossy files. The sounds are all there but they lack a certain vibrancy.

    The original source material matters. How you deliver that source information to the DAC matters. The DAC itself matters. Amplification matters. Speakers matter. You need enough quality all down the line to do a proper comparison. Otherwise, you end up attributing to one element characteristics that may be about some other part of the system. Obviously if your weakest link, so to speak, is something you’re perfectly happy with, and it means you will not benefit from a lossless file instead of an AAC version, pursuing a better version of a piece of music is a waste of time.

    In the end it’s a personal thing in so much as you either prefer listening to superior files or you don’t. Still, you need to have a complete system that can properly present a better version in order to know if that superior result matters to you in the first place. 


    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 28 of 31
    ZeeblerZeebler Posts: 19member
    Appleish said:
    All I know for now is that Apple's 256 AAC sounds better than Spotify's 320 MP3. Apple clearly has superior conversion algorithms. 

    My AirPods Max are ready to test out Apple Hi-Fi or whatever they call it. 
    Our group did a blind listening test with employees and clients; roughly 40 people.
    The system was a Paradigm MillenniaOne CT with an ARcam dac and Audioquest Yukon cable. 

    When asked which they thought sounded better: About half said they both sounded great. The other half immediately picked Spotify. 

    When asked which they would prefer to listen to: all of them picked Spotify (2 were unsure). 

    This test proves that Spotify has the superior encoder for sound quality - if you have a half decent system to listen on. The DAC is getting more information to sample, so it stands to reason.
     
    So I find your post scientifically, anecdotally, and inherently false. 

  • Reply 29 of 31
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,077member
    CarmB said:
    If one really wants to compare the quality of a lossless file vs ACC, the last thing you would want to do is stream the file. Right from the start you are limiting yourself to the best that the streaming technology can deliver. You can’t really hear a difference if the delivery method is no better than the weakest of the file formats.

    I don’t understand what you are saying. If you’re sending a lossless file (or any other format for that matter) to a DAC, it is completely irrelevant whether you’re streaming it from an SSD, a local network-attached music Server like a Linn system, or off a remote server attached to some bigwig streaming service: the source file is exactly identical when it hits the DA converter. 

    There is no difference — neither theoretical nor technical — between sending a lossless file to your stereo from your internal SSD or from the download buffer of a lossless streaming service. 
    thedba
  • Reply 30 of 31
    thedbathedba Posts: 650member
    CarmB said:
    If one really wants to compare the quality of a lossless file vs ACC, the last thing you would want to do is stream the file. Right from the start you are limiting yourself to the best that the streaming technology can deliver. You can’t really hear a difference if the delivery method is no better than the weakest of the file formats. Feed the digital file to the DAC in its best form and then you might be able to tell the difference, assuming that the DAC and the amplification and the speaker system is up to the task. If any one of the pieces in the system is incapable of delivering the quality that the original files possesses, the comparison falls apart. As has been said for a long time regarding sound reproduction, you’re system is only as good as the weakest link. If you have a superior digital file but any one of the components of the system is incapable of revealing the quality that is there, that file will no doubt be indistinguishable from a lesser version if the best a system can deliver is on a par with whatever quality the AAC file possesses. The biggest difference that I have discerned using a quality system is that lossless files feel more alive. There is something rather sterile about lossy files. The sounds are all there but they lack a certain vibrancy.

    The original source material matters. How you deliver that source information to the DAC matters. The DAC itself matters. Amplification matters. Speakers matter. You need enough quality all down the line to do a proper comparison. Otherwise, you end up attributing to one element characteristics that may be about some other part of the system. Obviously if your weakest link, so to speak, is something you’re perfectly happy with, and it means you will not benefit from a lossless file instead of an AAC version, pursuing a better version of a piece of music is a waste of time.

    In the end it’s a personal thing in so much as you either prefer listening to superior files or you don’t. Still, you need to have a complete system that can properly present a better version in order to know if that superior result matters to you in the first place. 


    Everything you’ve described above points to hyper specialized equipment but you’ve left out one other important detail. Listening conditions. 
    Very few of us have the perfect ones, like isolated rooms in the house where you cannot hear the lawn mower outside, or the neighbour’s dog barking. 
    If you opt for headphones do you go with open back, closed back or noise canceling?
    1) Open back are probably most preferred from an audiophile standpoint. No music alteration whatsoever. 
    2) Closed back provide some isolation from the outside sources but then those said outside sources can’t be too loud. 
    3) Noise canceling, really great at eliminating outside noises but then you realize you’ve spent a few thousand dollars on getting the perfect equipment (DACs, amps, pre-amps, paid extra for 24/96 FLAC masters) only to pump additional sound waves into your ears that eliminate the ones coming from outside sources. 
  • Reply 31 of 31
    CarmBCarmB Posts: 44member
    spheric said:
    CarmB said:
    If one really wants to compare the quality of a lossless file vs ACC, the last thing you would want to do is stream the file. Right from the start you are limiting yourself to the best that the streaming technology can deliver. You can’t really hear a difference if the delivery method is no better than the weakest of the file formats.

    I don’t understand what you are saying. If you’re sending a lossless file (or any other format for that matter) to a DAC, it is completely irrelevant whether you’re streaming it from an SSD, a local network-attached music Server like a Linn system, or off a remote server attached to some bigwig streaming service: the source file is exactly identical when it hits the DA converter. 

    There is no difference — neither theoretical nor technical — between sending a lossless file to your stereo from your internal SSD or from the download buffer of a lossless streaming service. 
    If I misunderstood what was meant by streaming, I’m sorry about that, though it’s still very much the case that the entire process of converting digital data into analogue waveforms that we can take in via our hearing has to be considered when comparing different compression processes. Even if there is a difference between formats that someone could discern by listening, that difference can only be discerned if the system used to generate the analogue sounds we hear can properly present the sound that is coded in the first place. There is no denying that the differences are not so obvious that it should be easy for anyone to pick them out. Yet that means that details matter. A proper comparison is not easy to carry out and doing one haphazardly might be fine for any particular individual’s needs but it is problematic as a clear answer to which format is superior, however subtle the difference. 
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