Apple Music announces Lossless Audio, Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 73
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,396member
    lkrupp said:
    saarek said:
    It's a shame that the spacial seems to be Apple hardware specific. I'm sure other headphones that support Dolby Atmos could easily do it too if allowed.
    Well, for some, anything Apple does, says, or produces is a shame, a disappointment, behind the curve, too late, etc.

    Yep, for others, you for example, Apple can seemingly do no wrong and is perfection exemplified. I'm an Apple customer, the same as you. Heck, I might even spend far more on Apple products than you do. I'll also call Apple out when I think it is warranted and am happy to stand corrected if contrary information comes to light.
    elijahgMplsPronnasdasd
  • Reply 42 of 73
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,205member
    Really pleased to hear lossless audio and Atmos Support is coming to Apple Music - but without a way to get it on your hifi, amp, or receiver natively - like Spotify connect does, then Apple Music is always going to be on the back foot. Airplay is not a solution for getting Lossless audio on your AMP as it won't be lossless anymore.
    Apple TV’s Music app, HDMI to receiver. 
    edited May 2021 williamlondonpscooter63AppleZuluronn
  • Reply 43 of 73
    CarmBCarmB Posts: 57member
    bonobob said:
    My ancient ears don’t really care about lossless audio.  They just aren’t capable of hearing the difference anymore.  Dolby Atmos, on the other hand, should be noticeable and much appreciated, especially when listening via Apple TV and my surround system. 
    Don’t be so sure about that. There is a misconception that it’s about frequency range but it’s more complicated. If you’re ancient ears have a reduced ability to discern detail in sound, that’s one thing but if it’s the usual, namely losing the ability to pick up higher frequencies - myself, I can’t really hear anything above 13k hz - then a better grade of sound file still matters. It’s less about how high can you go and more about the quality within the range you are capable of picking up. Not saying the difference is so clear as to be undeniable but I would not assume that being older means it’s off the table to get something out of a higher quality audio format. 
    MacProroundaboutnowtenthousandthingsbaconstangronn
  • Reply 44 of 73
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 610member
    AppleZulu said:
    zimmie said:
    I'm extremely curious about the spatial audio versions. From the statement, it sounds like they're working with a whole separate sample track per channel, so music needs to be specifically remixed for it. Kind of like SACD or DVD-Audio.

    Lots of songs dating back to the 80s are mixed as four or five channels, then encoded down to two with Dolby Pro Logic during mastering. An appropriate decoder unfolds the encoded audio back to four or five separate channels. If they gave AirPods Pro and Max the ability to decode Pro Logic, that would open up spatial audio to a bunch of existing media, including a lot already on Apple Music.
    Seems unlikely. Studios and artists are going to want surround versions of their music to be mixed for that purpose, not reverse-engineered back up the chain. Mastering is the last step, is done by professionals, and is what makes a recording sound great, rather than just good or amateurish. Even if it were possible to automatically reach back to separate out tracks that existed prior to the stereo mastering, it wouldn't sound right, as no one ever intended that to be the final product. Apple Music's surround content will have been mixed and mastered for that purpose, not automatically tinkered with to simulate something never intended. 
    Yes, I'm aware mastering is the last step. That's why I said that's where they take it from the four or five channels of the mix down to two. Look into Pro Logic. It's an intentional choice mastering studios make which lets a track sound good in stereo while still containing positional information which receivers can decode for surround. Specifically, it involves phase shifting the signals for the different channels such that when shifted back and combined at certain ratios built into the standard, they reinforce each other or cancel each other out.

    Matrix encoding of quadraphonic sound down to stereo media, then decoding for quadraphonic playback has been around since the 60s. It's not a way to "simulate something never intended", it's an explicit intent by the mastering studio.

    CarmB said:
    bonobob said:
    My ancient ears don’t really care about lossless audio.  They just aren’t capable of hearing the difference anymore.  Dolby Atmos, on the other hand, should be noticeable and much appreciated, especially when listening via Apple TV and my surround system. 
    Don’t be so sure about that. There is a misconception that it’s about frequency range but it’s more complicated. If you’re ancient ears have a reduced ability to discern detail in sound, that’s one thing but if it’s the usual, namely losing the ability to pick up higher frequencies - myself, I can’t really hear anything above 13k hz - then a better grade of sound file still matters. It’s less about how high can you go and more about the quality within the range you are capable of picking up. Not saying the difference is so clear as to be undeniable but I would not assume that being older means it’s off the table to get something out of a higher quality audio format. 
    To the best of my knowledge, nobody has demonstrated the ability to differentiate between 256-kbit AAC and lossless audio in ABX testing when the sources are sample-synchronized and controlled for volume. I don't pay too much attention to audio specifically, so someone may have managed it since I last checked.

    44.1 kHz sample rate can perfectly reproduce any signal up to 22.05 kHz, and 16 bits can perfectly reproduce any sound quieter than a chainsaw a meter from your head.
    edited May 2021 tenthousandthingsMplsP
  • Reply 45 of 73
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 434member
    sflagel said:
    It does not say anywhere that Atmos Music will be available on HomePods, AirPlaying won't solve this. It is SOOOO weird, since Lossless + Atmos + HomePod would have been close to the ultimate home music listening experience.
    Not even close to the ultimate anything. Lossless on a HomePod is of little to know value.
    williamlondonbaconstang
  • Reply 46 of 73
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,060member
    Apple recently introduced an app on the iPhone that can be used to color balance your Apple TV. It would be nice if Apple could also introduce an app for the iPhone that could test your ear's audio frequency reception and modify the AirPods Pro (and AirPods Max) output to change the frequencies of the sound so that older people could hear the music in the frequency that they can hear without having to use a hearing aid to perform the sound frequency shifting.

    I missed my calling.

  • Reply 47 of 73
    CloudTalkinCloudTalkin Posts: 907member
    PSA on Lossless. https://www.t3.com/news/airpods-max-and-airpods-pro-dont-support-apple-music-lossless-apple-confirms

    If the article is to be believed, there will  be some disappointed fans.  The article claims Apple confirmed AirPods Pro and Max don't support lossless since they only support BT AAC codec.  It seems lossless will require some sort of wired hardware.  

    Silver lining possible though.  In theory, an external DAC connected to AirPods Max via lightning-to-lightning or lightning-to-usb-c cable could possibly work.  IDK.  I think lossless is a niche feature that won't affect many people anyway.  Either way, lossless seems like it could be a non-starter for wireless Apple headphones.
  • Reply 49 of 73
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 662member
    jimh2 said:
    sflagel said:
    It does not say anywhere that Atmos Music will be available on HomePods, AirPlaying won't solve this. It is SOOOO weird, since Lossless + Atmos + HomePod would have been close to the ultimate home music listening experience.
    Not even close to the ultimate anything. Lossless on a HomePod is of little to know value.
    Not on its own, no. But in combination with Atmos (which you won't get on other speakers) and the convenience of accessing Apple Music directly, it may well be.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 50 of 73
    Seems like it’s just an attack on Spotify they discontinued their Hi-Fi speaker and lossless isn’t available over any current AirPods 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 51 of 73
    ajbecker8ajbecker8 Posts: 11member
    As an Amazon Music subscriber I would like to thank Apple for doing this at no cost, forcing amazon to do the same. Oh and Amazon Music lossless works just fine with SONOS. Happy Monday.
  • Reply 52 of 73
    williamlondonwilliamlondon Posts: 1,115member
    Seems like it’s just an attack on Spotify they discontinued their Hi-Fi speaker and lossless isn’t available over any current AirPods 
    Yes, I'm sure that's on their minds with all their decisions. [rolls eyes]

    Damn those Apple execs for their creating *more* value for their customers, damn them to hell!
  • Reply 53 of 73
    CarmBCarmB Posts: 57member
    zimmie said:


    CarmB said:
    bonobob said:
    My ancient ears don’t really care about lossless audio.  They just aren’t capable of hearing the difference anymore.  Dolby Atmos, on the other hand, should be noticeable and much appreciated, especially when listening via Apple TV and my surround system. 
    Don’t be so sure about that. There is a misconception that it’s about frequency range but it’s more complicated. If you’re ancient ears have a reduced ability to discern detail in sound, that’s one thing but if it’s the usual, namely losing the ability to pick up higher frequencies - myself, I can’t really hear anything above 13k hz - then a better grade of sound file still matters. It’s less about how high can you go and more about the quality within the range you are capable of picking up. Not saying the difference is so clear as to be undeniable but I would not assume that being older means it’s off the table to get something out of a higher quality audio format. 
    To the best of my knowledge, nobody has demonstrated the ability to differentiate between 256-kbit AAC and lossless audio in ABX testing when the sources are sample-synchronized and controlled for volume. I don't pay too much attention to audio specifically, so someone may have managed it since I last checked.

    44.1 kHz sample rate can perfectly reproduce any signal up to 22.05 kHz, and 16 bits can perfectly reproduce any sound quieter than a chainsaw a meter from your head.




    There is a difference between if going to a higher sampling rate than 44.1 kHz and a higher bit rate than 16 bits yields a worthwhile upgrade and if there is a gain in upgrading from a 256-kbit lossy file to a higher bitrate lossless format. Heavily compressed lossy files cannot hope to convincingly recreate the analog original even when fed into a decent Digital to Analog Converter. Doing less compressing, certainly gives you a better chance. It is, though, questionable if 44.1 kHz/16 bit is not good enough to get a result that is perfectly fine for human consumption. It’s the heavy compression that is a step too far, in my view, to accommodate convenient file sizes. I’m a lot less concerned about the decision way back when to opt for the 44.1 kHz/16-bit standard. As DAC tech improved in the decades after CDs were launched, the results using decent equipment became quite convincing. Way back in 2003 I picked up an Arcam FMJ CD23 CD player and to this day I enjoy using it (sat for a while so it’s still working fine). Engineers have been quite effective at extracting quality results from plain old Redbook CDs, though it took a few years to get there. Sadly by the time they had it sorted out, many consumers were less interested in sound quality and more anxious for the convenience of stuffing thousands of songs in their pockets. It became more about good-enough reproduction rather than the best possible. Fine for casual use but disappointing for those who are more interested in as close a proximity to the original performance as possible. 

    baconstang
  • Reply 54 of 73
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,396member
    ajbecker8 said:
    As an Amazon Music subscriber I would like to thank Apple for doing this at no cost, forcing amazon to do the same. Oh and Amazon Music lossless works just fine with SONOS. Happy Monday.
    Having tried both Amazon and Tidal premium formats recently, I can say unequivocally that the implementation and UI for both is terrible. Amazon Music's app on AppleTV 4K won't send Atmos content to the attached Atmos-capable receiver. Tidal will (as will Amazon Prime Video). So Amazon ostensibly has Atmos music content, but you can't actually listen to it.

    Tidal, on the other hand, will play Atmos content via ATV and capable receiver, but they bury that content in their App so you can only find some of it. They had a selection of thirty or so featured albums in Atmos, but as they added new ones to the list, the old ones would drop off. They also had featured playlists of Atmos content which could provide some hints of some more Albums that might be available in that format, but it was a blind hit-or-miss proposition. Not a big deal. Just search it up, right? Wrong. There is no searching Tidal for albums or songs available Atmos, and a search for any given album by name that you think might be available in Atmos could yield several listings for the album, with no way to tell which is which without looking at each, one at a time. One version might be standard lossy, another stereo lossless, and a third, HiFi Dolby Atmos.

    A for-instance example of Tidal's mess was the release of the John Lennon "Gimme Some Truth" compilation set, which was mixed in Atmos. One of the songs from it turned up in a featured Atmos playlist, but the Album was not among the featured Albums. Searching up the entire album yielded the multiple listings described above. It was there, but you had to inuit or know from somewhere else to look for it, and even then, it was an exercise in archaeology to turn it up.

    It really is befuddling how a music app could be so poorly designed. Lossless and Atmos content is (was) the entire selling point for why someone would consider subscribing to that service. One of the most audiophile-oriented setups for a consumer who would be willing to pay Tidal's premium for that content would be an ATV4K linked via HDMI to an Atmos-capable receiver. Same goes for Amazon's premium music format. So Tidal buries that content in their app, and Amazon won't send Atmos content to that receiver at all (via ATV or any other service), instead restricting its Dolby Atmos content to playback on their Echo Studio HomePod competitor (a device incapable of creating surround sound by itself).

    Both of those companies got there first and could easily have implemented a premium service that would have effectively jumped ahead of Apple, rendering Apple's service as a weak latecomer. Instead, they made unforced errors and positioned Apple once again as the company that figures out how to make something not only easy and appealing, but ultimately indispensable. They weren't the first, but Apple will be noted in the future as the ones who replaced stereo with surround sound as the music industry standard.
    edited May 2021 williamlondonroundaboutnow
  • Reply 55 of 73
    heli0sheli0s Posts: 59member
    Everyone is up in arms about AirPods, including Max not supporting lossless but the reality is that spacial audio will be FAR easier to hear and appreciate than lossless, even if AirPods Max or HomePod were to support that. Lossless is largely a marketing thing for Apple - they can claim their ENTIRE catalog is lossless, not that they have a "HiFi" or "Ultra" tier that costs more. I'm much more excited about Spacial Audio - if that works as well as on video, it will be transformational. 
    AppleZuluequality72521
  • Reply 56 of 73
    takeotakeo Posts: 440member
    So… Apple has invented CD quality audio and surround sound. Revolutionary 😂
    williamlondon
  • Reply 57 of 73
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,679member
    PSA on Lossless. https://www.t3.com/news/airpods-max-and-airpods-pro-dont-support-apple-music-lossless-apple-confirms

    If the article is to be believed, there will  be some disappointed fans.  The article claims Apple confirmed AirPods Pro and Max don't support lossless since they only support BT AAC codec.  It seems lossless will require some sort of wired hardware.  

    Silver lining possible though.  In theory, an external DAC connected to AirPods Max via lightning-to-lightning or lightning-to-usb-c cable could possibly work.  IDK.  I think lossless is a niche feature that won't affect many people anyway.  Either way, lossless seems like it could be a non-starter for wireless Apple headphones.
    The best bluetooth codecs are not lossless so there’s no way any BT headset can play lossless audio, no matter how expensive (or hyped) they are. I’m guessing the AirPods Maxes will do a fine job with the Dolby Atmos, though, and for most that will be more important anyway. 
  • Reply 58 of 73
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,679member

    takeo said:
    So… Apple has invented CD quality audio and surround sound. Revolutionary 😂
    No one claimed they invented CD quality audio or surround sound or that streaming lossless audio was revolutionary. They have just made it possible to stream both, which is a welcome step forward for many people. 
    MacProwilliamlondonequality72521
  • Reply 59 of 73
    PSA on Lossless. https://www.t3.com/news/airpods-max-and-airpods-pro-dont-support-apple-music-lossless-apple-confirms

    If the article is to be believed, there will  be some disappointed fans.  The article claims Apple confirmed AirPods Pro and Max don't support lossless since they only support BT AAC codec.  It seems lossless will require some sort of wired hardware.  

    Silver lining possible though.  In theory, an external DAC connected to AirPods Max via lightning-to-lightning or lightning-to-usb-c cable could possibly work.  IDK.  I think lossless is a niche feature that won't affect many people anyway.  Either way, lossless seems like it could be a non-starter for wireless Apple headphones.
    Yep, no BT device, Apple or other, supports lossless (at least not yet). Thankfully, all the headphones powered by Apple's H1 or W1 wireless chips will support Dolby Atmos "Spatial Audio" which will probably be a more sonically noticeable effect for more people.

    It would be interesting if your ideas involving a cable would work, but if a cable connection is acceptable, I see no reason why this lightning to 3.5mm cable wouldn't work for lossless playback on AirPods Max: https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MXK22AM/A/lightning-to-35-mm-audio-cable-12m-white

    Then there is WiFi based Airplay, which supports a lossless format (though without support of the higher sample rates). I'm not sure what challenges might exist (battery life?), but perhaps now is the time that headphones with an Airplay connection option (in addition to BT) can be produced.
    edited May 2021
  • Reply 60 of 73
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,396member
    heli0s said:
    Everyone is up in arms about AirPods, including Max not supporting lossless but the reality is that spacial audio will be FAR easier to hear and appreciate than lossless, even if AirPods Max or HomePod were to support that. Lossless is largely a marketing thing for Apple - they can claim their ENTIRE catalog is lossless, not that they have a "HiFi" or "Ultra" tier that costs more. I'm much more excited about Spacial Audio - if that works as well as on video, it will be transformational. 
    Exactly. This is going to be huge.
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