Apple Music announces Lossless Audio, Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos

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Comments

  • Reply 61 of 73
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,378member
    takeo said:
    So… Apple has invented CD quality audio and surround sound. Revolutionary ߘ⦬t;/div>
    Disney created stereo in 1940 for the film Fantasia. They had to install special sound systems to play that in a select few theaters. It wasn't until the 1950s and 1960s when stereo LPs and 45s hit the market along with FM radio and affordable playback equipment that stereo became the standard for recorded music. That was revolutionary.

    No, Apple didn't invent surround sound. They have, however, already put surround sound capable playback devices in the pockets of millions of consumers, and millions also already have an Apple Music subscription. When they turn this feature on in a few weeks, surround sound and spatial audio playback of music will instantly go from an audiophile niche product to mainstream. In a few years, kids who grow up with this as a given will look at us like cave people, just as we looked at previous generations who listened to 78s and AM radio. This will be an inflection point in the history of recorded music.
    edited May 2021 MacProwilliamlondonequality72521
  • Reply 62 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.
    I think Apple has subsequently confirmed a simple wired connection wouldn't work for lossless with APMax.  My suggestion (borrowed from others elsewhere) includes an external DAC as well as the wired connection.  Maybe that would work.  DK.
  • Reply 63 of 73
    kfury77 said:
    The new Apple Music Lossless quality is available to existing subscribers as an add-on to their current plan. Lossless costs an extra $9.99 per month for each user, the same as the base individual monthly subscription price.

    Where did you get that information from? 

    I think that’s an error in the article. It is a free upgrade according to Apple. 
    Detritus left over from something else. Edited out. Thanks to those who politely pointed it out.

    Happens with breaking news, sometimes.

    Nifty-Nifty News 50! When a story breaks, we give you the pieces! (ref: https://archives.sluggy.com/book.php?chapter=4#1998-03-16)
  • Reply 64 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.
    I think Apple has subsequently confirmed a simple wired connection wouldn't work for lossless with APMax.  My suggestion (borrowed from others elsewhere) includes an external DAC as well as the wired connection.  Maybe that would work.  DK.
    I get that the wired suggestions you mentioned involved an external DAC. I guess we'll see about that one.

    Where did you hear that the adapter won't work? It would be a bummer if whatever is in that $35 Apple adapter cable (which is bidirectional) is what is stopping the APMax from playing back lossless from an analog output source.  I understand the internal DACs on Macs these days are fairly good, so a quality analog audio output from a Mac playing back lossless files is possible.

    We have a similar situation for iPhone/iPad playback. Would Apple's $9 lightning to 3.5mm socket adapter's DAC prevent wired analog headphones from getting the benefit of lossless? (I would hope lightning headphones would have better DACs so would be better, but not that many of these around).

    BTW, Spatial Audio can work via analog outputs too, as long as playback system supports it.
    edited May 2021
  • Reply 65 of 73
    It will be funny when people claim they hear a difference in sound quality through their mediocre AirPod/AirPod Max products.  Bluetooth is compressed audio through a specific protocol.  You are not going to get high quality music through Bluetooth.  Never have.  A wired connection with a good DAC is required.

    Second, the HomePod is not an example of high quality audio.  Why?  Apple prohibits the user from any tone control.  Not even simple bass or treble is allowed.  Still can't figure out why Apple does not allow this when iTunes 2.0 had a user-adjustable EQ.  The HomePod is a boomy mess.  It never sold well and it was never sold out, which is why Apple killed the product.

    Maybe AppleTV through HDMI to a Dolby Atmos receiver might be the only solution available to actually listen to Apple Lossless and the small amount of Dolby Atmos files.

    Meanwhile, Amazon Music just upgraded all their users to Amazon Music HD at no extra cost, available today.  What is Apple waiting for?

    Finally, iTunes Match does not apply (it would be awesome if it did!).  The lossless files are only available from Apple Music.  You'll have to continue to rip your own lossless files from CD.
    danoxwilliamlondon
  • Reply 66 of 73
    danoxdanox Posts: 963member
    The Apple HomePod not having the option of using wired connections ends that….. just an Old Dude…..:)
    edited May 2021 williamlondon
  • Reply 67 of 73
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 652member
    If none of the existing Apple speakers or headphones support Apple’s new lossless audit, then I must assume something is in the works. 
  • Reply 68 of 73
    It will be funny when people claim they hear a difference in sound quality through their mediocre AirPod/AirPod Max products.  Bluetooth is compressed audio through a specific protocol.  You are not going to get high quality music through Bluetooth.  Never have.  A wired connection with a good DAC is required.

    Second, the HomePod is not an example of high quality audio.  Why?  Apple prohibits the user from any tone control.  Not even simple bass or treble is allowed.  Still can't figure out why Apple does not allow this when iTunes 2.0 had a user-adjustable EQ.  The HomePod is a boomy mess.  It never sold well and it was never sold out, which is why Apple killed the product.

    Maybe AppleTV through HDMI to a Dolby Atmos receiver might be the only solution available to actually listen to Apple Lossless and the small amount of Dolby Atmos files.

    Meanwhile, Amazon Music just upgraded all their users to Amazon Music HD at no extra cost, available today.  What is Apple waiting for?

    Finally, iTunes Match does not apply (it would be awesome if it did!).  The lossless files are only available from Apple Music.  You'll have to continue to rip your own lossless files from CD.
    Wouldn’t there still be a difference as the source file is a better quality? Would a lossy file be “reprocessed” and thus potentially lose more quality, sorta like re-saving a jpeg as a new jpeg?

    There are some lossy recordings I played on my AirPods Max that sounded muddy. Playing the lossless files sounded cleaner to me.
    edited May 2021
  • Reply 69 of 73
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,250member
    This is largely about Apple gaining some technical street cred against competitors who already have high bitrate streaming. To advertise it as being transformative from a “music quality” perspective would be like selling snake oil. They can claim measurable improvements in the sound reproduction quality as a measure of the playback precision compared to what was intended/established by the producer in the production studio. But even then all the hardware dependency caveats need to be applied. That’s even before you as the listener, with your inherent sound processing limitations, which is a huge part, 50% in fact, of the sound equation, are factored into the sound equation.  

    For people whose attachment to music starts with their personal, emotional, and highly subjective reaction to the musicality of the production, the sound quality, or precision, is not really a big deal. A musical production/song is either on-target with you, or not. If it is not on-target, the precision of the production matters not at all. It’s not like hearing a song that you don’t relate to at all rendered with some fancy new spatial  processing algorithm is going to change your opinion about the song. Being accurate, i.e., on target, is more important than being precise.

    That’s my take on this based on my personal relationship with music. I’d rather listen to songs that move me coming from a mono speaker on a cheap-ass AM radio, or Echo Dot, than listening to, or being audibly assaulted by, music I dislike or that I am neutral to, coming from an infinite bitrate reproduction system synthesized to appear like it’s coming at me in 16 different dimensions.

    I’m not discounting at all that there are people whose personal interpretation of musicality is heavily influenced by the precision, sound quality, or presentation of the sound, even if it doesn’t resemble anything you’d hear in real life presented in real time. Sound quality is measurable and objective and Apple can hang their hat on what they’ve been able to achieve at a technical level. That’s fine, and especially so because they are giving it away. But if they weren’t, I wouldn’t be buying it because it’s simply not a big deal for me. Giving it away also saves a lot of people from the challenge of having to rationalize paying for something that they have a hard time convincing themselves is actually improving their personal enjoyment of the music they love.
    edited May 2021 polymnia
  • Reply 70 of 73
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,037member
    Half the comments on YouTube are people saying they’re switching to Apple Music. The like to dislike ratio on the announcement video is insane! About 2.8k to 9!! That’s the highest like ratio I’ve ever seen!!




    This is bigger than I imagined.
  • Reply 71 of 73
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 1,283member
    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 Music on the Appletv 4k via HDMI connected directly to your receiver or amp? Both the 5th gen ATV 4k and the newest models list ALAC, FLAC and Dolby Atmos under compatible audio codecs.

    You could also load the Lossless files to a compatible IOS device and use a lightning to 3.5mm cable to connect to a non HDMI device for playback.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 72 of 73
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 652member
    I don't quite get it. I can download and even stream Lossless audio files to my iPhone, but none of the headphones or speakers are able to reproduce Lossless. So how do I get the lossless music from the iPhone to speakers and into my ears? Do non-Apple Airplay speakers play lossless music? I apologize for my ignorance.
    edited May 2021
  • Reply 73 of 73
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 1,062member
    dewme said:
    This is largely about Apple gaining some technical street cred against competitors who already have high bitrate streaming. To advertise it as being transformative from a “music quality” perspective would be like selling snake oil. They can claim measurable improvements in the sound reproduction quality as a measure of the playback precision compared to what was intended/established by the producer in the production studio. But even then all the hardware dependency caveats need to be applied. That’s even before you as the listener, with your inherent sound processing limitations, which is a huge part, 50% in fact, of the sound equation, are factored into the sound equation.  

    For people whose attachment to music starts with their personal, emotional, and highly subjective reaction to the musicality of the production, the sound quality, or precision, is not really a big deal. A musical production/song is either on-target with you, or not. If it is not on-target, the precision of the production matters not at all. It’s not like hearing a song that you don’t relate to at all rendered with some fancy new spatial  processing algorithm is going to change your opinion about the song. Being accurate, i.e., on target, is more important than being precise.

    That’s my take on this based on my personal relationship with music. I’d rather listen to songs that move me coming from a mono speaker on a cheap-ass AM radio, or Echo Dot, than listening to, or being audibly assaulted by, music I dislike or that I am neutral to, coming from an infinite bitrate reproduction system synthesized to appear like it’s coming at me in 16 different dimensions.

    I’m not discounting at all that there are people whose personal interpretation of musicality is heavily influenced by the precision, sound quality, or presentation of the sound, even if it doesn’t resemble anything you’d hear in real life presented in real time. Sound quality is measurable and objective and Apple can hang their hat on what they’ve been able to achieve at a technical level. That’s fine, and especially so because they are giving it away. But if they weren’t, I wouldn’t be buying it because it’s simply not a big deal for me. Giving it away also saves a lot of people from the challenge of having to rationalize paying for something that they have a hard time convincing themselves is actually improving their personal enjoyment of the music they love.
    Thoughtful and realistic. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing if there is any nuance in my favorite music that the high res stream reveals. I doubt high res would enhance something I want HIGHLY engaged with from the start. 
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