Apple brings lossless audio, spatial audio and Dolby Atmos support to all Apple Music subscribers for free. How does this affect you? The new Apple Music feature will be open to subscribers in June and will be applicable to all Apple Music listeners across devices, platforms and regions. These upgrades will make Apple Music occupy an important position in the streaming media field, and provide users with an important reason to choose Apple Music over competitors such as Spotify and Tidal.

All these new features may confuse you, and you may wonder if you can use them with headphones and other audio equipment you already own. There are many hardware limitations to consider, and some functions only work on a very limited set of devices. Before you rush to make any new purchases or cancel subscriptions to other streaming services, please read on to understand exactly how the new Apple Music features will work and whether you can make the most of them.

What is lossless audio on Apple Music?

The concept of lossless audio or high-resolution music streaming is nothing new. A few services such as Amazon Music HD, Tidal, and Qobuz already provide subscription-based access to audio tracks that are streamed in superior quality to the more efficient but more compressed formats used by services such as Spotify and YouTube Music. So far, Apple Music has been providing music streaming in lower quality but more efficient audio formats. These formats usually attract most users because they consume less data and can be faster even with slower connections To stream.

With these new upgrades, Apple Music will have the option to stream an entire catalog of more than 75 million tracks in lossless audio, allowing more data to be included in the stream, thereby providing more details and processes in the sound of the output device. Of course, Apple Music users can also choose to continue streaming at a higher efficiency level, which is the streaming method recommended by most users.

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Apple has stated that it will use the Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) file format to stream music, which is comparable to other high-resolution audio formats (such as FLAC) used by other streaming audio services. These files will be streamed at 24-bit and 192kHz resolution, which is higher than what Tidal provides. Tidal is Apple Music’s closest competitor in this field, and provides 24-bit and 96kHZ resolution streaming media on its highest “Masters” layer.

There is no official high-resolution high-resolution streaming service in India, so Apple Music’s Lossless Audio level is a welcome feature for Indian listeners, especially audiophiles, who can use high-end equipment such as DAC, advanced analog headphones and earphones. Since Apple Music is officially listed in India, the price is Rs. For $99 a month, access to a huge library of high-resolution audio tracks will bring great benefits to users.

How do spatial audio and Dolby Atmos work?

Apple provides the “spatial audio” function on AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, and requires the use of one of certain iPhone or iPad models. Currently, the Apple TV app supports this feature for certain content, as well as some other streaming services, such as Disney+ and Tidal (for certain tracks). The latest upgrade also brings Spatial Audio support to Apple Music.

This feature allows the use of hardware such as gyroscopes and accelerometers to fix the sound on the source device-that is, even if you rotate your head left and right, the position of the sound will change, giving you The sound is heard again at the exact location.

In addition, Apple Music also supports Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio. It uses sound engineering technology to give the impression of surround sound even if only the left and right channels of a typical headset are used. Tidal can get some tracks of Dolby Atmos Music through Tidal. Apple Music promises to regularly add new Dolby Atmos tracks, and these tracks will not be available when the feature is launched.

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What do you need to enjoy the lossless audio, spatial audio and Dolby Atmos features of Apple Music?

Let’s start with an important factor that anyone interested in the lossless audio layer of Apple Music should know: Bluetooth headsets and headsets do not support high-resolution audio streaming on the iPhone. This means that if you use any wireless earphones or earphones, including AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max, the high-resolution audio tracks on Apple Music won’t sound much different.

All currently available devices (including computers and Android smartphones) will support the lossless audio function of Apple Music. On Android smartphones that support the Qualcomm aptX and LDAC Bluetooth codecs, you might expect more details from the sound. However, the best way to enjoy any high-resolution music is to use good wired settings.

Hi-Fi Headset Universal Headset

This can be almost any quality wired headset or headset, but, of course, the better your settings, the better the sound. As John Darko pointed out in a report, lossless audio streaming on the iPhone will be limited to 24-bit and 48kHz, but if you are using a Mac or Windows computer, you can reach full 24-bit and 192kHz. Resolution. You can connect most wired headphones and earphones to a computer with a 3.5mm headphone jack, or use a Lightning-to-3.5mm headphone jack adapter to connect to an iPhone.

Of course, the best way to enjoy lossless audio is appropriate audiophile settings, and you can buy what you need on a relatively tight budget. You will need a decent digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and a good pair of analog (wired) headphones or earphones. Of course, the settings must be connected to the source device using the Apple Music app, which can be a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

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The “lossless audio” layer on Apple Music may not be suitable for everyone. Most people will be satisfied with the sound quality and efficiency of existing compressed file formats, or may prefer the convenience of Bluetooth for daily listening. However, audiophiles who can use the right equipment, and even budding audiophiles who want to improve the quality of their listening experience, will also like the new features on Apple Music.

Can the new features of Apple Music work with AirPods?

As confirmed by Apple on 9to5Mac, Apple’s “lossless audio” layer will not work via Bluetooth. This is because the Bluetooth codec used to quickly and efficiently transfer data from the source device to the headset cannot carry the amount of data provided by the lossless audio layer, especially on iOS devices that are limited to the AAC Bluetooth codec.

Other reports pointed out that even with a Lightning-to-3.5mm cable, AirPods Max cannot play high-resolution audio files, and other devices such as HomePod mini cannot play either. In summary, Spatial Audio can even be used with AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, and Dolby Atmos can also be used on AirPods and various other wireless headphones.

If you plan to continue using Bluetooth headsets, or don’t really think you are an enthusiast, or don’t plan to invest in equipment such as DACs and high-quality wired headsets, then it is best to stick to Apple’s regular streaming layer music. These will consume much less data for streaming, so you can stream steadily even when the connection speed is slow, and you will still be very satisfied with the sound quality.


Is HomePod mini the best smart speaker under Rs? 10,000? We discussed it on the gadget 360 podcast Orbital. Orbital is available for Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify and wherever you get podcasts.