Apple Music: What to know about Lossless and Spatial Audio

Apple Music Apple lossless spatial audio Dolby Atmos

Apple has announced Apple Music will soon introduce spatial and lossless audio features for its subscribers at no extra cost.

The new audio types offer two different experiences — lossless audio delivers a higher quality file format that preserves the data of the original audio file, while spatial audio mimics a 3D environment.

The company has marketed the upgrade to Apple Music as a major milestone for both listeners and creators.

The Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio features will be available to Apple Music subscribers in June 2021 at no extra cost.

Here’s what to know about the new features…

Spatial Audio on Apple Music

Apple Music’s Spatial Audio is supported by Dolby Atmos. The feature lets artists mix music so it sounds like it’s coming from all directions.

“Apple Music is making its biggest advancement ever in sound quality,” Apple’s VP of Apple Music and Beats, Olivier Schusser, said in a statement.

“Listening to a song in Dolby Atmos is like magic. The music comes from all around you and sounds incredible.”

Apple Music will play Dolby Atmos tracks by default if users are listening via the built-in speakers of the latest versions of the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. They will also play if you’re listening via AirPods and Beats headphones that are using H1 or W1 chips.

Apple said that upon launch, there will be thousand of Dolby Atmos songs available to listen to. The company will also be pushing to release new major albums and singles in Spatial Audio.

It hopes the feature will also inspire creators to experiment with different sounds and experiences for listeners.

However, it also has applications to current types of audio experiences such as live concerts and orchestras. Spatial Audio can enhance the feeling of being present at a live performance.

Lossless Audio: Hear it like it is

Meanwhile, Lossless Audio provides a high-fidelity file format for enhanced sound quality. Apple has developed its own codec called ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) to deliver Lossless Audio.

Rather than applying to certain songs or new releases, Lossless Audio will be available for all 75 million songs in the Apple Music catalogue.

To listen to Lossless Audio, users can select the Audio Quality options in Apple Music’s settings.

There, users can choose lossless levels from CD-quality audio (16 bit ay 44.1 kHz) up to Hi-Resolution Lossless (24 bit at 192 kHz). However, Apple notes that high-resolution lossless is generally for the most stringent of audiophiles. It also requires a USB digital-to-analog converter (DAC).

You should also take note that choosing higher quality audio will also result in more data use — so save it for when you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

Feature image: Unsplash/Daniel Cañibano

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