The big update of Apple Music is coming.
By June 2021, Apple Music will usher in Dolby Atmos sound. This sound effect similar to the Sony 360RA allows users to hear the feeling of "spatial audio" in the video while listening to the song, which is as real as if you are standing in front of the band and listening to the performance.
More importantly, the Dolby Atmos sound effect is very close to the people this time. At present, most of the iPhones in service on the market and the entire line of AirPods series products support this sound effect. Therefore, as long as you are a user of iPhone, AirPods and Apple Music Family Bucket, there is basically no problem with using Dolby Atmos.
Moreover, there is no need to add money.
You know, Sony’s 360RA has to be paid separately.
It’s just that only 10% of my music library is live songs. I don’t usually go to the Live House to watch performances. I have also experienced 360RA before. The support for Dolby Atmos is actually not cold.
On the contrary, I already have a complete set of Hi-Res listening equipment in my hands. In fact, I am looking forward to another update of Apple Music-"lossless".
Apple said in the release of the Apple Music update that the latest version of Apple Music will support Apple Digital Master digital mastering audio and Lossless lossless audio. The highest specifications can achieve 24bit 192kHz Hi-Res Audio lossless audio playback. This is indeed good news for those who pursue high-quality audio.
If you are also interested in the lossless audio of Apple Music, then we will follow this big update this time and take a look:
- What are the lossless formats provided by Apple this time?
- What equipment can use Apple Music losslessly?
- Can only AirPods be able to listen without loss?
What are the lossless formats provided by Apple this time?
According to the information provided by Apple , Apple Music will provide lossless audio up to 48kHz and high-resolution lossless audio from 48kHz to 192kHz.
Among them, the CDs we used to listen to, except for a small part are SACD, most of which are 16bit 44.1kHz.
And now we can find "Hi-Res Audio high-resolution lossless audio" in music services, most of which are based on 24bit 48kHz, 24bit 96kHz, and some of the higher specifications can reach 24bit 192kHz.
So what do these specifications represent?
44.1kHz, 48kHz and 96kHz, 192kHz These are the audio sampling rates, which refer to how many analog signals are sampled per unit time. The higher the sampling frequency, the more realistic and natural the mechanical wave is.
The 16bit and 24bit parameters represent the bit depth and describe the number of bits used by a certain object. With each additional bit, the probability of meaning you get will double. For example, if you already have a 16-bit audio processing device, then you will have 65,536 scale possibilities, and 24-bit hardware will be able to provide 16,777,216 different scales.
Simply put, the higher the bit depth, the greater the amount of information in the song file .
After understanding these two specifications, let's take a look at the Hi-Res Audio high-resolution lossless audio source.
According to the definition given by Sony when it put forward Hi-Res Audio, the amount of sound information exceeds the sound quality of the music format of CD, that is, the sampling rate is greater than 44.1kHz and the bit depth is greater than 16bit. Audio that meets this specification is Hi-Res Audio high-interpretation lossless audio .
From Apple's official information, it can be known that the Hi-Res Audio used by Apple Music is also implemented through Apple Lossless. Just like FLAC whose specifications have been upgraded to Hi-Res Audio, the format has not changed, but the specifications have increased.
Yes, Apple has introduced the lossless format Apple Lossless ALAC a long time ago.
If you have used iPod products in the early days, you will know that if you import a CD into iTunes, you can set the import lossless format in iTunes, and the format imported from the CD is ALAC.
It is worth mentioning that ALAC also supports the lossless Hi-Res Audio specification. As long as you import iTunes in the form of .wav, and then transcode and output ALAC through iTunes.
However, many non-smart iPods such as the iPod Classic at that time did not support playback of this specification, so even if you can add Hi-Res specification lossless audio to iTunes, there is no way to import it to the device.
It can be seen that Apple's losslessness was actually a matter of many years ago. It may have been due to restrictions on network transmission, music resources, etc., the lossless format has not been put on Apple Music before.
Now that the resources for network support and recording resources are in place, and the infrastructure such as equipment support is also complete, the introduction of lossless services has become a new trend.
TIDAL, MOOV, KKBOX, QQ Music, Sony, etc. have already launched lossless and high-interpretation lossless audio services. Old rival Spotify also announced this year that it will launch Spotify Hi-Fi lossless audio services. Apple Music should keep up. It is also a necessity.
How can it sound lossless
In terms of operation, it is actually very simple to turn on the lossless mode of Apple Music.
If you update your Apple device to iOS 14.6, iPadOS 14.6 and macOS 11.4, you can see whether the song will be available in a lossless version in the album interface of Apple Music in the system version.
The official said that the lossless audio function will not be released to users until June. At that time, you can turn on the "Audio Quality" in the "Music" in the settings, and then turn on the "Enable Lossless Audio" in the settings. All you have to do is to check which audio supports lossless.
However, just waiting for the service to open and Apple Music subscription is not enough.
The entire line of AirPods launched now does not support wireless playback of lossless audio, and iOS and iPadOS devices cannot achieve lossless playback through Bluetooth connection.
▲ Corresponding parameters of various Bluetooth transmission codes. Picture from: MAJORHiFi
The reason is simple, that is, the AAC encoding currently used by Apple does not support lossless transmission. If Apple doesn't introduce new transmission codes, or support LDAC, aptX HD and other codes that support lossless transmission, otherwise it would be unrealistic to use wireless lossless for current devices.
There are also solutions. If you want to listen to the lossless audio of Apple Music as soon as possible , you can use a cable -use a decoding amp that supports Hi-Res Audio high-interpretation lossless audio, and connect it to a qualified iPhone or iPad in a wired form. Lossless audio playback can be achieved through this decoding amp.
There are many products of this kind on the market now, from "little tail" to "big brick", products with different specifications, different interfaces, different configurations and different prices are available. You can choose the one that suits your needs according to your needs. product.
If you are like me and have a certain amount of earphone reserve and amp reserve before, now is the time to make them work.
In addition to iOS, iPadOS and macOS devices, Apple also stated that lossless audio will be decentralized to the Android version of Apple Music, which is also good news for a large number of players equipped with Android systems.
However, Apple has not yet given a clear update time, and the latest Android version can not check lossless audio support. It is still unknown whether it will launch lossless audio synchronously with other versions.
What else needs attention
In general, the lossless upgrade of Apple Music is indeed a very good thing.
Although Apple does not think this is a major and flagship function, the threshold for using the device is slightly higher than that of Dolby Atmos. Users also need to purchase another device and return to the wired mode in a short time to use it. There is indeed That's not convenient.
But for users who pursue sound quality and sense of hearing, this upgrade undoubtedly further enhances the attractiveness and cost-effectiveness of Apple Music.
You know, it provides the same specifications, and the music library is relatively specialized Sony selection. It costs 99 yuan a month and 998 yuan a year. If it is paired with a 360RA similar to Dolby Atmos, the annual cost can be as high as 1288. yuan.
Services such as TIDAL, MOOV, and KKBOX mentioned earlier, including the forthcoming lossless Spotify, although these are cheaper than Sony, they are also much more expensive than Apple Music in the country. In addition, there are problems such as inconvenience of payment and large network restrictions.
In addition, domestic music platforms such as QQ Music, NetEase Cloud, and Kuwo actually also provide lossless music. However, there are not many services that provide Hi-Res Audio specifications, and music copyrights are scattered, so it is not realistic to require one service to include all songs.
More importantly, they are not as cheap as 10-15 yuan a month Apple Music.
Therefore, if you want to listen to it losslessly, Apple Music is considered to be a lower cost and a wider range of services. If the Android version of Apple Music also opens up this feature in the future, whether you are a wired or wireless user, and no matter which device camp you are from, Apple Music will be a cost-effective choice.
Finally, I will make a few simple QA supplements for users who have not been in contact with Hi-Res Audio before:
1. Will Apple Music replace all music libraries with lossless and Hi-Res lossless?
According to Apple's official update announcement, there are currently 20 million songs worldwide that will have lossless audio options, and by the end of the year there will be 75 million songs that will provide lossless audio options.
▲ From left to right: Lossless or high-definition lossless albums are provided | No lossless or high-resolution lossless albums have been released | High-definition lossless albums have been released, but Apple Music has not yet released albums
Before the official launch of the service, we also searched for some tracks on Apple Music and found that some tracks have added the lossless audio logo, and some have added the high-resolution lossless audio logo. The version provided by Apple Music is also basically and The specifications on the market are similar.
And some songs that have not provided high-resolution audio on the market (including those that only require high-resolution by upscaling and other means), Apple Music does not provide a high-resolution version here. This is believed to be related to the version provided by the record company.
As for some high-resolution audio already available on the market, Apple Music has not yet released high-resolution versions of old tracks, and may stay in the wave of updates at the end of the year.
2. Is it necessary to connect an external high-resolution amp to achieve high-resolution audio playback?
Yes, as we mentioned in related reports before, the Hi-Res Audio experience is actually a closed loop. Only after players, amps, earphones and other devices in the playback link support Hi-Res Audio, can the full strength of Hi-Res Audio be demonstrated. In this case, Hi-Res Audio amp is naturally the first choice.
Although, it is not a device that has not passed the Hi-Res Audio "Small Gold Label" certification, and it cannot play Hi-Res audio. But there are a lot of uncertainties, and there are still a certain amount of old equipment, so it is recommended that inexperienced users follow the certification when purchasing new equipment.
After all, now Hi-Res small gold label is very common, from entry to flagship products will basically have this certification, so you basically don't need to worry about this.
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