Understanding Apple Music’s Lossless and Spatial Audio
11th Sep 2022
Apple prides itself on constant innovation. Unsurprisingly, the company is looking to redefine the music listening experience by introducing lossless and spatial audio. The quality of lossless and spatial audio may go largely unnoticed by casual music listeners.
However, these features can drastically improve the music listening experience for artists and musicians. If you’re curious to learn more, this article will explain how lossless and spatial audio elevate your music consumption and how to maximize these free features.
What is Lossless Audio?
Lossless audio is a compressed audio file created through engineering techniques that preserve all loose audio information from the original file. Its primary goal is to make the download and streaming process easier.
Lossless audio’s counterpart is non-lossless audio, also known as lossy. Lossy audio was the norm for music distributors and artists in previous decades. This is due to lossy audio being easy to distribute over the internet when bandwidths and internet connections were slower.
However, the glaring difference between lossy and lossless is that the former eliminates some aspects of the original recording, essentially compromising data fidelity. Lossy audio formats like MP3 are also more widely compatible and will work on most hardware.
While these two audio types also share some similarities, audiophiles and artists have valid reasons for wanting lossless audio. Most keen music listeners prefer lossless audio, as it retains the slightest differences in audio quality and elements found in the original file. Additionally, some collectors and music historians wish to preserve the original recording for archival purposes.
Fortunately, Apple lossless audio functionality is now available for over 75 million songs included in Apple Music’s catalog. If you’re an Apple Music subscriber, you can now enjoy tracks based on how they’re intended to be consumed.
What is Spatial Audio?
Apple also brings spatial audio to Apple Music in partnership with Dolby. Apple Spatial Audio is the company’s immersive 360-degree audio technology. It provides surround sound as the origin points of different sounds reach you from all directions.
The spatial audio functionality aims to heighten your immersion by mirroring the experience of being on stage and hearing the artist live. Apple Music will automatically play songs in spatial audio on all high-end headphones like AirPods and Beats with a W1 or H1 chip and the built-in speakers of the latest Apple products.
With spatial audio’s launch in June 2021, Apple Music subscribers could already enjoy thousands of songs from the world’s top pop, hip-hop, country, classical, and Latin artists. The selection of songs will only grow as Apple continues its efforts to encourage artists and music labels to incorporate Dolby Atmos into new releases and the best catalog tracks.
The initiative will also enable musicians, producers, and audio engineers to create songs in Dolby Atmos form easily.
What Does It Mean for You?
Lossless and spatial audio transform how music is enjoyed by fans and created by artists. The following features are what you can expect from lossless and spatial audio.
1. Access to high-quality audio
Incorporating high-quality lossless and spatial audio bodes well for all Apple Music subscribers. You can now hear every intricate detail of a track that could have been otherwise inaccessible without lossless and spatial audio. These functionalities are now available with no add-on charges required.
2. 3D listening environment
If you’re a big music fan who has invested in high-end speakers and audio devices, you will enjoy lossless and spatial audio. Dolby Atmos was specifically designed to add sounds from above, left and right, and back to deliver more convincing movie sounds.
With the incorporation of Dolby Atmos, playing lossless and spatial audio through your high-end speakers will now provide you with a 3D listening environment. This allows you to feel like you’re in a live venue to enjoy your favorite artist’s music.
3. Discover old music with a new sound
Songs from the past decades were released before the introduction of advanced audio engineering and music streaming. This caused many pieces to lose audio fidelity from their original recordings.
Lossless and spatial audio will now allow you to indulge in decades-old songs and hear them in a new way. These functionalities restore fidelity to old music that may be lost when converting tracks from vinyl to tape, then CD, and eventually digital.
If you’re a musician who wants to recreate older tracks accurately, lossless and spatial audio will allow you to do so. Every guitar strum, drum hit, vocal note, and piano stroke will be more prominent, giving you access to more accurate sounds.
Mighty Fine Music
Apple is once again ahead of the curb when it comes to the ever-changing needs of its consumers. The inclusion of lossless and spatial audio might seem insignificant to the uninitiated. However, music consumption and creation are now more enjoyable on your Apple hardware for audiophiles, budding musicians, and industry veterans thanks to lossless and spatial audio.
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