What is Apple Lossless Audio
What is Apple Lossless Audio

After this numerous leaks and speculations, Apple decided to take the beans and spill them officially announced two major upgrades to its Apple Music service. Apple Lossless Audio and Spatial Audio are the new audio weapons set to challenge Spotify and other platforms that offer high definition audio streaming. The upgrade will be made available to all subscribers in June at no additional charge, and some outstanding questions need to be answered. What is Apple Lossless Audio? Is it better than mp3? Can you hear lossless audio with your AirPods? Read on to find out!

What is lossless audio?

First, let’s lay down some basics without being overly technical. The idea behind sound digitization goes back to the early 19th century when the French mathematician Joseph Fourier developed some mathematical equations that could be used to describe any waveform as a sequence of numbers. Sound is analog in nature and every digital music format is not lossless, at least in theory. Take the sound quality of the compact disc, as it is the widely used standard for lossless audio.

On many CDs you can see something like 16 bit / 44.1 kHz written somewhere. This means that the recording will take “snapshots” of the original audio 44,100 times per second. The 16-bit number only indicates the sound palette that the system can distinguish.

When this information is converted back into sound, it is believed that the human ear cannot distinguish the result from the original. So far, so good. However, music files encoded this way are usually quite large – not convenient for streaming purposes, wireless transmission, etc.

Lossy formats like MP3 remove unnecessary information like silence, frequencies that the human ear just can’t hear, etc. Whether or not you can really hear the difference is more subjective. You can Take this test and see if you can see the lossless sample.

Is Apple Lossless Better Than MP3?

Apple has developed its own lossless audio compression technology called Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) that supports 16-bit / 44.1 kHz (CD quality) and even encoding up to 24-bit / 192 kHz (there are more left while encoding Get information process).

So the answer to that question is “Yes”. On paper, this new ALAC technology is superior to MP3 when it comes to sound information stored in the music file.

Is Apple Lossless as good as FLAC?

FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is another coding technology that has become popular with audiophiles over the past 20 years. It offers sound resolutions from 16 bit / 44.1 kHz to 24 bit / 192 kHz and is therefore very similar to Apple’s lossless format.

However, the algorithms behind Apple Lossless Audio are not as efficient as those used by FLAC, resulting in larger files overall. With that said, the sound quality should be pretty similar, so a different one “Yes” on this.

Can you hear Apple Lossless Audio with AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max?

Surprisingly, the answer to this question is difficult “No”. AirPods use Bluetooth connectivity and unfortunately, Bluetooth cannot meet the power and bandwidth requirements of lossless audio formats.

How can you hear Apple Lossless Audio?

You can losslessly listen to an iPhone or iPad updated to iOS or iPadOS 14.6 by using the built-in speakers or by connecting to wired headphones / speakers. The same goes for your Mac, provided it has been updated to macOS 11.4.

Apple HomePod and HomePod mini will be losslessly supported in a future software update. So if you own one of these, be sure to sit tight.

You can also enjoy Apple Lossless on an Apple TV 4K by connecting it to an AV receiver with an HDMI cable. Just make sure your system is updated to tvOS 14.6.

Another thing worth mentioning is that you need to delete your music files and re-download them from the Apple Music catalog to get them in lossless audio.


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