Music lovers around the world who use Apple Music’s music streaming service are finally able to listen to the audio content broadcast by this platform in high quality. This is a huge achievement because in the past, many music fans avoided subscribing to this streaming service due to the fact that they could not get sound quality music from it.
In June 2021, Apple Music launched High-Resolution Audio at no additional cost compared to the current subscription. It started with 20 million songs, by the end of the year there were almost 75 million.
Apple Music expects to offer subscribers 75 million lossless ALAC audio tracks by the end of the year, a complete catalog of quality up to 24-bit and 192 kHz, which is the dream of every quality-conscious person. The availability of high-res tracks will be the prerogative of the streaming service: the few users who still use services like iTunes Match will not have access to the high-res catalog.
There is another small problem: at the moment, only owners of iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple TV will be able to enjoy audio tracks in maximum quality.
While it’s a cross-platform service that’s also present on Android and devices like Sonos speakers, non-Apple peripherals don’t seem to be interested in it at the moment.
The user can select the desired quality level from the menu, adapting the streaming quality also to the type of connection being used. Apple Music has encoded tracks into multiple profiles, and using the device with wireless headphones will only be able to initially reach 24-bit at 48kHz. Lossless audio tracks will be up to 48kHz, while tracks marked Hi-Res Lossless will be up to 192kHz.
Today, no one offers what Apple Music guarantees its subscribers at this price: Tidal Hi-fi costs 19.90 euros per month for the basic plan and 29.99 euros for the family plan, Spotify announced a Hi-fi version within a year and only Amazon Music seems to be able to compete, also €9.90 for 70 million songs up to 192kHz.
Those who were expecting some kind of codec for Bluetooth that could bring at least 24 bits to 96 kHz will have to calm down: through Bluetooth, the current restrictions imposed by AAC remain. Apple, however, has enabled “Spatial Sound” playback via Dolby Atmos on most headphones.
Thus, users will be able to get high quality sound with virtually no loss at a regular subscription price. But still there is a significant difference between the declared sound quality and the real one.
For example, many Tidal users who compared the sound quality on this music streaming service and Apple Music noted that Tidal is still significantly better in this regard.
If you listen to streaming music with headphones, then you can hardly tell the difference in sound quality. This will require high-end equipment. Only with it will you be able to truly appreciate the new Apple Music music format, which has become available to almost all users of this American music streaming service.