Comment: Apple Music becomes the best streaming service
Apple Music was updated in June with support for Lossless and Spatial Audio after some takes and controversy. Even still, thanks to these new features, Apple differentiates itself from other competing music streaming services and becomes the best platform in the market. Here’s why.
Earlier this year, I wrote about my month-long experience with Spotify. At that time, I was amazed at the green side of the battle for music streaming services.
During these months I still think Spotify has a lot of advantages: Its shareable features are amazing and Apple still has nothing closer to Spotify Connect but with the introduction of iOS 14.6 and Lossless and Spatial Audio features. , Apple finally took the lead.
In May, I wrote an article about what I thought would be Apple’s great triumph if HiFi quality really came to the platform. At the time, I said: Spatial Audio will be the key feature of Apple Music HiFi. And now I know I was right.
It is not about lossless audio quality on Apple Music
With music streaming services like Deezer, Tidal, and Amazon Music offering CD quality or even Hi-Res Lossless, Apple failing to do the same is not a revolutionary feature. Plus, over the past few weeks, people have discovered that listening to lossless songs is harder than it looks – pun intended.
Since most people only wear AirPods or other Bluetooth headphones, there is a technological limitation: Bluetooth cannot stream that much data over the air. Apple also hasn’t implemented a new wireless codec like Sony’s LDAC, capable of streaming up to 990 kbps. So even if users want to use more data to stream in lossless mode, they won’t hear the difference.
There are other issues, for example, iPhone no longer supports a 3.5mm headphone jack and you need a wired connection to start listening to lossless songs. With that, you need a dongle, and few of them can go through Lossless at 24bit / 48kHz. See how unintuitive it becomes? And we’re not talking about Hi-Res Lossless, which needs an external accessory to fully function.
That’s why, in an interview, Apple CEO Eddy Cue didn’t praise Lossless on Apple Music because it’s Spatial Audio that changes everything:
“The reality of lossless is this: if you take 100 people and take a stereo song in lossless mode and take a compressed song in Apple Music, I don’t know if it’s 99 or 98, I don’t. can’t tell the difference.
For the difference of lossless, our ears are not that good. Yes, there is a set of people who have these amazing ears, and that’s a part of that. There is the other element, which is do you have the level of equipment that can really make the difference? It requires very, very high quality stereo equipment.“
Spatial Audio will lead the way
Apple Music isn’t the first music streaming service to use Spatial Audio or Dolby Atmos. For example, if you are a Tidal or Deezer user and own one of the more sophisticated Sony headphones, like the WH-1000XM4, it is possible to enjoy 360 Reality Audio, which is basically the same as Dolby. Atmos with Spatial Audio on Apple Music, except Apple brings this technology for many other headphones.
The company claims that anyone who has an Apple or Beats headset with the W1 or H1 chip is able to listen to Dolby Atmos songs. With iOS 15, for example, owners of AirPods Pro and AirPods Max will be able to enjoy “Stereolized Audio,” which uses head tracking for a better sound experience. In a way, it’s very close to what Apple is doing with Spatial Audio with Apple TV + content. It is truly breathtaking the first time you hear it.
Conclusion: Listen to Spatial Audio Songs on Apple Music Right Now
Having said all of that, there is another catch. While Apple wants to make its entire catalog available in Lossless by the end of the year, the company has not promised how many songs will include Dolby Atmos with Spatial Audio. This is because artists will have to master their songs differently and personally I think some of them don’t do a good job with this new feature.
For example, Apple has a special page with albums and playlists in Dolby Atmos, but praises songs like Rain on me, by Lady Gaga, or even some older Ariana Grande records that feature the “Dolby Atmos” label aren’t great. Their voices are ringing low and echoing and it’s really weird.
On the other hand, if you try to listen Abbey Route by the Beatles, Folklore, Always, or Intrepid (Taylor’s version), by Taylor Swift, you will be amazed at the quality of Spatial Audio.
At no additional cost, Apple Music becomes even more appealing to users and people who want to switch to it. In my opinion, Apple Music is fast becoming the best music streaming service and if all goes well we will be able to listen to even more songs with this immersive experience sooner rather than later.
We are entering a new era in the battle for music streaming services and it will be a big one.
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