Apple Music may soon offer “hifi” tier

This is highly un-technical evidence of course but my phone seems to heat up more and the battery drains faster when Airplaying these new “lossless” files into my Marantz AV processor.

I wonder if others notice the same (should be particularly noticeable on older iPhones/iPads … I’m running an SE gen2).

To be frank, Apple hasn’t had many launches go smoothly since the first iMac. iPod was a good one. iPhone? Nope. iPad? Maybe. Watch? Definitely not. But they are excellent at iteration. Question is “will they?” They’re getting more open to working with other manufacturers so that’s promising. Just need to wait and see.

But note that their launch emphasis here is on spatial audio vs lossless/HiRes. I don’t expect that bodes well for audiophiles. And given the admission you need an external DAC to enjoy HiRes, I don’t expect that you will see Apple spend a lot of effort on THAT side of things.

Remember that most people like Bluetooth. Heck, most people LOVE Bluetooth. Apple sells lots of Bluetooth headphones and they don’t sell a single DAC. So expect that their interests and development focus will be along that axis. If it works and grows? Great. If not? I can live without a streaming service.

My kids are happy with Apple Music so that’s what we buy.

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The youth enjoys their BlueTooth devices,

Wired devices, hi-res/bit perfect or not are considered a major step backwards. It’s the wire that’s the problem.

The youth have much better hearing capabilities than we older people have. Yet they prefer lossy BlueTooth sound over wired hi-res.

That says enough about the file format discussion.

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35% of my iPhone battery is consumed by “Covid-19 Exposure Logging and Notifications” :joy:

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You should listen to Bluetooth APTX HD and Airplay2 on Naim ND555 streamer DAC ($19,995). I would certainly consider it if I could afford it. It suits my age as much as my teen grandchildren! Oh, and the power supply is mandatory at $12,995

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That’s the point. Everything else matters so much more that it is better to invest the money in speakers (including subs) amps, speaker placement and room treatment (electronically, physically or both) first.

You can later on upgrade the sources.

Investing tons of money in hi-res while the industry has no standard for it yet is for pioneers that can afford the fast depreciation of expensive electronics for a very small selection of music.

Most real hi-res music (not the upsamplesd stuff), is recorded and masters in high quality by experts that know what they are doing and sound generally speaking very good because of the skills of the studio masters. That music is however often available in redbook and often also vinyl, still sounds much better than poorly recorded music.

Then there is a huge factor: that is ease of use.

Perhaps owners of EUR 40.000 systems can hear a significant difference in SQ between hi-res and redbook CD, and if you have that kind of money burning in the pocket it’s Good for you.

But don’t go around and burn down decently intended attempts to standardize digital audio (MQA) or upgrades (APPLE music).

“Youth” even with better hearing as you observe, “prefer lossy BlueTooth sound over wired hi-res” for the convenience, not the sound. The sound is relatively unimportant.

Which makes perfect sense. Most of us greatly enjoy music, even when played on less than stellar equipment. Music is music.

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Indeed that is what I said. If to their sensible ears loss of sound quality between lossless and compressed music, AAC / BlueTooth, is less important than the convenience, it is for me too.

I certainly have a harder time to hear the difference than my children.

The difference between CD lossless and hi-res files are even harder to hear.

What made a much bigger difference: speakers and amps. And I enjoy my music and the convenience of my system.

When the entire industry manages to bring convenience to hi-res, I will embrace it.

Convenience being:

  • single standard file format for maximum compatibility
  • single best hi-res physical interface:
    HDMI-I2S is still my favorite
  • wireless transfer of hi-res

and most important:

  • all studios producing that single hi-res format
  • all newly released music available in that single hi-res format
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