Apple Music will bring Lossless Audio to entire catalog in June 2021

It’s a fact, Jack. Apple has announced that Lossless Audio, up to 24-bit/192kHz, is coming to Apple Music subscribers in June 2021 at no additional cost.

Bam! That’s $9.99/month for lossless streaming + hi-res.

Apple Music will also make its catalog of more than 75 million songs available in Lossless Audio. Apple uses ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) to preserve every single bit of the original audio file. This means Apple Music subscribers will be able to hear the exact same thing that the artists created in the studio.

To start listening to Lossless Audio, subscribers using the latest version of Apple Music can turn it on in Settings > Music > Audio Quality. Here, they can choose different resolutions for different connections such as cellular, Wi-Fi, or for download. Apple Music’s Lossless tier starts at CD quality, which is 16 bit at 44.1 kHz (kilohertz), and goes up to 24 bit at 48 kHz and is playable natively on Apple devices. For the true audiophile, Apple Music also offers Hi-Resolution Lossless all the way up to 24 bit at 192 kHz.

Apple is co-promoting Dolby Atmos, which will also be part of the upgraded service:

By default, Apple Music will automatically play Dolby Atmos tracks on all AirPods and Beats headphones with an H1 or W1 chip, as well as the built-in speakers in the latest versions of iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Apple Music will be adding new Dolby Atmos tracks constantly and will be curating a special set of Dolby Atmos playlists to help listeners find the music they love. In addition, albums that are available in Dolby Atmos will have a badge on the detail page for easy discovery.

Hiding in plain site in the footnote the press release is this interesting tidbit:

Due to the large file sizes and bandwidth needed for Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless Audio, subscribers will need to opt in to the experience. Hi-Res Lossless also requires external equipment, such as a USB digital-to-analog converter (DAC).

My emphasis.

While it looks like USB audio is waning in the world of hi-fi, Apple just sent out the word to millions of real people that they’ll need a USB DAC to enjoy the benefits of their Hi-Res Lossless. I should have invested in that keyword search.

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