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Apple Music lossless, Dolby Atmos spatial audio and 24-bit hi-res audio tracks go live

Apple Music's new lossless, Dolby Atmos spatial audio and 24-bit hi-res tiers are rolling out. (Image: Apple)
Apple Music's new lossless, Dolby Atmos spatial audio and 24-bit hi-res tiers are rolling out. (Image: Apple)
Apple has rolled out its eagerly anticipated lossless and spatial audio tiers to Apple Music. The server-end update brings lossless 16-bit CD-quality to Apple Music for the first time along with spatial audio with some tracks also reaching hi-resolution 24-bit levels.
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Apple’s promise to launch its upgraded Apple Music service in June has come to fruition. Customers are starting to report that tracks are being tagged with lossless 16-bit CD-quality, Dolby Atmos spatial audio and 24-bit hi-res as appropriate. The rollout, however, looks like it will take its time to reach all markets where Apple Music is currently available. It is the first time since Apple Music has launched that all tracks will eventually be at lossless 16-bit audio quality at a minimum with the final phase of the rollout being finalized across the range by the end of the year.

Prior to the launch of the new tiers, Apple Music was available to customers in the still very good 256 kbps AAC format. However, it was not CD-quality and is hence referred to as a ‘lossy’ format. The launch hasn’t been without controversy as none of Apple’s AirPods, including the very expensive AirPods Max, can properly support hi-res or even lossless audio. Apple’s HomePod and HomePod mini will, conversely, be updated to support lossless wireless audio streaming.

On the plus side, the new Apple Music tiers have been delivered at exactly the same price point. This has forced Amazon to scrap the premium it was charging for Amazon Music HD and puts pressure on Spotify to do the same with its new HiFi tier, set to launch later this year. The only service offering similar features to Apple, including Dolby Atmos spatial audio is Tidal. It also offers Sony 360 Reality spatial audio and Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) hi-res 24-bit audio, but continues to charge a premium for these offerings.

Buy the Apple AirPods Max from Amazon for US$520, a saving of US$29.

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Sanjiv Sathiah
Sanjiv Sathiah - Senior Tech Writer - 1262 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2017
I have been writing about consumer technology over the past ten years, previously with the former MacNN and Electronista, and now Notebookcheck since 2017. My first computer was an Apple ][c and this sparked a passion for Apple, but also technology in general. In the past decade, I’ve become increasingly platform agnostic and love to get my hands on and explore as much technology as I can get my hand on. Whether it is Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Nintendo, Xbox, or PlayStation, each has plenty to offer and has given me great joy exploring them all. I was drawn to writing about tech because I love learning about the latest devices and also sharing whatever insights my experience can bring to the site and its readership.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 06 > Apple Music lossless, Dolby Atmos spatial audio and 24-bit hi-res audio tracks go live
Sanjiv Sathiah, 2021-06- 8 (Update: 2021-06- 8)