Amazed with the sound quality of Apple Music

Discussion in 'Apple Music, Apple Pay, iCloud, Apple Services' started by Basilfawltyone, Jul 5, 2015.

  1. Basilfawltyone macrumors regular

    Sep 2, 2013
    Chicago, IL
    With my equipment - Sennheiser HD700, Centrance HiFi-M8 and an iPhone 5s I am more than happy with the sound quality of Apple Music. When listening to Spotify I can hear a minimal difference where Apple sounds better. That is the paid Spotify. Cancelled my subscription with them.

    Used to have 1411-7866 bps songs on my old iPod Classic but selling that now. The sound quality is enough now in Apples Music.

    Compared several songs that I had in my library lossless and then deleted them and listened on Apples 256 version and I can not really hear any difference. Maybe I am getting old ;-).

    The only negative is when I listen to Apple Music in my Bluetooth Headphones, some disturbance between Jlab Epic and my iPhone 5s from time to time. But not often. Using the D/A converter in the HiFi-M8 works perfect for me.

    Like Apples Eco-system. Now it is almost complete. Waiting for an app for the AppleTV as well.
  2. ihonda macrumors 68000

    Sep 17, 2009
    i noticed how well it sounds when streaming via BT in my car, MUCH better then iTunes radio, very impressed.
  3. AdonisSMU macrumors 603

    Oct 23, 2010
    I noticed this w both beats app and Spotify. I havent used Tidal. Im on Parrot Zik 2.0 headphones in white and jaybird for gym.
  4. Basilfawltyone thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 2, 2013
    Chicago, IL
    I did something very stupid two years ago, bought LifeTime Sirius Radio. Regret it, Sirius sounds just like **** compared to Apple Music. I still thought Spotifys premium service would beat Applr but not.

    Not sure how to compare MP3 and AAC but thinking the easiest is just to use my ears!
  5. MentalFloss macrumors 65816


    Mar 14, 2012
    Be careful, you can get a lot of hate from certain people for statements like this. You are supposed to be able to immediately discern the difference between lossy and lossless formats (obviously, you are also expected to always listen to your music in a silent studio environment).

    I have actually done blind tests with people who claimed that the difference is obvious. The anger resulting from this kind of test cannot be described with words. ;)
  6. albertfallickwa macrumors 6502a


    Jan 27, 2014
    I agree. Apple Music sounds great in my hi-fi headphones and no complaints from my end.
  7. Supermallet macrumors 65816


    Sep 19, 2014
    Here's my question, is Apple using Mastered For iTunes files on songs that went through the MFi process? If so, then there's likely a treasure trove of great sounding music in AM that you won't be able to get on any other streaming service. That is, you may be able to get the songs on other streaming services, but if Apple is using MFi files, their version may actually sound better than the competition's.
  8. Paradoxally macrumors 68000

    Feb 4, 2011
    When I had Spotify subscriptions my FLAC tracks sounded a little bit better. Example: the same remaster of DSOTM (2011) in FLAC vs MP3. There were some differences. I don't know if Spotify is applying some EQ or compression (likely), but still.

    With Apple Music, I can't tell the difference. 256 kbps AAC is fantastic. I'll still keep my FLACs for listening at home at my computer, but for mobile devices and on the go listening it's more than enough.

    Yes they are. The songs are the same as on iTunes, with the only limit being availability.
  9. Supermallet macrumors 65816


    Sep 19, 2014
    If they really are using MFi files, then that's huge and for me reason enough alone for me to switch to AM completely once the trial ends.
  10. motulist, Jul 6, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2015

    motulist macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    Agree completely. The audio quality is as good as any digital format I've ever heard. It's undiscernible from CD.
  11. Basilfawltyone thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 2, 2013
    Chicago, IL
    I have made a blind test with three FLAC 1411-6900 bps and I can not hear ANY difference, not better not worse. So I for sure are ecstatic especially seeing the variety Apple offers. A winner!
  12. AppleRobert macrumors 603

    Nov 12, 2012
    I am currently trying Tidal for 1 month free. Nothing bad at all about AM's sound quality that would have me want to join Tidal for $19.99 a month.
  13. eclipse01 macrumors 68020


    May 16, 2011
    Eau Claire, WI
    can anyone compare AM sound quality with the 320 option of Spotify?
  14. zakarhino macrumors demi-god


    Sep 13, 2014
    Bay Area, CA.
    Still sounds pretty bad for me. Acceptable, sure, but Google Play Music's versions of all the songs I listen to have a lot more depth to them. Bass notes are seemingly on a different level to some of the high notes in some pop/classical on Apple Music -- almost like it's compressed and flat.

    I won't get into the other bugs, I have done so in other threads. So far it looks like I may have to switch back from AM if the bugs aren't fixed and come back in iOS 9. All of the bugs I've encountered so far are just UX blunders in the app and general bugs that _should_ be fixable with a software update.

    I guess the best way of putting it is that Apple Music seems to be made by Engineers and not by people that stream music. For an (almost) trillion dollar company that purchased one of the best streaming applications in the business, I don't know why or how they managed to butcher so many of the key options and UX 'wins' from Beats in favor of AM.

    Hardly anyone is saying the difference is night and day, at least I'm not. If you give me two brand new songs it would be very difficult for me to tell the difference. Granted, give me something I listen to frequently and then the differences show dramatically for certain parts of songs.

    So sure, if I start listening to new songs on AM I'll be happy with them because I'm not used to listening to the 320 AAC file. I think the problem for most people (myself included) is that we know there's a better option out there even if "blind tests" demonstrate the difference is negligible. Adding a toggle for a higher quality streaming is standard on other platforms. So whilst we may not be able to hear the difference all the time, we're upset that we weren't given the option for higher quality streaming in the first place.

    Additionally, the streaming changes dynamically depending on the connection type so you'll always have under 256 AAC if you're streaming on cellular as opposed to streaming on WiFi. Source (Sorry if the format is messed up, I tried to insert a Twitter embed code snippet) [Edit: Used an image instead]:


    The default argument against this point is that "if you can't hear the difference between songs the need for a higher quality toggle is moot." Sure, you may be right on that one but the fact that some people can hear the difference on familiar songs or the fact that the streaming quality is inconsistent (Celluar vs. WiFi) is enough to warrant a feature present on almost every other platform that people have migrated from: Sound quality selector.

    That's just my opinion on the matter anyway.
  15. albertfallickwa macrumors 6502a


    Jan 27, 2014
    Using my new Master and Dynamic MH40 and the sound quality rocks. People say the sound quality is bad but that's because they are using the built in speaker or lousy output mechanisms.

    Better headfones and speakers help.
  16. AppleRobert macrumors 603

    Nov 12, 2012
    It depends on what one wants out of it, I doubt most are going slap on headphones of that quality.

    I use a pair of Sony earbuds and half the time just an average set of BT earbuds to eliminate the wire.

    Lots of my listening is on the go, for convenience and background music.
  17. Scarpad macrumors 68000


    Jan 13, 2005
    I started a tread of a comparison I did between Apple, Amazon and Xbox Music and Apple's clearly sounded better.
  18. Supermallet macrumors 65816


    Sep 19, 2014
    Sounds like the newest iOS 9 beta has a HQ sound while on cellular option for music. Cha-ching!
  19. decafjava macrumors 68030


    Feb 7, 2011
    One of the bright spots in the very mixed bag that is Apple music.
  20. msvadi macrumors 6502

    Aug 12, 2010
    I'm actually disappointed. I compared a few Apple Music tracks of symphony music with my CD rips, and I can clearly hear distortions on Apple Music tracks (for strings in high frequencies). At first I could not believe that and did a double-blind test, where I guessed Apple Music tracks with 100% accuracy. Until that I was actually convinced that 256 AACs are perfectly transparent (at least for my ears).

    I don't want to spoil this for you, but all you need is a pair of high quality earphones (I used Westone's W40) and know what to look for (the high frequencies - they become very "fragile" with compression. Symphony music is a good example. Try, for example, Pletnev's Rachmaninov, the 2nd symphony).
  21. flur macrumors 68000


    Nov 12, 2012
    You can also do the Tidal $9.99 tier, which is 320 AAC vs Apple's 256 for the same price. Not advocating for Tidal - both Apple and Tidal have their strengths and weaknesses - just putting the option out there for anyone who doesn't know about it.
  22. maclaw21 macrumors regular

    Aug 26, 2009
    I am using Tidal's 9.99 tier and am liking it. The sound quality is good, and I like the curated playlists. AM needs to update to allow HQ streaming on cellular, because most people who are accessing AM via mobile devices are more likely to be using cell than wifi. I know Apple is planning to do this with iOS 9, but they really should do this as an interim update now. I'm not making the switch until this feature is available.
  23. Sanlitun macrumors 6502


    Sep 19, 2014
    My first thoughts when I heard AM was that they are cooking the treble frequencies somehow to enhance soundstage and give it more "pop" on low end equipment. I thought it sounded thin or tinny even compared to Spotify, and of course it doesn't hold a candle to local playback through Audirvana etc.

    This sounds interesting on my Macbook Pro speakers, but on my other machines and through an external DAC and headphones it sounds very digital.
  24. whsbuss macrumors 68040


    May 4, 2010
    SE Penna.
    I've noticed that treble on some songs IS over hyped in AM. It just gives a harsher sound.
  25. Fatboy71 macrumors 65816


    Dec 21, 2010
    Looking forward to trying out the Bowers & Wilkins A7 with Apple Music as so far I find the quality to be outstanding.

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