Apple Lists FLAC Audio Playback Support for 4K Apple TV, iPhone 7, iPhone 8, iPhone X

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 15, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2001
    #1
    [​IMG]


    Apple has quietly included support for playback of FLAC audio files on the 4K Apple TV, iPhone 8, and iPhone X, with compatibility also added retroactively to the iPhone 7 when iOS 11 gets its public release.

    Support for the lossless compression codec now appears in the technical specifications on Apple's website for all of the above devices. However, as it stands, Apple's Music app does not currently support the format, so device owners who want to listen to the higher quality audio files will have to use the native Files app or a third-party app specifically made for FLAC playback, such as VLC or Plex.

    [​IMG]

    Apple's support for the FLAC codec doesn't officially extend to the iPhone 6s or iPhone SE, which may be because an A10 processor is a minimum requirement for hardware decoding and Apple is not satisfied with the power consumption tradeoffs of FLAC software decoding.

    That said, Apple's latest iPad Pro range should also be capable of FLAC playback thanks to their high performance A10X Fusion chips, yet Apple hasn't updated its iPad Pro tech specs to indicate they will also support the standard.

    It's possible that Apple is still testing FLAC support for its range of mobile devices, and may even have plans to offer the lossless compression standard as a download option in iTunes and playback in the Music app further down the line. However, it's worth noting that mobile users would only get the full benefits of FLAC by listening using Lightning-connected wired headphones, since a Bluetooth audio connection doesn't offer enough bandwidth to make the experience worthwhile.

    Article Link: Apple Lists FLAC Audio Playback Support for 4K Apple TV, iPhone 7, iPhone 8, iPhone X
     
  2. canadianreader macrumors 6502

    canadianreader

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
  3. bob122989 macrumors member

    bob122989

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
  4. Delgibbons, Sep 15, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017

    Delgibbons macrumors 6502a

    Delgibbons

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2016
    Location:
    London
    #4
    You can play HD Audio over Bluetooth. And it sounds great. 24bit audio has Been in Samsung phone's Cirrus DAC since the Note 4!

    HD FLAC files sound brilliant. I'm considering the Note 8 as it has 1-bit audio playback as well. Have a bunch of DSD audio files. Does it make a difference? Certainly a hell of a lot better than AAC or MP3.

    I have these BT headphones for my S7 edge that playback 24bit 96khz audio over Bluetooth, so it can be done. Just needs a proprietary codec (Samsung UHD over Bluetooth) or Qualcomm AptX HD

    Peerless UHQ Sound
    Enjoy superb UHQ audio with the Samsung Level On Wireless Pro – even better sound than CD quality audio. Using UHQ-BT codec technology, the Level On Wireless Pro allows you to enjoy a richer and more balanced audio experience with authentic-sounding, UHQ sound.

    20170915_114917.png
     
  5. Anonymous Freak, Sep 15, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017

    Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #5
    Not sure why they'd make FLAC available on the iTunes Store when they have Apple Lossless...

    Anyway, I wonder if W1 chip equipped headphones can do higher quality than standard Bluetooth?

    And can confirm that the iPad Air does not support FLAC on iOS 11 GM. It shows up with an "audio file" icon in the new "Files" app (replacement for iCloud Drive,) and "previewing" it shows the "FLAC audio" text description, but it won't play it.
     
  6. bartonnen macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    #6
    FLAC! But where are DTS, DTSHD, TrueHD, Atmos - for that matter where is bitstreamed anything on the Apple TV 4K? They support DD+ but won't even bitstream it, it has to be converted to LPCM. I was going to pre-order today, but changed my mind at the last minute due to the limited audio options.

    I think more people care about HD audio formats for their movies than care about FLAC.
     
  7. Delgibbons macrumors 6502a

    Delgibbons

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2016
    Location:
    London
    #7
    This is bizarre, are you serious?! Isn't there an optical out?
     
  8. kyjaotkb macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2009
    Location:
    London, UK
    #8
    Alas, over Bluetooth, an iPhone, which doesn't have Apt-X compatibility, will re-compress anything that's not AAC to SBC, which sounds like absolute crap. For instance, Spotify - even in "Extreme" 320kbps Ogg Vorbis, sounds vastly inferior to Apple Music @256kbps AAC, because the iPhone sends raw AAC over bluetooth to compatible headphones, whilst it recompresses the OGG on Spotify into SBC.

    The only solution I've found to use my Spotify subscription over Bluetooth in a decent quality is to use a cheap Android phone with Apt-X...

    By the way, all those Bluetooth 5 bells and whistles will change nothing.
     
  9. bartonnen macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    #9
  10. Delgibbons macrumors 6502a

    Delgibbons

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2016
    Location:
    London
    #10
    I'm very impressed by aptx actually. Sounds great. Obviously UHQ bluetooth sounds the best to me but AptX sounds pretty damn sweet on the s7edge
    --- Post Merged, Sep 15, 2017 ---
    Ugh. I wasn't expecting Atmos anyway tbh. Never mind
     
  11. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #11
    What's interesting on the AppleTV specs is that the non-4K "video formats supported" listings specifically say what level of audio is supported for each video format. But the 4K video formats don't specify their audio support at all. I wonder if that will get added between now and shipping? Also, oddly, for non-4K, it only lists the audio support in videos as "with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats"

    Yes we know it supports Dolby AC-3 and EAC-3 in movies (those two audio formats are listed under "Audio Formats".) I wonder if maybe we'll see more/better audio support added to the list between now and release?
     
  12. Delgibbons macrumors 6502a

    Delgibbons

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2016
    Location:
    London
    #12
    http://www.digitalaudioreview.net/2...ped-aac-apple-makes-an-ass-out-of-you-and-me/

    Audiophiles know only too well where the devil resides. Missing entirely from Apple’s September 7th keynote was mention of the iPhone 7’s support for Qualcomm’s aptX codec.

    Filling that void we must assume that Bluetooth audio is still sent from iPhone 7 to Airpods, or any other Bluetooth headphone, using AAC – Apple’s ‘own’ lossy codec of choice. In theory and reality this diminishes the listening experience when directly compared to an aptX-piped Bluetooth pairing.

    AAC isn't as good even as AptX...
     
  13. kyjaotkb macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2009
    Location:
    London, UK
    #13
    Crazy, isn't it?
    I also wonder when Apple will bother to include higher than AAC formats into the HLS specification (apart from the antiquated AC3 pass-thru that's reserved for the Apple TV) - Apple's format for streaming over HTTP. It's a headache for streaming services who want to offer ALAC/FLAC streaming that HLS doesn't have any kind of lossless /HD audio support. They have to cobble together proprietary implementations loosely based on MPEG-DASH or even worse, HDS/RTMP (Flash!).
    --- Post Merged, Sep 15, 2017 ---
    I know! But to me, Apple Music in AAC sent straight to my Bluetooth headphones on an iPhone sounds about the same as Spotify in OGG re-compressed to Apt-X and sent to my Bluetooth headphones on my Xperia XA.

    The worst is, the iPhone doesn't even recompress Spotify's OGG into AAC, it uses the inferior and older SBC codec, which frankly stinks. It does the same with Tidal Hi-fi or Qobuz Hi-Fi.
     
  14. Rogifan Suspended

    Rogifan

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2011
  15. unibility macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2012
    #15
    FLAC or ALL takes up considerable space if you have a vast collection. Any where between 2 and 8 times larger thank HW MP3's. Can many of you hear the difference in FLAC audio over 320kbps MP3?
     
  16. kyjaotkb macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2009
    Location:
    London, UK
    #16
    iOS only uses AAC over Bluetooth for content that is already encoded in AAC: Apple Music and songs bought on iTunes. Any other codec (Spotify's OGG, Deezer or Amazon's MP3, Anghami's Dolby Pulse, Qobuz's ALAC, Tidal's MQA...) is re-compressed using the inferior SBC codec, which is more battery-efficient but more lossy. As a result, you get double the compression artifacts and the soundstage is reduced to nothing.
     
  17. Delgibbons macrumors 6502a

    Delgibbons

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2016
    Location:
    London
    #17
    Definitely on well recorded classical stuff. Granted not a massive difference on pop stuff thats been squashed to buggery and ruined by brickwall limiting anyway.

    Again....this is the advantage of microSD expansion I guess.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 15, 2017 ---
    SBC is bloody horrendous.
     
  18. SpinalTap macrumors regular

    SpinalTap

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Location:
    Bournville, UK
    #18
    Implementing FLAC on ATV4K is pointless, since the device remains crippled by 16/48 playback. That is, attempting to playback any such hi-res audio files via the ATV4K is a waste of time and effort.
     
  19. Delgibbons macrumors 6502a

    Delgibbons

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2016
    Location:
    London
    #19
    Not true. Even 16 bit 44khz flac craps all over AAC, MP3 or any lossy codec. Flac is lossless don't forget.

     
  20. phalseHUD macrumors regular

    phalseHUD

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Location:
    Digital Sprawl
    #20
    I re-ripped all my music to Apple Lossless years ago but would have preferred FLAC as my understanding is that's it's an open standard compared to AL. So is this going to be an option in iTunes from here forward (rip in FLAC) or have I misread/misunderstood?
     
  21. hvfsl macrumors 68000

    hvfsl

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Location:
    London, UK
    #21
    ALC is open-source as well, although it has less support in the open-source community.
     
  22. Breenston macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    #22
    Yes. As long as you are listening on decent head/earphones (i.e. those NOT supplied by Apple). And if you have a proper audio player. So that will exclude your phone.
     
  23. simonmet, Sep 15, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017

    simonmet macrumors 68000

    simonmet

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2012
    Location:
    Sydney
    #23
    Slightly off topic but it’s inexcusable that AirPlay can’t even stream 48 KHz which is the standard frequency for TV/Cinema. It sends 44.1 kHz instead, the standard for audio CDs and music. Some will argue there’s no way you can tell the slight reduction but I argue there’s no reason they can’t send it in its native encoding quality! It’s a pretty minor increase in bit rate and still well within spec, even for slow Wi-Fi!

    Can anyone confirm this is still the case with AirPlay 2?
     
  24. Delgibbons macrumors 6502a

    Delgibbons

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2016
    Location:
    London
    #24
    Depends on the DAC ;)
     
  25. jtrenthacker macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2012
    #25
    On my hi fi system, I can. On ear buds, not really.
     

Share This Page