Apple Once Again Rumored to Be Developing High-Resolution Audio Formats

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Apple is reportedly preparing to launch new higher-quality audio streaming in 2016, according to industry sources who spoke to Mac Otakara at this weekend's Portable Audio Festival in Tokyo.
According to several insiders familiar with Apple, whose products are exhibited at PORTABLE AUDIO FESTIVAL 2015, the company has been developing Hi-Res Audio streaming up to 96kHz/24bit in 2016.

The Lightning terminal with iOS 9 is compatible up to 192kHz/24Bit, but we do not have information on the sampling frequency of Apple Music download music.
The report also claims many audio equipment manufacturers are preparing their own third-party Lightning cables in anticipation of Apple's move toward improved audio quality.

Apple has long been rumored to be looking to introduce higher-quality audio formats for iTunes Store downloads and perhaps also Apple Music streaming. A year and a half ago, music blogger Robert Hutton claimed Apple was working to roll out high-resolution audio for the iTunes Store, and Mac Otakara made similar claims about an HD Audio format and new hardware being planned for release alongside iOS 8 later that year.

An even earlier flurry of rumors came in 2012 after Neil Young revealed that he and Steve Jobs had discussed ideas for improving the audio quality of iTunes Store content. Young ultimately went on his own in an effort to increase the quality digital music, releasing his PonoPlayer in early 2014.

Article Link: Apple Once Again Rumored to Be Developing High-Resolution Audio Formats
 
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SpinalTap

macrumors regular
Sep 25, 2003
205
15
Bournville, UK
"Unfortunately, there is no point to distributing music in 24-bit/192kHz format. Its playback fidelity is slightly inferior to 16/44.1 or 16/48, and it takes up 6 times the space."
Let's hope that Apple takes advantage of utilising MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) that has been developed by Meridian. This reproduces audio as the studio intended, at lossless high-res quality, but in the same space as that normally associated with compressed audio.
 

Mwongozi

macrumors member
Sep 17, 2007
54
43
Woodside, CA
Could we just have lossless audio please. These higher bit rates and depth sound no different. Also, sort out dynamic range, that's the biggest problem right now.
This is so true! This link explains why high resolution downloads are pointless:
https://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

Lossless is useful because it allows you to transcode to other smaller formats without artefacts.

The "loudness war" of popular music is indeed the biggest problem with audio quality today.
 

BarcelonaPaul

Suspended
Jul 1, 2015
187
242
I'm not sure at all on this. This rumour keeps appearing every year since 2010. Will people pay more for audio downloads? Most won't - i guess its not like the huge difference between SD and HD in video. It's more important to have something beautifully recorded and then a 256AAC sounds rather decent.
I got excited a few years ago but I've moved on since :) :) :) and i'm happy with iTunes audio downloads
 
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eow

macrumors newbie
Dec 20, 2015
19
76
Could we just have lossless audio please. These higher bit rates and depth sound no different. Also, sort out dynamic range, that's the biggest problem right now.
True. Probably just stream like usual (I don't care about streaming anyway) and give us a lossless download option in ITMS. Having to have physical CDs shipped to me for lossless* in 2015 drives me nuts.

* Yes, I'm aware of the numerous online stores that sell FLAC, but they don't have the titles I want.
 

WardC

macrumors 68030
Oct 17, 2007
2,728
207
Fort Worth, TX
I have extensively been writing about this in several other threads on here...

Apple needs to make raw uncompressed, full-quality AIFF versions of their music available to download at the Apple Music Store. I would not have a problem paying extra for the higher quality audio, much like Beatport already has available,

The audio quality difference IS noticeable on good speakers, or good studio monitor headphones, but it is neglibible if none on the standard white earbuds,

I listen to all my music on a Yamaha speaker system. Recently I downloaded two versions of an album, one from iTunes at 256k AAC and one from Beatport at 1411k AIFF uncompressed. The difference in the quality, the sharpness, and the detail throughout the tracks on the album is astounding. Even the artist said in an interview he was upset about the compressed version only being available in this format from the Apple Store, mentioning that "two of the basslines in one of the tracks were just not even there" -- The difference is real, and 256k AAC just isn't that great compared to the original full-quality. You would be even better using your ripped CDs at Apple Lossless or raw than downloading the music from Apple.

So, I hope that Apple will start selling full quality uncompressed versions of the music. It's something I really hope will happen. Maybe like "iTunes Plus," they can do an upgrade fee if you already have an AAC file to get the AIFF for llike $1.00 extra. I would gladly pay extra for higher quality. I think other people feel the same way about this.

True. Probably just stream like usual (I don't care about streaming anyway) and give us a lossless download option in ITMS. Having to have physical CDs shipped to me for lossless* in 2015 drives me nuts.

* Yes, I'm aware of the numerous online stores that sell FLAC, but they don't have the titles I want.
Lossless doesn't cut it for me. I need the full raw uncompressed quality to hear it as it was mastered. Lossless dulls out some of the minute details, sharpness and punchy bass elements that you don't really get until you jump up past about 900k -- ALAC or FLAC is not good enough, you need AIFF or WAV to really hear it as it was intended...better yet, vinyl :)

Basically, anytime you add any kind of compression algorithm to the original it dumbs it down, fuzzes up the highs and makes the sharper elements of the bass less pronounced. It takes either a really good stereo system or high end speakers or headphones to pick up on this -- usually the larger ones with more bass response can differentiate the higher quality audio better from the compressed versions. With the bundled earbuds that come with the iPhone, they can't reproduce the higher end bass elements like a larger speaker system can, or even high end studio over-ear monitors, so you would not be be able to tell a difference.
 
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HopefulHumanist

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2015
753
519
I have extensively been writing about this in several other threads on here...

Apple needs to make raw uncompressed, full-quality AIFF versions of their music available to download at the Apple Music Store. I would not have a problem paying extra for the higher quality audio, much like Beatport already has available,

The audio quality difference IS noticeable on good speakers, or good studio monitor headphones, but it is neglibible if none on the standard white earbuds,

I listen to all my music on a Yamaha speaker system. Recently I downloaded two versions of an album, one from iTunes at 256k AAC and one from Beatport at 1411k AIFF uncompressed. The difference in the quality, the sharpness, and the detail throughout the tracks on the album is astounding. Even the artist said in an interview he was upset about the compressed version only being available in this format from the Apple Store, mentioning that "two of the basslines in one of the tracks were just not even there" -- The difference is real, and 256k AAC just isn't that great compared to the original full-quality. You would be even better using your ripped CDs at Apple Lossless or raw than downloading the music from Apple.

So, I hope that Apple will start selling full quality uncompressed versions of the music. It's something I really hope will happen. Maybe like "iTunes Plus," they can do an upgrade fee if you already have an AAC file to get the AIFF for llike $1.00 extra. I would gladly pay extra for higher quality. I think other people feel the same way about this.
Uncompressed audio just wastes space. If they move to sell lossless music, they will use ALAC.

Lossless doesn't cut it for me. I need the full raw uncompressed quality to hear it as it was mastered. Lossless dulls out some of the minute details, sharpness and punchy bass elements that you don't really get until you jump up past about 900k -- ALAC or FLAC is not good enough, you need AIFF or WAV to really hear it as it was intended...better yet, vinyl :)
[citation needed]
 

kapp2

macrumors 6502
Oct 22, 2015
321
67
Denmark
Lossless doesn't cut it for me. I need the full raw uncompressed quality to hear it as it was mastered. Lossless dulls out some of the minute details, sharpness and punchy bass elements that you don't really get until you jump up past about 900k -- ALAC or FLAC is not good enough, you need AIFF or WAV to really hear it as it was intended...better yet, vinyl :)
Tried ripped an Album in Aiff from CD, sounded awesome :)!
 

eow

macrumors newbie
Dec 20, 2015
19
76
Lossless doesn't cut it for me. I need the full raw uncompressed quality to hear it as it was mastered. Lossless dulls out some of the minute details, sharpness and punchy bass elements that you don't really get until you jump up past about 900k -- ALAC or FLAC is not good enough, you need AIFF or WAV to really hear it as it was intended...better yet, vinyl :)
I'm not really an audiophile, but lossless is lossless (correct me if I'm wrong). Lossless compression of a lossy stream to begin with is of course lossy, but apparently I'm talking about lossless compression of uncompressed stream, like AIFF directly off a CD.
 

justperry

macrumors G4
Aug 10, 2007
10,137
5,221
Home is everywhere and nowhere.
Uncompressed audio just wastes space. If they move to sell lossless music, they will use ALAC.

[citation needed]
What if space is "unlimited"?

We are getting there, there are already 8 TB hard disks on the market, you need a lot of CD quality track to fill that HD.

Edit: Actually, for most people unlimited CD quality storage is already there, few people have more than the amount of tracks which will fill an 8 TB HD.
 

eow

macrumors newbie
Dec 20, 2015
19
76
What if space is "unlimited"?

We are getting there, there are already 8 TB hard disks on the market, you need a lot of CD quality track to fill that HD.
Just like HTML is often gzipped (lossless compression) during transmission, uncompressed streams will be delivered in losslessly compressed form. Internet bandwidth is more limiting than local storage. Then, if you already deliver in ALAC, why uncompress it?