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Apple Music announces Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos; will bring Lossless Audio to entire catalog
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #31
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doom64's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by spaceman ➡️
Their paying rate is now almost double that of Spotify, but it’s still peanuts, as all streaming services are. No revolution there unfortunately…

Another thing i forgot to mention is that there is a version of Logic coming up later this year that will have all the necessary tools built-in to mix with Dolby Atmos.

Of course they’re late to the Lossless and Binaural Dolby game ( Quobuz, Tidal, etc.. had it for more than a year now ), but they’re promoting it pretty heavily, so there’s a chance the general public might start appreciating it.
Peanuts is better than what Napster and Limewire paid back in the day...
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #32
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LASTLAVGH's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightjar ➡️
Nope. I can't reliably identify Apple's best AAC encoding to a level-matched lossless version.

Here's a good way to test your own ability:

http://abx.digitalfeed.net/itunes.html

But... Spatial Audio for Music is proving to be a whole lot of listening fun.
I think these types of tests would be more accurate with music one is familiar with.

When it comes to subtle differences, it really helps to be very familiar with the source material as well as using material that can manifest the differences in encoding.
Old 1 week ago
  #33
It's ironic as a tech hardware company - Apple don't sell any periferals, headphones or DAC'S that allow their user base to hear hi res audio that it's just made available.

I use this set up to get portable hires playback.

iPhone
Qobuz hires streaming app subscription
Apple Camera Kit lightning to USB cable
THX Onyx USB dac dongle
3.5mm headphone cable
pair of IEMS

I just got the Onyx I am very impressed with it.

I expect a slew of new Apple products, DAC's headphones, Bluetooth codecs etc. Out with old in with the new.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #34
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules ➡️
It's ironic as a tech hardware company - Apple don't sell any periferals, headphones or DAC'S that allow their user base to hear hi res audio that it's just made available.

I use this set up to get portable hires playback.

iPhone - Qobuz hires streaming app subscription - Apple Camera Kit lightning to USB cable THX Onyx USB dac dongle - 3.5mm headphone cable - to a pair of IEMS

I just got the Onyx I am very impressed with it.

I expect a slew of new Apple products, DAC's headphones, Bluetooth codecs etc. Out with old in with the new.
I wouldn't place that bet based on what Eddy Cue has said. Most people won't care and couldn't tell the difference anyhow. The spatial audio stuff is where they're going to put resources.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #35
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rezoneight ➡️
I wouldn't place that bet based on what Eddy Cue has said. Most people won't care and couldn't tell the difference anyhow. The spatial audio stuff is where they're going to put resources.
Yep.

Ironically, I don't know anyone who owns a Dolby Atmos setup. I do know many who own 4K TVs though...but hey, if that kind of music sells than who am I to judge?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #36
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rezoneight ➡️
I wouldn't place that bet based on what Eddy Cue has said. Most people won't care and couldn't tell the difference anyhow. The spatial audio stuff is where they're going to put resources.
I agree with Eddy Cue.

Spatial Audio via Dolby Atmos is a much bigger deal than the high-rez.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #37
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Somafunk's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightjar ➡️
I agree with Eddy Cue.

Spatial Audio via Dolby Atmos is a much bigger deal than the high-rez.
If that is genuinely the case then how did they manage to fu*k up the sound quality so badly?
I’ve listened to a number of atmos mixes today after considering I was a bit too harsh and hasty with my criticism yesterday……………..nope, my criticism yesterday was entirely justified so I’ve now turned off Dolby atmos in settings.

Cmon Apple, sort your **** out and stop fuc*ing about with atmos and just give me a way to stream lossless to my Airpods max.
Old 1 week ago
  #38
Gear Addict
 
sorry but if your listening on headphones, wouldn't you rather listen to a mix done on 2 speakers/headphones for far better translation? I feel like transferring atmos mixes to headphones is a bad idea. Most of these mixes are being done in 7.1.4 studios, by listening to these mixes on headphones using whatever binaural downmixing technique doesn't that significantly change the sound of the mix the engineer did in his atmos mixing studio? I don't see how this is any better than lowering the quality of a mix which takes out information and the listener hears something completely different than the engineer intended.

I like the idea of atmos music for people who have Apple TV's and atmos sound systems of sound bars. But headphones seems like a really bad idea to me????

Also to anyone who is worried this will be the new normal for audio mixing. No it wont. There's way too many low budget independent artists in this industry and they are extremely important in todays music industry. People aren't just doing to stop listening to artists stereo mixes because they cant afford an extremely expensive atmos mixing studio. Although I can maybe see professional engineers who invest in these studios possibly doing pretty good business. We will see how this pans out... I love the idea , but I think stereo and atmos will coexist together for a very long time. The jump wont be as easy as it was from mono to stereo.

Also, stereo just makes sense. 2 ears, 2 speakers. it just works.
Old 1 week ago
  #39
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Interesting article

https://darko.audio/2021/06/apple-mu...bit-of-a-mess/

“Apple’s Music app does not switch sample rates automatically. We must do it manually via the Audio MIDI Setup app. And if we want to maintain the data integrity of the studio master, we have to change it every time the song’s sample rate changes. Every. Time. Any mismatch between the stream’s sample rate and the sample rate specified in Audio MIDI Setup will see macOS’ Core Audio layer upsample or downsample accordingly. The latter will wipe out any extra data loaded into a hi-res studio master’s stream.“
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kodakell ➡️

I like the idea of atmos music for people who have Apple TV's and atmos sound systems of sound bars. But headphones seems like a really bad idea to me????

Also to anyone who is worried this will be the new normal for audio mixing. No it wont.
Agreed. Atmos and surround will stay for people who have the set-ups, cinemas and VR gamers.

Music is and always has been aimed at the masses and so stereo will always be the prime thing.

As you pointed out - if it's going to be heard in stereo then it's best to mix and master in stereo.

Everyone was talking about 3D being the next big thing for movies and tv after Avatar etc and that just wasn't realistic in todays streaming video world on phones, laptops, tablets etc.

Also add the expense to Production and it will be a no go where maximising profit margins is the goal. To recoup the additional production costs from the end users is unlikely.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #41
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Somafunk's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kodakell ➡️
sorry but if your listening on headphones, wouldn't you rather listen to a mix done on 2 speakers/headphones for far better translation? I feel like transferring atmos mixes to headphones is a bad idea.
I think you are misunderstanding the fact that Apple Music is primarily pushing atmos mixes for use with headphones and claiming it’s a game changing musical experience.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #42
Gear Addict
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somafunk ➡️
I think you are misunderstanding the fact that Apple Music is primarily pushing atmos mixes for use with headphones and claiming it’s a game changing musical experience.
I fully understand it. I’m explaining why I believe it’s a horrible idea.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somafunk ➡️
I think you are misunderstanding the fact that Apple Music is primarily pushing atmos mixes for use with headphones and claiming it’s a game changing musical experience.
How about getting the transmission of stereo mixes right first - then moving on to whatever henious BS adaptation of it.

Seems like portable tape players from the 80's they just added a "wide" button gimmick that messes with speaker phase.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somafunk ➡️
If that is genuinely the case then how did they manage to fu*k up the sound quality so badly?
I’ve listened to a number of atmos mixes today after considering I was a bit too harsh and hasty with my criticism yesterday……………..nope, my criticism yesterday was entirely justified so I’ve now turned off Dolby atmos in settings.

Cmon Apple, sort your **** out and stop fuc*ing about with atmos and just give me a way to stream lossless to my Airpods max.
This
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #45
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kodakell ➡️
I think stereo and atmos will coexist together for a very long time. The jump wont be as easy as it was from mono to stereo.
Achieving a widespread consumer jump from mono to stereo probably seemed just as unlikely to many people in 1958.

And it wasn't all that easy.

And many early stereo releases weren't done very well.

I believe the technology and market forces for Spatial Audio are at a similar inflection point as stereo was in 1958.

But the transition to widespread (pun intended) adaptation will happen far more rapidly in 2021.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #46
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doom64's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightjar ➡️
Achieving a widespread consumer jump from mono to stereo probably seemed just as unlikely to many people in 1958.

And it wasn't all that easy.

And many early stereo releases weren't done very well.

I believe the technology and market forces for Spatial Audio are at a similar inflection point as stereo was in 1958.

But the transition to widespread (pun intended) adaptation will happen far more rapidly in 2021.
More people have hi-fi systems back in the day.

I could see this being a feature promoted in new automobiles though. A place where more than two speakers has been the norm for a long time.

Perhaps Dolby Atmos already is a feature in luxury vehicles?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #47
John Darko -

"Of Apple Music, we must ask: why embrace hi-res audio when hi-res (studio masters) are so poorly handled by our hardware?

Sharpening the pointy end of our question is Apple’s own ‘About lossless audio in Apple Music’ page that bafflingly reads:

“We developed our own implementation of AAC (Advanced Audio Codec) that delivers audio that’s virtually indistinguishable from the original studio recording.”

What a mess:"




How about Apple giving us a Bluetooth codec that IS transmitting the original studio recording.

It's been links to above already but John Darco's take is a very good overview from a consumers point of view.

https://darko.audio/2021/06/apple-mu...bit-of-a-mess/
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #48
OK, I gave the Zane Lowe Apple Music demo of Marvin Gaye and The Weekend a listen

iPhone, - Empire Ear in ear monitors , via a hires capable DAC

Marvin Gaye Mono = fine
Marvin Gaye Stereo = fine
Marvin Gaye Spatial = WTF ?

The Weekend Stereo = Fine
The Weekend Spatial = WTF ?

I personally don't appreciate the original art work being altered, to me it's like a "wide' switch on a cheap cassette / bluetooth speaker that induces phase alterations.

If a work was mixed especially for the format - that would be different. I will try to find nd listen to some of those.
Old 1 week ago
  #49
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
First, let me say that I love the idea of 3D audio in music. I like some surround mixes and for certain genres it is a great experience.

That said, this is not the first time this type of thing has been tried and I don't ever see it take off. The reason is the same why lossless won't take off: the difference is irrelevant for 99.9% of all listeners.

To me personally, 3D audio mixes sound off as well. Phase issues, lack of bass and, ironically, lack of intimacy and emotional impact. And it fails at representing height and depth. It basically sounds like a wide stereo mix and not something that presents the music in a 3D space.

VR is where spatial audio with head tracking is incredibly useful, noticeable and immersive. That is, if it gets to a point where it sounds like the real world. We're still far off from that.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #50
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Jantex's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The only two releases I listened to that actually sound good are: Taylor Swift’s Folklore album and Billie Eilish - No Time To Die.

These are the only two where I dare to say were actually mixed for atmos using an actual atmos certified setup due to high budget. Billie’s song was made for James Bond movie and Taylor as an A-list pop star probably has a very high budget.

Other albums in the catalog seems to me like they were “upmixed” to atmos with some AI algorithm and sound as bad as it gets. Phasy, like everything is drowned in reverb, transients are lacking, vocals are lost and low end is gone.

I am also quite sceptical about Apple’s lossless catalog. I got impression like they converted their AAC format into ALAC…which would be as stupid as it gets, but wouldn’t surprise me at all with Apple. Compared to Deezer’s HiFi FLAC songs (44.1kHz 16bit) which are bit accurate from my rips I made from CDs, same songs sound much worse when streamed from Apple Music despite having “lossless audio” turned on in preferences. Lacking dynamic impact and excitement, like listening to standard AAC compared to FLAC. And really the difference is not small.

Curiosity for lossless content made me “upgrade” to Big Sur, which was a huge mistake, but let's leave this out of discussion. I was a long time Tidal user, but they lost me when they started pushing MQA to reduce their bandwidth costs, because it simply sounds bad.

Deezer HiFi is great but limited with CD quality FLACS. Therefore I had high hopes for actual hi-res content on Apple Music, especially since ALAC performs as it should and it actually is lossless as a contrast to MQA. But it simply doesn't provide. I can only think they used already compressed source files to update their catalog to lossless, because everything sounds very veiled on Music compared to Deezer for example.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #51
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules ➡️
OK, I gave the Zane Lowe Apple Music demo of Marvin Gaye and The Weekend a listen

iPhone, - Empire Ear in ear monitors , via a hires capable DAC

Marvin Gaye Mono = fine
Marvin Gaye Stereo = fine
Marvin Gaye Spatial = WTF ?

The Weekend Stereo = Fine
The Weekend Spatial = WTF ?

I personally don't appreciate the original art work being altered, to me it's like a "wide' switch on a cheap cassette / bluetooth speaker that induces phase alterations.

If a work was mixed especially for the format - that would be different. I will try to find nd listen to some of those.
The Weeknd's album was mixed for Atmos.

Atmos Music has been around before Apple, with Tidal and Amazon Music HD, so there's 2020 releases like that album mixed for Atmos.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #52
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Jantex's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by louderjamz ➡️
The Weeknd's album was mixed for Atmos.

Atmos Music has been around before Apple, with Tidal and Amazon Music HD, so there's 2020 releases like that album mixed for Atmos.
It might have been mixed by someone on some random headphones using fake binaural atmos emulation...this is the only thing that could explain the bad sound quality of this particular release.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #53
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jantex ➡️
It might have been mixed by someone on some random headphones using fake binaural atmos emulation...this is the only thing that could explain the bad sound quality of this particular release.
Yes could be possible with any mix now and in future I guess.

We don't know what's been given care and what's been put in a blender - unless artist/label/Apple tell us in future
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #54
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Jantex's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by louderjamz ➡️
Yes could be possible with any mix now and in future I guess.

We don't know what's been given care and what's been put in a blender - unless artist/label/Apple tell us in future
True. As mentioned in my previous post, I have only listened to two atmos releases on Music where I thought that they actually sounds good and some effort has been put into the mix. All of the others sound like they would be converted to atmos by some AI algorithm adding reverb and destroying phase coherence.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #55
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jantex ➡️
It might have been mixed by someone on some random headphones using fake binaural atmos emulation...this is the only thing that could explain the bad sound quality of this particular release.
I think it was mixed with Atmos surround speakers not headphones.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #56
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by miscend ➡️
I think it was mixed with Atmos surround speakers not headphones.
This is an interesting point

How do we know which Atmos mix has been optimised for speakers vs headphones?

I guess on the mixer / artist / label know lol
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #57
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules ➡️
John Darko -

"Of Apple Music, we must ask: why embrace hi-res audio when hi-res (studio masters) are so poorly handled by our hardware?

Sharpening the pointy end of our question is Apple’s own ‘About lossless audio in Apple Music’ page that bafflingly reads:

“We developed our own implementation of AAC (Advanced Audio Codec) that delivers audio that’s virtually indistinguishable from the original studio recording.”

What a mess:"




How about Apple giving us a Bluetooth codec that IS transmitting the original studio recording.

It's been links to above already but John Darco's take is a very good overview from a consumers point of view.

https://darko.audio/2021/06/apple-mu...bit-of-a-mess/
As he points out in that article Bluetooth doesn't have the bandwidth to transmit lossless files. Its a standard designed for low power wireless connectivity. If you want the best quality you're not going to get it any other way than wired.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #58
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jantex ➡️

I am also quite sceptical about Apple’s lossless catalog. I got impression like they converted their AAC format into ALAC…which would be as stupid as it gets, but wouldn’t surprise me at all with Apple.
Where did you get that impression? Furthermore why would they do that when they have access to the original material?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jantex ➡️
Compared to Deezer’s HiFi FLAC songs (44.1kHz 16bit) which are bit accurate from my rips I made from CDs, same songs sound much worse when streamed from Apple Music despite having “lossless audio” turned on in preferences. Lacking dynamic impact and excitement, like listening to standard AAC compared to FLAC. And really the difference is not small.
Lots of stuff being mixed up in that paragraph. Bit-accurate rips from a CD you own compared to a Deezer FLAC file implies that the best thing Deezer has is at least the same 16/44.1 source that created your CD (because if they had a 24-bit source that they downsampled themselves to create a 16/44.1 FLAC its not going to be bit-accurate to your CD rip). If that is truly the case then it shouldn't be surprising that once the FLAC is uncompressed and compared to your ripped file that they are bit-accurate.

But that has zip to do with Apple Music lossless files. You claim it sounds worse. Could be a billion reasons that is true bias notwithstanding. You got the "impression" that they're just using the AAC files despite I suspect zero proof. That could easily color your judgement as much as any real-world reasons.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #59
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by louderjamz ➡️
This is an interesting point

How do we know which Atmos mix has been optimised for speakers vs headphones?

I guess on the mixer / artist / label know lol
If done well, mix sounds good on both. I’ve gone through about 50 songs in the Apple playlists in both headphone and a modest home theater Atmos system… about 25% sound very good, 50% sound ok, 25% sound like weak efforts
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #60
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightjar ➡️
If done well, mix sounds good on both. I’ve gone through about 50 songs in the Apple playlists in both headphone and a modest home theater Atmos system… about 25% sound very good, 50% sound ok, 25% sound like weak efforts
Nice, but something that's properly optimised for binaural mix doesn't sound good on stereo speakers in my experience.

I imagine there is Atmos stuff optimised for headphones on Apple Music (Airpods is huge business for Apple) but we don't know.

Unless they eventually add a "Made for headphones" logo
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