Apple Music Lossless High Res

MarraJ

Member
Jul 3, 2022
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I would like add a music streamer capable of streaming Apple Music lossless high-res but I am struggling to find anything in a reasonable price range. Amongst quite a few others I have looked at the Node from Bluesound and Audiolab’s 6000N but neither seem to be able handle Lossless streaming from Apple. Any help greatly appreciated!
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
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I would like add a music streamer capable of streaming Apple Music lossless high-res but I am struggling to find anything in a reasonable price range. Amongst quite a few others I have looked at the Node from Bluesound and Audiolab’s 6000N but neither seem to be able handle Lossless streaming from Apple. Any help greatly appreciated!
Hi. You could ask Apple why they introduce a music service that has virtually no hardware support...? 😣
Seriously the best solutions at the moment are an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV !
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
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Apple TV is the way to go if you're hell bent on getting Apple music in high res, it's also the best for TV streaming - for example the Disney+ app is horrendously inconsistent among devices, you're probably guaranteed the maximum audio and visual quality from Apple TV.
 
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JPLyman325

Member
Aug 28, 2022
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Find an old Mac and hook it up to your system - I just did this was a 2012 Mac mini. I was able to update it to OS Monterey that supports lossless music. I can play directly through the Mac for the best quality or I can stream via Airplay 2 from any device.
 

as286

Well-known member
May 12, 2011
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Option 1 for full HiRes: Apple iPhone into Apple's Camera Adapter Kit (about €30) into USB DAC such as Zen DAC V2 (about €200) into your HiFi analog AUX. Gives up to 24/192.
Option 2 for full HiRes: An amp with a built-in DAC which gives access to it trough USB, such as Rotel MK1572MkII, Gato 250 or older models of Marantz (MCR603). This is Apple iPhone - USB cable into amp. Also up to 24/192.
Option 3 for Lossless (but not HiRes): any device with an Airplay 1. Airplay 2 is capable of lossless but in case of Apple Music converts ALAC to AAC256. Go figure.🤷‍♂️
No device natively supports anything other than Airplay 2 for Apple which is, for now, Apple's preferred system for wireless music distribution. This means that there is no way of getting lossless into a hifi wirelessly from Apple Music other than through Airplay 1.
 
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JPLyman325

Member
Aug 28, 2022
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Just for reference I did some sound checks as Airplay 2 that streams at CD quality 16/44.1 I believe. I streamed three different songs (first tracks to a side as I was also comparing to my turntable). Elton John's goodbye yellow brick road streamed via Airplay 2 did not sound any where close to my direct connect to my CXA-81 amp via USB. The difference was the stream was 24/44.1 - and the difference on Neil Young's Old Man (24/196) was amazing. Depending on what you use to stream out make sure it is also outputting at that level - on Macs you have to adjust the outputs.
 

as286

Well-known member
May 12, 2011
4
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18,525
The problem is that Airplay 2 source (Mac, iPhone, iPad) will report that it is streaming at 16/44.1 (at the bottom of the song on the main screen) but Airplay 2 would then convert the stream to AAC 256 without reporting to anyone. There is ample evidence of this taking place (see this site for report on Airplay 1 vs 2 in terms of bit perfect streaming) on this and other forums (Naim Community). The only way to check what your amplifier is receiving from Airplay (1 or 2) is to have a device that reports the stream quality (like Topping) or an amplifier/streamer that display streaming quality.
There is one workaround to get Airplay lossless through a Mac and that is to set Mac's sound output to Airplay on the Mac itself (upper right corner) and not through the Music app or iPhone/iPad. This ought to ensure lossless and is officially supported and recommended by at least Bluesound. In JPLyman325's case, I guess if he streams through the Music app, the app will report 16/44.1 but will degrade to AAC256. If he streams Airplay 2 through Mac's sound output, it ought to end up lossless.
Vincentneo at Github has a nifty Mac app which automatically switches the output. It is free and it works flawlessly. Can be obtained here: https://github.com/vincentneo/LosslessSwitcher
 

JPLyman325

Member
Aug 28, 2022
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Great information - especially the work around. I believe I have heard the same about the down converting but had forgotten. To me if you want the best sound you need a dedicated network streamer - I get the best sound from my Mac mini direct connect.
 

slounio

Member
Sep 5, 2022
1
0
20
Apple TV is the way to go if you're hell bent on getting Apple music in high res, it's also the best for TV streaming - for example the Disney+ Mod APK app is horrendously inconsistent among devices, you're probably guaranteed the maximum audio and visual quality from Apple TV.
 
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Boozemun

Member
Nov 22, 2022
1
0
20
Unfortunately not the Apple TV is the only Apple device that does NOT at present support hi-res audio, only lossless audio. I just had this post deleted by Apple in their discussion about it, they really do not deserve my years of loyalty to them....


Apple obviously added hi-res audio as an afterthought. They are playing catchup. Even their support pages have a tone of "AAC was good enough for you, you can't tell the difference... but here it is anyway peasants", ... all in good fun Apple, don't hurt me. When you think about it, what is their one product that would most likely already be connected to a DAC or a Receiver capable of decoding higher-resolution audio? DUH... the Apple TV, the only device that it doesn't work with? Usually, I'm not a huge critic of Apple but they failed here miserably, and I'm the sucker who canceled Qubuz and Roon because Apple was going hi-res.
 

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