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lossless audio

What exactly is lossless audio quality?A test to check if you can you hear the difference?

In recent years, Apple, Amazon, and Spotify have added  lossless audio quality services to their streaming music services. Even though all are labeled as lossless, the different names can be confusing. So, what exactly is lossless audio quality? Can your ears really tell the difference?

The definition of lossless audio?

Whether the audio quality is lossless or lossy depends on whether it has been compressed and the way it is compressed. Compressed music files can save more bandwidth on streaming platforms and more storage space, but the audio loses many details after compression. Basically, uncompressed audio files can be regarded as "copies" of the original recording, usually in WAV or AIFF file formats. Compressed audio files, on the other hand, will have a certain amount of loss. The so-called lossless audio quality refers to "lossless compression," which preserves the audio quality while significantly reducing the file size.

Difference between lossless audio quality and Hi-Res?

lossless audio vs hi res

Lossless audio quality usually has the same bit rate and sample rate as a CD, which is 16-bit/44.1kHz. The term "lossless" is used by streaming services to emphasize that their streaming music is indistinguishable from CD quality. Technically, any uncompressed recording can be called lossless. High-resolution (Hi-Res) usage and definition are not clear, but according to Sony's definition, anything that meets 24-bit/96kHz or higher is considered high resolution, which theoretically should be better than so-called audio quality. In practice, it still depends on the source, equipment, and listening methods.

How to obtain lossless audio quality?

Convert by yourself

The simplest way is to use iTunes to convert CDs to FLAC yourself. The disadvantage is that it requires a CD drive and is time-consuming, but the advantage is that it is safe and has no intellectual property infringement concerns.

Use online streaming platforms that provide lossless audio quality

More and more online streaming platforms offer lossless music. This article provides a detailed comparison of the various pros and cons of online streaming platforms.

The last one is, of course, to search for keywords and download through some practically non-compliant ways.

Do I need lossless music?

It actually depends entirely on whether your ears can tell the difference and whether you have the budget to upgrade your equipment. Here is a simple test provided by NPR to check if you are "golden-ear"!

Can Bluetooth play lossless audio quality?

Limited by the bandwidth and decoding technology of Bluetooth, although lossless audio quality can be played through Bluetooth, what you hear in the headphones will still be a compressed form. Fortunately, Qualcomm's aptX HD and aptX Adaptive decoding technologies are the first to be able to play true lossless audio quality through Bluetooth, but there are not many supported phones. Besides Qualcomm's technology, the recently revived MQA's newly developed SCL6 technology claims the highest bit rate of 20Mbps, sufficient to carry 24-bit/384kHz files.

Can I use AirPlay to play lossless music?

AirPlay's transmission technology is more complicated to explain. AirPlay can transfer lossless audio files from the equipment to AirPlay-supported devices, but Apple Music's lossless streaming seems to convert from ALAC to AAC at only 256 kbps when transmitted through AirPlay, so strictly speaking, it is not lossless. There is news that Apple is developing new software technology to make AirPlay truly play lossless music quality.

Is there an easier way to listen to enjoy lossless audio music ?

For Apple users, without considering using a DAC, using the DUET MK3, which is designed with powerful hardware specifications and supports AirPlay, is the easiest way. The DUET MK3 can connect to an iPhone without using third-party apps

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