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Apple Music Lossless + Apple TV 4K + Airplay + Airport Express (version 1)

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carlo_b

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Maybe it would have been better if I had introduced myself.

I am not a technician but just a lover of good music faithfully reproduced on my home system composed by Naim UnitiQute 1 + ProAC D18.

This seems to me to be the most suitable site to address some "technical" doubts I have about the new Apple Music Lossless.

Premise: I tried to compare the tracks I extracted from CD with those I receive from Apple servers and even with Apple TV 4K + AirPlay 1 I can't find audible differences between the two with my system (perhaps because Apple uses a good resampler as mdsimon wrote).
Question for mdsimon regarding what is written "I've done some simple measurements of shairport-sync as well as true Airplay 1/2 on Apple TVs":
Does AppleTV4K send in realtime to AirPlay 2 devices?

On the other hand, as regards the USB output, it seems to me that it is not completely clear after the tests with RME whether with macOS or iOS via USB it is possible to obtain bit perfect.
Only 16 bits or even 24 bits?
Is it possible to test the entire track and not just a part?
On Audiophile Style, the tests were performed on the entire track and it was found that the track is bit perfect at some times and not at others.
Why does this happen? What does Apple do to the music it sends us?
 

sarumbear

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Maybe it would have been better if I had introduced myself.

I am not a technician but just a lover of good music faithfully reproduced on my home system composed by Naim UnitiQute 1 + ProAC D18.

This seems to me to be the most suitable site to address some "technical" doubts I have about the new Apple Music Lossless.

Premise: I tried to compare the tracks I extracted from CD with those I receive from Apple servers and even with Apple TV 4K + AirPlay 1 I can't find audible differences between the two with my system (perhaps because Apple uses a good resampler as mdsimon wrote).
Question for mdsimon regarding what is written "I've done some simple measurements of shairport-sync as well as true Airplay 1/2 on Apple TVs":
Does AppleTV4K send in realtime to AirPlay 2 devices?

On the other hand, as regards the USB output, it seems to me that it is not completely clear after the tests with RME whether with macOS or iOS via USB it is possible to obtain bit perfect.
Only 16 bits or even 24 bits?
Is it possible to test the entire track and not just a part?
On Audiophile Style, the tests were performed on the entire track and it was found that the track is bit perfect at some times and not at others.
Why does this happen? What does Apple do to the music it sends us?
First I need a few clarifications.

1- Do you listen through the Naim or through the RME?

2- Does Naim support Apple Music? If it does have you asked them if they support the lossless and other formats?

3- How do you measure if a track is bit-perfect?
 

mdsimon2

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Maybe it would have been better if I had introduced myself.

I am not a technician but just a lover of good music faithfully reproduced on my home system composed by Naim UnitiQute 1 + ProAC D18.

This seems to me to be the most suitable site to address some "technical" doubts I have about the new Apple Music Lossless.

Premise: I tried to compare the tracks I extracted from CD with those I receive from Apple servers and even with Apple TV 4K + AirPlay 1 I can't find audible differences between the two with my system (perhaps because Apple uses a good resampler as mdsimon wrote).
Question for mdsimon regarding what is written "I've done some simple measurements of shairport-sync as well as true Airplay 1/2 on Apple TVs":
Does AppleTV4K send in realtime to AirPlay 2 devices?


On the other hand, as regards the USB output, it seems to me that it is not completely clear after the tests with RME whether with macOS or iOS via USB it is possible to obtain bit perfect.
Only 16 bits or even 24 bits?
Is it possible to test the entire track and not just a part?
On Audiophile Style, the tests were performed on the entire track and it was found that the track is bit perfect at some times and not at others.
Why does this happen? What does Apple do to the music it sends us?

I have only used Apple TVs as airplay receivers, I do not believe they have the ability to send.

Michael
 
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carlo_b

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First I need a few clarifications.

1- Do you listen through the Naim or through the RME?

2- Does Naim support Apple Music? If it does have you asked them if they support the lossless and other formats?

3- How do you measure if a track is bit-perfect?
Answers:

1) I only use the DAC and amplifier of my Naim UnitiQute 1 which does not have AirPlay.
I don't have a RME DAC.
To listen to Apple Music I use the digital audio output of AirPort Express 1 and 2 or the digital output of the raspberry + shairport + hifiberry Digi + Pro connected to the S / PDIF input of Naim.

2) Naim does not support Apple Music. At this time on Naim devices it is possible to listen to Apple Music only via AirPlay 2 (only for the new Naim Uniti) or by connecting a DAC to macOS, iOS or iPadOS devices.

3) To check if a track is bit perfect, I use Audition.
First I capture the track sent via AirPlay with shairport + stdout and then compare the original track extracted from CD with the one captured via stdout with Audition by reversing the polarity of one of the two.
Since I don't have a device like RME, I can only do track comparisons using AirPlay.
 
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carlo_b

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I have only used Apple TVs as airplay receivers, I do not believe they have the ability to send.

Michael
Hi Michael,

I confirm that AppleTV 4K can send to both AirPlay 1 and 2 devices and can be conveniently controlled via the Music app.
 

mdsimon2

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Hi Michael,

I confirm that AppleTV 4K can send to both AirPlay 1 and 2 devices and can be conveniently controlled via the Music app.
Cool, thank you for sharing, I did not know that. I recall some recent threads where folks were looking for wireless audio / video solutions, this would definitely be a good option.

Michael
 
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carlo_b

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Cool, thank you for sharing, I did not know that. I recall some recent threads where folks were looking for wireless audio / video solutions, this would definitely be a good option.

Michael
2F24D490-1D93-40A0-BF03-2ACECA824A22.thumb.jpeg.c925ece9c025a4a9547e5d18c510f39f.jpeg
 

sarumbear

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Answers:

1) I only use the DAC and amplifier of my Naim UnitiQute 1 which does not have AirPlay.
I don't have a RME DAC.
To listen to Apple Music I use the digital audio output of AirPort Express 1 and 2 or the digital output of the raspberry + shairport + hifiberry Digi + Pro connected to the S / PDIF input of Naim.

2) Naim does not support Apple Music. At this time on Naim devices it is possible to listen to Apple Music only via AirPlay 2 (only for the new Naim Uniti) or by connecting a DAC to macOS, iOS or iPadOS devices.

3) To check if a track is bit perfect, I use Audition.
First I capture the track sent via AirPlay with shairport + stdout and then compare the original track extracted from CD with the one captured via stdout with Audition by reversing the polarity of one of the two.
Since I don't have a device like RME, I can only do track comparisons using AirPlay.
I haven’t realised that your NAIM was a discontinued device. I was also confused with your mentioning tests with RME as your tests.

on item 3: AirPlay use ALAC which is a lossless codec but a codec nevertheless. I expect AirPlay transfers not to be bit perfect.
 

Mansinthe86

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AppleMusic 16/44.1 > iOS > Yamaha WXC-50 in Player mode, volume @100% by default, AirPlay 1 > will deliver 48kHz, not bit perfect.
Airplay will always do that , especially when you go through a apple TV l.
Cool, thank you for sharing, I did not know that. I recall some recent threads where folks were looking for wireless audio / video solutions, this would definitely be a good option.

Michael
I've been using a 4k apple TV with my Cambridge cxn V2 for a while now with airplay.

Works great.
 
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carlo_b

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I haven’t realised that your NAIM was a discontinued device. I was also confused with your mentioning tests with RME as your tests.

on item 3: AirPlay use ALAC which is a lossless codec but a codec nevertheless. I expect AirPlay transfers not to be bit perfect.
This is the link with the tests I used for my summary which I posted earlier


This is the test result

On iOS
  1. Apple's Music App, lossless streaming content, AirPlay 1 to AirPort Express 1st Gen - bit perfect at 44.1.
  2. Apple's Music App, lossless streaming content, AirPlay 1 to Sonore Rendu (ShairPort) - bit perfect at 44.1.
  3. Apple's Music App, lossless streaming content, AirPlay 2 to Bluesound Node 2i - NOT bit perfect at 44.1.
  4. Apple's Music App, lossless streaming content, AirPlay 2 to AirPort Express 2nd Gen - NOT bit perfect 44.1.
As for the tests with the RME dac maybe my translator did something wrong!
I just wanted to figure out which of the 2 tests done here and 1 here (https://audiophilestyle.com/ca/bits-and-bytes/apple-musics-lossless-and-hi-res-mess-r1022/) is the right one:

- ELNino said "I just tried it on my own RME system, and using the RME bit-check function, I can only get a bit-perfect pass at 16-bit. Ie, 44.1 / 48/96 / 192kHz all report passing the bit-perfect test at 16-bits, but NOT at 24-bit or 32-bit. The 24-bit test passes for a bit and then flakes out and then reports passing at 16-bit only ";

- adbarn said "I wonder what’s going on here? I’ve run the RME test files multiple times and passed every test, 16- and 24-bit. This is on an iPad via CCK direct to the RME."

- Audiophile Style said “On iOS, as I just mentioned, we have the high benefit of automatic sample rate switching when playing music in Apple Music. The results for Test 1, 2, and 3 were identical on iOS as they were on macOS. Bit perfect for the first few seconds of major label albums. Bit perfect on and off for Reference recordings' albums. Apple Music on iOS switched between outputting 44.1 to outputting 176.4 without an issue. If only the audio would remain bit perfect during playback, it would be a great solution.”
 
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ElNino

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On the other hand, as regards the USB output, it seems to me that it is not completely clear after the tests with RME whether with macOS or iOS via USB it is possible to obtain bit perfect.
Only 16 bits or even 24 bits?
Is it possible to test the entire track and not just a part?
On Audiophile Style, the tests were performed on the entire track and it was found that the track is bit perfect at some times and not at others.
Why does this happen? What does Apple do to the music it sends us?

I haven't tested macOS, but since it doesn't have automatic sample rate switching, you're unlikely to get bitperfect output via USB for multiple sample rates unless you use third-party software like "Bitperfect", which replaces iTunes' playback engine. I'm not sure if it still works with recent versions of macOS though.

On iOS, on my system, the RME "bit-check" feature shows that all sample rates are bit-perfect at 16-bit output via USB.

At 24-bit, the RME "bit-check" feature shows that the playback is bit-perfect at 24-bit for a few seconds, then falls back to only bit-perfect at 16-bit, then returns to 24-bit, then falls back to 16-bit. This is essentially the same result as found on the Audiophile Style website, using different hardware and a different test methodology.

It's probably likely that iOS is bit-perfect to maybe 22 or 23 bits consistently, and the 23rd or 24th bits get munged periodically. The RME "bit-check" feature doesn't let you get that granular, so one would have to record and compare to figure out for sure.

Why does this happen? What does Apple do to the music it sends us?

I have some experience with CoreAudio programming, which is well-designed and can be bitperfect out of the box. In more recent versions of macOS/iOS, Apple added in higher-level APIs that wrap around CoreAudio. I believe these higher-level APIs create a CoreAudio aggregate device on output, which also inserts compensation for clock drift and allows for a more synchronous programming model, rather than the pure pull model inherent to CoreAudio. This element ends up sometimes causing the last bit or so to be lost. That's my guess.
 

Jazz

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Using Airfoil app seems to overcome all these conversions and allows you to play Lossless to multiple Airplay 1 and Airplay 2 devices from a Mac.
 

Persik

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Did anyone figure out Apple Music hi-res streaming on PC?
Also, very much interested in Apple Music hi-res streaming via Denon X3700h.
 

BitPerfect_

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Airplay will always do that , especially when you go through a apple TV l.
May be but I'm not using Apple TV. Yamaha WXC-50 is a streamer, using AirPlay 1, that's why I am confused.

By the way folks, reading post #10 I understand that using iOS/iPadOS there is no chance at the moment to stream via AirPlay 2 lossless content. Using macOS on the other hand, will allow us to do that, @ 16/44.1 , bit perfect.

Since we are talking about an OS limitation (I suppose?), running a virtual macOS machine on an iPad with iOS will do the trick, in order to have lossless stream @ 16/44.1, bit perfect using AirPlay 2?
 
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Transmaniacon

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I’ve since repurposed my old iPhone 6S+ to use as a media player for my stereo with an apple usb 3.0 camera adapter. This lets me take advantage of the hi-res lossless audio content, downside is I have to get up to change songs. But it does force me to listen to albums more and not just jump around.
 
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