• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Apple Music Streaming quality in Kbps, Losses vs. Hi-Res, AirPlay 1 vs AirPlay 2

gags11

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 8, 2019
Messages
357
Likes
528
Decided to post this if anyone is interested as I was. Found an app called Usage, available on Apple iOS App Store. It can monitor bits sent and received. Here is the data and a few snapshots of the app and the actual raw data in KBytes.

Ranges depict minimum and maximum depending on the recording.

Streaming
  1. Hi-Res (24 bit 192 KHz): 5200 Kbps
  2. Lossless (16 bit 44.1 KHz & 24 bit 48 KHz): 1500-2048 kbps
Casting:
  1. AirPlay 1: 720-1000 Kbps
  2. AirPlay 2: 256 Kbps


Interesting observations:


Streaming lossless and Hi-Res come in packets of data every 15 seconds. Occasionally, and if you pause the music, the song does get fully downloaded into the buffer.

Casting goes in packets of data in 10 seconds with newer AirPlay 2, but it is a continuous data transfer for the original AirPlay 1.


IMG_3359.png

AirPlay 1 casting (Sending)


IMG_3363.png

AirPlay 2 casting (Sending)


IMG_3361.png

Hi-Res streaming (data on the left - receiving)


IMG_3368.png

Lossless streaming (receiving)


PS: I was trying to figure out how this compares to Tidal Hi-Res streaming. Very limited information, but it appears Apple Lossless is equivalent to Tidal masters Hi-Res, in terms of Kbps. Apple Hi-Res stream is on another level from what I see. I don’t have Tidal any more to do apples-to-apples comparison.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_3361.png
    IMG_3361.png
    577.2 KB · Views: 58
Last edited:
OP
G

gags11

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 8, 2019
Messages
357
Likes
528

BigFKahuna

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2022
Messages
64
Likes
67
If I read this correctly, you agree with what I read on Darko's site which suggests that, for me at least, Airplay 1 is still the preferred way to stream. My LS60's are Airplay 2 compatible but as I stream from Deezer which supports Airplay 1 I still get CD quality which is good for most of my listening. If the KEF Connect app ever becomes as useful as the actual Deezer app I will do that. I suppose I could switch to Tidal and try the Tidal Connect function, some day when I am bored. As my system is not part of my home theatre I have no idea how to make something like an Apple box work for me.
 
OP
G

gags11

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 8, 2019
Messages
357
Likes
528
If I read this correctly, you agree with what I read on Darko's site which suggests that, for me at least, Airplay 1 is still the preferred way to stream. My LS60's are Airplay 2 compatible but as I stream from Deezer which supports Airplay 1 I still get CD quality which is good for most of my listening. If the KEF Connect app ever becomes as useful as the actual Deezer app I will do that. I suppose I could switch to Tidal and try the Tidal Connect function, some day when I am bored. As my system is not part of my home theatre I have no idea how to make something like an Apple box work for me.

What you say about AirPlay 1 & 2 is true.

The bigger point is that Apple Music lossless is equal or better than Deezer high fidelity or Tidal high-res.

Apple Music streams 16 bit 44.1 KHz (CD quality) at 1500 Kbps and 24 Bit 48 KHz at 2048 Kbps (still labeled as lossless by Apple Music, not hi-res). Deezer hi fidelity streams at 1411 Kbps.

If one uses Apple Music with Apple TV 4K streaming box in conjunction with Amazon Basics hdmi audio extractor, you can feed coax or toslink into your LS60s or any other active speaker or DAC.

Of Note, you can also use your iPhone with direct wired connection to your DAC to get full hi-res (24 bit 192 KHz) at 5.2 Mbps.
 
Last edited:

Vincent Kars

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Technical Expert
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
790
Likes
1,582
Apple Music streams 16 bit 44.1 KHz (CD quality) at 1500 Kbps
That is a weird value.
As CD is 2 channel 16 bit with a 44.1 kHz sample rate, LPCM has a bit rate of 2x16x44.1 = 1411 kbs.
 
OP
G

gags11

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 8, 2019
Messages
357
Likes
528
That is a weird value.
As CD is 2 channel 16 bit with a 44.1 kHz sample rate, LPCM has a bit rate of 2x16x44.1 = 1411 kbs.

That was an average approximate bitrate I got, as the bitrate fluctuates based on the content and recording. There is also some rounding with the Usage app graphs, so you may be right, the actual rate may be 1411 Kbps.
 

BitPerfect_

Active Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2021
Messages
178
Likes
43
Thanks for sharing this info with us.
I recognize that I am a little bit confused because, using Yamaha WXC-50, streaming via AirPlay1 (using the Apple Music app on iOS latest version), it will goes like this :

AppleMusic 16/44.1 (as far as I know) Airplay 1 > iOS > Yamaha WXC-50 in Player mode, volume @100% by default, AirPlay 1 receiver > will deliver via Toslink Lossless or Lossy (? bit) / 48kHz. Unfortunately I am unable to see exactly which format is streamed because I don't have a DAC with display, the truth is that the WXC-50 will alter the signal.

On the other hand, using the same streaming device, and the Deezer app integrated in Yamaha MusicCast app (not via AirPlay) we have:
Deezer 16/44.1 > iOS > Yamaha WXC-50 in Player mode > will deliver via Toslink 16 bit/ 44kHz bit perfect.

I know that Apple music is able to deliver HiRes using cables but at this point, in order to not have wires around I am tempted to switch on Deezer. I'll decide.

How audible are the differences between any of these?
Most likely not audible differences, it's just the thought that there could be something better in terms of audio quality imho :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: ENG
Top Bottom