What Are Apple Lossless and Apple Spatial Audio? - Trust Me Shops

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What Are Apple Lossless and Apple Spatial Audio?

What Are Apple Lossless and Apple Spatial Audio?

B&H explora - All posts
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In June 2021, Apple revealed two exciting developments for music lovers: Apple Lossless and Apple Spatial Audio, each on offer for Apple Music, and each available now—provided you have the right hardware and the right OS.

What does this mean for you, the consumer? Let’s take a look.

Apple Lossless

We need to begin by defining “lossless” and “lossy.” I’ll use a mnemonic device to make it simple:

A lossless file exhibits no loss of audio quality when compared to the original master. A lossy file—such as an MP3 or an AAC—does exhibit a loss in quality compared to the original.

Lossy files transformed the music business into its current state/shambles. In fact, the lossy codec can be considered the bridge between the physical days of CDs and the streaming models of Spotify.

It all comes down to file size: A lossless file is much larger than a lossy one. So, a lossy file is easier to stream through the cloud without incurring data bottlenecks and price surges.

Now, how does a lossless file become a lossy one? The answer is simple: sacrifice.

The processes behind lossy codecs (MP3s, AACs, and the like) apply psychoacoustic filters—hyper-small decision-makers that choose which bits of information are essential, and which should be thrown in the garbage.

The obvious analog is a movie with low-res quality, stacked against one viewed at full resolution. If you’ve ever tried to watch Netflix through a terrible Internet connection, you’ll know what I mean: You see the pixels in each frame. Blacks are blocky and weirdly textured. Nothing is clear.

It’s a little subtler in the audio world, but you can still hear the difference with some aural training.

How to Hear What Lossy Files Are Missing

Casual listeners might not be able to hear the difference between an MP3 and a lossless file. But you can train yourself to hear the difference.

This is an Apple drum loop ripped from a lossless wav file:

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