Airplay, and it’s predeccessor AirTunes have been able to support lossless CD quality for a very long time as far as I recall, the problem being that Apple’s own software on portable devices doesn’t do this.
If you ripped a CD in iTunes years ago you could Airplay in lossless CD quality to a suitable Airport Express or AppleTV from the computer, though only the original AppleTV didn’t muck around with the audio by upsampling.
Airplay 2 specs were upgraded a few years ago to theoretically allow hi-res lossless streams to be sent, which is great apart from the fact they haven’t actually enabled this on iPhones/iPads/Macs via Airplay.
Given that Airplay is licensed to manufacturers of audio devices who have to pay for it, their devices would surely have to meet the Airplay specs or at least a defined subset of them - can’t say for certain but I’d imagine products which support Airplay would declare their capabilities in terms of playback quality supported and then for Airplay to adapt automatically in terms of what is sent. Naim developers have stated the firmware on the current streamers is ready to go in terms of lossy/hi-res if and when Apple decides to send such streams when using Apple Music.
I wish I could find the original Naim staff post saying that lossless hi-res is supported in Naim firmware, just that Apple haven’t enabled it.
Thanks, there is somewhere an even older comment about the lossless Airplay 2 libraries being incorporated into the current streamers’ firmware, and that it’s ‘ready’ if Apple allow it.
Sadly, as with many things Apple, I think they may limit the enhancements to their own products. That’s all very well for lifestyle items they sell but doesn’t help those of us with capable though niche non-Apple products which are ideal vehicles for hi-res streaming in a manner which would surpass Apple’s offerings
Given that Apple have partnered with high-end/luxury brands say for Apple Watch versions and watch straps, you’d think they might relish the opportunity for seeing their services incorporated natively or via Airplay into luxury hi-fi products. Probably just shows we’re an extremely small part of the customer base.
get Qobuz. I love it. I mean seriously, I mean no disrespect, but if you can afford Naim equipment you can afford $150 a year for easy, better than iTunes high Rez, great library streaming. Just pull out that credit card !
Apple Music has a lot of material mastered for Apple a very different sounding recording more like cds from the 80s not the loudness wars of 2010s. But Qobuz on the other hand has the sublime memberships that gets you great savings on purchasing HD recordings half off or more. I don’t know if it’s possible to listen to anything past 16/44.1 via the airplay 2 from Apple Music but Qobuz will stream at 24/192 no problem. Only problem with Qobuz subscription is it is hard to search music using Naim App. You can search via Qobuz app and then play via airplay 2 or make a playlist and it will find the playlist on the Naim app. Sorry new to forums pleases don’t troll me for my grammar.
That’s a good summary. The 2nd generation Home Pods apparently when configured as stereo pairs can apparently use hi-res lossless Airplay from one the other - streams initiated on a Homepod from Apple Music are likely to be lossless and some in hi-res. Again, Apple limiting the hi-res streams to its own products.
That’s a good point, I’d always considered the ‘Mastered for iTunes’ or whatever they call it to be a bit of a marketing gimmick but as with all the different streaming services we’re often comparing apples with pears when we don’t know the exact mastering/remastering of the stream.
I’ve always assumed that the ‘mastering version’ supplied to a streaming company is determined by the music labels and then potentially affected by the streaming companies conversion to various codecs for delivery to the streamer. When Tidal supported MQA did they process maybe FLAC originals to MQA themselves, or did the labels produce the MQA files?
I’m an ABBA fan and out of the several Digital remastered cds (6 different masters from one Album) the Apple Digital Masters is by far the best sounding and most revealing closest to Vinyl in original information. The top image is the Apple version the bottom is The Complete Studio Album box set remastered from the original masters.
I’m not counting on Apple Music switching over to lossless over Airplay 2 anytime soon. It’s now been two operating system upgrades and it hasn’t been updated. Thought maybe once the classical app came out it would happen. They made nice Airplay updates where when you go back into Apple Music it automatically reconnects to your last Airplay connection but still no lossless.
Sadly I think Spotify lossless would be my best setup. The rest of the family would use it, it’s got about same library as Apple, and Spotify Connect is very easy to use. Don’t think I’d miss roon. Apple Music is kind of weird because I use genres the most but it takes several steps to find the genre section, it kind buried.
1st or 2nd generation Homepods? I recall there was a firmware update to allow Apple Music playback in hi-res on the Homepods some time ago. Quite how you prove what they’re doing I don’t know though maybe the video above showing a tick for lossless on an idevice vs a filled circle for lossy is the key.
We have 2 sets of 1st generation HomePods and I was pretty impressed how they sounded as a pair watching projected video or audio Airplayed from AppleTV before I moved the usual audio kit back into my AV cave. Daughter now has one set, the other set is unopened, a bit of a panic buy when they discontinued them only to reintroduce later.
I’m hoping at some stage to start using my older Pioneer AV receiver again so that I can get audio into the Naim setup via HDMI rather than Airplay 2, though unsure if I’ll be able to output the audio over optical or if it’ll be RCA.
ACON Acoustica, its a cheap version of Cedar audio studio complete retails for $4900 and you have to have usb dongle plug in to use it, a drag if you use a MacBook Air with 2 USB c ports. You can purchase add on for Audacity for $99 But I would recommend the complete premium version for $199 which is insanely good if you edit audio. They have a 30 day free trial.
I’m living this right now. I have Apple One/Apple Music. The best way to stream AM is to use an iPhone or iPad with the camera connection kit to a DAC. iOS will automatically change the sample rate for you. Downside is you have an Apple device tethered to your DAC.
I have just added Qobuz and Lifetime Roon because:
Qobuz SQ is better (objective)
Library Management is fantastic.
Roon ARC lets me bring my library with me.
Parametric EQ and DSP for my Naim Uniti Atom HE depending on headphones profiles.
Roon streaming to any Naim and/or Airplay device in my house.
Any the list goes on!
Hope this helps!
Do a trial of both roon and qobuz at the same time and compare native qobuz and roon+qobuz!