A new high-res tier is coming to Spotify. The new tier will allow users to download high-res files for playback on their computers, smartphones, and other audio devices. However, it’s unclear how many songs will be available in this new format. And we don’t know yet whether the service will let users stream the tracks in lossless CD quality.
Apple Music’s lossless audio tier
Apple is set to launch a lossless audio streaming service in May, as well as offer Dolby Atmos spatial audio. Lossless audio is the standard quality of music that artists create in the studio, and now, it will be available to Apple Music subscribers. This feature is expected to be a free upgrade for current $9.99 a month users.
When it comes to hi-res or lossless audio, there are a few things you need to know. Hi-res or lossless music requires specific hardware and data. If you want to experience high-resolution, you’ll need an external DAC or a USB digital-to-analog converter. You’ll also need an iPhone or Apple device with a 3.5mm jack. In addition, you’ll need to be using a Bluetooth AAC device.
The first tier of lossless audio is at CD quality, where you can listen to up to 16-bits at 44.1 kHz. You can choose to go to 24-bits at 48 kHz, or 24-bits at 192 kHz for a higher resolution. Lastly, there is a hi-fi lossless tier. It’s at a whopping 24-bits at 192 kHz.
Lossless isn’t for everyone. Some of the largest streaming services such as Spotify, Tidal, and Amazon offer a high-quality music service at no extra cost. Similarly, Deezer has been offering high-res service for years. And it appears that Apple is following in the footsteps of other providers.
But if you’re an audiophile, you might want to give Apple Lossless a try. For instance, you could use budget in-ear monitors to check out the high-resolution audio.
However, if you really like lossless audio, you’ll need to invest in more expensive hardware. You can get an external DAC that will handle up to 24-bits at 192 kHz, or a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter. Alternatively, you can purchase a pair of decent over-the-ear wired headphones. These headphones will be able to play the new audio tiers from Apple Music.
Currently, the majority of iPhones do not have a 3.5mm jack. However, it is possible to connect your device via a Lightning to 3.5mm Audio Cable. Even then, you won’t be able to get the best lossless listening. That’s because the Lightning to 3.5mm Audio Cable is not lossless.
Apple is still planning to add a third tier of lossless audio to the service, and it will be available to all users. It will be called Spatial Audio, and it will allow subscribers to enjoy surround sound and Dolby Atmos.
As of this writing, the new Spatial Audio feature is not yet supported on the Android version of the Apple Music app. However, it’s expected to come to the iOS version within the next few weeks. Until then, you can try to listen to lossless music on your computer by downloading the latest Apple Lossless Audio Codec.
Spotify’s high-res audio tier
In February of last year, Spotify announced a new tier of subscriptions. Known as the HiFi tier, it is meant to provide CD quality audio streaming. This would be a significant upgrade to the standard Premium tier. However, there has been little information about how much this service will cost.
The Spotify HiFi service will be available in select markets. It is expected to be released sometime in 2022. Users will need to be 16 years old to subscribe to the service. It will include an upgraded interface and higher-quality streams. Currently, Premium subscribers can listen to 320kbps and lossy music.
While it may be worth paying a little extra for better music, most consumers don’t pay that much for their tunes. Spotify’s average cost for a month is $9, so it will be difficult for users to justify the addition of lossless audio. Also, consumer headphones can’t produce rich tonal ranges of high-res files.
But if you’re a die-hard audiophile, you probably don’t want to settle for 320kbps. Lossless audio offers better detail, but it also consumes more data to stream. Plus, you’ll need to invest in a headphone tuner to enjoy the new tier.
Although Spotify hasn’t revealed any specific technical details about the HiFi service, it appears to be a step up from the standard Premium tier. The service will use HD-AAC, a lossless compression algorithm developed by Sony, in order to preserve the nuance and detail in music. Other companies in the streaming industry offer higher-quality audio. Apple Music and Tidal are two of the leading competitors.
Interestingly, the company didn’t reveal any details about the HiFi tier until a few months after its announcement. Last February, Spotify executives spoke with investors about their plans for the new tier. They mentioned that they were planning a massive rollout of this tier. There was even a tweet from the official Spotify account indicating that HiFi is “on its way.”
Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek, has indicated that there are licensing issues with the content that is being licensed to the service. Fortunately, there is a free trial of the high-res music files. If you’re not convinced, however, you can always check out other services that offer high-res streaming, like Amazon Music.
Even Apple is getting in on the action, releasing a new AirPods Pro that will support wireless Lossless playback. As such, it would make sense for Spotify to launch a similar feature. Of course, launching a lossless tier could be tricky, especially with the introduction of Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos to Apple Music’s service in May.
While there hasn’t been a concrete timeline for the HiFi tier, it seems likely that it will launch sometime in 2022. A recent survey from Spotify asks users about their interest in the platinum service.
Which songs will be available in lossless CD quality?
Spotify HiFi is the upcoming subscription upgrade which will deliver CD-quality music streams. The service will work with Bluetooth speakers that use protocols such as Qualcomm’s aptX HD. It will also provide “lossless” audio to enhance the listening experience. While no specific details have been revealed, the rumored details include tens of millions of songs. However, there’s a lack of clarity surrounding the exact nature of the feature, what it will cost, and whether or not it will be part of the standard Spotify app or an add-on.
The Spotify HiFi tier was first teased in February. At the time, it was expected to launch in the second half of this year. This month, however, a glitch in the app caused users to stumble upon a hidden media playback menu. A video that was later leaked online, as well as a handful of reports on social media, hinted at the imminent release of the feature. Although no further details have been released, Spotify executives have stated that the feature is on the way.
In the past, the company has promised that its premium subscribers would be able to listen to a variety of high-resolution music streaming options. The company has previously made low-bitrate streams available for free via its web-based app, though it has yet to offer higher-quality tracks beyond 320kbit/s. Several of its rivals, including Tidal, Apple Music, and Amazon Music, now provide lossless streaming.
Streaming services can produce higher-quality sounds through the use of lossless compression algorithms. These algorithms make music files smaller and save space, while still preserving sonic detail. Lossless audio can also enable listeners to hear additional details, such as a wider soundstage.
While it’s not clear how much more Spotify will be able to deliver in terms of high-resolution audio, the company has indicated that it plans to introduce more features. Some of these features, such as the ability to stream in Dolby Atmos, were added to Apple’s service last May. Similarly, Amazon introduced a high-resolution version of its library, and the company also has an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription.
Meanwhile, Spotify hasn’t been quite as forthcoming with details. CEO Daniel Ek has said the company is still talking to music labels to figure out how to license their songs. But, the company did promise a new feature, the “Spotify Hi-Fi,” which is expected to launch sometime this year.
At the end of February, Spotify unveiled a new feature called the HiFi tier, which will offer lossless CD-quality music. For a limited time, a free upgrade to the service will allow Premium subscribers to access the feature. During the earnings call, however, a few executive spokespeople revealed little else. Most of them remarked on the feature’s “slightly” obvious benefits.