ARC/Carplay vs Apple Music

In the car, I have my Roon Playlist copied over to apple music.

All my Roon files are FLAC HQ rips, however, Apple Music sounds clearly better.

Anyone else do a comparison?

How do you know Apple Music is playing the exact same version or release?

Are they both playing the same quality of files to begin with?

What’s are arcs streaming settings original, cd, balanced or bandwidth optimised. What’s Apple Music streaming at?


All good questions.

defiantly not the same version or release, but there’s 1000s of songs Im basing the quality on.

I now changed arc streaming form Automatically pick best quality to be Original Format. Maybe the files were optimized anyway. Hopefully, that has some effect.

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Automatic tends to air on caution and transcode to opus.

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Continuing CrystalGipsy’s suggestion:
I’ve found the opposite to be true - Apple Music often sounds worse.
Most of my FLAC rips are from the original CD release as to my ears many, if not most, remastered versions sound worse than the one before it (Loudness Wars).
That said many people prefer the remastered versions and/or perceive louder as sounding better and that’s fine.
Usually the version on streaming services is the most recent mastering so as suggested it’s quite possible the versions you’re hearing on Apple Music are not the same as your CD rips or your ARC settings are having an effect.

Edit: Posted before I saw OP’s response :woman_shrugging:

I thought the Roon Arc sounded better than Apple Music. But not significantly. Also I will Apple Music is more reliable with CarPlay and such.

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I have to agree with you although, in fairness this is quite anecdotal.

I’ve commented in other threads about my problems with Arc. As a consequence I downloaded some albums to my phone (lossless format).

And while some of those were playing in the background I was startled to notice a considerable improvement over Arc (and other apps I’ve tried). Detail, separation, and soundstaging definitely appeared to have improved.

I just figured since Apple was controlling the whole musical chain (Apple Music—>iPhone—>CarPlay) they were able to do some secret jiggery-pokery to imnprove the sound quality.

And while their streaming works pretty much flawlessly, I still prefer to download the files to my phone.

Apple Music works great with CarPlay, go figure. I also use it for music discovery when traveling. But if I like something, I buy it and add FLAC files to Roon - which trumps Apple Music in every way at home.

Apple Music is stable in the car. I can only use Arc while offline but that’s about it. But Apple Music is good. Tidal app is also good with CarPlay and Qobuz is definitely getting there.

Apple Music is stable in the car. I can only use Arc while offline but that’s about it. But Apple Music is good.