Lossless… Apple Music, Amazon, Spotify (soon)… Roon?

My question is rather; will Roonlabs integrate a third lossless/hires streaming service into Roon?


When you airplay you aren’t streaming from your device. The content location is sent to the the playing device and it streams directly. This means that the the player has to support lossless steaming. IOS 15.1 will support lossless on HomePods. Availability elsewhere will likely be rolling out. Apple wants to grow services, such as Apple Music, so they will be agressively pursuing other platforms. On their timetable of course.

Not sure if “doomed” is the word I would use. Niche product is how I would describe it - for those who are heavily into audio. ~$10 a month with no content other than your own. $10 is what people expect for a full fledged streaming service.

Spotify’s interface and discovery may be better, but not sure why so many people like it as I thought that they haven’t yet implemented a lossless tier.

Apple has lost 90 to 95% of all iTunes users, is making sales record after record with iPhones. Billions of devices run mobile, subscriptions are given away for 6 months with every device purchase, HiFi is given away for free, Primephonic is bought (and immediately discontinued), a new bundle with TV, Games… created…

Nothing helps against the realization that attacking niche is really not a strategy and if almost every iPhone and iPad buyer also installs Roon, Spotify, Amazon, Google, Qobuz, Tidal, Deezer…and also pays for it, Apple can not do everything right.

The technical niche, the best price or the greatest performance (e.g. recommendation system, metadata enrichment…) and not the almost identical catalog decide in the competition.

It seems so unstructured when Apple managers say you can’t hear the difference, but we are introducing HiFi. It seems so arrogant when Primephonic is first bought and then immediately discontinued. The annual promise of new products will soon no longer pull so strongly and already fails violently in the services (Music, TV).

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This is a good description of Chromecast, but AFAIK not Airplay. Airplay senders transmit to receivers over UDP. According to the Wikipedia article:

The streams are transcoded using the Apple Lossless codec

In other words, you can have the best, highly capable, receiver in the world, but the sender has still encoded the audio to 16/44.1.


Apple Music boss has recently said we will see the results of this acquisition in Apple Music early next year. Not only for classical but also jazz and possibly everything (focus on metadata)

Maybe that is when we can also expect new hardware (Airplay3?) for hi-res lossless support? Let’s see !

Apple Reveals Surprise New Acquisition To Seriously Upgrade Apple Music

I’ve already taken several attempts to make friends with Apple Music and I’d also add a subscription if it wasn’t just marketing and many months of waiting.

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We’ll update you next year if/when it reaches full potential.

Hopefully they don’t end up being like Amazon Music HD - years of no real improvement in their apps.

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Ha ha ha! Here they still haven’t even launched it. Still the rubbish MP3 based service with a very limited catalogue.

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Am a roon lifer here. Have about 900 albums of DSD and hi res FLAC in personal library on it.

I’m an exclusive classical and jazz fan. For classical I use IDAGIO, partly because it actually pays the artist a fair value for streaming. That’s something we should all consider: if we all rush to the lowest common price denominator and the artists aren’t paid much, we may not have that much great music left.

Had Qobuz for a while, wasn’t that impressed with their catalogue. For example, many of the month’s Gramophone recommendations weren’t available.

I now use Apple Music for my jazz discovery, IDAGIO for classical discovery and buy CDs or lossless downloads for the albums I like and add to my Roon library. For example, discovered a fabulous new mezzo today on IDAGIO—Fatma Said. Her new album is fab.

So… will IDAGIO survive? I sure hope so.

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3 posts were split to a new topic: IDAGIO—Fatma Said. Her new album is fab

Interesting, as my experience is that Qobuz actually has a larger catalogue of classical music than Idagio (try to find Concerto Italiano on the Naive label on Idagio or Sofronitsky’s recording of the Mozart piano concertos — you won’t find them). Idagio has an excellent search function, that is true, but big catalogue lacunae.

Not sure I understand your point. UDP, like TCP/IP is a network protocol used to connect the playing device and the apple source. UDP is faster, but lacks such things as guaranteed packet delivery, lost packet retransmission, etc. Device initiating airplay is not involved after handoff.

Current limitation of Airplay. Apple Music supports up to 24-bit /192 kHz directly playing on devices.


“HomePod and HomePod mini currently use AAC to ensure excellent audio quality. Support for lossless is coming in a future software update.”

No details whether this includes airplay changes which could be carried over to other devices. Since they want to increase their services revenue they will need to expand this support to other devices as well. Could be wrong though.

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That alone the headline “lossless” for Apple was not yet a sales hit, this message shows today:

Google News - Headlines Germany

Apple Music: Almost 1 year free - also for existing customers

Statistical surveys can also always show market changes. With a few outliers in previous years, new Apple devices continue to download the main competitor’s offering 4 million times a month.

If at the end of the year the customer growth 2021 with / without lossless is to be examined, Apple obviously does not want to simply fall behind with your new course hits.

More music industry news and research e.g. here:


Uwe, thanks for the tip, I was able to get another 2 months Apple Music trial from within Shazam. The weekend will be spent trying lossless streaming via USB, which wasn’t available when I trialed before.

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you’re welcome, I think only through free samples can you determine if an offer really meets your needs. My last attempt was not long enough ago to try it again. For me, Apple is the fastest in announcing, but the slowest in implementing. There must be a reason why billions of people with Apple devices don’t use only Apple services. Of course, Apple is also slowly improving many things in its services.

Out of interest how do you connect IDAGIO to you system , I tried it for a while using a Sony Windows tablet via a USB cable , but it was a bit of a lash up.

I now use an iPad so a camera kit and the same lash up but a bit messy

I agree though a good service , RIP Primephonic :weary:

Data are difficult to interpret. Here’s from Midia Research: “Google’s YouTube Music has been the standout story of the music subscriber market for the last couple of years, resonating both in many emerging markets and with younger audiences across the globe. The early signs are that YouTube Music is becoming to Gen Z what Spotify was to Millennials half a decade ago.” To me this strongly suggests that Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, got it right when he said that 99% of people can’t hear and therefore don’t care about the difference between AAC 256 and lossless. What else would account for You Tube Music’s growing popularity, as its streaming quality caps out at 256 AAC? And what else would account for Spotify’s continuing popularity, even though eight months after announcing that they would offer lossless, nothing’s happened yet?
Difficult to admit for Rooners, but the world is simply not interested in lossless, let alone Hi-Res.




Yes, of course, but it’s only certain types of music that benefit from videos – in my opinion, the kind of music that’s too mediocre to stand on its own two feet (or guitars). What kind of music, then, is being promoted by videos, and should we be happy about this?
(PS: the video doesn’t make the sound quality any better.)

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That’s right, the mass music market is not yet ready for HiRes, which is probably why Spotify waited and pushed podcasts to the forefront for now. The news in February led Apple and Amazon to react immediately, without really being well prepared.

Here, Roon has a different niche position and two partners.

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