To Doug Schneider,
Hi there—I live on the west coast of Canada. As your website is Canadian-based, I am writing to ascertain the availability of Apple Music’s lossless and HD content in Canada. I have been trying to access it for most of the month of June, and so far have come up with nothing. So, do you folks know if Apple Music lossless is available in Canada? If not, why not, and when will it be launched?
Doug Schneider has forwarded your email asking about the availability of Apple Music’s lossless and high-resolution service in Canada. It has in fact been available in Canada since June 7. SoundStage! Simplifi will publish a feature on this subject, as well as Apple Music’s spatial audio offering, on July 1.
To get lossless and high-resolution audio from Apple Music, you have to update to the latest version of iOS, iPadOS, or macOS. On an iPhone or iPad, you also have to enable lossless and hi-rez playback in the Music menu of the Settings app. On a Mac, you have to enable lossless and hi-rez playback in the Preferences menu for macOS’s Music app. This is spelled out in an Apple support page on the subject.
As I outline in my upcoming feature, there are some serious limitations that affect the ability to play hi-rez music from Apple Music through external components. If you want to write back and describe your system, and how you hope to play lossless and hi-rez content from Apple Music, I’d be happy to give whatever guidance I can.
Thank you, Gordon.
My intent is to connect my iPad Pro to my audio system: a McIntosh Laboratory C2500 preamplifier (with USB DAC), a PS Audio BHK Signature 250 amplifier, and Wilson Audio Specialties Sophia Series 3 speakers. I understand I will need a Lightning-to-USB dongle, and a USB cable between that and my preamp.
My confusion comes from the fact that when I go to the Music settings on my iPhone or iPad, I do not see the Audio Quality option. Would this be because I’m not currently an Apple Music subscriber?
Note: I also subscribe to Tidal HiFi, which I access through a dCS Network Bridge. I like the potential to access hi-rez files from Apple Music at a good price.
I look forward to reading your upcoming piece on this subject.
I strongly suspect you’re right about iOS not displaying the lossless and hi-rez options in Settings until you subscribe to Apple Music. But the setup you describe—a USB connection between your iPad Pro and McIntosh C2500 (via a Lightning-to-USB adapter)—should work.
You mention price as a factor, and the fact that Apple Music costs half as much as Tidal HiFi is certainly compelling. But I think there are other things to consider. For instance, Tidal’s Masters content uses MQA decoding, while Apple Music uses ALAC, a true lossless format. I haven’t poked around in Apple Music enough to get an idea of how much hi-rez content they have, compared to Tidal HiFi, but for me, the biggest issue is the user interface (UI). So far, I like Tidal’s UI a little better, Spotify’s even more, and Qobuz’s a whole lot better. (Too bad Qobuz isn’t available in Canada yet.) Of course, UI is an area where personal preferences vary a lot.
All the best,