TECH BYTE: Apple, Amazon Give Music Customers Big Upgrade

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Both Apple and Amazon are giving their music customers a sweet upgrade.

The audio they stream will now be HD quality.

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Amazon recently announced that its music subscribers can now upgrade to the highest quality streaming audio available for free.

That move came after Apple said it will bring Lossless Audio to its entire music catalog next month. It’s also free for subscribers.

Music producer and audio engineer Andrew Preavett says Lossless Audio is not compressed, unlike most streaming services. Think HD, but for audio.

“If you’re looking at a picture in low res[olution] versus high res[olution], you can see more of the detail in it,” Preavett said. “So Lossless Audio, you’ll be able to hear more of the detail and the sound, versus something that’s super compressed and low quality.”

And who wouldn’t want that, right? It’s as close to the artist’s original recording as you can get.

With Apple’s and Amazon’s upgrades, you hear more details in the music. You might even catch a part in your favorite song you haven’t heard before!

Apple’s improvements also include Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos. It’s basically surround sound 3D audio.

“Watch a movie in Dolby Atmos, you have your front speakers, you have speakers on the sides, it’s very directional, it can fly sounds above you, in front of you, behind you, and all kinds of stuff like that, but now you can do that while listening to music,” he said.

If you were listening to a CD, it would just be coming out of a left and right speaker.

“Dolby Atmos is very directional, so you can put a piece of dialogue in a certain speaker instead of all of the dialogue coming out of one direction,” Preavett said.

As for Amazon, all of its Music Unlimited subscribers now have free access to HD, Ultra HD, and 3D Audio, which also includes songs mixed in Dolby Atmos.

Preavett sees other streaming services following Apple and Amazon’s lead.

He says these changes are exciting – especially for music producers.

“We can start mixing a lot more in Atmos, and be more accessible to normal everyday listeners,” he said.

Again, Apple’s upgrades aren’t available until next month.

To start listening to Lossless Audio, you need to be using the latest version of Apple Music.

You can turn it on in Settings > Music > Audio Quality.

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You can watch Emily Cassulo weeknights on News 12 Now starting at 5:30. Emily also does stories on different tech products and issues for Tech Byte, which airs Mondays on News 12 Now. She joined the WDEF news team in September 2016 from News 12’s sister station in Columbus, Mississippi, where she worked as an anchor, producer and reporter. Emily is no stranger to the Volunteer State. Before moving to Mississippi, she worked at WBBJ-TV, covering crime and severe weather throughout West Tennessee. She loves living in Chattanooga, and exploring what the Scenic City has to offer. Emily is a Florida native, graduating from the University of Central Florida with a degree in broadcast journalism and minor in political science. While in college, Emily worked part-time as a reporter/web producer at News/Talk 96.5 WDBO. She broke her first news story there, which made national headlines, and covered the 2010 Central Florida congressional elections and the high-profile Casey Anthony trial. When she’s not busy reporting, Emily enjoys shopping, reading, playing the piano, and spending time with family and friends. Feel free to e-mail her at ecassulo@wdef.com if you have any story ideas or just want to say ‘Hi.’