What is Lossless Audio?


Do you want to listen to clear, crisp, high-quality audio on the go? Then lossless audio is for you.

It’s been years in the making, yet today is conveniently offered by streaming services like Apple Music, Tidal HiFi, Amazon Music HD, Deezer, and Qobuz. Spotify is also joining the mix and looking to launch its lossless music service ‘Spotify HIFI,’ but has yet to set a release date.

So, what exactly is lossless audio? And why is it better than the audio you’re currently listening to?

Well, a lossless audio track is one where no data is lost during encoding.

  • It is a faithful copy of the original.
  • It doesn’t have any degradational compression.
  • It uses advanced data compression algorithms to ensure no data loss during lossless audio compression.
  • It is equal to CD-quality music, meaning it has a resolution of at least 16-bit and a sample rate of 44.1 kHz.
  • Lossless audio files are bigger in comparison to lossy ones.

Today, more and more people are interested in learning about the functionality of lossless audio since it maximizes the music experience for the listeners.

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What makes lossless audio so good?

Lossless audio is super popular amongst music enthusiasts for the following reasons:

  • It offers a faithful audio representation of the original sound source.
  • It doesn’t compromise on sound quality.
  • Access to lossless audio streaming is becoming more affordable (Apple Music offers a lossless tier at no additional cost to its users!)

What is the bitrate of lossless audio? 

Bitrate is used to explain how much data is transferred into audio. Lossless audio formats such as WAV, FLAC, or ALAC preserve audio data and require higher bitrates to retain audio quality. Bitrates of 1,411 kbps and above are best suited for lossless audio formats.

What is the difference between compressed and lossless audio quality?

The difference between lossy and lossless audio can be subtle. It depends on the quality of the original recording, the playback system, and the listener’s hearing ability. A listener with trained ears may detect the differences in the clarity, dynamic range, and overall sound quality of lossy and lossless audio files. However, the difference may not be noticeable for most people, especially when listening to music on a portable device with lower audio quality, such as through speakers.

Is lossless audio actually better than the music you are already listening to? 

The short answer: Absolutely.

But before we tell you why, understand that bitrate is the primary metric for determining audio quality. Bitrate is the amount of data transferred per second. The lower the bitrate of a file, the lower the audio quality.

Suppose you have been listening to digital audio files by downloading from the internet or accessing streaming services such as Spotify or Apple Music. In that case, you have been listening to audio files typically with a maximum bitrate of 320 kbps and 256 kbps. This music is of the same audio quality as MP3s.

In stark contrast, the bitrate of standard lossless audio is around 1411 kbps. This is about four times the audio quality of an MP3 file. So yes, while the music you’re already listening to may save you space on your phone, it’s not the same optimum quality as lossless audio.

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Can lossless audio be transmitted wirelessly or via Bluetooth®?

Yes, lossless audio can transmit wirelessly or via Bluetooth today.

But this hasn’t always been the case. For a long time, Bluetooth wasn’t capable of lossless audio transmission. This was because Bluetooth was typically focused on short-range communication and could not transmit data at high speeds.

Do streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music support lossless audio? 

Yes, Spotify, Tidal HiFi, Amazon Music HD, Deezer, Qobuz, and Apple Music both acknowledge and support lossless audio. However, Spotify has yet to roll out its lossless audio stream, ‘Spotify HiFi.’ It promises to allow its premium users to upgrade their sound quality to a CD-quality, lossless audio format.

On the other hand, Apple Music has successfully developed its lossless audio compression technology, the ‘Apple Lossless Audio Codec’ (ALAC). The entire Apple Music catalog is encoded using the ALAC in resolutions that range from 16-bit (44.1 kHz) to 24-bit (192 kHz). To deliver a premium audio experience indistinguishable from studio recording, Apple Music offers ALAC at no extra cost to its subscribers!

How can you get lossless audio on the go? 

Suppose you want to enjoy high-quality audio while at the gym, hiking, or traveling solo. Still, you want portable, light equipment that keeps you engaged in a soothing audio experience. In that case, you should invest in good quality lossless audio earbuds.

In that case, we’re proud to introduce the only personalized earbuds to support lossless audio over Bluetooth® wireless technology: the Denon PerL Pro. Its adaptive noise cancellation and spatial audio powered by Dirac Virtuo enables it to deliver an unmatched personalized wireless audio experience. It is also IPX4 sweat resistant and boasts an 8-hour-long battery life, meaning you can enjoy uninterrupted audio for hours at a stretch. So, what are you waiting for? Get your hands on this perfect audio companion now!

Experience lossless audio over Bluetooth® wireless technology