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What is wrong with iTunes 11.0 sound quality?

12913 Views 55 Replies Latest reply: Nov 26, 2013 8:15 AM by abneyville RSS
  • graigsmith Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Dec 22, 2012 4:22 PM (in response to Aufklaer)

    bluetooth audio gets compressed because bluetooth doesn't yet support lossless audio.. if you use a regular headphone plugged into your computer does the sound problem go away? 

     

    it could be interference from some other wireless device.  have you tried moving around?  or away from your computer or other devices slightly to see if the sound improves?

  • Mark Block Level 2 Level 2 (270 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 22, 2012 5:13 PM (in response to Chris Tabarez)

    Chris Tabarez wrote:

     

    ... Compressed music sounds best on iPad, then iPhone. Sounds horrible in iTunes. If you listen to the same file in the Mac OS via finder, highlight it and press space bar, sounds better than iTunes. VLC sound much best! The lower bit rate files on a track seems to increase the distortion on the bass and top end in iTunes. I'm guessing they tried to make it sound better and are using different processing to get it to sound good?

    VLC is not a good way to check the sound quality, but your findings got me intrigued, so I did another test. I took a 24/192 Chesky recording that I know sounds great and downsampled it to 256k AAC, then played it out to my Sennheiser HD 600 headphones (volume all the way up in iTunes). VLC sounded noticebaly louder than iTunes, but it sounded distorted. So I tried the same file through: Quicktime 7, Quicktime 10, SoundTrack Pro, Final Cut Pro, Apple Compressor, Spotify and Audacity -- and also just pressing the Spacebar. Through those other programs, with the volume untouched, the file sounded like it did in iTunes 11. VLC was the outlier. Then I changed the VLC preferences to "Always reset audio level to: 100%" and restarted VLC. Now VLC sounded pretty much like iTunes and everything else. I'm still not convinced that iTunes 11 degrades the sound.

    Chris Tabarez wrote:

     

    ... There is also an issue with gain staging. Sounds better with the app near 100% volume, and the output of the Mac variable.. This problem is worse in the 11 version. It is hyped and sounds generally terrible playing an ordinary 320 mp3...

    I think iTunes has always sounded degraded with the volume control enabled.

     

    Chris Tabarez wrote:

     

    Interestingly using an external audio interface, 192i/o, mbox, m-audio interface through core audio produces the same result. Just points towards application processing problems..

    I don't know how you're connected to the mBox (which is not an inherently good sounding piece of gear). I have a recording engineer friend who swears by the (relatively expensive) Metric Halo products. He has verified (via null tests with his own 24/192 recordings) that iTunes provides a bit-perfect digital output on a Mac. I'll ask him if he's tried it with iTunes 11.

  • Pharmdrew35 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 27, 2012 9:15 PM (in response to Aufklaer)

    I was having the same ploblem. I had to delete a itunes plugin.

    On Mac OS X, iTunes Plug-ins are stored in the following locations:

    /Users/username/Library/iTunes/iTunes Plug-ins/
    /Library/iTunes/iTunes Plug-ins/

    Here is a link to how to fix it http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1362

  • Mark Block Level 2 Level 2 (270 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 29, 2012 6:41 AM (in response to Pharmdrew35)

    Pharmdrew35 wrote:

     

    I was having the same ploblem. I had to delete a itunes plugin.

    On Mac OS X, iTunes Plug-ins are stored in the following locations:

    /Users/username/Library/iTunes/iTunes Plug-ins/
    /Library/iTunes/iTunes Plug-ins/

    Here is a link to how to fix it http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1362

    Good call.

     

    That support doc is for Windows. For Lion and Mountain Lion, the two file paths you listed will get to the two Plug-ins locations, but it should probably be mentioned that access to the User Library is hidden by default; the trick is to press the Option key while clicking on the Go dropdown menu in the FInder. You knew that, but some Mac users may not be aware of it.

  • lightcam Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Dec 30, 2012 11:02 PM (in response to Aufklaer)

    Hi Aufklaer,

     

    I have a similar problem.

     

    After I updated iTunes to V. 11.01, I too am experiencing sound distortion from my internal speakers.

    The sound distortion only appeared after installing iTunes 11.01

     

    I've searched the internet to see who has similar issues and there doesn't seem to be many sharing this distortion problem.

     

    Who knows, maybe there are many with the sound problems after updating to iTunes 11.01, but it's not showing via search results.

     

    At the moment I'm waiting to see if there are similar stories and if there is a fix. Being close to Xmas and new year, I'm waiting patiently til the festivities are over. I wait with baited breath.

     

    I have an older Macbook Pro with 10.6.8 operating system

  • rhythmdevils Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Dec 31, 2012 12:06 AM (in response to Aufklaer)

    Sounds fine to me.  I've got pro gear and a lot of experience listening.  I have 10.6.8

  • Droolski Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 31, 2012 9:14 AM (in response to Aufklaer)

    Sounds like garbage to me. I also have pro audio gear.(outboard firewire I/O and powered near-field monitors) It sounded fine in the latest version of iTunes 10, but the upgrade to 11 degraded the sound quality. Muffled, distorted, fuzzy... and over compressed. No bluetooth, EQ, etc. in my software or hardware audio chain. Have also tried with onboard audio out, same issue. Mac Pro OSX 10.6.8 / iTunes 11.0.1 (12)

  • Mark Block Level 2 Level 2 (270 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 31, 2012 9:45 AM (in response to Droolski)

    Droolski wrote:

     

    Sounds like garbage to me. I also have pro audio gear.(outboard firewire I/O and powered near-field monitors) It sounded fine in the latest version of iTunes 10, but the upgrade to 11 degraded the sound quality. Muffled, distorted, fuzzy... and over compressed. No bluetooth, EQ, etc. in my software or hardware audio chain. Have also tried with onboard audio out, same issue. Mac Pro OSX 10.6.8 / iTunes 11.0.1 (12)

    Did you try Pharmdrew35's solution of deleting plugins? Since this problem seems to be system dependent and fairly rare, I was thinking that third-party plugins are a logical explanation.

  • antonyfromfl Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 9, 2013 6:26 PM (in response to Mark Block)

    I am using Windows 7 iTunes 11.0.1 and it plays through my usb connected headphones (Razer Megaladon). This is a high quality headset that costed me a good $150. I upgraded from the 10.X version to 11.0.1 and noticed that all of my music had terrible quality. Now, before you go apple fanboy on me I would like to mention I am a music producer. I KNOW how music should sound like, and a buzzing after everyother word is said is not how it should sound. Before i updated, there was absolutely no problem with audio quality. Also, i would like to point out, Mark, that no matter how many times you argue that iTunes is said by a bunch of people (keep in mind you only took info from 1 website) is a "perfect" player, the fact still remains that people are getting audio quality issues. And it's not just these people, thousands have had this problem. In fact, some professionals don't even use iTunes. I am an apple fanboy myself but i still admit that iTunes is a terrible mp3/mp4/video player for the reason that there are plenty more free alternatives out there that sound as good as the 10.X generations of iTunes and if  not sound better than iTunes. And also, not everything you read on the internet is true.

  • Mark Block Level 2 Level 2 (270 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 9, 2013 6:56 PM (in response to antonyfromfl)

    antonyfromfl wrote:

     

    I am using Windows 7 iTunes 11.0.1 and it plays through my usb connected headphones (Razer Megaladon). This is a high quality headset that costed me a good $150. I upgraded from the 10.X version to 11.0.1 and noticed that all of my music had terrible quality. Now, before you go apple fanboy on me I would like to mention I am a music producer. I KNOW how music should sound like, and a buzzing after everyother word is said is not how it should sound. Before i updated, there was absolutely no problem with audio quality. Also, i would like to point out, Mark, that no matter how many times you argue that iTunes is said by a bunch of people (keep in mind you only took info from 1 website) is a "perfect" player, the fact still remains that people are getting audio quality issues. And it's not just these people, thousands have had this problem. In fact, some professionals don't even use iTunes. I am an apple fanboy myself but i still admit that iTunes is a terrible mp3/mp4/video player for the reason that there are plenty more free alternatives out there that sound as good as the 10.X generations of iTunes and if  not sound better than iTunes. And also, not everything you read on the internet is true.

    1) You're using Windows, so this is the wrong forum. 2) Professional reference headphones for recording engineers cost much more than $150, not that it's relevant here. 3) If we're discussing iTunes being "bit perfect," we have to be talking about uncompressed AIFF (or at least losslessly compressed ALAC) files. All I can say is that iTunes 11 on my Mac, playing AIFF, ALAC and 256 or 320k AAC files, sounds the same as iTunes 10, and it sounds great. None of my friends in the high-end audio business have reported problems. And the "bit perfect" output of iTunes is not simply my subjective opinion; it has been verified in a studio with a Firewire Mac-compatible recording interface. (A friend of mine swears by Metric Halo.)

     

    I have no doubt that you and others hearing problems, and I'm sure your headphones are fine, but I have to think that there's something going wrong with your hardware or your particular Windows installation. Are you using any plugins?

  • Droolski Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 9, 2013 9:09 PM (in response to antonyfromfl)

    antonyfromfl, I'm glad you shared your experiences regardless of what operating system you are running. It proves the problem is wider spread than just the Mac community. Since it's apparently the majority that is not having issues, it shouldn't be discounted that there are a number of us that have been affected. After upgrading, I can no longer enjoy music on my computer.

     

    Can anyone share with us how to reinstall Quicktime or revert back to iTunes 10? I've tried both but have been unsuccessful. I work 50+ hours a week now (Mac) and simply don't have the time to figure this one out.

     

    I would love to change to another audio-video player after this latest faux pas, but sadly I am connected/commited to iTunes since I use multiple iOS devices.

  • Bingone Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 15, 2013 1:49 PM (in response to Aufklaer)

    I have the same problem. 10.6.8, updated to iTunes11 and sound is muffled with reduced volume (through external speakers). You dont need to be an audiphile to hear the difference, it justs sounds v. poor. If I play a track by highlighting it and hitting space bar, sound is good, as it was in iTunes 10.8. Turned bluetooth off, restarted iTunes but no change. Quickplayer sounds fine.

  • cworkman1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 27, 2013 7:54 PM (in response to Bingone)

    hi. i don't normally post to these forums but recently ran into the volume issue myself and came across this discussion.

     

    i'm wondering if anyone has found a solution to this problem - especially as the last entry was over a month ago.

     

    my set up is a mac quad core-intel, running 10.6.8 using an airport (with the latest update) connected to a denon receiver AVR-2807 - streaming music using wi-fi with itunes 11.

     

    my airport has always been finicky and so when it went out this time i though it was the usual problem(s) but i found the receiver was going into 'protection shutdown mode' - ie it was turning itself off as it had overheated.

     

    in my haste, and due to the (current) low volume issue in itunes 11 - i had adjusted the sound so loud that the unit could only sustain itself for short burst of a half hour before shutting itself down.

     

    after much research on the denon unit (thinking that was the problem) i'm shocked to find out it's actually itunes. %$#@!

     

    as per someone's suggestion, i played a song in VLC and again was shocked to hear the volume - which was nice and loud and the norm for itunes 10.

     

    itunes 11 is playing at less that 50% of itunes 10's volume.

     

    this is crazy....

     

    finger's crossed that someone's found a solution.

     

    cheers-

     

    cindy

  • Mark Block Level 2 Level 2 (270 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 28, 2013 4:45 AM (in response to cworkman1)

    cworkman1 wrote:

     

    ... my set up is a mac quad core-intel, running 10.6.8 using an airport (with the latest update) connected to a denon receiver AVR-2807 - streaming music using wi-fi with itunes 11.

     

    my airport has always been finicky and so when it went out this time i though it was the usual problem(s) but i found the receiver was going into 'protection shutdown mode' - ie it was turning itself off as it had overheated.

    Your overheating Airport is a common problem that has nothing to do with iTunes. How old is the Airport? (Express, I assume, or is it an Extreme?)

     

    Just to be clear, iTunes streams in the Apple Lossless format to make it easy on the Airport Express, which can either do an A-to-D conversion or pass the digital stream out to a DAC via Toslink. The streaming bitrate is always the same, regardless of the volume or the format of the original track. Compressed tracks are up-converted to Apple Lossless, while uncompressed files are packed into the Apple Lossless format on the fly; it makes it easy for the Airport Express to deal with.

     

    The volume control in iTunes is digital, so lowering the volume will lower the resolution. You lose 1 bit of resolution for every 6 dB volume change. Therefore, iTunes is only bit-perfect at full volume. Lower volume will cause the sound quality to suffer, but it will not change the streaming rate, and will not have any effect on the Apple Express problem you're having. I think it's time to get a new Airport.

     

    The one person on this thread who cured the iTunes volume problem did it by removing third-party plugins. And obviously the Sound Check preference will cause volume irregularities. If you're sure that your volume is all the way up, that there are no third-party plugins installed, and that preferences that might affect volume are de-selected, but iTunes is still putting out sound that's low and distored, then I would do a reinstall of iTunes.

  • cworkman1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 9, 2013 10:28 AM (in response to Mark Block)

    dear mark,

     

    thanks so much for your reply.

     

    guess i wasn't clear - anything i play through itunes locally (meaning not transmitted via the airport) has a reduced volume. anything i play using the airport  e.g. external speaker through the denon receiver - also has a reduced volume.

     

    it's not the airport that's misbehaving - it's functioning and putting out the same signal as the computer is locally - it's itunes itself. due to the reduction in itunes 11's volume output, i turned up my receiver so high that the receiver shut itself down.

     

    so it's not an equiptment issue - it's something that changed in itunes 11's sound output.

     

    also as mentioned, when i play something via another software - the volume is outputting correctly.

     

    again, i'm shocked that apple would release a product that cut the output in half and sincerely hoping that someone pursues this thread with a fix ( i have no 3rd party plugins) other than a complete re-install.

     

    thanks again mark.

     

    cheers-

     

    cindy

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