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Lossless (ALAC) iTunes downloads?

93048 Views 68 Replies Latest reply: Oct 13, 2013 8:46 AM by Roger Wilmut1 RSS
  • proaudioguy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jul 29, 2013 11:04 AM (in response to Roger Wilmut1)

    Roger wasn't the pitch instability really being addressed toward the end of the consumer turntables in the early 1990s?

     

    Best records I ever heard were a friend's half speed master's collection.  He had all professional playback (also an audio engineer).  I think he might be a tiny bit younger than you and he's 10 year or so older than me.  I've been into this stuff since I was a small child and have been mixing live mostly, and to a more limited extent in the studio for 29 years.

     

    My earbuds are future sonics and I can hear a difference in quality, but it's ever so slight.  I did buy the latest Daft Punk from HD Tracks just because of the difference in the samples between iTunes and HD Tracks.  Not sure if there is a real difference there, but it did sound different and I really didn't want it to.  I can't put my finger on it.  Which was better may be subjective and would reqire double blind testing, but the difference I heard I would not dispute.  I've learned not to trust my ears and brain 100% because the power of suggestion is so strong.  I have listened to sample of the rush albums they have and I could not hear a difference between those and what I already have either imported or purchased through the iTunes store.

  • Roger Wilmut1 Level 9 Level 9 (64,045 points)
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    Jul 29, 2013 11:11 AM (in response to proaudioguy)

    Decent turntables are fine: the problem was always off-centre centre holes. These are located manually using a microscope during the pressing process (you'd think they would be derived from the acetate master but apparently not) and I have to say some manufacturers were not as careful as them might be. (I once had a row with Decca over this very thing, in 'Gotterdmmerung' of all things. I wrote to the MD and in the end they re-pressed!)

     

    A lot of late pressings were much thinner than earlier LPs and this renders them more liable to warping (which doesn't have to be very much to cause problems).

     

    What was interesting was the advent of digital recording towards the end of the era. I've got several LPs cut from digital masters and there is a distinct improvement in transients: tape inherently smudges transients because the repro head can 'see them coming' whereas a well cut disk is capable of good results. CDs however handle them much better - I actually had to upgrade my amplifier because piano recordings needed more power for the same perceived volume because of the higher level of the transients.

  • TracksterGT Calculating status...
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    Sep 4, 2013 1:46 AM (in response to klbnc)

    I can tell all of you right now that I can hear not only a difference but an OBVIOUS and BLATANT one between a 128-256kb bit rate song and the 1000kb bit rate counterpart from a CD rip. To say that there is no difference between 5 to 6 times the resolution is asinine and unsubstantiated. Firstly, your output capability must match your source data. For example, youre not going to hear a clear difference between anything playing it through your experimental paper cup speaker you made in physics class.

     

    Saying that, youre not going to hear any difference between any input if your output is sub-par. And by sub-par I mean your $3 ear bud headphones or your old sony boom box, most stock car stereos, or any of these minute speaker systems that are very popular these days. Get your hands on a high quality home or car audio system and do your A-B-X test and hear the difference. I once did an ABX test for one of my school professors and scored a 100% I could tell him which was which within 2-3 seconds of the sample. He was not amazed either. He played and prepared the test through a computer system WMP and a set of klipsch speakers. 

     

    Legend for the lamen:    input=song,music,sound sample

                                             output= speaker, sound amplification system

  • captain lew Calculating status...
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    Oct 12, 2013 9:51 AM (in response to TracksterGT)

    Thanks to Alice, best explanation of lossless vs lossy that I've read. I recently re-ripped all of my CDs to lossless and after months of listening and comparing to my 256 AAC tracks, I converted them all to 320 mp3. I simply couldn't hear any difference, and I am picky when it comes to sound reproduction. The only people who ever tell me that cd or lp is better than lossy are those trying to sell me more equipment like dacs!

     

    That said, the 128 AAC tracks were a rip-off.

  • Roger Wilmut1 Level 9 Level 9 (64,045 points)
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    Oct 12, 2013 10:20 AM (in response to TracksterGT)

    Thanks to Alice, best explanation of lossless vs lossy that I've read. I recently re-ripped all of my CDs to lossless and after months of listening and comparing to my 256 AAC tracks, I converted them all to 320 mp3. I simply couldn't hear any difference, and I am picky when it comes to sound reproduction. The only people who ever tell me that cd or lp is better than lossy are those trying to sell me more equipment like dacs!

    It's very dependent on various factors: the type of material, how good your equpiment is, how sharp your ears are. If you are using small bookshelf or even computer speakers you are unlikely to hear any difference. I have expensive Bowers and Wilkins speakers, and I'm a retired sound engineer and mixer, so I'm fussy - and I can hear the improvement from CD to SACD (even though my top frequency of hearing is now 11 kHz, which actually is pretty good for 71), never mind the improvement from AAC to CD. Lack of distortion and odd 'underwater' artefacts on compressed recordings, and smoothness and clarity of midrange; internal detail, precise stereo location - these are all things which improve as you move up, provided you are using a commensurate playback system.

     

    It all boils down to trying things out and settling on the setting that suits you.

  • proaudioguy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Oct 12, 2013 6:12 PM (in response to Roger Wilmut1)

    I was hired to tune a new system in an old theater (first band after i was there was vampire weekend) and I have to say that with approx 175,000 watts of Crown power behind the system I can hear a difference.  Ymmv.

  • Roger Wilmut1 Level 9 Level 9 (64,045 points)
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    Oct 12, 2013 11:36 PM (in response to proaudioguy)

    We all know how fussy vampires are about audio

  • ed2345 Level 6 Level 6 (18,435 points)
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    Oct 13, 2013 8:35 AM (in response to Roger Wilmut1)

    Roger Wilmut1 wrote:

     

    We all know how fussy vampires are about audio

     

    They are also very picky about punctuation

  • Roger Wilmut1 Level 9 Level 9 (64,045 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 13, 2013 8:46 AM (in response to Roger Wilmut1)

    Punctures rather than punctuation, I would have thought...

     

     

    vampire.jpg
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