4 Replies Latest reply: Nov 10, 2009 9:08 PM by CZ1957
CZ1957 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hi Mac Mavens,
I'm a pretty discerning listener and I'm wondering about the quality of the sound from iTunes Store downloads vis-a-vis a CD. If you play them side by side through a very good sound system would you be able to hear the difference? Any audiophiles out there who have made the comparison? What's your verdict?
Thanks one and all,
CZ1957

iMac, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • dgauthier Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
    I, for one, can hear the difference between 256 Kbit AAC and uncompressed AIFF over my Imac's tiny speakers. Over a good sound system, the difference is not subtle.

    Compressed audio is inferior to the original, and there's very little argument about that. It's my understanding that most people can hear the difference between lossy compression and uncompressed audio.

    Upon hearing it, however, some people can live with the difference, while others can't.

    There are two very good reasons why you might wish obtain your audio on physical CD's: 1) if you care about the artistic intent of the musician and you want to hear everything they created, that's only available on CD, and 2) you might not wish to be overcharged for an inferior product. The "iTunes Plus" compression throws away about 80% of the information in the original audio, yet the cost is about the same as a physical CD. Why anyone pays $10 for one fifth of the data on a CD, when all the data is available for about the same price, is beyond me.
  • CZ1957 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks, and I tend to agree. But one thing I like about the downloading is you can buy just a few cuts from a record and create a genre CD with 15 really great songs from different artists - just wish the quality was better...
  • ed2345 Level 7 Level 7 (21,285 points)
    CZ1957 wrote:
    But one thing I like about the downloading is you can buy just a few cuts from a record and create a genre CD with 15 really great songs from different artists - just wish the quality was better...


    There are other online music download stores that sell tracks in lossless (CD-quality) format. Can't guarantee they will have what you want, but check them out: hdtracks.com, beatport.com, and livedownloads.com are 3 examples.
  • CZ1957 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    ed2345,
    Thanks very much for the tip! I was hoping such outlets existed. I'll definitely check them out.
    CZ