12 Replies Latest reply: Apr 30, 2012 8:30 PM by The_Claff
Michael Allbritton Level 6 Level 6 (16,785 points)

http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2012/02/mastered-for-itunes-how-audio-engineer s-tweak-tunes-for-the-ipod-age.ars?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rs s

 

Interesting article from Ars Technica about the new "mastered for iTunes" albums that have started showing up in the store. I'll be curious to see how this might affect the matching process. I'm looking forward to the Rush remasters showing up on the store and me getting 100% matches from my CD rips.


MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.3), 15" 2.3 GHz Intel i7 (early-2011)
  • mracole Level 4 Level 4 (1,085 points)

    Buried at the end of the article is a very useful guide on music production: http://images.apple.com/itunes/mastered-for-itunes/docs/mastered_for_itunes.pdf It is not clear though that such techniques will have any direct correlation to better 'match' results - the goal is a good one, to make the listening experience as close as possible to that the artist/producer intended, given the limitations of AAC and likely playback devices.

  • Pete0 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    sure, but which version of the track is being made available via Match?

     

    For example, if a re-mastered version of a track I already own and have synced via Match becomes available for purchase, do I have to re-purchase or is the version streamed back to me via Match now going to be the re-mastered one?

  • Michael Allbritton Level 6 Level 6 (16,785 points)

    Pete0 wrote:

     

    sure, but which version of the track is being made available via Match?

     

    For example, if a re-mastered version of a track I already own and have synced via Match becomes available for purchase, do I have to re-purchase or is the version streamed back to me via Match now going to be the re-mastered one?

    In most cases you won't have to repurchase the tracks, unless you just want to. If the track in your library is matched to what is in the available in the iTunes store, and that is the most recent mastering then of course that is what you will on your iDevice. For newly released music, such as the Red Hot Chilli Peppers album that was mentioned, this is not as important as there is only one "version" of the album and that's how it will be for several years. But in the case of the Rush albums mentioned in the article, I have the remastered Sector boxed sets and right now the matches that I am getting on my iPhone are the 1997 masters that are in the store. Once the new masters are uploaded my versions will be the same. Or almost the same, anyway.

  • Michael Allbritton Level 6 Level 6 (16,785 points)

    mracole wrote:

     

    Buried at the end of the article is a very useful guide on music production: http://images.apple.com/itunes/mastered-for-itunes/docs/mastered_for_itunes.pdf

    Agreed. This is another reason I thought the article might be of interest to some of the other posters here.

     

    mracole wrote:

     

    It is not clear though that such techniques will have any direct correlation to better 'match' results - the goal is a good one, to make the listening experience as close as possible to that the artist/producer intended, given the limitations of AAC and likely playback devices.

    True. My comment about looking forward to 100% matches was tongue-in-cheek.

  • Pete0 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Apple Support, citing the "About" for Mastered for iTunes, contradicts your assessment:

     

    "No. It is not possible to upgrade your past purchases to the Mastered for iTunes version if one is available. If a previously purchased song or album is now being offered as Mastered for iTunes, you will need to repurchase the song or album if you wish to obtain the improved audio."

     

    Here's the link to the "About":  http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5156

     

    Bummer.

  • KeithJenner Level 4 Level 4 (1,020 points)

    Pete0 wrote:

     

    Apple Support, citing the "About" for Mastered for iTunes, contradicts your assessment:

     

    "No. It is not possible to upgrade your past purchases to the Mastered for iTunes version if one is available. If a previously purchased song or album is now being offered as Mastered for iTunes, you will need to repurchase the song or album if you wish to obtain the improved audio."

     

    Here's the link to the "About":  http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5156

     

    Bummer.

    I suspect they would say the same if you asked whether your old version of an album could upgrade to a remastered version, but we know from experience that it does actually match to some tracks, at least.

     

    There is plenty we don't know about this though. If they keep an old version of the albums in iTunes then our it is most likely that those will be matched. However, if older versions are removed from the store (as often happens with remasters) then our experience suggests that some of the remastered tracks will match.

     

    Another thing we don't know about is what happens when the version of a song that is matched is removed from the store. I imagine that the version you were originally matched with will stay in your cloud, but it isn't clear. What about if we remove the tracks from our libraries, wait for the cache to clear, and then reintroduce them. I imagine that it will then forget about the original match and may then match with the new version (waveform permitting).

     

    Basically, we don't know, but I wouldn't rely on what Apple Support say.

     

    One thing I suppose that we do know from experience is that, even if some tracks match to a mastered for iTunes version, it is unlikely that a complete lbum will. This can make for a worse listening experience than if it just stuck with the 30 year old masters.

  • Michael Allbritton Level 6 Level 6 (16,785 points)

    As usual I'm in agreement with Keith.

     

    As to whether we can "upgrade" to the new masters from iTunes... of course we can't just upgrade our purchases for free. However, if a track in my iTunes library gets matched to a new master of an album, then, you betcha we'll be able to download the matched track and be "upgraded." But it's not the same thing as just getting a new master for free.

  • roebeet Level 2 Level 2 (430 points)

    I've been bouncing around this announcement for a few days now (the Steve Hoffman forums have also brought this up, as well as ARS as already mentioned).

     

    From an iTunes Match perspective, my guess is that this will be no different than any new "master" that shows up in iTunes.  So, in other words, if you know that an album that you've already Matched now has a "Mastered for iTunes" version, you could probably attempt a backup / delete / re-Match to see if you actually get this new version or not.  But if the old master is still there, you might just get the older master again.

     

    From what I've read, most of these MFI albums are brand new.  But there are some re-issues, i.e. from Pink Floyd.  As for whether these versions are "better" than the old version?  That's anyone's guess -- I actually ABX tested one song from Macca's "Kisses on the Bottom" (I own the CD) versus an iTM'd version which I assume is MFI, and I can't tell a difference between them.

     

    There is an argument that this is part marketing, but also an attempt by Apple to get high-res sources from the labels...and that's a VERY good thing as maybe Apple is thinking towards the future at a time when maybe they will actually offer these high-res versions.  But that's just guesswork at this point.

  • Racing2live Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I burned a CD of The Hunger Games into iTunes and the entire CD was matched while only 3 songs showed up as Mastered for iTunes, even though the entire album is listed as Mastered for iTunes in the store.

  • The_Claff Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Is anyone actually seeing the Mastered for Itunes badge under info, or the purchased, mastered for itunes under kind?  When I look at songs in my library that should have that it doesn't show up.  Tried deleting and redownloading and it didn't seem to work.  Can't tell if what i have downloaded really is the mastered for itunes version.  I do have itunes match, maybe that is causing a problem. But it happens with new music that I have purchased recently that is listed under the mastered for itunes section of the store.

  • Michael Allbritton Level 6 Level 6 (16,785 points)

    The "Mastered for iTunes" logo will only show up in the Get Info window.

  • The_Claff Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I am looking in the Get Info window. It shows up for me for 1 song so far.  Many albums that say mastered for itunes don't show it in the get info window.  The brand new Norah Jones album is features on itunes with a big mastered for itunes logo yet when downloading it there is nothing indicating it is that version of the song.