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Question: iTunes Download Bitrate Question.

Hey all.


Well i just wanted to ask if it is possible to download music from iTunes in a higher bitrate than the 256 kbps, that is the standart now.


The reason why i ask this, is that the music i have downloaded from iTunes sounds pretty bad in the details when playing through airplay/reciever and floor speakers.

All other music i have inported myself from a CD, sounds okay and the details in the music is spot on. But when i play a albums downloaded from iTunes, then details in the music sounds a bit fuzzy, this is especially true when playing music with acustic guitars.


So is there a way to get a higher bitrate from iTunes...or am i forced to stop buying music via iTunes...? Since i really dont want to waste my money on sub-standart music quality...!


Best

Rich

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Jul 25, 2012 7:31 AM in response to XXRichXX In response to XXRichXX

256kps AAC is the current standard - there's no way to get a higher bitrate than that.


As for the issue, keep in mind that it's not only the bitrate, it's also the mastering source that's a factor (I'd actually argue that it's the most important factor of all). So if you downloaded a song that has zero dynamic range in the actual source master, it doesn't matter if you've ripped from a CD to ALAC or have a 320kps AAC, it's still going to sound bad. "Garbage in / garbage out", as the saying goes.


I wish they'd bump it up to 320kps AAC or, better yet, ALAC. But I've done ABX tests between their 256kps AAC's and a comparable CD rip, and it's not easy to tell them apart. And this is using the same mastering, btw.

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Jul 25, 2012 9:55 AM in response to roebeet In response to roebeet

Thanks for your reply. 😎


Hmmm i can see what you are saying with "garbage in, garbage out" but it would be really nice to have the option to choose witch kind of bitrate you wanted. So you that way could be sure, that you actually got the best possible music quality or a lower filesize instead.


Other than that, then im no audiofile person, i just think that some of the stuff i have downloaded from iTunes, sounds a bit fuzzy, it is ofcause not a huge deal, but it really makes me consider witch music i should buy on iTunes, especially since you almost always can get the dics at the same price/cheaper via netshops.

The only downside, is that you have to rip it yourself and ofcause have to wait for it to arrive via the post.


But again, thanks for your reply........this helped me. 🙂


Best

Rich

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Jul 25, 2012 7:31 AM in response to XXRichXX In response to XXRichXX

256kps AAC is the current standard - there's no way to get a higher bitrate than that.


As for the issue, keep in mind that it's not only the bitrate, it's also the mastering source that's a factor (I'd actually argue that it's the most important factor of all). So if you downloaded a song that has zero dynamic range in the actual source master, it doesn't matter if you've ripped from a CD to ALAC or have a 320kps AAC, it's still going to sound bad. "Garbage in / garbage out", as the saying goes.


I wish they'd bump it up to 320kps AAC or, better yet, ALAC. But I've done ABX tests between their 256kps AAC's and a comparable CD rip, and it's not easy to tell them apart. And this is using the same mastering, btw.

Jul 25, 2012 7:31 AM

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Jul 25, 2012 9:55 AM in response to roebeet In response to roebeet

Thanks for your reply. 😎


Hmmm i can see what you are saying with "garbage in, garbage out" but it would be really nice to have the option to choose witch kind of bitrate you wanted. So you that way could be sure, that you actually got the best possible music quality or a lower filesize instead.


Other than that, then im no audiofile person, i just think that some of the stuff i have downloaded from iTunes, sounds a bit fuzzy, it is ofcause not a huge deal, but it really makes me consider witch music i should buy on iTunes, especially since you almost always can get the dics at the same price/cheaper via netshops.

The only downside, is that you have to rip it yourself and ofcause have to wait for it to arrive via the post.


But again, thanks for your reply........this helped me. 🙂


Best

Rich

Jul 25, 2012 9:55 AM

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Jul 25, 2012 10:06 AM in response to XXRichXX In response to XXRichXX

The other thing you might be hearing, if you happen to have old 80's CD's like I do, are that the CD's are pre-"loudness wars" where-as iTunes only has the brickwalled reamasters.


A perfect example are metal CD's. I have a few from the 80's where the dynamic range is very good (believe it or not). But download the iTunes version and it's very fatiguing to listen to beause they have the remaster where the DR was squashed. A perfect example is the band "Slayer". So it's not a fair comparison as it's not just CD versus iTunes AAC, it's original master versus remaster.


There are two tools I use to back up what my ears tell me. One is Audacity with the AAC plugin, to look at waveforms and clipping, and the second is the dynamic range meter Foobar200 plugin. I can usualy compare an old CD rip / AAC iTunes download with these tools to confirm what my ears are telling me, which is that the AAC version is brickwalled / clipping / more ear fatiguing. I'm guessing that might be what you're experiencing - again there's a term for this called "the loudness wars" and even Apple is trying to get involved via their "Mastered for iTunes" program to increase the dynamic range of modern recordings and remasters.

Jul 25, 2012 10:06 AM

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Jul 26, 2012 4:49 AM in response to roebeet In response to roebeet

Ya got plenty of 80 metal, witch i have rippede myself in the highest quality i can on my MacBook Pro and this sounds great. 😁

But the music im talking about, i have only gotten via iTunes, so really cant compare it to cd`s with the same band. But i have ordered a CD from the states with the same band "JamesTown Story" witch i will rip when it arrives.


So until i get/rip that cd, then ill just stop buying stuff from iTunes. Sad, but thats the way it has to be until i get this sorted.


But lastly, then i really hope that Apple put there size 10 up the ***** of the ones, that decides what kind of quality we can get. 😁


Thanks again.


Best

Rich

Jul 26, 2012 4:49 AM

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Feb 3, 2013 4:51 AM in response to XXRichXX In response to XXRichXX

I think that it is seriously stupid that we cannot download whatever type of bitrate that we want. We paid for a product, therefore we should get whatever we want. I've just been buying uncompressed .wav files from third parties because iTunes supports that format. Bitrate for .wav files is crazy, 1411 kbps, compared to iTunes miserable 256 kbs. Seriously, when you have very high quality speakers, they shouldn't get wasted with sucky audio. 320kbps is the best standerd quality that you can get, not 256kbps, but I don't settle for either. I just got some Bose™ headphones and don't plan on wasting them on mediocre quality music.

Feb 3, 2013 4:51 AM

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Feb 10, 2013 11:45 PM in response to XXRichXX In response to XXRichXX

If you read this page from a guy I trust, you'll understand that the iTunes Plus bitrate is more then acceptable since it exceeds what you can hear: http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/itunes.htm


But that does not take away that remastering is a matter of taste, and that ripping should be done with the right settings.

Feb 10, 2013 11:45 PM

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Feb 12, 2013 9:13 AM in response to Lex Molinari In response to Lex Molinari

Some of the tings he is right in, but i have fx. bought a album on tunes, that sounded pretty bad, i then got the same album on cd and ripped it myself in 320, this sounded way better, than the iT download.


Maybe the mastering is different from the two albums, but it is 100% the same album and songs. So i can not see way the mastering should be different.


I dont really care what it is, that makes some/most downloads sound worse than my own cd rips, but they do....so i only buy stuff from iTunes that i cant get any where else......sad but true......wish it was different. 🙂

Feb 12, 2013 9:13 AM

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Mar 23, 2013 9:03 PM in response to XXRichXX In response to XXRichXX

Yeah, I have a very similar problem to yours. I notice very distorted and almost wavy/rattling sound in some songs I have downloaded. It seems that it happens more frequently in songs with low bass, and I get it all the time in certain movie soundtracks. I wish that iTunes would provide CD quality downloads, even if they cost more, it would be worth it. But I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who noticed this problem with the downloads, I sent feedback on the website so hopefully someone will change something.

Mar 23, 2013 9:03 PM

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Mar 26, 2013 8:08 AM in response to achelgeson1 In response to achelgeson1

I think this may be a problem with iTunes playback. I have noticed it recently after upgrading to iTunes 11. I hear it even on songs that used to play back just fine. It sounds rattle-like even after turning off EQ, Sound Enhancer and Sound Check.


At first I thought maybe I had damaged my speakers by playing with the volume too loud, but when I listen to the same songs on YouTube at similar volume levels, they sound fine.


Unfortunately, if the problem is within iTunes, we have no choice but to wait for Apple to fix it with an update.

Mar 26, 2013 8:08 AM

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Apr 7, 2013 2:38 PM in response to Lex Molinari In response to Lex Molinari

I don't trust that guy.


1) Before it gets to your ear, the sound must be converted from a digital existance to an analog waveform. If you have a decent digital to analog processor, it will want as much digital information as it can get. The less info you give the D to A processor, the less it will be able to output, although I suppose it can do some interpretation. After that, the wafeform must be amlified and then sent through speakers, and your ears finally get to listen to a version of the music. So a 3 step process, each step changing things a little. It would be best if the first step in the process started with the best representation possible.


2) The human ear has limits yes. On headphones you might not be missing out. But on good speakers, there are sounds that you can feel. I want to feel those sounds, not have them stripped away by some engineer who thinks I won't notice.


When CDs came out, they used a lower quality encoding so as to get 74 minutes on a disk. The public didn't seem to mind and records dissapeard. Now we are given an even worse format, and CDs are gone.



It is time we take a stand, stop buying music, make your own!



B



Lex Molinari wrote:


If you read this page from a guy I trust, you'll understand that the iTunes Plus bitrate is more then acceptable since it exceeds what you can hear: http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/itunes.htm


But that does not take away that remastering is a matter of taste, and that ripping should be done with the right settings.

Apr 7, 2013 2:38 PM

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May 10, 2013 6:30 AM in response to XXRichXX In response to XXRichXX

I understand this post is old, but if the OP is still around, check out two sites...bandcamp.com and hdtracks.com. They offer flac files at full studio bitrate. Make sure you have a program on your device to play them, bit you will hear a difference. Also, airplay might not be the best idea for hi fi audio, as airport expresses are garbage. Use a good line out dock from your idevice to stereo.

May 10, 2013 6:30 AM

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Jul 8, 2013 4:12 AM in response to XXRichXX In response to XXRichXX

Feeling really let down by apple, assuming they'd provide the highest quality 320kpbs.


Noticed quality to be significantly lacking in 2 areas - the download file itself and how the iphone/ipod plays it back. 320kpbs through iphone is reasonably acceptable using an app that provides a 10 point equalizer. The existing equalizer presets just arne't dynamic enough. 256kpbs sounds so flat and lacking, the music is no longer multidimensional and it's broadness is reduced. When using a decent system with speakers that prduce decent highs and lows, the limitations become more apparent. Recently started using a cheap little £5 mp3 player which surpasses the quality I get from an iphone, sort it out apple!

Jul 8, 2013 4:12 AM

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Question: iTunes Download Bitrate Question.