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iTunes Store Audio Quality?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I have long been plagued with the iTunes Store audio quality. Normally I wouldn't bother with downloading lossless files, but I have acquired a large amount of money towards iTunes and figure that I might as well use it. However, there is something about the audio quality of some of the audio files that is driving me nuts, and it's driving me nuts because no one else seems to be hearing what I'm hearing. In certain songs, there is an odd "effect" that I seem to hear. I guess it is partially the lossy format, but there's something more to it. It's like a shimmering sound in the upper mids and highs. It's noticeable on acoustic guitar or tracks with big vocals/lots of vocals. Also, the electric guitars sound "damp" or "wet". I don't really know how to describe it.

 

Just to give you an example, go to the iTunes Store and preview the album Sting In The Tail by the Scorpions. It is really evident on this album, especially the electric guitars. I bought the CD version and noticed a difference right away. I can also hear it on the vocals of the Sixx AM albums, among many others.

 

It's really bugging me that no one else notices this, so I am beginning to wonder if it is just psychological? I have heard it through my Samsung 5.1 Surround Sound, my JVC stereo system, and of course my headphones. It just doesn't go away.

 

 

So for those that TL;DR this, do you hear a "shimmering" sound or "damp" sounding electric guitars with audio files from the iTunes Store??

I hope someone can put me out of my misery.


Thanks.

post #2 of 20

Yes, itunes files sound like crap.

 

Money would be better spent on buying CD's and ripping them yourself.

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcmurray View Post

Yes, itunes files sound like crap.

 

Money would be better spent on buying CD's and ripping them yourself.


I agree 500%, and that's the reason why I have built up a large CD collection over the years. It's just a shame that I have so much money on my account. I'd buy movies, but the DRM protection completely turned me off of that. And I feel spending the money on apps is complete waste.

 

 

post #4 of 20

Well since you have so much what I do is buy an album or song, see if I like it, if I do I go and buy the CD, otherwise you might as well just buy movies, if you are going to be unsatisfied with the music.

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swatcsi View Post

Well since you have so much what I do is buy an album or song, see if I like it, if I do I go and buy the CD, otherwise you might as well just buy movies, if you are going to be unsatisfied with the music.



I would totally agree with the movies part, but I haven't found a way to burn the files onto a watchable DVD due to the DRM.

post #6 of 20

Im not sure about this, but is there anyway to convert them to a different format, and then rip it to a DVD?

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swatcsi View Post

Im not sure about this, but is there anyway to convert them to a different format, and then rip it to a DVD?



I have yet to find a program that will let me do this. There are DRM removal programs, but they all cost money.

post #8 of 20

I guess you don't like books?  If I had a bunch of money for the itunes store, and if I thought the audio quality was totally unacceptable there, I would look either at digital books or maybe some audio books. 

post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by duffypratt View Post

I guess you don't like books?  If I had a bunch of money for the itunes store, and if I thought the audio quality was totally unacceptable there, I would look either at digital books or maybe some audio books. 



I like books, but I like having a physical book I can read. I already do enough online reading for university. biggrin.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm still wondering though if anyone else actually hears what I am hearing in regard to the audio files from the iTunes Store?

post #10 of 20

Yea I do, I can hear the difference between the files but since I have such a large credit I just buy music I can't find in store. Also if you have a Mac, you can use the credit on the mac app store.

post #11 of 20

I'm glad I finally found someone else who hears the same thing!

 

I first noticed it with the album Light & Gold, of choral works by Eric Whitacre:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/sleep/id393449587?i=393449611&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

 

I cannot stand to listen to any of the tracks from that album downloaded from iTunes.

 

Yesterday I got Frou Frou's album Details, and I think it has the same problem (listening to the breathier parts of Imogen's voice), but it's a lot harder to hear. I think it has to do with the higher volume levels and extra instrumentation masking the problem:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/frou-frou/id5245666?ign-mpt=uo%3D4

 

I can comfortably listen to Light & Gold with Shure SE-215 earbuds on my iMac with the system volume up all the way and iTunes volume in the middle, but won't go above 1/2 system volume listening to Details.

 

Apple did refund my purchase of Light & Gold, as I complained strongly and honestly thought it was a problem with just that album. I guess not. :(

post #12 of 20

I don't know why but some of the songs I download Full AAC iTunes quality distort (not because of EQ or headphoness)

I even preview the songs in the store and come up with the same results.

post #13 of 20

I can empathize with iTunes quality issues;

but if you want to give all that store credit to someone...!

 

[I'd be grateful for some new music.]

 

Thanks for raising the point, however. 

post #14 of 20
Hi!

Some months ago I though Itunes store was not good at all for music, but now I think it is a mixed bag. I do not think the losy compresion is the problem, but the quality of the source in some instances, compresion artifacts probably related to the quality of the source in other cases, poor mastering, etc.

Some of those problems are not exclusive of Itunes, other sources (inclusive files from the so called HiRes music stores), suffer some of them, and even more.

In my personal experience, if it has been mastered for Itunes, the quality is great.

Regarding the losy format, if a music file has been properly compressed from a good source, I cannot identify any difference. I though I could, but blind test has show me that only in few specific cases where artifacs are present, I am able to tell the difference between a losy and lossless song. Even comparing 192/24 files to 320 kbps mp3 (same source, compressed by me), I cannot tell which is which in a blind test. And my system is revealing enough.

Daniel
Edited by daniel0407 - 3/18/14 at 5:10pm
post #15 of 20

I personally have not heard this, but that's not saying much. I'm just starting to work my way up the audiophile ladder.

 

When I was younger, I ripped all my CDs to 128kbps MP3s to put them on my very tiny-storage MP3 players. I was the first one I knew to do this, interested more in portability than sound quality. 128kbps was what everyone was doing.

When iTunes Match came out, and I was able to upgrade everything to 256K AAC, it was wonderful.

Then, listening to those files on a decent setup (i guess, "starter" setup) - E17/E09K-->ATHM50, those files sound great.

Tonight I am going to be listening to them for the first time with HE-500s. I am hoping and praying that the files don't sound like crap.

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