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"Mastered for iTunes"

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Not sure if anyone has posted, so here it goes:

 

http://images.apple.com/itunes/mastered-for-itunes/docs/mastered_for_itunes.pdf

 

So, what do you think? What is Apple actually doing here?

 

(if it's not the right forum, feel free to move or let me know)

post #2 of 22

Looks like they are just doing what they can to improve quality and consistency of the music they receive from artists and record companies, by providing a guide as to what formats and "resolution" to use, etc. Also encouraging the same people to encode to AAC. Time/money savings for Apple?

post #3 of 22

It provides basic guidelines for submitting music to Apple.  It is also an advertisement in disguise to try to gain appeal to more artists. 

I actually think what they are doing might be a positive thing for the music industry.  It at least seems like the lesser of two evils, the record labels being the primary evil (I think the record labels get a larger cut than Apple).  One thing that the document described was mastering for different environments.  Perhaps it will lead to more songs are that are mastered for better sound quality on high-end music systems.  It is surprising how bad most of my CDs sound when I compare them to some clearly superior-mastered CDs.

 

This quote cracked me up though:

"The iTunes catalog was initially offered in 2003 as 128 kbps AAC files, many of which
were encoded from the original CD masters. They sounded great—in fact, these
downloads led the industry in sound quality."

 

Thanks, Apple, for reassuring me that the sh*t quality songs you sold "sounded great."

post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by headfinoob View Post

This quote cracked me up though:
"The iTunes catalog was initially offered in 2003 as 128 kbps AAC files, many of which

were encoded from the original CD masters. They sounded great—in fact, these

downloads led the industry in sound quality."

Thanks, Apple, for reassuring me that the sh*t quality songs you sold "sounded great."

Compared to 128 kbps MP3 files available elsewhere, they may well have sounded a little bit better.
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

I thought it was that at first too, but then I saw that "Mastered for iTunes" is now an entire section at iTunes Store. And it says "these albums have been specially tuned for higher fidelity sound on your computer, stereo and all Apple devices". And the PDF I posted says "Digital distribution is no longer an afterthought. It is today's dominant medium for consuming music and as such needs to be treated with utmost care and attention. For decades, the standard for consumer digital audio has been the compact disc, and most mastering has been done with CDs in mind." I can think about three possibilities here:

 

1-Apple is encouraging artists to make not one, but two masters, one for CD and another for iTunes;

 

2-Apple is EQ'ing (remastering?) original CDs, so they (seem to?) sound better on average people's systems (bass/treble boost, etc);

 

3-Apple is encouraging artists to focus their masters for iTunes/digital for now on, and then putting these into CDs, and not the other way.

 

And all of them worries me.

 

 

post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 

Sorry, double post.

post #7 of 22

I think it's Apple's way of cashing in on the 'I have beats so i need awesome files too' crowd.

post #8 of 22

It sounds impressive. Big words, techno stuff I don't understand.

 

"Apple is working to make compressed files available from the iTunes Store sound better in two ways. First, it developed a set of guidelines and tools to help engineers create the best sounding masters. Apple said the conversion process it uses to convert from uncompressed audio to iTunes Plus format is special, downsampling high-resolution audio to 44.1kHz using 32-bit floating point values, which are then converted to AAC directly. This process significantly reduces noise and dithering typically introduced in downsampling, so engineers can submit 24-bit 96kHz files directly."

 

 

 

http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2012/02/mastered-for-itunes-how-audio-engineers-tweak-tunes-for-the-ipod-age.ars/2

post #9 of 22

This is just Apple's way of telling you that  you don;t have to worry about the conversion from a HD format to 256 kbps AAC and that they {Apple} will take care of it for you, nothing new under the sun.

The interesting part though is the one where they encourage producers to master with a higher dynamic range.

post #10 of 22

So . . .  has anyone here purchased a "Mastered for iTunes" album?  

 

1.  What bitrate does it download?  (256, 320 kbps vbr?)

2.  How does it sound vs "ripping" a cd onto iTunes (@ 256, 320, lossless) ? 


Edited by curtisinoc - 2/24/12 at 6:50am
post #11 of 22

Everything on the iTunes store is 256kbps AAC.

post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmc64 View Post

Everything on the iTunes store is 256kbps AAC.



I'd like to see someone compare "Mastered for iTunes @256kbps aac"  vs  CD ripped into iTunes @ 320kbps aac


Edited by curtisinoc - 2/26/12 at 2:49pm
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by curtisinoc View Post

I'd like to see someone compare "Mastered for iTunes @256kbps aac"  vs  CD ripped into iTunes @ 32kbps aac

What do you expect to find? 256 kbps will almost certainly sound noticeably better than 32 kbps.

If one just wants to compare master quality, then import the CD at 256 kbps AAC VBR (i.e., iTunes Plus setting). Comparing different masters at different bit rates doesn't give us much useful information.
post #14 of 22
(double post)
Edited by curtisinoc - 2/26/12 at 2:51pm
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaywalk3r View Post


What do you expect to find? 256 kbps will almost certainly sound noticeably better than 32 kbps.
If one just wants to compare master quality, then import the CD at 256 kbps AAC VBR (i.e., iTunes Plus setting). Comparing different masters at different bit rates doesn't give us much useful information.


Ooops . . typo.   I meant 320kbps

 

 

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