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How to get the best sound from I tunes? - Page 2

post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Camjon View Post

 

Since I'm new to the headphone game I wish I understood. I have know idea how to do a custom 320kps setting.

 

In your import preferences (I am not sure where those are modified in the PC version) - there are usually some preset options (high quality 192kbs, medium quality, etc.) then a custom button you can select and enter your own preferred values. 

post #17 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Balanced frequency response = neutral
EQ isn't a band aid or correction. It's calibrating your response to flat.
Since it's your transducers that you are calibrating, you EQ after the preamp so everything you play uses the same correction. You aren't fixing your recording. You're fixing your headphones.

 

Exactly.

Now if you cannot EQ after the preamp, your only choice will be using software EQ.


Edited by proton007 - 7/5/12 at 12:17am
post #18 of 30

To get accurate, high-quality audio I use Exact Audio Copy (EAC) when I rip CDs. With it you will have the highest chances of getting bit-perfect copies of your CDs on your computer. I usually rip to a lossless compression format like WAV/FLAC/ALAC, and after importing, I have the option of converting the files down to AAC/MP3 while still having an exact archival copy of the CD in WAV. You can fool around with it and different file formats to suit your needs. EAC is also known to do a fantastic job with CDs that have been degraded over the years, where iTunes or similar programs would fail. However you may still want to just use iTunes or the like to rip your CDs and is nothing wrong with because most of the time if your CDs are in mint condition and you are using a quality CD drive, the files produced by each will be exactly the same. It really depends on how picky you want to be about the whole process.

 

(Note that software programs do use different encoding/decoding software to convert to and from different file formats and that could also have an effect on the quality/size of the file you end up with. EAC can use external encoding programs and encoders built by others in the ripping process, instead of the ones it comes prepackaged with.)

 

I keep an archival copy (FLAC/ALAC/WAV/AIFF) so I have a literal clone of my CD collection, bit-for-bit, on my computer. But when I transfer my music to my iPod, I have it converted down to 256kbps AAC. Now I have bit-perfect copies of my CDs in iTunes and space-saving compressed versions on my iPod.

 

Most people can't tell the difference between lossless formats and 320kbps AAC. I believe lossy formats approach near-transparency at encoding bitrates somewhere above 240kbps. Still, I choose to keep ALAC/FLAC copies for that OCD-archival reason that I can't get over (I don't want to lose any information that was shipped to me on the CD, inaudible or not!). You can always convert from these lossless formats to any other codec, but once you encode to a lossy format it is impossible to retrieve any lost information. Yet you can't beat the compression ratio of the MP3/AAC codecs. So if space matters to you, and you can't tell the high-bitrate lossy from lossless apart, there really isn't any problem with a MP3/AAC digital collection if you keep the original CDs. If you can tell the difference, the difference in quality might not even be enough to warrant the extra space taken up by lossless formats. My iPod is my portable, on-the-go setup, and since I use it with my ATH-AD700s, no external amp or dock, my chances of telling apart any differences in compression is minimal compared to extremely hi-fi/audiophile setups.

 

Audio bitrate when referring to lossy compression formats is the amount of data about the audio in a given amount of time. 256kbps means that there is 256 Kilobits of information about the audio in one second of music (256 kilobits per second). when the bitrate decreases, the encoder must throw away more details and information about the original audio in order to fit the information in.

 


 

IN SHORT, to answer your question about getting maximum quality in iTunes, to get as close to the CD as possible you must import your music from CD in WAV/AIFF/ALAC, preferably ALAC as the others take up twice as much space and the sound quality is EXACTLY THE SAME.

 

WAV is an UNCOMPRESSED file format which means your audio takes up the same space as it does on a CD, around 550M-700MB per album

AIFF is another UNCOMPRESSED file format which essentially does the same as WAV, just different container, around 550-700MB/album

ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) is a COMPRESSED file format, but it is compressed using lossless compression algorithms, which means they compress your files without removing any of the details of the audio from the original data, keeping the sound quality exactly the same as on the CD. You can compare this to a .zip file because .zip files compress your data to save space, but NO DATA IS LOST, at the moment of playback, it is converted back into the EXACT SAME PCM digital audio as is on the cd, and then converted again by to analog signals by the DAC. ALAC performs somewhere around 50% compression and the resulting album would be around 250-360MB, half that of uncompressed. I have seen some albums compressed to only 215MB! But also some which have reached 500MB.

 

MP3 and AAC are both codecs which provide LOSSY COMPRESSION. This is different from UNCOMPRESSED (WAV/AIFF) and LOSSLESSLY COMPRESSED (ALAC) files because during the encoding process, some details are removed from the original audio such as inaudible frequencies, as well as details that are audible, and compression is also performed, thus making the resulting album 5 to 10x smaller than it was originally. Some people can hear the difference in sound quality with lossy files but it depends on the bitrate: as you get to the much lower bitrates (2-64kbps) it is blatantly obvious that there is some serious audio distortion/loss of detail/degradation of sound going on. While as you get to the higher bitrates, the differences are less apparent if at all detectable. Depending on the bit-rate. I have found the size of MP3/AAC albums to be around 60-70MB (128kbps), 90-105MB (192kbps), 130-140MB (256kbps), and 165-175MB (320kbps).

 


 

And to answer your second question, yes there are better ways to import (rip) your music from your CDs into your computer. That would be ExactAudioCopy (EAC) as I have mentioned above. It does require some knowledge of codecs and accurate ripping to use to its maximum, but if you need assurance of accurate rips there is, in my opinion, no alternative. This software is for copying your CDs to your computer. You can later import these files into your media player of choice (iTunes, foobar, J River, winamp, media monkey, rhythmbox, banshee, etc.)

 

Hope I could help


Edited by mpsipos - 1/17/13 at 7:17am
post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Camjon View Post

What is better for sound than I tunes using windows?


I use J River which needs to be set up correctly....but then you will have audio bliss.

Foobar can't compete when it comes to sound quality.

post #20 of 30

I have heard good things about J River, i don't know if it's up to par with EAC as far as ripping though. EAC has amazing Error Correction and some nice features like AccurateRip and checking databases to ensure it ripped perfectly. Configuration of CD drive is thorough, offset values and all. It's a pretty general consensus that EAC is the best for ripping (although I've heard great things about dbPowerAmp) As a media player I'm sure J River is pretty good though. I always thought foobar2000 was pretty good, but I never really researched it that much. I know it supports a bunch of plug-ins and is pretty well-stocked with configuration options. By sound quality do you mean J River has extensive EQ settings available? Could you elaborate on what features are really great about it or what gives it superior sound quality?


Edited by mpsipos - 11/19/12 at 10:54am
post #21 of 30
ITunes and AAC256 work great for me on my Mac. The sound quality is identical to the original CD and iTunes does error correction if you toggle that checkbox on.
post #22 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpsipos View Post

I have heard good things about J River, i don't know if it's up to par with EAC as far as ripping though. EAC has amazing Error Correction and some nice features like AccurateRip and checking databases to ensure it ripped perfectly. Configuration of CD drive is thorough, offset values and all. It's a pretty general consensus that EAC is the best for ripping (although I've heard great things about dbPowerAmp) As a media player I'm sure J River is pretty good though, but most people with apple products are sadly stuck with itunes (iPad 3, iPhone 4, iPod Classic 7G). I always thought foobar2000 was pretty good, but I never really researched it that much. I know it supports a bunch of plug-ins and is pretty well-stocked with configuration options. By sound quality do you mean J River has extensive EQ settings available? Could you elaborate on what features are really great about it or what gives it superior sound quality?


Compared to foobar the sound  is just clearer(the "veil" removed,as they say) and as far as EQ goes,there are lot of options(best I think is the crossfeed for headphones).

On my computerbased system it works best soundwise.

I think there is a 30 days free trial....it is worth it.

post #23 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by silversurfer616 View Post


Compared to foobar the sound  is just clearer(the "veil" removed,as they say) and as far as EQ goes,there are lot of options(best I think is the crossfeed for headphones).

On my computerbased system it works best soundwise.

I think there is a 30 days free trial....it is worth it.


Seems like a good program, i'll have to give the trial a go. I haven't seen much in the way of a well-implemented DSP-type crossfeed (I tried Dolby Headphone but it never quite worked for me).

Anyways, thanks for the tip.


Edited by mpsipos - 1/17/13 at 6:58am
post #24 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Camjon View Post

 

Since I'm new to the headphone game I wish I understood. I have know idea how to do a custom 320kps setting.

 

I'm a little late to the party here, but if you still need to know how to adjust the setting it's not difficult.  In iTunes, at least in Windows, in the top menu select "Edit", then "Preferences".  Under the General tab, go to "When you insert a CD" then "Import Settings."  You can then select MP3 in the "Import Using" drop down menu and in the "Setting" drop down below it choose "Custom", then "320" for the bit rate.  

post #25 of 30
Thread Starter 

Thank you gentleman, thats the kind of info I was looking for.

post #26 of 30


 

 

Audio bitrate when referring to lossy compression formats is the amount of data about the audio in a given amount of time. 256kbps means that there is 256 Kilobits of information about the audio in one second of music (256 kilobits per second). when the bitrate decreases, the encoder must throw away more details and information about the original audio in order to fit the information in.

 

 

Interesting information from Mpsipos in regards to 256kbps. I liked reading his post as I kind of knew all that he said but never saw it in such a complete write-up. Many folks for years have talked about the quality of EAC. 

 

Still though to make things a little more clear.

 

number 1.JPG      So many use the VBR setting? 

 

2.JPG      Error correction as another setting.

 

 

If I was looking for the best portable sound I like to think Rockbox sounds better in my Ipods. Still the great thing though about I-Tunes is the song management and ease of use. I still play old style CDs on a CD player if I'm looking for the best sound and MP3s are for the road.

post #27 of 30
Always use VBR. It distributes the bitrate where it's needed more intelligently.
post #28 of 30

THX bigshot

post #29 of 30
Thread Starter 
So since I changed the settings on i-tunes, do i need to reload my cd library to get the best sound?
post #30 of 30
Yes. Your import settings affect the files as you rip.
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