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Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by slycarrot, Sep 29, 2012.
Depends what you are coming from. If you have nothing but 96 or 128 its probably worth it but there is also no guarantee that iTunes will match all of your songs.
I use it for the portability with my iPhone, but I upgraded a few tracks (and downgraded some that were 320).
Sorry but isn't match something different than iTunes Plus? Yes iTunes will play 256kbs songs but only from the cloud! It won't be installed on your machine. See here: http://www.apple.com/itunes/itunes-match/
iTunes Plus can upgrade your songs for a fee: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1711?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US
iTunes match will upgrade your songs, but not automatically. It has to match them first. My library of about 25,000 yield about 90% songs matched. The unmatched songs are instead uploaded from your machine to the cloud. The matching software isn't perfect so there will be songs you know are available at the itunes store that it doesn't match. To get the higher quality songs on your machine you have to manually delete the matched songs from your itunes library then download them from the cloud. Expect a full day for it to match a library of similar size to mine and a good chunk of data to download all those songs. I did it in stages.
The service is worth it if you have a huge itunes library and an IOS device that can handle it. For instance, my old iphone 3GS couldn't handle it. It would either take 5 minutes to start playing a song or just crash trying to load the library. Newer devices (ipad 3, iphone 5) work very well.
Since sound science is controversially prohibited anywhere but there, I'll just say that in my personal experience, I can rarely tell the difference of tracks above 256kbps with some exceptions where the lossless or 320 is clearly superior (I can very accurate ABX up to the 256ish range, then it's a generally total crapshoot).
iTunes Plus is just a marketing term referring to the fact that tracks from the iTunes store are now all 256kbps instead of 128kbps like they used to be; they are also DRM-free, which means there's no software-based copy protection, you can play them anywhere with any device that supports AAC formats.
What I personally use iTunes Match for is the ability to "sync" your library to multiple Mac/iOS devices. I have my main, mostly lossless library on my desktop, and just use iTunes Match on my Macbook Air and iPhone. That way, it's lower quality (at 256kbps) than my lossless library, but I can listen to any of my songs via streaming from Apple's servers.
Especially on the go, since I'm not big on the idea of carrying a dedicated LOD/DAC and amp set up, I honestly don't think the reduced quality bothers me much. If you've got some elite high-end mobile equipment, maybe it would bother you, but even then, I'm of the belief that the difference between 256 and higher bitrates (of course, dependent on compression techniques) is fairly minimal, or even possibly for you, totally non-perceptible. Of course, some people will tell you otherwise, and it's possible they just have superior ears to me. I would never say that my experience is absolute fact for everyone. But I think for 90% of us out there it's not a huge deal at all, especially considering how relatively cheap and convenient the service is.
Edit: Just realized, this is in the sound science forum! Now that I don't have to be PC, I believe that human listening experience is generally highly skewed by expectation biases. If you've got great ears, in a blind test you might be able to tell 256 from 320, but most of the time, that's not how you listen to music. Often, music is in the background as you do something else. For most of your listening, will you be privy to the bitrate differences, especially if it's not what you're paying 100% attention to? I'd guess not, and wouldn't worry too much about it.
Oh ok didn't know that. Sounds still a bit cumbersome to me. Still I guess for many people this can be very useful.
iTunes Match is great for those of us that want to listen to all of our music using iOS devices on the go.
I simply do not understand why when you can purchase CD's from eBay for either the original price or more likely much less anyone would want to pay full price for a quarter of the quality? If you purchase a CD you can rip it to Wav and have a lossless copy rather than one degraded severely by compression to a lower bit rate. Even if you think there is no difference in SQ I still cannot see why you would still want to pay over the odds for less??
Perhaps it is this must have instantly world we live in for that seems the only logical reason to be ripped off by iTunes by being overcharged for an inferior product!
I would use CDs over downloads but unfortunately I have no room for CDs. And lossless copies are great but they take up a lot of space. Especially if you don't have a dedicated ipod with tons of space and are just using a phone or something.
Good points however external hardrives a pretty cheap nowadays and you then have permenant full resolution copies that you can also use on homes based systems. What I usually do is purchase the CD's then re-sell them again once I have ripped them as I don't have a lot of room either.
At least doing it this way I have choice where as I have non with iTunes!
It seems to me that for a lot of people using google music is the best choice. Since it uploads your songs as they are,it should keep the quality the same. Also you should consider spotify. It cost less than buying a cd once a month and it works on nearly any device at all anywhere. I thinking a great deal, the only downer is that it plays 320kbps mp3 so its lossy, but hey thats still better than iTunes and you shouldn't notice a extreme difference.
I second the spotify suggestion.
Thats all very well if your in a country with spotify!
$25 a year for iTunes Match isn't bad. And 256kbps AAC is generally fantastic. I doubt that most users on this forum can tell the difference between these files and lossless. It's not lossless, but it's certainly very very good.