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Hi-Res Albums vs. Mastered for iTunes (or Apple Digital Master) Albums - Which is Better??!

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by RockStar2005, Dec 5, 2017.
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  1. Whazzzup
    Both hi res and mastered for iTunes play brilliantly on my antipodes. Concerning flac or dsd I have not controlled for the quality of the master so not sure if there are benefits of one over the other. It may sound richer but that could be the master.
    Point being I drop alac on my network and it doesn’t matter anymore. Playing iTunes direct from iMac is definatly inferior sq.
    RockStar2005 likes this.
  2. DarwinOSX
    CDs aren't easy to get these days and are often heavily compressed with lots of bass.
    Digital files do not degrade over time but MP 3 is very dated.
    My 58 year old ears can pass the NPR listening test easily and I can certainly tell the difference between 256k MP 3 and lots of other things. There is a richness and fullness that is missing in lower bit rate files. But of course its not consistent because there are so many factors involved. But I keep seeing people say nobody can hear the difference between some of these bit rates and thats BS.​
    MrPanda and luckybaer like this.
  3. RockStar2005
    You can still buy like any CD off Amazon or eBay though. I usually get used ones now if I even buy 'em. But now that I know all the non-MFiT albums on iTunes are sourced from CDs, and they tend to be very reasonably priced, I usually will just buy that instead.
  4. DarwinOSX
    My significant other still plays a lot of classical on CD's at home and I have a heckuva time finding things for her.
  5. RockStar2005
    Well yeah, classical is a different story. The great thing about classical though is that there is a TON of it available in Hi-Res. I would say even more so than popular music, which is what I pretty much listen to.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
  6. DarwinOSX
    Yes I have trouble getting her to do anything but CD's...not even a streaming service...I play a lot of classical from Tidal on my Kef LS50W's when she is here.
    RockStar2005 likes this.
  7. RockStar2005
    I C. lol Maybe you should show her that link I provided? But check on iTunes Store too cuz their Hi-Res (aka MFiT) are pretty much always cheaper. Sometimes HDTracks or Acoustic Sounds might have Hi-Res albums others don't. But that's not often though.
  8. DarwinOSX
    I'm working on it...I did get her a Bose Revolve Plus bluetooth speaker for Christmas and a Pandora subscription and she uses both all the time now. Just the other day it was playing in the lining room right next to her CD player/amp and super nice speakers because it was easier to carry it around the house....baby steps....
    RockStar2005 likes this.
  9. RockStar2005
    Haha nice! Yes.

    Keep fighting the good fight DarwinOSX! lol :L3000:
  10. Sterling2
    I'm listening right now to the Apple Music version, looking at the file confirms 256k AAC 44.1khz sample rate. I have nothing else to compare to, vinyl or CD; but, of the double digit comparisons I have made of other tunes, it seems the Mastered for iTunes concept sounds really good in all manner that good can be discerned. Of course this piece is very compressed as expected. This makes me think I might prefer a vinyl version.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
  11. RockStar2005
    Ok. Yeah it's compressed but I never hear ANY difference in sound despite that factor. I'm glad though you think it sounds really good.

    Well if you get your hands on another version, let us know if you can hear a difference, and which one sounds better to you too.

    Wait, what album/song are you listening to?
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
  12. Sterling2
    I'm listening to the album this thread earlier referenced, the one from Rush, "Moving Pictures", Sorry! BTW, on another item covered in this thread, new CDs are available on most any commercial corner in my geographic area, used too. In fact, one record store in my area sells used at 3 for $15. I still like to buy CDs, as well as SACDs because: 1. They have resell value. 2. I actually own the right to listen indefinitely, as long as the CD is in my possession. 3. I can will the collection to anyone. You can't transfer any music listening rights from iTunes. 4. A computer crash does not destroy my music. 5. SACDs allow very easy reproduction of multi-channel music. And, 6. There is no need to buy iTunes Match, or space on the iCloud. Overall, CDs just make more sense, in any manner sense can be defined, when wishing to have all the tunes which are on an album. For, just 1 or 2 tunes of Popular Music, seems to me the economy and convenience of iTunes is more compelling than the stated reasons for buying CDs. One more thing, CDs can be imported to iTunes as AIFF, WAV, or ALAC file for convenience enjoyment. ALAC is best for this since it retains metadata needed to allow iCloud upload for sharing with iPhone and iPad which you might not want to actually download to. Of course, uploading is the fastest way to download to devices since it does not require syncing device via cable to computer.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
    RockStar2005 likes this.
  13. RockStar2005
    Oh ok. lol That's what I thought too, but then I realized that was luckybaer who was talking about it, not you.

    Yeah I was saying that too about the CDs, but then Darwin mentioned that his wife listened to classical music. That I could see being more of a hassle to acquire. But the good news is there's a TON of Hi-Res available for classical music, even more so than commercial IMO.

    All good points, but the downside is how much room you need to store them, esp if you have a lot of them like I kinda do. Plus I like Google Drive b/c you can store them there and when you need them they're ready to go. No need to spend time ripping each CD to digital to play on your phone. That's why I've been ripping my CD collection as well in recent times.

    Yes, convenience is a major factor.
  14. DarwinOSX
    There is a lot of MQA classical on Tidal which sounds great.
  15. luckybaer
    The struggle for me is finding a well-mastered version. For example, I had a couple of different releases of Black Sabbath's "Heaven and Hell," (Rhino and Sanctuary), and both were bad, with the Sanctuary version at least being somewhat listenable - in spite of the bass being front and center. I decided to take a chance on a version from HD Tracks and... HEAVEN (not Hell). I know this has nothing to do with "can you tell the difference between .mp3, AAC, FLAC, WAV, etc.," but I wanted to bring up the point that a poorly mastered release will sound like crap regardless of format, bit rate, etc., while a well-mastered version will sound really good at 256 kbps AAC or ALAC or FLAC (even 256 kbps .mp3). Is there a difference between bit rate? Sometimes I can pick out differences. The sound of lossless usually is fuller, rounder, etc., and sometimes just cleaner sounding. I can't pick it up out of the blue in most cases, but playing a 256 kbps .mp3 vs. a lossless file back to back, over and over will reveal differences if one has the patience and time to listen critically. Sometimes I do that, but more often, I listen for pure enjoyment. :)
    RockStar2005 likes this.
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