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How to purchase Apple lossless audio?

Discussion in 'Music' started by careyprice31, Jan 10, 2011.
  1. salannelson


    Okay now I see what you're getting at. To match the specifications of a CD makes it more like you ripped the CD yourself. If not 1411kbps, then what? If it were not 1411, then I'd say the number is arbitrary. It's just because of the legacy of the CD, and how it's kind of the de-facto standard in music listening (save for SACD and the likes).
    However, you are wrong about Amazon and iTunes files being superior. They may be from a higher quality source, but that doesn't matter because the file still has the same bit depth and sample rate as the CD. They are most certainly inferior because their bit rate is lower, and they have compression artifacts whether you can hear them or not.
    Even If Amazon or iTunes sold lossless files from a higher quality source it still wouldn't matter because they'd be 16 bit and 44.1 kHz (Meaning they'd be nearly identical to the CD). They only way for those files to be superior to a CD is if they had a higher bit depth and sample rate, for example www.hdtracks.com
    The reason why people insist on having lossless audio.. whether it be from a CD or online is merely for peace of mind. I openly admit to the fact that I can't distinguish lossless vs. lossy, but I still like knowing that I have accurate files. It is silly, but it's my choice. I have the space on my HDD to do so.
  2. Skylab Contributor
    There are some sites that sell 16/44.1, and even 24/96 FLAC file downloads, like HDtracks. Some of the 24/96 stuff from HDtracks truly is as good sounding as the studio master tape.
  3. salannelson

    The only problem with those sites though is that you can't find a lot of mainstream music on them. That's why many people are still forced to rip CDs via FLAC or what have you in 16 bit, 41.1kHz.
  4. Skylab Contributor
    No doubt - I still buy a LOT of CD's, but mostly just to import into iTunes using Apple Lossless, and then they get played various ways.

  5. Centauri
    I think I may have muddied up my attempted point on the files that Apple and Amazon sell (I'm not even sure that I have a point); Do they adhere to the same bit depth and sampling frequency as CD? Yes. Are they indistinguishable from files you would have ripped yourself from a physical copy of the disc? Probably/Yes. But their direct lineage is better.
    I don't claim to have an answer as to why, but as an example; when I compressed tracks to AAC from my CD copy of Nine Inch Nails' With Teeth and then, using the exact same compression codec, settings and application did it again from my 24-bit/96kHz digital copy of the same album... I wind up with different file sizes and bit rates.
    In the end, if only for peace of mind, under identical encoder settings I would choose AAC/MP3 files taken directly from a 24-bit source than ones from CD. And this is why buying an album from the iTunes store if the price is right doesn't shake me because I know, at the very least, I'm not going to do any better at home from a CD while pursuing the same file size.
    But no, I wouldn't claim that AAC or MP3 sourced from a 24-bit source will be superior to a CD.
  6. Skylab Contributor
    Is there any actual evidence that iTunes files are sources from 24 bit masters and not the commercial CD's? I've never seen any, but that would be interesting, if actually true.
  7. salannelson


    That's really interesting, what were the settings for that, do you recall?
    I'd like to know this as well
  8. Centauri
    Files are uploaded digitally from the labels, giving Apple total encode control. Which is why when the store went from 128k with DRM to 256k and DRM-free, it happened very quickly.
    And the settings I use are from an application called XLD on OS X.
    My settings are;
    More: True VBR
    Encoder Quality: Maximum
    Target Quality: q113
  9. salannelson


    Yep, that's why the files were bigger, you used VBR.
  10. Skylab Contributor


    I cannot access that link (password protected), but the question remains - do the labels upload Apple hi-res masters, or just the CD masters, which would mean rips from MY CD's would be identical if using the same encoder?
  11. necropimp

    i'm assuming the encoded file is 44.1KHz so here is a quick explanation as best as i can give

    when encoding a 96KHz file from a lossless source to a 44.1KHz lossy file resampling MUST happen and most lossy encoders that do resampling are not exactly using the highest quality of sample rate conversion... a considerable difference in conversion quality compared to what was likely used to convert the CD add to that the CD being 16bit would have also had dithering applied when converting it down from the 24bit (or possibly 32bit float) format of the studio master and it's also highly likely the dithering used some form of noise shaping

    unless you used EXACTLY the same tools and settings that were used on the CD version to convert to redbook standard from the 24/96 files BEFORE encoding to lossy it's not all that far fetched to expect some different file sizes and bitrates

    also lossy formats (with a few exceptions) don't store bit depth into in the headers... just sample rate... the decoder settings usually control the output bit depth

  12. The Beagle
    This just isn't true. The difference between 180 and 256 , 256 and 320, and 320 and 'lossless" is very noticable to me. Nothing under 320 gets onto my library baring very rare extenuating circumstances (an original that can't be found anywhere else). Of course you cannot perfectly capture the master source... nothing beats in person listening, but obviously we are discussing recorded media, so lossless is essentially lossless. Of course if you're listening to your music on an ipod/iphone.... you are already missing out on quality. You need a good DAC or AMP to make up for that (sadly those are very expensive). However bitrate differences are very noticable. Lossless is beautiful (with good cans).
  13. aralmim
    Hi, would you know sites where can I buy pop, rock, funky jazz music, in 96/24 bit quality ?
    I already tried "hdtracks", "prostudiomasters" and "itrax"... and I can't find what I am looking for.
    Now I am looking for "Simple Minds" albums, and waiting for the new album release.
  14. taffy2207

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