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MacRumors
Oct 10, 2003, 03:55 PM
MacDailyNews (http://www.macdailynews.com/comments.php?id=P1932_0_1_0) adds an unconfirmed rumor to next week's iTunes-release.

According to the news site, Apple may start offering higher bit rate encoded AACs on their iTunes Music Store -- with claims up to 190kbps. The iTunes Music store presently offers 128kbps songs.



oliverlubin
Oct 10, 2003, 04:10 PM
wow, this would be great!

soosy
Oct 10, 2003, 04:11 PM
That would be great.

Wonder Boy
Oct 10, 2003, 04:12 PM
ive just about enough of any AAC file, no matter the bit rate. i bought a staind cd on the itms and it doesnt play in any of my cd players. sorry to get off topic right off the bat, but damn, i thought these things were compatible.

problem fixed. i it was the media.

1macker1
Oct 10, 2003, 04:13 PM
So is it the format or the bit rate which provides the better quality. I'm confused. Just for an example, if i have an ACC file at 96bps and a WMA file at 128, is the WMA going to sound better. Or is it like everything else in the computer world...a combination of the two.

1macker1
Oct 10, 2003, 04:15 PM
Staind's new cd is a good buy. I've never had any problems with my songs playing in any CD players, they just dont play on pcees
Originally posted by Wonder Boy
ive just about enough of any AAC file, no matter the bit rate. i bought a staind cd on the itms and it doesnt play in any of my cd players. sorry to get off topic right off the bat, but damn, i thought these things were compatible.

arn
Oct 10, 2003, 04:17 PM
Originally posted by 1macker1
So is it the format or the bit rate which provides the better quality. I'm confused. Just for an example, if i have an ACC file at 96bps and a WMA file at 128, is the WMA going to sound better. Or is it like everything else in the computer world...a combination of the two.

It's a combination of the two.

But a 190kbps AAC should be "better" than a 96kps AAC.

arn

ennerseed
Oct 10, 2003, 04:18 PM
Originally posted by Wonder Boy
ive just about enough of any AAC file, no matter the bit rate. i bought a staind cd on the itms and it doesnt play in any of my cd players. sorry to get off topic right off the bat, but damn, i thought these things were compatible.

AAC will have nothing to do with it playing in your cd players... Did you burn it as a music cd, or a data cd?

rogueimage
Oct 10, 2003, 04:22 PM
Originally posted by Wonder Boy
ive just about enough of any AAC file, no matter the bit rate. i bought a staind cd on the itms and it doesnt play in any of my cd players. sorry to get off topic right off the bat, but damn, i thought these things were compatible.

How did you burn it? Naturally, the CD deck won't play a protected AAC file bought from the iTMS. If you burn it in audio CD format, it should read it though, unless your CD deck or CD-Rs are of poor quality. (No offense intended. I've had experience with both, and it's the manufacturer's fault.)

dstorey
Oct 10, 2003, 04:22 PM
Originally posted by 1macker1
So is it the format or the bit rate which provides the better quality. I'm confused. Just for an example, if i have an ACC file at 96bps and a WMA file at 128, is the WMA going to sound better. Or is it like everything else in the computer world...a combination of the two.

Itys a combo of them both. AAC for example is better than mp3 at the same bit rate...128 aac sounds better than 128 mp3. I'm not 100% sure of the actual data but maybe the lower one down (96 or whatever?) in aac will sound as goodish as 128 mp3. As for if 96 aac is better than wma, well i'm not sure but I imagine not as I think wma is better than mp3 (again not 100% sure and not an audio geek) but again at the same bit rate, AAC is better than wma. Of course if aac was at a really low bit rate and wma at 128 then wma would win hands down. Just look at it as you can save disk space with a better codec at the same quality, or you can get bettr quality at the same file size.

BlueDjinn
Oct 10, 2003, 04:46 PM
For one thing, it's relatively painless to do from a technical perspective--all that's required is re-ripping the same songs; no new artwork/ID3 tags/etc. needed. Sure, they'll need 50% more bandwidth/server capacity, but I gotta figure that they're already beefing this up 5-10-fold for the Windows version already anyway (not to mention doubling the number of tracks available).

In addition, depending on how they do it, they might even nab some extra cash from everyone who's already bought tracks--the more serious music lovers would probably be willing to pay, say, another $0.25 to "upgrade" each of their tracks from 128 to 192. I could see something like $0.99 for 192, $0.79 for 128, and $0.25 to upgrade existing 128 tracks to 192...

...or would this make the whole thing too confusing for new users? Maybe just change every track to 192 and keep it at $0.99 would be better.

The *only* downside I can think of is that it would mess up their iPod advertising a little bit--the "10,000 songs in your pocket" slogan is based on 128 tracks; at 192 it'd be "6,500 songs in your pocket" which is still great but not *as* great...

dongmin
Oct 10, 2003, 04:48 PM
Originally posted by Macrumors
According to the news site, Apple may start offering higher bit rate encoded AACs on their iTunes Music Store -- with claims up to 190kbps.
shouldn't that be 192 kbps?

MasterMac
Oct 10, 2003, 04:50 PM
Originally posted by Wonder Boy
so i f burn it as an audio cd, it wont work, but an mp3 it will?

Other way around

canadianmacguy
Oct 10, 2003, 05:09 PM
This would be great, but only if all the songs I've bought I can re-download again in the higher bit rate.

If I can't, this decision would suck...

dho
Oct 10, 2003, 05:28 PM
the difference between 128 and 190 is surprising. Sounds like it would be great

evil
Oct 10, 2003, 05:33 PM
Originally posted by dho
the difference between 128 and 190 is surprising. Sounds like it would be great

i disagree. i have my whole cd collection on my ipod at 128 aac. i use my ipod as my home stereo through my reciever.

i play my stuff pretty loud and it sounds damn good.

i honestly dont see the need to use 192 aac unless for professionals or something...but professionals would use an even higher bit rate.

daddy-mojo
Oct 10, 2003, 05:34 PM
Originally posted by Wonder Boy
so i f burn it as an audio cd, it wont work, but an mp3 it will?

make sure your itunes prefs are set to burn as an audio cd.
select your itms staind tracks.
hit the burn button.
it will encode it to be a normal audio cd.
you can't just burn the files as a data disc with audio files on it and expect it to play in a cd player. and check the media as well. simple.
good luck.
:cool:

Daveman Deluxe
Oct 10, 2003, 05:53 PM
Originally posted by evil
i disagree. i have my whole cd collection on my ipod at 128 aac. i use my ipod as my home stereo through my reciever.

i play my stuff pretty loud and it sounds damn good.

i honestly dont see the need to use 192 aac unless for professionals or something...but professionals would use an even higher bit rate.

I tried out 128 kbps AAC files and hated it. I wasn't pleased with the quality until my AAC files were 256 kbps. That's fine because I wasn't at all pleased with my 256 kbps MP3 files, so I'm happier now.

This move by Apple is a step in the right direction but it's not enough to convince me to buy music at the iTMS.

iamtiger
Oct 10, 2003, 06:05 PM
192kbps AAC should sound better than 128 AAC by virtue of retaining more digital information from the original uncompressed audio cd. Personally, i prefer quality over quantity anyday, so i dont care if it holds less songs in my pod as long as im getting a nice digital reproduction and the ability to still hold thousands of tracks. Moreover, i encode the majority of my cd's to 256 kbps AAC because i honestly can't tell the difference between the uncompressed audio cd and 256. However, i think 128 mp3 sounds equivalent to FM radio quality. On the other hand, 128 AAC sounds slightly better than FM quality, quite similar to uncompressed cd audio, but not the real deal. As a result, Apple is rumored to offer "quality" encodiing at 192 AAC probably to satisfy us audiophiles more so than the average joe who doesnt care and can't notice the difference anyway.

jaxbrokenheart
Oct 10, 2003, 06:19 PM
i hope this is true. i encode all my cd's as 192 Kb/s AAC's, so if they were all the same, that'd be great.

Lord Bodak
Oct 10, 2003, 07:03 PM
Wonder what this would mean for already purchased music...

rog
Oct 10, 2003, 07:14 PM
Hmm, the AACs from iTMS are supposedly from original source material so they sound better. Also, there are different AAC encoders so not all 128 bit AACs will sound the same even from the same source. Everything I've gotten form iTMS has sounded great to me. My ears and an iPod, often used on public transportation or noisy areas, are not good enough to really detect dramatic differences in sound anyway unless it's otherwise silent and I'm concentrating on the music. So I kind of think 192 would make me less likely to buy. Takes longer to download, takes up more space on my iPod. I'm barely able to fit all my music on my 20 GB iPod and it's mostly at 128 bit AAC. If it was all 192 it wouldn't fit. iTMS 128 bit AACs already probably sound as good as or better than a home ripped 192 AAC from a CD source using the default built in encoder. (apparently if you're a glutton for punishment, you can rip using a higher quality setting via Quicktime). Given that broadband is still not a household standard, a 50% longer download time per song doesn't make a whole lot of sense. They ought to stick with 128 and focus their efforts on expanding selection. 90% of what I look for on iTMS just isn't there.

evil
Oct 10, 2003, 07:23 PM
Originally posted by rog
Hmm, the AACs from iTMS are supposedly from original source material so they sound better. Also, there are different AAC encoders so not all 128 bit AACs will sound the same even from the same source. Everything I've gotten form iTMS has sounded great to me. My ears and an iPod, often used on public transportation or noisy areas, are not good enough to really detect dramatic differences in sound anyway unless it's otherwise silent and I'm concentrating on the music. So I kind of think 192 would make me less likely to buy. Takes longer to download, takes up more space on my iPod. I'm barely able to fit all my music on my 20 GB iPod and it's mostly at 128 bit AAC. If it was all 192 it wouldn't fit. iTMS 128 bit AACs already probably sound as good as or better than a home ripped 192 AAC from a CD source using the default built in encoder. (apparently if you're a glutton for punishment, you can rip using a higher quality setting via Quicktime). Given that broadband is still not a household standard, a 50% longer download time per song doesn't make a whole lot of sense. They ought to stick with 128 and focus their efforts on expanding selection. 90% of what I look for on iTMS just isn't there.

that was an excellent point. both on the the broadband issue and expanding the selection.
i totally agree with you on that. i havbe not bought anythiugn on itms because they have nothing that i want. if there was a better selection i would maybe buy things.

jywv8
Oct 10, 2003, 07:51 PM
Originally posted by Daveman Deluxe
I tried out 128 kbps AAC files and hated it. I wasn't pleased with the quality until my AAC files were 256 kbps. That's fine because I wasn't at all pleased with my 256 kbps MP3 files, so I'm happier now.


I wholly agree. I purchased a song from ITMS, encoded at 128 kbps, and I think the sound quality is lacking. I was suprised they used such a low bitrate.

I think they should sell 256 kbps files. Or, if people are worried about filesizes, they should at least give you the option of choosing a higher bitrate if you want it.

MorganX
Oct 10, 2003, 07:57 PM
This is good to see. With 384k 5.1 WMA at bumusic and 160k WMA at musicmatch, Apple is not waiting around to respond.

Seeing them compete in such a timely manner builds my confidence that Apple won't be giving up and is in this for the long haul. That alone makes me feel better continuing to buy AACs.

illumin8
Oct 10, 2003, 08:22 PM
Originally posted by MorganX
This is good to see. With 384k 5.1 WMA at bumusic and 160k WMA at musicmatch, Apple is not waiting around to respond.

Seeing them compete in such a timely manner builds my confidence that Apple won't be giving up and is in this for the long haul. That alone makes me feel better continuing to buy AACs.
That's a good point, but 384k 5.1 is not very good quality sound... Basically, you only have 64k for each channel (6 discrete channels), so sound quality should suck ass.

I think 128 AAC is probably superior to 160 WMA also.

Way to go on the 192 AAC AAPL! (hehe... enough abbreviations for ya?) :D

nickysfuture
Oct 10, 2003, 09:05 PM
I think this would be great. Most of the time, the 128kbps tracks I've gotten from them have sounded pretty good, but there are times when I can really hear the compression and it's kind of irritating. I recently knocked my iBook onto the ground and broke the HD, and while I had my iTMS tracks backed up, I had to re-rip everything else, so I decided to go AAC. I did a whole bunch of blind tests, and 192 seemed like the sweet spot where I couldn't really differentiate between an AIFF and AAC on headphones (which is 99% of me listening to stuff I've ripped). 160 was ok, but where there were a lot of cymbals going on, I would say, "oh, that's the compressed one." I couldn't tell much of a difference between 192 and 256, and when I could it was a toss up as to which one I thought was which. So, if this is true, and they start getting more indie bands on (I noticed in the last update that they had some tracks from Kill Rock Stars bands like Bratmobile and Sleater-Kinney, albeit with odd choices about what to put up), this will be completely awesome.

MacSlut
Oct 10, 2003, 10:06 PM
Originally posted by rog
Hmm, the AACs from iTMS are supposedly from original source material so they sound better. Also, there are different AAC encoders so not all 128 bit AACs will sound the same even from the same source. Everything I've gotten form iTMS has sounded great to me. My ears and an iPod, often used on public transportation or noisy areas, are not good enough to really detect dramatic differences in sound anyway unless it's otherwise silent and I'm concentrating on the music. So I kind of think 192 would make me less likely to buy. Takes longer to download, takes up more space on my iPod.

...SNIP...

I couldn't disagree with you more. 128K AAC does sound a lot better than 128K MP3s and I was surprised by the quality of the 128K AACs on iTMS, but they are still noticeably degraded by the low data rate compression. I think a lot of people not hearing the difference don't know what to listen for, don't have quality systems, or have poor hearing. I think most simply are listening to a song and thinking it sounds "yummy" without doing an A|B test.

For me, I can't stand the sound of 128K MP3s...it's almost painful. I get really annoyed when I see articles referring to these as "standard". They sound like a cat caught on a screen door.

128K AACs sound a bit "yummier", but are still lacking. It's certainly something I consider when buying the CD versus going to iTMS.

I'd definitely be more inclined to download if they were 192K (or even higher). I really thought Apple would launch with 192K... I'm surprised they didn't.

As far as bandwidth, with a reasonable connection the difference in time is really negligible. Those with slow dial-up connections really shouldn't be dragging the rest of us down.

I applaud Apple for getting access to original masters and using high quality encoders, but this is all the more reason to be doing this with higher data rates, not lower ones.

Years from now, the only copies of some of these songs may be what came from iTMS. Have you ever tried to get an OOP song off the Net only to find the only available copy is some extremely low data rate, poorly encoded file?

Think about the future folks, it will be better to have slightly higher data rates than what may be convenient now so that in the future when bandwidth and resources improve we can enjoy the same high quality files as opposed to wishing we hadn't thought 128K was good enough considering the bandwidth or drive space.

I gotta wonder if Apple does this, how it will implement it... It's easy enough to say that Apple could just offer multiple versions with different data rates and formats (MP3, WMA, and AAC), but that could be tricky from an interface perspective.

It kinda makes sense though, perhaps Apple is thinking about offering just 192K data rates, but with MP3, WMA and AAC.

MrMacMan
Oct 10, 2003, 11:45 PM
MacSlut I think they should have started higher, maybe 160... but thats other story.

Choices would be good...

I think the problem with this is bandwidth, if everyone starts downloading the highest for quality apple might have a small problem with more money going into bandwidth and such...

Puppies
Oct 11, 2003, 12:22 AM
Semi-related question, why the heck dosen't Apple let you set the AAC encoder in iTunes to "Best" quality like you can through Quicktime/iMovie? Yeah, it takes longer to RIP, but who cares? I'm only going to rip my CDs once, and I'd like the best quality audio no matter how long it takes. Actually considering using iMovie to import all my CDs with the higher quality settings, but that would be such a pain...

cbrantly
Oct 11, 2003, 12:59 AM
Just choose custom and set it to whatever you want.

Puppies
Oct 11, 2003, 01:14 AM
Nope, choosing custom in iTunes dosen't let you select the encoding quality, only the bitrate. Quicktime (and iMovie exporting to Quicktime) lets you use a higher quality encoder, which takes longer, but presumably does a better job at a given bitrate. Since I'm only encoding this stuff once, I want to use as high a quality as possible, regardless of the time it takes.

iamtiger
Oct 11, 2003, 01:48 AM
Dont worry too much about the quality of the encoding using itunes AAC. The most important determinant is to use the automated controls and changing the bit rate per song. The bit rate is the single biggest and usually only determinant of quality of the AAC file using itunes that you can do.

utilizer
Oct 11, 2003, 05:32 AM
Even though 190k sounds a bit medicore, I'm all for it! Only concern I have is whether or not those of us who have already purchased music at iTMS can go back and download these at the higher bitrates. And if so, how much would this "bog down" their network? (I've really answered my own question as I write this out and it just clicked in my mind that with the additional capacity for meeting the other 97% of the market, Apple would have easily appeased them, as well as their loyal following by not charging us Apple users for higher bitrates!)

Stella
Oct 11, 2003, 07:41 AM
Nothing.

And really, why should it?

If I buy a product and it gets upgraded, I don't expect to receive the new product for free.

Within the price that you pay for each tune, you pay for the cost of the bandwidth. Why should Apple give away bandwidth?

Originally posted by Lord Bodak
Wonder what this would mean for already purchased music...

Vlade
Oct 11, 2003, 09:04 AM
Good, apple needs more options, even though I may stay at 128 kbps due to iPod space.

bignumbers
Oct 11, 2003, 09:24 AM
You know, this whole discussion makes me think of a feature I've always thought about every time I put music on my iPod (or old Nomad IIMG used now and then).

I'd love to have two mirror libraries, each with different bit rates. I have good speakers on my Mac, so I'd like the higher bitrates there. But I'm usually listening to MP3 players in noisier invironments - mowing the lawn, etc, where I'm unlikely to hear the difference between 96K and 192K. And of course MP3 player space is finite, where local HD space is more plentiful.

So I think iTunes 5 should support two mirror libraries, with the lower bitrate library automatically re-ripping from the better (or rip twice when ripping the CD). When you upload to an MP3 player, you'd have your choice which to use.

I think that would be very nifty indeed.

iMeowbot
Oct 11, 2003, 12:55 PM
Originally posted by 1macker1
So is it the format or the bit rate which provides the better quality.

No matter what kind of lossy compression you use, more bits get you closer to the original signal.

MP3 vs. AAC: There's a quirk in all MP3 encoders (some are better than others, but they all do it) that leads to the perception of strange extra noises being introduced into the sound. Some music doesn't seem to be hurt at all, but other recordings end up with really annoying artifacts. You're more likely to notice them if you know the uncompressed song well, and it's also more noticeable the longer you listen to MP3 (I guess that familiarity really does breed contempt!).

AAC, at least with Apple's encoder, seems to be a lot better at making lossy compression work as advertised -- "less important" parts of the signal prefer to go missing, without the tendency to leave bizarre artifacts behind. Again, this can be disturbing if you're familiar with the source material, but you may never notice it if you don't listen to music in an otherwise quiet place. In that sense AAC is better than MP3, but it can be a disappointment.

Some of the sounds removed might even technically be defects, but were included intentionally. Any automated process is going to run into problems with those.

Adding bandwidth (higher bit rate) allows the encoder to be less aggressive in removing sounds, which in turn allows it to be more generous in leaving the "could be noise, could be signal" decisions to the listener's brain.

MorganX
Oct 11, 2003, 01:20 PM
Originally posted by illumin8
That's a good point, but 384k 5.1 is not very good quality sound... Basically, you only have 64k for each channel (6 discrete channels), so sound quality should suck ass.

I think 128 AAC is probably superior to 160 WMA also.

Way to go on the 192 AAC AAPL! (hehe... enough abbreviations for ya?) :D

384k WMA sounds great in 2Ch and 5.1. After 128k I can discern no difference between AAC and WMA. Above 128k MP3 sounds slightly better to me than both.

I really don't think sound quality is going to be much of an issue once everyone is past 128k.

The ease of use of iTMS is its biggest advantage. Buying off BuyMusic wasn't hard at all, but it wasn't transparent either. I prefer iTMS.

Can't have it all, iPod supporting WMA would be having it all ;>

I'd have to say if iTMSfW does MP3 and/or WMA this would be an open and shut iTMS win on both platforms. If it's AAC only anything could happen.

MorganX
Oct 11, 2003, 01:29 PM
I almost forgot, though I like the sound quality of 5.1 WMA, I'll never buy from Buymusic.com again. Their protected WMAs download with no id3 tag info, and you cannot add it.

This is unacceptable and practially makes them useless to me other than burning a CD. If I can't categorize and sort it, I don't need it.

savar
Oct 11, 2003, 03:58 PM
Originally posted by MacSlut
I couldn't disagree with you more. 128K AAC does sound a lot better than 128K MP3s and I was surprised by the quality of the 128K AACs on iTMS, but they are still noticeably degraded by the low data rate compression. I think a lot of people not hearing the difference don't know what to listen for, don't have quality systems, or have poor hearing. I think most simply are listening to a song and thinking it sounds "yummy" without doing an A|B test.


I disagree with you. I am a musician, I write music, and I transcribe songs for my band to cover them. I've taken introductory music theory, trained my ears to hear specific intervals, scales, and chord progressions. And my AAC files sound fine to me. I don't hear a difference.

I listen to music on cheap headphones with my iPod while walking to class or at work, and I listen to music in my room by hooking up an iMic to my mid-range HiFi. Maybe if I had much superior equipment, the difference in sound between various bitrates would be more obvious, but my two setups introduce more noise than I can imagine the encoding ever doing.

At 64 or 92 kbs, a lot of songs do have some noise on them, but at 128Kbps I think its well past the point of being the weakest link.

It comes down to the difference between audiophiles and the average listener. An audiophile is strictly interested in reproducing signals with the highest possible s/n ratio, while the average user is just interested in the music. An audiophile would be pleased to hear a 150W amp reproduce Jim Carrey's "most irritating sound in the world", everybody else just wants to hear their favorite band rocking out.

I prefer to have more songs, shorter download times, and the simplicity of just one option when I click "Download". If Apple goes to 192Kbps only I will stop downloading from iTMS. My 5GB iPod is already at the limit and I don't want to start taking more songs off of it for that .5% of the population that has the equipment to appreciate the difference.

dongmin
Oct 11, 2003, 04:37 PM
Originally posted by savar
I prefer to have more songs, shorter download times, and the simplicity of just one option when I click "Download". If Apple goes to 192Kbps only I will stop downloading from iTMS. My 5GB iPod is already at the limit and I don't want to start taking more songs off of it for that .5% of the population that has the equipment to appreciate the difference.
if Apple was smart, they'd offer both 128 and 192. Why not offer the lower bandwidth version? Better on their servers and little or no added work on their part.

jywv8
Oct 11, 2003, 04:44 PM
Originally posted by savar
It comes down to the difference between audiophiles and the average listener. An audiophile is strictly interested in reproducing signals with the highest possible s/n ratio, while the average user is just interested in the music. An audiophile would be pleased to hear a 150W amp reproduce Jim Carrey's "most irritating sound in the world", everybody else just wants to hear their favorite band rocking out.


I disagree. I'm an average listener. And just as I can hear the difference in quality when I listen to same CD played on my car stereo and my home stereo, I can hear the difference between a 128 kpbs and a 256 kpbs AAC file (although, not all the time) on the same speakers. And it makes a difference to me.

I think, rather, it comes down to what you are going to do with your music files. If you're, say, a big iPod user, then, yeah, you are going to care a lot about the file sizes. But, for someone like me, who primarily listens to their music on their home computer, then, you know, I could really care less about whether a song is 5 MB or 10 MB. I'm more interested in getting the highest quality recording.

chickengrease16
Oct 11, 2003, 05:42 PM
great news if this be true. ive bought about 50 songs from iTMS already, and most of them, while i can bear to listen to them, dont sound the best through any nice sound system. 192 would be a lot better. and yes, for those of you that might be wondering, i'm one of those people that cant stand listening to even 256 kbps mp3s, although sometimes if the ripper doesnt do the "fast" setting like so many people are tempted to do and actually spends more CPU time encoding it, they usually are okay.

Geetar
Oct 11, 2003, 07:17 PM
Originally posted by savar:
"I am a musician, I write music, and I transcribe songs for my band to cover them. I've taken introductory music theory, trained my ears .....

An audiophile is strictly interested in reproducing signals with the highest possible s/n ratio, while the average user is just interested in the music."



You are joking? Resolution mean nothing to you? If S/N ratio were all there was to music, then very lossy codecs would be fine- all the discarded info could be HF above, say, 10.5KHz (thus also doing away with that troublesome tendency of steep, badly-designed 44.1KHZ brickwall filters to push their audio detritus back into the ....er....audio band) and LF below 115Hz., and sound levels below, say, -55dB below Full Scale. After all, as you say, audiophiles are only in search of a noise-free experience.

I hope you know this, and were just over-simplifying .


[After all, it was in just such a way (the promise of no more scratchy noise between or during tracks) that the early and truly gawdawful CD players enticed people away from vinyl. Poorly-implemented filters and (as you might say) only about 12 bits of resolution, which would yield a poor S/N ratio, made these an excruciating experience. A bit like lo-rate MP3s]

Getting back to your original contention, your spatial cues, your stereo field, your timing cues and your reverberation tails could all be annihilated to good advantage. And let's not forget the upper parts of the harmonic profile of a good chunk of the orchestra (I'm a bassist and guitarist, by the way and even I care!) But of course- pause for applause- there'd be NO NOISE!:eek: ;) :D

Phil Of Mac
Oct 11, 2003, 07:24 PM
Congratulations, Geetar! You've just won the Stereotypical Audiophile of the Year Award! Congratulations! :D

Geetar
Oct 11, 2003, 07:30 PM
Originally posted by Phil Of Mac
Stereotypical Audiophile :D

I hope that was a VERY bad pun... :D

Phil Of Mac
Oct 11, 2003, 07:34 PM
No, it was a very good pun.

iDave
Oct 11, 2003, 08:40 PM
I hope, if Apple decides to offer 192Kbps files, they continue to offer 128K files too. There should be a preference you can set in iTunes for the kind of files you prefer to buy. I'd get the 192s. Any suggestion of a price difference would be nonsense.

mproud
Oct 11, 2003, 10:40 PM
If we do see 190/192 kbps AAC, Steve Jobs will say something like:

"When we first started, the iPod had a then impressive 5 GB hard drive. But since then, users now have anywhere from 2 times to 8 times that amount of space..."

The main reason for going with a lower rate is obviously for advertising. You can then advertise that you can fit more songs on your iPod.

Nowadays, since the size of these hard drives are so large, the number of songs able to fit on there is not so important anymore. From a marketing perspective, if you say "5,500 songs" or "6,500 songs" people are going to barely even notice.

Besides, the selling point now is really the space of the hard drive, as opposed to the number of songs. Apple has described their iPods, in general, as 10, 20, and 40 GB models whenever possible, instead of 2,500, 5,000, and 10,000 songs.)

iDave
Oct 11, 2003, 10:55 PM
When Steve Jobs introduced the iTMS, he made a big deal about the AAC files sounding better than CDs. It would be surprising if iTMS began offering higher bit rate files but perhaps they're worried about competition offering them and losing customers because of it.

If I were on dial-up, I sure wouldn't want to buy music files higher than 128Kbps, so there should be a choice.

Mercury
Oct 13, 2003, 03:12 AM
Originally posted by illumin8
That's a good point, but 384k 5.1 is not very good quality sound... Basically, you only have 64k for each channel (6 discrete channels), so sound quality should suck ass.

I think 128 AAC is probably superior to 160 WMA also.

Way to go on the 192 AAC AAPL! (hehe... enough abbreviations for ya?) :D

Erf, except that it doesn't work that way. MorganX correctly stated that it'll sound great. Music doesn't have 6 channels...It's stereo, meaning it has two, and most of the time, your speakers are outputting both. There's no "division" in terms of kilobits per second. That's just the data meaning how much music data per second was recorded.

IF for some reason you were a professional mixer and you had input from 6 different sources, yes 384 total would be an incredibly low bitrate. However, most of the time, they'd take above CD-quality audio(perhaps from 6 different sources), mix it all together, and then put out the stereo that you get on CDs or from the iTMS. The only exception is sometimes when they're making audio for a specific place where directional audio is very important, i.e. perhaps the IMAX theatres.

The advantage to 5.1 audio is that you have music coming from all directions, or for say games like Alien vs. Predator when hearing someone sneaking up behind you is a big help.

Phil Of Mac
Oct 13, 2003, 03:23 AM
Originally posted by Mercury
Erf, except that it doesn't work that way. MorganX correctly stated that it'll sound great. Music doesn't have 6 channels...It's stereo, meaning it has two, and most of the time, your speakers are outputting both. There's no "division" in terms of kilobits per second. That's just the data meaning how much music data per second was recorded.

5.1 audio indeed does have 6 channels (5 regular and 1 subwoofer). Stereo (2.0) has 2 channels. You can play stereo over a 5.1 system, but you can also get 5.1 music that has all six channels.

Originally posted by Mercury
The advantage to 5.1 audio is that you have music coming from all directions, or for say games like Alien vs. Predator when hearing someone sneaking up behind you is a big help.

That effect can be simulated with stereo (particularly with headphones) but you are correct.

Brad Smith
Oct 13, 2003, 04:27 PM
I think the big problem with offering multiple bitrates on the iTMS is simplicity. Apple wants to make the process as simple as possible, so they was to keep only one "buy now" button. I think the solution to this is a preference you set in your Apple ID account. Select the bitrate you want there. From that point, any "buy now" button you click will automatically download your selected bitrate version. If, for some reason, the bitrate you set in your preferences isn't available for a track, it would show you a dialog box similar to the one you get if you purchased a song before, thus notifying you of the difference in bitrates and asking if you want to continue. I think that's be the best way to handle it.

2112
Oct 14, 2003, 11:45 AM
I would like to see the higher complexity AAC encoders in iTunes.
I really enjoy music, and 128kbps MP3 does indeed "hurt". IMHO 190kbps AAC is a big step foward, although I agree that a lower bitrate version of the song should be available for ppl. with bandwith/space concerns.

BOOMBA
Oct 15, 2003, 11:57 AM
Man this will be sweet!

I also wouldn't mind if it found album artwork when it got you the songs.

then I couldn't think of any reason why it wouldn't be THE default Windows music app.

JGowan
Oct 16, 2003, 10:53 PM
Originally posted by evil
i honestly dont see the need to use 192 aac unless for professionals or something...but professionals would use an even higher bit rate. I agree,... 128 AAC sounds great -- But I have a friend who rips EVERYTHING at 256 AAC ! I couldn't believe it when he told me.

I just now ripped a song at 256 AAC and compared it to the 128 AAC version... I'm sorry, I just can't hear too much difference. Certainly, the difference between 128MP3 and 256MP3 is huge, but the AAC format has certainly closed the gap in quality. In my opinion, 128AAC sounds just about as good as the original CD.

Damn.

Phil Of Mac
Oct 16, 2003, 10:59 PM
I suspect that if you can tell the difference between 192 and 128 AAC and care about it enough, 192 won't be enough either, and you're near if not in the "audiophile" category.

iamtiger
Oct 17, 2003, 01:29 AM
Speaking of quality, i initially started to encode my cd's at 224kbps AAC when itunes 4.0 first came out, but lately ive decided to try to bump up my whole cd collection to 256 AAC. I feel that this is that magical number along with Dolby Labs and Apple's seal of approval that AAC is the best encoder on the market, and this gives me the identical sound quality i come to expect from an uncompressed cd with all its aural nuances. At 256AAC, I can hear the high and Low acoustics of a classic symphony, and hear the equivalent of say a michael jackson squeal as if he were serenading me in person. At this compression ratio, it is undetectable from the AIFF file which is compact disc quality. In summary, this gives me the reassurance that im getting "CD" quality without any compromises. Anything under 256 AAC and i might miss Michael's squeal and whisper like you can sometimes detect comparing a remastered cd vs. the old copy.

Phil Of Mac
Oct 17, 2003, 01:36 AM
Originally posted by iamtiger
At 256AAC, I can hear the equivalent of say a michael jackson squeal as if he were serenading me in person.

And you want this why...?

iamtiger
Oct 17, 2003, 02:12 AM
HaHaHa,

Thats funny. But seriously, I just can't stand leaving any digital bits out of my music like leftover carcasses of endangered ocean sharks left to waste and savoring the fins for soup. You know, sharks are endangered and should be protected as much as can be without allowing for useless killing and leaving the blubbers to dry in the sun. I treasure my michael screams, my mariahs ooohs, my axel roses aaawws, my johnny cashs' deeps (rip), my seals ahhs, my eltons uuus, well you get me dont you? hahah, i just want quality as much as i want a sony widescreen hdtv and not a zenith, and sheek aluminum apple and not a plasctic dull dell, a ralph lauren polo and not a target cotton sale. I love quality and i want something to treasure in music just as if i heard it being recorded in the studio live.

Puppies
Oct 17, 2003, 03:09 AM
What bitrate and encoder are best if you want basically flawless audio? I read somewhere that at higher bitrates, MP3s actually sound better than AAC, but that seems fishy to me. I'll gladly to 320kb/s in MP3 or AAC if that's what it takes for near flawless audio.

With hard drive prices (and iPod sizes) are good as they are, I don't see any reason to sacrifice. On the other hand, I wish I had some audiophile to tell me exactly where the cut off is for what you can hear. I *THINK* I notice a greater richness in a 320kb/s MP3 or AAC file than a 192kb/s file, but it's not like I have some way to do a blind test or anything.

Geoff H.
Oct 17, 2003, 10:21 PM
Puppies asked: "What bitrate and encoder are best if you want basically flawless audio?"

Flawless is obviously a relative term these days.

On an iPod, I think the technical answer would be AIFF (which is 1411kbps). Now obviously that eats up a ton of space, but that's what it takes to "get every last bit" off when ripping from a CD. No matter what Steve J. or anyone else says about (take your pick) 128, 192, or 256 etc. being "CD quality" -- they simply are not.

If you consider CD's "flawless" (and I would certainly not), then you could stop there.

If you really want to get about as close to "flawless audio" at home you really do owe it to yourself to listen to SACD's (or DVD-Audio) which packs about 4x the data density of CD music. Of course at these kind of data rates, a 40gb iPod would hold only about 100 songs (if you could rip the DSD data on a SACD which you can't).

All that said, personally I rip CD's at 320kbps MP3 and am satisfied for casual listening (through earphones or via the home stereo). The 128kbps AAC's I've downloaded from ITMS are "ok" -- sort of like listening to an FM radio.

Bottom line IMHO, for really "flawless" audio at home, the only real choices in formats are SACD/DVD-Audio and analog (vinyl)...

I suppose I've now just about wrestled myself the title of "stereotypical audiophile" for the day with this response :p .

bbarnhart
Oct 17, 2003, 10:42 PM
Even the equipment you play your cd's or mp3's or aac's on can make a big difference in how the music sounds. Not all CD players pull the information off the CD the same, amplifiers don't sound the same and not all speakers sound the same. It's really a matter of preference and how much money and time you want to spend. Rip a few CD's a various rates and play them in your equipment and see what you like. When you buy better equipment, you still have your "master" CD that you can re-rip.

iDave
Oct 17, 2003, 11:07 PM
I used to be a quasi-audiophile and spent too much money trying to get the best sound out of good equipment. Then I seemed to grow out of it. Music for me now is typically just in the background as I rarely take the time to really "sit down" and listen to it carefully.

I believe I am the kind of listener that iTunes caters to. True audiophiles will never (at least in the near future) be happy with digital music that's available online. So, I'm not too surprised that Apple hasn't offered higher bit-rate files. I'd be surprised if they ever do. 128Kbps AAC files sound pretty good, and even if they're not the best, most people don't care.

That said, I respect audiophiles and their wishes for the best sound quality possible in their music. Perhaps someday when bandwidth limitations are overcome there will be online sources for very high quality music.

Puppies
Oct 18, 2003, 03:13 AM
Thanks Geoff! Iím pretty happy with 320Kb/s MP3s (most of the time Iím going to be listening to music in the car, or on headphones on a computer anyway). If nothing else, youíve given me the confidence to just go with that bitrate. I swear everyone I knows thinks Iím nuts to use that high. One guy I know frequently goes with LESS than 128Kb/s for music, and swears he canít tell the difference (heís even encoded 64Kb files FROM 128Kb files, and says itís fine).

I donít know if I would be happy with something below 320, but Iíd probably always be wondering about it if I donít use that high. Any suggestions as to which is better between 320Kb AAC and MP3s? With MP3s, are Joint Stereo and VBR set to the highest quality better than non-VBR (I guess it would make slightly smaller files, with theoretically the same sound quality)?

fraeone
Oct 20, 2003, 01:26 PM
For me to seriously consider the iTMS they will have to offer something a little better than 128kbps. It's ok, but it's certainly not as good sounding as a CD, and I'm no audiophile.

Mercury
Oct 20, 2003, 09:39 PM
Originally posted by Phil Of Mac
5.1 audio indeed does have 6 channels (5 regular and 1 subwoofer). Stereo (2.0) has 2 channels. You can play stereo over a 5.1 system, but you can also get 5.1 music that has all six channels.


Yes, but in this case I was referring to the iTMS and CDs that have been ripped into iTunes, which are all stereo.

Originally posted by iDave
When Steve Jobs introduced the iTMS, he made a big deal about the AAC files sounding better than CDs. It would be surprising if iTMS began offering higher bit rate files but perhaps they're worried about competition offering them and losing customers because of it.

The interesting thing here is that, call me crazy, but I swear that 128 AACs from iTMS sound better than say, 128 AACs that I just ripped. It's possible that there is some enhancement going on, and the music industry preps each song.

Phil Of Mac
Oct 21, 2003, 12:24 AM
Originally posted by Mercury
The interesting thing here is that, call me crazy, but I swear that 128 AACs from iTMS sound better than say, 128 AACs that I just ripped. It's possible that there is some enhancement going on, and the music industry preps each song.

Each AAC on the iTMS is encoded *from the original master tape*.

DarkPhoenixCA
Nov 3, 2003, 05:55 PM
Originally posted by jywv8
I wholly agree. I purchased a song from ITMS, encoded at 128 kbps, and I think the sound quality is lacking. I was suprised they used such a low bitrate.

I think they should sell 256 kbps files. Or, if people are worried about filesizes, they should at least give you the option of choosing a higher bitrate if you want it.

I think the type of music has a lot to do whether you find lower bit rates acceptable, as well. I listen to a lot of club/house/electronica music, and I find it hard to distingusih between 128 AAC and 192 AAC, which is what my library is encoded at. I'm not sure if I would notice any difference in going up to 256.

I have noticed there is some variation on the tracks I've purchased from iTMS. For example, the dance mixes of Whitney Houston's "Love That Man" sound perfect, while Vivian Green's "Fanatic" sounds a little more muted (nothing terrible, just a bit more muted).

Any comments?

Geetar
Nov 4, 2003, 05:41 AM
Originally posted by Phil Of Mac
Each AAC on the iTMS is encoded *from the original master tape*.



I'd take these claims with a sack of salt. At the bit rates available, you could vary the compression and normalisation quite a bit (my pun this time) from the CD release values and you'd have trouble telling.

Anyway, we've heard these"From the Original Masters" stories before (Mo-Fi and other companies purporting to offer re-mastered CDs from the originals) that turned out to be 3rd and 4th gen safety copies. A lot of record companies have"lost" a lot of their older catalog's original tapes and won't admit it, or don't seem to care.