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Old Dec 7, 2012, 07:13 PM   #1
nharrietha
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Will Apple ever improve iTunes audio quality?

Okay, I honestly didn't think Id be listening to 256kbps in 2012. What gives? I mean, why can't they sell CD quality at the very least? Hell, for people who don't care they can give the option to upload to devices at a compressed size. But with Pono coming out, offering master quality recordings, will more than likely be my main music media source (coming from someone with over 1,000 purchased iTunes songs). Apple will have to up the quality, right? I sure hope so.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 07:25 PM   #2
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Won't happen. I listen to ALAC only and wish apple would upgrade. A small minority care for CD quality music these days. Each song on average is 30 mb in ALAC and 8 mb in 256 kbps. That's almost 4x more space than 256 kbps. To them, it's a completely unnecessary upgrade.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 07:31 PM   #3
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Gotta say I hope you're wrong. :/
If Apple loves music as much as they say they'll upgrade... Hopefully.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 07:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by nharrietha View Post
Gotta say I hope you're wrong. :/
If Apple loves music as much as they say they'll upgrade... Hopefully.
If you notice their new retina display laptops are being made with relatively small HDs. e.g. 128 GB, 256 GB. They are offering 512 GB as the most expensive model. This tells me that they won't increase kbps. In fact, everything is moving toward cloud based streaming. e.g. iTunes Match. Streaming requires 0 space. They are looking to downgrade, not upgrade. Lol.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 07:54 PM   #5
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Don't let the placebo effect take over. For listening 256 VBR AAC is perfect.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 07:57 PM   #6
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If you notice their new retina display laptops are being made with relatively small HDs. e.g. 128 GB, 256 GB. They are offering 512 GB as the most expensive model. This tells me that they won't increase kbps. In fact, everything is moving toward cloud based streaming. e.g. iTunes Match. Streaming requires 0 space. They are looking to downgrade, not upgrade. Lol.
Makes sense I guess. That's really depressing though. I hope they make a Pono phone then. Maybe license the Pono Store or whatever it will be called to WP or Android, if this happens I can say I will never buy an iPhone ever again, unless audio is taken into consideration.

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Don't let the placebo effect take over. For listening 256 VBR AAC is perfect.
I disagree. With a set of reference headphones I think there is a difference. It may negligible to most, but I want the best sound possible. That being said, there will be a MASSIVE difference between the master recordings and 256kbps.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 08:09 PM   #7
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Don't let the placebo effect take over. For listening 256 VBR AAC is perfect.
You have to have good enough hardware to tell the difference. Some songs there is no difference because they were mastered for MP3. I compress to 256 kbps when transferring to my iPhone because you won't be able to tell on the iPhone. Throw in a good DAC, a tube amp and a good pair of headphones, you will notice things you never have before. For most people this is unnecessary and overkill, but not for me. And I would much rather own the physical CD, this way I have it forever!
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 08:19 PM   #8
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You have to have good enough hardware to tell the difference. Some songs there is no difference because they were mastered for MP3. I compress to 256 kbps when transferring to my iPhone because you won't be able to tell on the iPhone. Throw in a good DAC, a tube amp and a good pair of headphones, you will notice things you never have before. For most people this is unnecessary and overkill, but not for me. And I would much rather own the physical CD, this way I have it forever!
This is one reason I've been scoping out a 5th Gen. iPod Classic. The best DAC of any Apple device. A large portion of my library are uploaded directly from CD's, but it really sucks when I only want, say 1 or 2 songs from an album, which is why I think Apple should upgrade.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 08:34 PM   #9
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I will not buy anything from iTMS because of this. I only buy CDs. No sense in paying nearly the same price for less quality content. But I also have MFSL 24k Gold CDs and really enjoy my music and sound quality.

They are not targeting customers like me, but rather mainstream music consumers.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 08:42 PM   #10
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They are not targeting customers like me, but rather mainstream music consumers.
I really hope companies do start targeting audiophiles though. CD's a pretty inconvenient.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 08:44 PM   #11
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Don't let the placebo effect take over. For listening 256 VBR AAC is perfect.
256 sounds craptacular. I won't buy anything from amazon or itunes at 256 unless it's impossible to find on CD.

New music is being released now at higher bitrates than CD's in multiple formats. 1411 aiff is not the be all, end all, it's ridiculous to claim that 256 is.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 09:13 PM   #12
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New music is being released now at higher bitrates than CD's in multiple formats. 1411 aiff is not the be all, end all, it's ridiculous to claim that 256 is.
On iTunes? Or another service?
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 10:02 PM   #13
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I really hope companies do start targeting audiophiles though. CD's a pretty inconvenient.
I don't mind CDs at all. I enjoy opening a CD for the first time and looking at the design of the disc, and reading the liner notes.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 10:10 PM   #14
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I don't mind CDs at all. I enjoy opening a CD for the first time and looking at the design of the disc, and reading the liner notes.
Unfortunately, CD casings are getting cheaper and cheaper. I wish they still released singles in CDs.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 10:23 PM   #15
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Unfortunately, CD casings are getting cheaper and cheaper. I wish they still released singles in CDs.
That may be the case. I don't buy many new artists CDs. Mainly old artist new releases. And many discs that were pressed before they were "remastered." Many remastered discs kill the dynamic range it seems. The MFSL discs as well as DVD-A are some of my favorite formats.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 03:42 AM   #16
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I can't believe this iTunes audio quality is low because iTunes store belongs to Apple. Apple is a great brand and always provides their best to the end-users.
No offense, but this is very naive. Apple started out by selling 128 bit sons. They claimed that the .aac format was superior to mp3 (not much of a claim) and sounded "better" than 128 mp3's. They sounded lousy.

Amazon's 256 bitrate sounds pretty horribly compressed also.

You are not getting a quality product at either 128 or 256. You are getting a cheap, quick to download, good enough product.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 03:53 AM   #17
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I don't think selling lossless is on the horizon.

The number of people who invest in high quality equipment, want to own the music, and care enough about lossless vs high bitrate mp3/AAC is a very small % of the market. Companies like HDTracks are stepping up for that niche, but I don't see Apple doing it.

The next big thing is who will win the music streaming wars, and Apple's rumored streaming service almost certainly will not be using ALAC.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 04:12 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by mackandproud View Post
No offense, but this is very naive. Apple started out by selling 128 bit sons. They claimed that the .aac format was superior to mp3 (not much of a claim) and sounded "better" than 128 mp3's. They sounded lousy.

Amazon's 256 bitrate sounds pretty horribly compressed also.

You are not getting a quality product at either 128 or 256. You are getting a cheap, quick to download, good enough product.
The amount of misinformation in this thread is astonishing. The perceived 'quality' of a track has as much to do with mastering and encoding method as it does bitrate. In fact, at anything above 128kbps, the former are more important.

Using a high quality dac, amp, and reference custom in ear monitors, there is VERY little quality difference between an excellently encoded 256kbps track and the lossless CD rip. at 320kbps, for most genres, that difference becomes basically imperceptible.

At that point, you're more interested in the hardware than the music - and that is quite sad.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 04:37 AM   #19
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the amount of misinformation in this thread is astonishing. The perceived 'quality' of a track has as much to do with mastering and encoding method as it does bitrate. In fact, at anything above 128kbps, the former are more important.

Using a high quality dac, amp, and reference custom in ear monitors, there is very little quality difference between an excellently encoded 256kbps track and the lossless cd rip. At 320kbps, for most genres, that difference becomes basically imperceptible.

At that point, you're more interested in the hardware than the music - and that is quite sad.
smh
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 04:57 AM   #20
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smh
Right back at you.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 05:18 AM   #21
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I find the 256 bitrate fine for general listening i.e. in the car on the way to work, out on the deck/back yard with a wireless speaker etc.. However when I want to listen on my home system the limitations become apparent on many songs (Some are actually still pretty good). If I buy an album on iTunes a lossless version should be an available option.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 08:57 AM   #22
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To each his own. All I can say is it's downright stupid to pay the same price for compressed audio in my opinion. I will continue to purchase single songs until the release of a higher quality service, then my days of iTunes will more then likely be over. Also, some of the streaming services offer different qualities, when streaming at the highest quality is it CD quality?
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 12:02 PM   #23
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I will continue to buy CDs. It is ironic that CD's are higher quality and cheeper. Plus as an added bonus you get an extra hard copy back up.

I wish Apple would offer a lossless choice since bandwidth and storage space are no longer much of an obstacle (and growing less so each year).

A major problem can be getting studios on board. They only see potential copy (as if CD's didn't already exist) problems unless offered lots of $s to appease them.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 12:25 PM   #24
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Apple will improve the audio quality when it improves the speakers on its mac products. The speakers on apple system are good, but apple will take it to the next level. Unlike other firms, apple does not simply give out good things by itself, they always compliment it with a better product or technology.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 12:51 PM   #25
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Don't let the placebo effect take over. For listening 256 VBR AAC is perfect.
Here is an interesting test supporting that.
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