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Old Dec 8, 2012, 01:27 PM   #26
saberahul
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I thought CD quality was 128kbps… guess I'm wrong?
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 05:27 PM   #27
Julien
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I thought CD quality was 128kbps… guess I'm wrong?
CD is about 1434kbps or over 11x as much.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 05:47 PM   #28
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It's hilarious to hear from audiophiles about the quality of encoded music when the majority of them are middle aged men who have a now impaired hearing range. But hey, whatever gets them through the day. :/
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 05:52 PM   #29
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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.
The Mac speakers are mediocre at best...

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It's hilarious to hear from audiophiles about the quality of encoded music when the majority of them are middle aged men who have a now impaired hearing range. But hey, whatever gets them through the day. :/
It's hilarious that you're assuming I'm a middle aged man when I'm only 17.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 06:29 PM   #30
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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?
So you can hear the difference between 256 KBit/second AAC, especially 256 KBit/second AAC created from 24 bit, 192 KHz masters, and CD quality? Complaining about sound quality is easy, actually hearing the difference is a lot harder.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 06:54 PM   #31
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So you can hear the difference between 256 KBit/second AAC, especially 256 KBit/second AAC created from 24 bit, 192 KHz masters, and CD quality? Complaining about sound quality is easy, actually hearing the difference is a lot harder.
As stated by others in the thread, with good hardware and a reference pair of IEMs or headphones it is easier to hear the difference. Especially if we're talking master recordings.
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 06:40 AM   #32
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It's hilarious to hear from audiophiles about the quality of encoded music when the majority of them are middle aged men who have a now impaired hearing range. But hey, whatever gets them through the day. :/
It's actually relative. Even people with slight hearing (or sight, taste, or smell) impairments can detect quality/quantitative differences.
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 07:33 AM   #33
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CD is about 1434kbps or over 11x as much.
That's just the data rate of the PCM stream though. You can easily get that number down to 700kbps or less using lossless compression without losing any quality at all (I have ALAC encoded piano pieces with a bitrate below 400kbps), and arguably modern lossy compression methods that user psychoacoustic models are transparent to the ears of practically all listeners for most kinds of music at 256kbps.

Having said that, about half of my music is still kept in ALAC and it is the format I prefer even though I can't claim to reliably detect a difference between ALAC encoded songs and their 256kbps AAC version. It's more a 'peace of mind' thing for me.
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 08:45 AM   #34
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"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."

It's almost as if the recorded & factory-pressed CD, from about 1984 until the late 1990's (when mp3's came into vogue) will historically represent the "pinnacle" of distributed audio sound.

And that we've been going downhill since!
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 09:18 AM   #35
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That's just the data rate of the PCM stream though. You can easily get that number down to 700kbps or less using lossless compression without losing any quality at all (I have ALAC encoded piano pieces with a bitrate below 400kbps).....
I fully understand this and have all (>97%) my music ripped using ALAC. I was simply and correctly answering to the poster that thought CD was 128kbps.

Also I found some ALAC files (test tones) as low as 129kbps.
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 09:43 AM   #36
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I fully understand this and have all (>97%) my music ripped using ALAC. I was simply and correctly answering to the poster that thought CD was 128kbps.
Oh yeah, absolutely. I wasn't trying to lecture you, I only felt it was worth mentioning that CD quality can't be defined by stating a bit rate without specifying its context as well, i.e. the coding scheme used. As you mentioned, sometimes 129kbps is quite literally CD quality, bit for (decoded) bit. In most cases, modern lossy compression schemes can certainly get you pretty close to CD quality even at 128kbps, so the other poster wasn't that far off. Experiments have demonstrated that the quality of a 256kbps AAC file is generally undistinguishable from a CD track.
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 10:54 AM   #37
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The Mac speakers are mediocre at best...

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It's hilarious that you're assuming I'm a middle aged man when I'm only 17.
I found the mac speakers on the retina macs to be a big improvement over the older macs and def thought them to be good. You can't tell the difference in audio quality on a pre-retina mac (not even sure you can with the retina ones, haven't compared the machines next to one another) hence it doesn't make sense to offer something if its products can't take advantage of it. Thats what apple is all about, its ecosystem.
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 11:10 AM   #38
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256kbps AAC is more than good enough. Most people listen to their music on the computer, at the gym/on their iPhone/iPod, and in the car. Who wants 30MB files that would only provide a very slight improvement over 8MB ones?
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 11:22 AM   #39
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CD is about 1434kbps or over 11x as much.
Hmm, did not know that. Thanks for letting me know.
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 11:40 AM   #40
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At least as far as classical music is concerned, Hyperion Records sells a LOT of good stuff, all of it available in ALAC format. Great quality, good prices and liner notes.

Too bad Apple doesn't wake up and smell the coffee for those wishing for a little more than mediocre quality - otherwise, I will keep buying CDs, of course...together with the Amarra iTunes plug-in.
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 11:45 AM   #41
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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.
At least get your facts straight. You clearly don't own one of their retina Laptops as I do. I have a high-end configuration with a 768GB SSD.

They aren't looking to downgrade. For the average listening, Apple's losless 256kbps format is perfectly fine outputting from a Mac. For those who want audio-phile quality audio, why would you even be using iTunes to purchase the music anyhow?

Some people are really oblivious to reality, and realistic usage scenarios.
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 12:03 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Fishrrman View Post
It's almost as if the recorded & factory-pressed CD, from about 1984 until the late 1990's (when mp3's came into vogue) will historically represent the "pinnacle" of distributed audio sound.

And that we've been going downhill since!
Almost?

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Who wants 30MB files that would only provide a very slight improvement over 8MB ones?
Me.
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 01:22 PM   #43
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At least get your facts straight. You clearly don't own one of their retina Laptops as I do. I have a high-end configuration with a 768GB SSD.

They aren't looking to downgrade. For the average listening, Apple's losless 256kbps format is perfectly fine outputting from a Mac. For those who want audio-phile quality audio, why would you even be using iTunes to purchase the music anyhow?

Some people are really oblivious to reality, and realistic usage scenarios.
And since when is a 256kbps iTMS file "lossless"?
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 01:32 PM   #44
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256kbps AAC is more than good enough. Most people listen to their music on the computer, at the gym/on their iPhone/iPod, and in the car. Who wants 30MB files that would only provide a very slight improvement over 8MB ones?
A lot of people that listen to music on their computers have amps and reference headphones worth more than a used car. Hell, I've seen a lot of people who carry amps along with their media device.
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 02:10 PM   #45
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It's hilarious to hear from audiophiles about the quality of encoded music when the majority of them are middle aged men who have a now impaired hearing range. But hey, whatever gets them through the day. :/
Was discussing movie HD audio the other day. Told him most people can't tell the difference between SD and HD audio. He disagreed and told me he could tell the difference so he wanted a system that would give that capability to him. He then proceeded to tell me he had to go to an audiologist the next week to be fitted for a hearing aid!! Isn't life funny?
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 10:38 AM   #46
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And since when is a 256kbps iTMS file "lossless"?
My mistake... they are in AAC format! *lowers head in shame* haha Just checked my collection. I'm not sure why I was "sure" it was in the Apple Lossless format.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 02:32 PM   #47
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My mistake... they are in AAC format! *lowers head in shame* haha Just checked my collection. I'm not sure why I was "sure" it was in the Apple Lossless format.
I would be flustered if Apple started selling lossless. *sigh*
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 12:08 PM   #48
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With increasing HD size, I find myself getting more "anal" with bit rate too. TBH, I have a hard time hearing a difference between 256 and 320. But I have started buying used CDs on Amazon to import as ALAC. If you have the HD size, why not? Also, many times (unless its a new release) its even cheaper.

QUESTION: Do you folks know of any website that sells downloads of NEW lossless files? Gosh, even if the record labels were to launch this, I would pay.

THANKS
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 12:22 PM   #49
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Do you folks know of any website that sells downloads of NEW lossless files?
You can sometimes get lossless files if you buy directly from the artist or label website. For example, I know of Matador Records, Drag City, Nonesuch Records that will sell you lossless files. Then there's HDTracks (for hi-def lossless files) and Bandcamp (CD-quality ALACs)...
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Old Dec 11, 2012, 08:10 PM   #50
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Could someone please explain why self-professed audiophiles get icon here raving about CD-quality music? If the industry itself gave a damn about quality, there would be no such thing as a CD-only player any more.

The industry should've moved to using DVDs and putting higher quality recordings on them. I bought a couple of DTS audio discs, which I'm assuming we're on DVDs, in the 1990s. THAT is what audiophiles should be begging for. I have never heard anything better that wasn't live.

I totally get the debate because of my wishy-washy opinions on buying movies and TV shows from iTunes. The picture is pretty darn close, but give me a freaking break on Dolby Digital. If you spend $150 on an AV receiver you will get one with DTS. The codecs available with BD are even better.

After watching "The Fellowship of the Ring" over the weekend on BD, I was reminded of how awesome movie sound can be. Why that isn't even close to standard on audio products baffles me.

So I understand the desire for better sound. But as long as CDs are seen as some sort of quality in 2012, iTunes files are more than good enough for me. I haven't been able to find any environment in which I can tell a noticeable difference between iTunes and CDs. Ad I just replaced my car speakers with some Kenwood models that retail for $150 a pair.
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