I use iTunes to encode my MP3s. I just got a nice pair of headphones (getting ready for my iPod) and have noticed some quality problems with the songs I've been encoding. My distortion problem is most noticable when playing piano solos or opera. Any high note crackles and distorts. Bass in other genres also distorts. There's also lots of hiss at high volumes. The songs play fine when played straight from the CD on my Mac, so I know it's not the headphones or my Mac hardware. I have iTunes set at 320bps. This does not get rid of the hiss or the distortion problems. I just for fun tried N2MP3 demo to see if it could do a better job. It encoded the song perfectly. Even at high volumes, the songs play beautifully with no distortion or hiss. Why is this so? I thought encoding an MP3 was the same no matter what app you were using. And how come N2MP3 does such a better job than iTunes?