When will iTunes offer hi-res audio files?

redshifted

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 10, 2014
420
1,978
Midwest
I've fallen down into the rabbit-hole of better sounding digital audio. I'm in the process of upgrading my digital audio files to higher resolution formats. I've added the Onkyo HF Player App to my iPhone 6+ to play my download purchased FLAC files.

My CDs are all ripped into AIFFs but all my iTunes purchases are stuck back in AAC format. I wish I could upgrade those purchases to higher quality files. I'm thinking $2 compared to the $1.29 current iTunes prices with an upgrade file charge of $0.61 to ALAC or AIFF. Anybody else want better audio files from the iTunes store?
 

xb2003

macrumors 6502
Jan 18, 2016
371
106
MO
It would be nice, but it isn't likely. Most people cannot tell a difference when listening through cheap speakers and headphones.

With the streaming service takeover, hi res stuff is liable to get even harder to find.
 
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satcomer

macrumors 604
Feb 19, 2008
6,737
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The Finger Lakes Region
I've fallen down into the rabbit-hole of better sounding digital audio. I'm in the process of upgrading my digital audio files to higher resolution formats. I've added the Onkyo HF Player App to my iPhone 6+ to play my download purchased FLAC files.

My CDs are all ripped into AIFFs but all my iTunes purchases are stuck back in AAC format. I wish I could upgrade those purchases to higher quality files. I'm thinking $2 compared to the $1.29 current iTunes prices with an upgrade file charge of $0.61 to ALAC or AIFF. Anybody else want better audio files from the iTunes store?
Silly child the future of music is streaming! Go back to 2003 where you belong! :rolleyes:
 
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redshifted

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 10, 2014
420
1,978
Midwest
It would be nice, but it isn't likely. Most people cannot tell a difference when listening through cheap speakers and headphones.

With the streaming service takeover, hi res stuff is liable to get even harder to find.
I think you're right about that. Most people can't tell the difference.
[doublepost=1458920264][/doublepost]
Silly child the future of music is streaming! Go back to 2003 where you belong! :rolleyes:
Streaming does seem to be the FUTURE!!!
Have you heard of this trend called fast food? It's going to replace all the restaurants. You don't even have to get out of your car to eat! :rolleyes:
 
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To be honest, and as someone who has delved in music production, the highest format you need is 320 Kbps, I was a FLAC and WAV type of person myself, but at 320 Kbps, the quality is so high that unless you have bionic ears and can slow down time you won't notice it. From what I understand, Apples AAC 256 format is roughly the same equivalent as MP3 320 due to the compression method. The only negligence I've found on Apple's part is making sure that the files they host are not just 128 re-encoded with 256, it's still 128.

I understand you are an audiophile and I am too, sometimes I can hear a crappy bleed of the cymbals in iTunes, but like I said, 320 kbps MP3, although it is lossy, you won't notice much of a difference when it comes to WAV.

I made WIPs in WAV and MP3 @320 that I listened to through Sennheiser 280HDs and I could not hear a difference between the two files.

Yes I agree with you that hi-res audio needs to happen, no I don't think people need to download 25 - 80 MB songs. 320kbps for a 7 minute song gets you a file approx. 13 MB in size. The same file is 7-8 MB with 256, and its about 43-60 MB using WAV. Think of those poor AT&T and Verizon customers. Not to mention streaming Apple Music in the backwoods.

Performance over Quality will make you the most money.
 
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redshifted

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 10, 2014
420
1,978
Midwest
To be honest, and as someone who has delved in music production, the highest format you need is 320 Kbps, I was a FLAC and WAV type of person myself, but at 320 Kbps, the quality is so high that unless you have bionic ears and can slow down time you won't notice it. From what I understand, Apples AAC 256 format is roughly the same equivalent as MP3 320 due to the compression method. The only negligence I've found on Apple's part is making sure that the files they host are not just 128 re-encoded with 256, it's still 128.

I understand you are an audiophile and I am too, sometimes I can hear a crappy bleed of the cymbals in iTunes, but like I said, 320 kbps MP3, although it is lossy, you won't notice much of a difference when it comes to WAV.

I made WIPs in WAV and MP3 @320 that I listened to through Sennheiser 280HDs and I could not hear a difference between the two files.

Yes I agree with you that hi-res audio needs to happen, no I don't think people need to download 25 - 80 MB songs. 320kbps for a 7 minute song gets you a file approx. 13 MB in size. The same file is 7-8 MB with 256, and its about 43-60 MB using WAV. Think of those poor AT&T and Verizon customers. Not to mention streaming Apple Music in the backwoods.

Performance over Quality will make you the most money.
Yeah, it's profitability that determines the products offered these days. A high res file of a crappy recording doesn't add anything to your listening experience. There's always that delicate balance with compression. Too much compression adds artifacts and too little gives you wasted memory space.

Bandwidth accessibility across markets is a big issue for streaming content in general. Cell phone data plans are trending away from offering generous bandwidth in their plans but have been adding their own flavors of streaming content in their bundles. So-called high speed cable internet where I live generally sits at 30-50mbps. We have 110-200mbps, but that's not common around here. My iPhone can pull anywhere from 0.5-70 mbps on LTE as I travel around. I'm not a fan of streaming in general because of this and like to keep audio files on my phone or laptop.

Audiophilia (the disease of being an audiophile) is about diminishing returns. You can always spend more money for minor incremental (and sometimes completely inaudible) audio improvements. So there's always a balance between what you can afford, hear and imagine you can hear :cool:. I'd like it if I could have the option to get better audio files for recordings that warrant it from the iTunes store. I don't really want to stream them.
 
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wolfman1357

macrumors newbie
Apr 5, 2016
4
2
Atlanta,GA
Why would you want a very low quality music file over a higher version. If, you want to save space stick to 320 MP3. I love lossless music, with a high quality system you can really hear tell the difference.
[doublepost=1459891983][/doublepost]
I've fallen down into the rabbit-hole of better sounding digital audio. I'm in the process of upgrading my digital audio files to higher resolution formats. I've added the Onkyo HF Player App to my iPhone 6+ to play my download purchased FLAC files.

My CDs are all ripped into AIFFs but all my iTunes purchases are stuck back in AAC format. I wish I could upgrade those purchases to higher quality files. I'm thinking $2 compared to the $1.29 current iTunes prices with an upgrade file charge of $0.61 to ALAC or AIFF. Anybody else want better audio files from the iTunes store?
I would look on HDTracks or Pono. I would also recommend using ALAC over AIFF. There is loss of quality, if use the right settings. ALAC is smaller, bigger is not always better.
[doublepost=1459892740][/doublepost]
It would be nice, but it isn't likely. Most people cannot tell a difference when listening through cheap speakers and headphones.

With the streaming service takeover, hi res stuff is liable to get even harder to find.
There are already many hi res steaming services. High quality music downloads are slowly becoming more common as the demand for it goes up. That is how capitalism works.
[doublepost=1459893956][/doublepost]
To be honest, and as someone who has delved in music production, the highest format you need is 320 Kbps, I was a FLAC and WAV type of person myself, but at 320 Kbps, the quality is so high that unless you have bionic ears and can slow down time you won't notice it. From what I understand, Apples AAC 256 format is roughly the same equivalent as MP3 320 due to the compression method. The only negligence I've found on Apple's part is making sure that the files they host are not just 128 re-encoded with 256, it's still 128.

I understand you are an audiophile and I am too, sometimes I can hear a crappy bleed of the cymbals in iTunes, but like I said, 320 kbps MP3, although it is lossy, you won't notice much of a difference when it comes to WAV.

I made WIPs in WAV and MP3 @320 that I listened to through Sennheiser 280HDs and I could not hear a difference between the two files.

Yes I agree with you that hi-res audio needs to happen, no I don't think people need to download 25 - 80 MB songs. 320kbps for a 7 minute song gets you a file approx. 13 MB in size. The same file is 7-8 MB with 256, and its about 43-60 MB using WAV. Think of those poor AT&T and Verizon customers. Not to mention streaming Apple Music in the backwoods.

Performance over Quality will make you the most money.
I have done blind sound checks for the same songs at 320 MP3 and Lossless and I can hear the difference. I also think that some over price headphone are not good as many people think they are. I owned many $200 -$350 headphones. I got tired them of falling apart after only months. I bought a pair of Bose SoundTrue In-Ear Headphones for $100, I get better sound from these earbuds than those fancy cans.
 
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wolfman1357

macrumors newbie
Apr 5, 2016
4
2
Atlanta,GA
Yeah, it's profitability that determines the products offered these days. A high res file of a crappy recording doesn't add anything to your listening experience. There's always that delicate balance with compression. Too much compression adds artifacts and too little gives you wasted memory space.

Bandwidth accessibility across markets is a big issue for streaming content in general. Cell phone data plans are trending away from offering generous bandwidth in their plans but have been adding their own flavors of streaming content in their bundles. So-called high speed cable internet where I live generally sits at 30-50mbps. We have 110-200mbps, but that's not common around here. My iPhone can pull anywhere from 0.5-70 mbps on LTE as I travel around. I'm not a fan of streaming in general because of this and like to keep audio files on my phone or laptop.

Audiophilia (the disease of being an audiophile) is about diminishing returns. You can always spend more money for minor incremental (and sometimes completely inaudible) audio improvements. So there's always a balance between what you can afford, hear and imagine you can hear :cool:. I'd like it if I could have the option to get better audio files for recordings that warrant it from the iTunes store. I don't really want to stream them.
I agree than mobile streaming for Hi Res not compatible with most mobile plans. I also agree that a any formats other than FLAC or ALAC are over sized. I like own my music not rent it. You can find most what you want for free on the torrent sites for the cost of your internet and the hard drives you need to store it on.
 
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redshifted

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 10, 2014
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Midwest
I agree than mobile streaming for Hi Res not compatible with most mobile plans. I also agree that a any formats other than FLAC or ALAC are over sized. I like own my music not rent it. You can find most what you want for free on the torrent sites for the cost of your internet and the hard drives you need to store it on.
Yeah, I'm with you on "owning" the music file vs. "renting". Storage space just doesn't cost that much these days. I still buy CDs (when it makes sense) and rip them to FLAC or ALAC for better quality files. I'm leaning towards FLAC and ALAC whenever possible. I just wish I could get DRM ALAC files through iTunes. There are a lot of songs out there that I'd never buy the whole album to hear and AAC isn't the best way to appreciate the song.

There are some bands that I follow and appreciate their tolerance of "tapers" that upload their live shows to torrent sites. These are usually FLAC files. I personally feel pretty strongly about copyright for artists and their ability to make a living off their art and try to support them with my $ by buying CDs or downloads or tickets to their shows.

In the end, it's all about the music :cool:.
 
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redshifted

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 10, 2014
420
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Midwest
As an auditory aside,

I just got an Oppo HA-2 portable HeadphoneAmpDAC to use with my MBPr and iPhone 6+. I didn't know whether i would be able to hear an improvement in my audio. The sound coming out of my devices bypassing the native DACs through the HA-2 sounds amazing to me. Is the sonic improvement worth $300?...

OppoHA2iTunesVisMBPr.jpg


For me it is... :cool:

iPhone 6+ pic edited in Snapseed
 
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Why would you want a very low quality music file over a higher version. If, you want to save space stick to 320 MP3. I love lossless music, with a high quality system you can really hear tell the difference.
[doublepost=1459891983][/doublepost]
I would look on HDTracks or Pono. I would also recommend using ALAC over AIFF. There is loss of quality, if use the right settings. ALAC is smaller, bigger is not always better.
[doublepost=1459892740][/doublepost]
There are already many hi res steaming services. High quality music downloads are slowly becoming more common as the demand for it goes up. That is how capitalism works.
[doublepost=1459893956][/doublepost]
I have done blind sound checks for the same songs at 320 MP3 and Lossless and I can hear the difference. I also think that some over price headphone are not good as many people think they are. I owned many $200 -$350 headphones. I got tired them of falling apart after only months. I bought a pair of Bose SoundTrue In-Ear Headphones for $100, I get better sound from these earbuds than those fancy cans.
Ok now could you hear that difference on standard speakers from an iMac, MacBook Pro, or iPhone that a vast majority of Apple customers listen on? Just because we are perfectionists when it comes to audio sampling doesn't mean that's what iTunes needs to sell. They should sell up to 320 kbps and if FLAC, ALAC is your thing then you already know where you can get that. I only mentioned AIFF because it's one of the default lossless export formats for Logic Pro.
 
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cbautis2

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Aug 17, 2013
728
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Lossless audio is overrated. IMO, I can't even tell the difference between a 320 mp3 and 24/192 KHz FLAC on a volume level matched double blind testing even with good audio gears. I would take any 160 - 320 kbps MP3 version of a well mastered audio over a 24/192, Quad DSD, Quad DXD version of a crappy mastered track any day.
 
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monkeybagel

macrumors 65816
Jul 24, 2011
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United States
Have you looked to see if your desired content is on DVD-A or DVD-V?

It will provide greater than 16/44.1k. I personally have been locating my content in DTS 5.1, as my car plays it, and the sound is spectacular for a car audio system. DTS seems to be much better that Dolby Digital 5.1, as it seems to lack the dynamic compression.
[doublepost=1460351431][/doublepost]
Have you looked to see if your desired content is on DVD-A or DVD-V?

It will provide greater than 16/44.1k. I personally have been locating my content in DTS 5.1, as my car plays it, and the sound is spectacular for a car audio system. DTS seems to be much better that Dolby Digital 5.1, as it seems to lack the dynamic compression.
That reminds me, is still have quite a collection of the MFSL UltraDisc II before they went OOP.
 
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There was a youtube video somewhere that was made by an Audio Engineer explaining the differences in sound quality, wish I could find the video, but it basically states that an MP3 @320 kbps is so close to lossless that it's hard for most people to hear the difference, the only real difference is the file size. And the human ear's limitations prevent people from hearing the difference between anything 44.1k and up.

If you are a music producer or remix/mashup artist, then yes you should go with the lossless audio formats, but if you are just wanting music to listen to while you're doing other things then MP3 is fine. Lossless audio is really only meant for having pristine audio for adjustments. No one wants to edit lossy audio because it introduces more artifacts from the existing artifacts. Even if the artifact was .0001 of a second, introducing a reverb on the track could potentially sample part of the reverb from the artifact and now you've got a reverb with an artifact of .1 second which is noticeable.
 
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Melrose

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Dec 12, 2007
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I still buy CDs of albums that require it - e.g., for mostly classical, electronica, and the stuff that really turns me on. I still rock the Discman....how's that for dating myself.

I'd like to get a Cayin N6, but not sure about the price. I'd notice the difference, since I can hear the difference easily between formats, but not quite ready to bleed $600 on a DMP...

Folks that say you can't hear the difference have never used high end headphones or amps. Or maybe they're like my dad, who's worked in a heavy machinery factory for 40 years. :(
 
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Folks that say you can't hear the difference have never used high end headphones or amps. Or maybe they're like my dad, who's worked in a heavy machinery factory for 40 years. :(
This is true but how many users are really going to be able to hear the difference with music they got from the iTunes Store? Most of these people are 18 year old kids who've never had a decent pair of headphones in their life and Beats are considered high quality for them.
 
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Melrose

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Dec 12, 2007
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This is true but how many users are really going to be able to hear the difference with music they got from the iTunes Store? Most of these people are 18 year old kids who've never had a decent pair of headphones in their life and Beats are considered high quality for them.
We are totally in agreement on this point. Hence why I say "people who have never used high end headphones." :)
 
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ThisBougieLife

macrumors 68020
Jan 21, 2016
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SF Bay Area, California
I know a lot of people say they can't tell the difference, but I have been able to tell the difference before. For example, I'm a big fan of classical music. When a flute plays a solo and plays really high notes, if the file is "lossy", sometimes you can hear "crackling" when it plays those highest notes. I've compared it by listening to a specific recording of a Mozart Flute Concerto through Apple Music (and hearing the "crackling") and then listening to a FLAC file I ripped from a CD of this very same recording (no crackling--despite the headphones, volume, and everything else being the same). So yeah, it's not a big difference I guess, but it is a noticeable difference to me and one that makes streaming seem inferior to me. So I'm not exactly happy about "streaming is the future".
 
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cbautis2

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I know a lot of people say they can't tell the difference, but I have been able to tell the difference before. For example, I'm a big fan of classical music. When a flute plays a solo and plays really high notes, if the file is "lossy", sometimes you can hear "crackling" when it plays those highest notes. I've compared it by listening to a specific recording of a Mozart Flute Concerto through Apple Music (and hearing the "crackling") and then listening to a FLAC file I ripped from a CD of this very same recording (no crackling--despite the headphones, volume, and everything else being the same). So yeah, it's not a big difference I guess, but it is a noticeable difference to me and one that makes streaming seem inferior to me. So I'm not exactly happy about "streaming is the future".
That's called crappy encoding. Clipping occurs if the encoded lossy file has a higher dynamic compression than the source/master file.
 
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ultradk

macrumors member
Oct 1, 2009
36
6
Denmark
I've fallen down into the rabbit-hole of better sounding digital audio. I'm in the process of upgrading my digital audio files to higher resolution formats. I've added the Onkyo HF Player App to my iPhone 6+ to play my download purchased FLAC files.

My CDs are all ripped into AIFFs but all my iTunes purchases are stuck back in AAC format. I wish I could upgrade those purchases to higher quality files. I'm thinking $2 compared to the $1.29 current iTunes prices with an upgrade file charge of $0.61 to ALAC or AIFF. Anybody else want better audio files from the iTunes store?
I have for a very long time bought DVD Audio, SACD and Blu Ray Audio disc. My problem is, there aren't "a lot" to choose from.

However, I start to compare/listning my cd-ripped ALAC files to all the "new" Mastered For iTunes albums iTunes are coming with these days.. And 99% of them sounds great to me and I had bought a lot. They do sound way better than my cd-rip. So I enjoy it!

Ofcourse I would "love" high res" but for now, Mastered For iTunes is doing great!
 
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redshifted

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 10, 2014
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The current rumors of downloaded audio files being obsoleted in favor of streaming doesn't bode well for me. I guess I'm just swimming against the tide of a mediocre audio future.
 
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