Will iTunes music quality increase

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by MikaelSmoot, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. MikaelSmoot macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    #1
    What does everyone think of the probability of higher quality songs in iTunes
    is it even worth it
    is 256 aac close enough to cd quality
     
  2. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

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    Jan 8, 2005
    #2
    Yes
     
  3. enberg macrumors regular

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    Jan 13, 2010
    #3
    No.

    To qualify, I can't hear the difference. But If I want to convert so some other format, already compressed music is pretty worthless.
     
  4. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #4
    I would love to patronize the iTunes store but as long as I can get CD's (real CD quality) for $6 to $10 shipped I'm going to stick with CD's. As an added bonus you get a hard copy backup that won't crash.
     
  5. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    Nov 25, 2005
    #5
    Many people think 256Kbit AAC is enough. Some think Apple lossless is needed. Nobody wants anything in between. So you'd go from 256 Kbit to something around 650-700 KBit at least.

    Your 16 GB iPod suddenly doesn't hold 2000 songs but only 800. The time needed for downloading, both from iTunes Store to your Mac, and from your Mac to your iPod, is 2 1/2 times to 3 times more. Unlikely to happen.
     
  6. -Ryan- macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    #6
    The quality is sufficient for me. I can tell the difference between a 128k or 192k track and a CD, but 256k AAC is the point where my ears cease to tell the difference. I think it is the perfect point between size and quality. However, for other genres than I listen to this may not be the case (I know music with lots of layering such as rock often does not sound good when compressed).
     
  7. GermanSuplex macrumors 6502a

    GermanSuplex

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    Aug 26, 2009
    #7
    I reckon the amount of people with iPods and the amount of people who care about having lossless is so small its not an issue to Apple. The 128kpbs tracks were probably sufficient to 90% of users out there, so the 256kbps should be fine for most people.

    That's not to say I wouldn't enjoy Apple offering lossless... sometimes they offer exclusives which I'd love to have a lossless copy of for archival purposes (not for listening.... my ears can't hear a difference between the CD and 128kbps LAME mp3 or AAC audio, at least not on the stuff I have, like my HDTV, Shure earphones, etc.)
     
  8. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

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    Cascadia
    #8
    For the vast majority of the population, 256k AAC is indistinguishable from CD.

    I consider my hearing to be really good, and I can only tell that there is a difference in a dead-silent room wearing my $300 "Studio Monitor" headphones. In any other situation, I can't tell them apart. And even under ideal conditions, I can only tell that there is a difference. In a blind test I did a couple years ago, I could tell that there was a difference, but my accuracy at picking which was which was pretty much right at 50%. (i.e. half of the tracks I tested with I had reversed from what it really was.)

    In the car, walking downtown with Apple In-Ear earphones, even listening to my iPod through a reasonably high end 'bookshelf' stereo, I can't tell the difference.

    This is on a wide variety of music: Classical, Jazz, Bluegrass, Folk, Classic Rock, Modern Rock, Electronica, Old-school R&B, late '70s/early '80s Rap, even some crossover Country, (plus, of course, the catch-all "Alternative".)

    Yes, there are higher-end audiophiles than I who insist on lossless for everything (or even vinyl,) but if you're even asking the question, you're not in that category. 256k AAC will be as good as CD for you.

    (Note: I do have some music direct from bands in FLAC or ALC that were encoded direct from higher-than-CD-quality that I can tell the difference between that and 256k AAC on my normal bookshelf stereo, not just my headphones, but those are uncommon, as they are better-than-CD to start.)
     
  9. Galley macrumors 65816

    Galley

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    Mar 24, 2008
    #9
    Rhino.com is offering DRM-free lossless files.
     
  10. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    Oct 14, 2008
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    SLC
    #10
    i import all my cds' to 320KBPS. I have the HD space and why not?
     
  11. Silvereel macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    #11
    I honestly think the quality of music now is fine for the general listener. If Apple thinks they can make money by say, charging more for higher quality songs to the audiophiles, I'm sure they will, but I don't think the majority could care less.
     
  12. Muncher macrumors 65816

    Muncher

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    Location:
    California
    #12
    Honestly, you'll need pricey equipment to detect anything but placebo even on 128Kbps files. I can begin to hear compression distortion at ~192Kbps VBR on one or two songs and my setup isn't that bad. You'll be fine.

    The best part of a CD is the hard copy. It can be cheaper too! Especially if you get it used. $2 CD + $3 shipping = $5/~10 songs = $.50 a song :D.
     
  13. BlizzardBomb macrumors 68030

    BlizzardBomb

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    England
    #13
    50% accuracy? Doesn't that mean that because there's only two options you'd expect that accuracy from someone randomly choosing (i.e. you'd be no better at distinguishing than from someone randomly saying compressed or uncompressed?).
     
  14. GermanSuplex macrumors 6502a

    GermanSuplex

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    Aug 26, 2009
    #14
    Basically, he can hear track a and track b, and accurately match one of them to track c, but he never knows which of the tracks is lossy and which is lossless. He can hear a difference, but often not for the better or worst.
     
  15. tanyawongz macrumors newbie

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    Jul 16, 2009
    Location:
    Eugene, OR / Hong Kong
    #15
    I use Apple Lossless so its usually about ~1000kbps (25mb) per song, but then I do have a iPod classic and a very nice pair of earphones. There is definitely a big difference for me.
     
  16. SactoGuy18 macrumors 68030

    SactoGuy18

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    Location:
    Sacramento, CA USA
    #16
    The thing about 256 kbps VBR AAC files is that they're good enough for portable music players and car stereos--to hear the difference compared to the original CD requires audio equipment very few of use could afford in the first place.

    I recently got the very nice Etymotics hf5 in-ear monitor (IEM) headphones and when I ripped Binary Finary's "1999" (KayCee remix) from the original Compact Disc in iTunes 9.0.2 in both 256 kbps VBR AAC encoding (iTunes Plus format) and Apple Lossless format and listened to them through my iPod classic, the quality jump to the Apple Lossless format was not significant compared to the AAC-formated file.
     
  17. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

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    #17
    Yup, that's exactly what it means.

    I could hear that there was a difference, but my ability to match the difference with which format is the same as random chance.
     
  18. GermanSuplex macrumors 6502a

    GermanSuplex

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    Aug 26, 2009
    #18
    Have you done true blind testing to determine if you can really hear a difference at all, let alone a "big difference"?
     
  19. Muncher macrumors 65816

    Muncher

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    California
    #19
    I doubt anybody here has done any serious DBT to check to see if their theories are correct. A correctly encoded 256Kbps file should be transparent to all humans.
     
  20. BlizzardBomb macrumors 68030

    BlizzardBomb

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    England
    #20
    Got it! :)
     
  21. roebeet macrumors newbie

    roebeet

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    Jan 31, 2010
    #21
    I believe that it's very difficult for most users to notice the difference between a 256kps VBR MP3 or AAC file vs a lossless file. However, my bigger concern is future-proofing my digital music for any future technological advancements. If I'm going to purchase music, I'd like it last for many years to come.

    Perfect example: The first audio CD I ever owned was the Smiths' "Strangeways, Here We Come", circa 1987. That 22+ year old CD is still in my rotation, currently via a lossy digital transcode. I wonder if we'll be able to say the same thing about the iTunes digital music we're purchasing today.
     
  22. GermanSuplex macrumors 6502a

    GermanSuplex

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    Aug 26, 2009
    #22
    Good point, though I'd say if we ever get to a point where a 256kbps AAC audio file isn't transparent for most listeners, there's a good chance the CD won't be either.

    Basically, I think the odds of that happening is low. The human ears can only hear so much detail.
     
  23. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #23
    I'd agree with nothing else needed between 256k and lossless.

    Considering DVD has done pretty well using compression, I'm doubting that lossless will be available. As you pointed out, iPods and iPhones will lose a ton of storage capacity. They will also lose battery life since it takes more battery to process more data. Maybe in five years we will see something better, but even then it might be compressed music using Dolby Digital decoding. But considering how most people listen to downloaded music on headphones and car speakers -- not home theater systems -- I doubt it's much of a big deal. My dad has played music on his Onkyo receiver with Bose speakers sound system, and I don't hear anything that would make me say it's "bad." It's not the awesomeness of what comes from Blu-ray, but nothing is.
     
  24. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

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    #24
    Well, I came close; it was semi-double-blind. I didn't know what I was listening to, and the person switching from one source to the other couldn't tell which was which by file name, only by the 'cheat sheet' that said which was which. I don't know if he looked at it during the test or not, so I can't verify if it was really double-blind, or only single-blind.

    And my results were that in some instances, I could identify that the two sources were different, but could not quantify the difference, nor do better than random chance odds in determining which was which.
     

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