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Old 02-10-2008, 02:26 PM   #1
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iTunes question!

I was just reading an article in Rolling Stone about how the sound quality in music has diminished because of mp3's and the compression technology used in recording to make everything sound loud, which in turn distorts and masks the true sound of the music. It suggested that in order to get the best sound from an iPod, you should increase the bit rate on iTunes and upgrade to the AAC format. I was just wondering how I would do this. Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-10-2008, 08:02 PM   #2
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Well, basically, you can increase the quality at which you encode new music you rip to iTunes from CD. If you already have a library full of 128kb/s MP3s, there's no way to increase their quality unless you re-rip all of those songs to iTunes from CD.

Now, although they recommend AAC, I don't. AAC is an Apple-specific format, so if you ever want to take your music collection to another media player or MP3 player, it may not be compatible. MP3 is a perfectly fine format.

Goto Edit > Preferences > Advanced > Importing

Now, select Import Using: MP3 Encoder.
For Setting, select Custom.

Now, in the Custom box, Select 192kb/s for the Stereo bitrate, and then select "Use variable bitrate" and then Medium or High quality.

~

Most tracks you get from download services and from stuff like Limewire is constant bitrate encoded. Variable bitrate basically adapts the amount of processing depending on the audio complexity of the song as it goes along. It's all very complicated. Here's a simpler explanation:

Quote:
Now for a quick explanation of how VBR encoding works: There are many types of sounds within a given audio track. There are periods of soft melodic drifts, thundering orchestral crescendos, and spans of almost total silence. With fixed bit rate encoding, every part of a track is encoded at the same bit rate, which is wasteful of disk space when you consider that, say, the thundering crescendo is a much more detailed sound than a period of almost total silence. Under VBR encoding, the encoder examines the type of audio that is about to be encoded and adjusts the actual bitrate used on that section of sound accordingly; for silence or simplistic waveforms the bitrate is lowered while, for complex areas of sound, a higher bitrate is used.
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Old 02-10-2008, 08:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Canadiens1160
Well, basically, you can increase the quality at which you encode new music you rip to iTunes from CD. If you already have a library full of 128kb/s MP3s, there's no way to increase their quality unless you re-rip all of those songs to iTunes from CD.

Now, although they recommend AAC, I don't. AAC is an Apple-specific format, so if you ever want to take your music collection to another media player or MP3 player, it may not be compatible. MP3 is a perfectly fine format.

Goto Edit > Preferences > Advanced > Importing

Now, select Import Using: MP3 Encoder.
For Setting, select Custom.

Now, in the Custom box, Select 192kb/s for the Stereo bitrate, and then select "Use variable bitrate" and then Medium or High quality.
I think you need to goto ITunes>Preferences, etc...not edit...sorry if I'm wrong!
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Old 02-10-2008, 08:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by No spoken words


I think you need to goto ITunes>Preferences, etc...not edit...sorry if I'm wrong!
Ah yeah, on Mac that is true. I'm a Windows iTunes user
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Old 02-10-2008, 08:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Canadiens1160
Ah yeah, on Mac that is true. I'm a Windows iTunes user
I have a Mac, obviously. I use my Mac to gain indie cred, use a PC at work cos I'm all business when there.
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Old 02-10-2008, 08:16 PM   #6
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Thanks to you both!!
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Old 02-10-2008, 08:17 PM   #7
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Old 02-23-2008, 06:08 AM   #8
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I would strongly recommend using wav files and ripping CD directly from source without compression if you don't want to lose quality.

However, it should be noted there isn't much point in bothering if you're don't have a particularly great set of spakers and soundcard. Although there will be some quality loss, you're ears won't be sensitive enough to (concisouly at least) pick up the difference.

Ripping uncompressed consumes a lot of file space, and you don'thave the benefit of being able to record as much information in terms of album name, year, genre, etc.

It doesn't matter how high you set the bitrate on mp3s they will always be lossless.
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Old 02-23-2008, 10:02 AM   #9
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This is very interesting - I might have to try it now.
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Old 02-23-2008, 12:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by cs0rpc

However, it should be noted there isn't much point in bothering if you're don't have a particularly great set of speakers and soundcard. Although there will be some quality loss, you're ears won't be sensitive enough to (consciously at least) pick up the difference.
This has always been my feeling as well. I rip files as mp3s at 192kbps or better (usually whatever the next highest is...256?). The only difference I can hear with my ears is between 128 and 192kbps. I can't really hear a difference at a bit rate higher than that, nor do I play through any equipment for which it would matter. I use the cheapest Sennheiser headphones and we have no actual stereo system in our home or car.
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