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What's original/source quality of iTunes music?!, Is it (ie) WAV or AAC 320 at source?!
KPS
post Mar 18 2004, 19:11
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Hello All-

I humbly ask that you help me with an important question / issue.

I am curious to know what the origonal quality of the music is offered from iTunes. *In other words, is it stored on the iTunes database in original CD quality (WAV or AIFF @ 44.1, 16 bit, multi channel) or as an AAC file encoded at 192 or 320kbs?*

You see, I desire to download the file in the purest quality available... I don't want to be going source AAC 320 (at Apple server) -> WAV (my computer) which is obviously a waste, AND misleading.

Perhaps it isn't consistent, does it depend on the song?
How about music databases other than iTunes? Will others provide CD quality?

PLEASE HELP WITH GOOD INFO. Please feel free to be as technical/geeky as you can. (Ie Is it even possible to transmit a sample rate @ 44.1kHz over a slow internet connection?)

PERHAPS YOU ALSO HAVE AN ARTICLE OR ANOTHER FORUM, YOU CAN REFERENCE OR SOMETHING?

Thanks, Greg.
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Guest_sramov_*
post Mar 18 2004, 21:07
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Well, I don't know, but it would be totaly idiotic from Apple iTunes store if the original source isn't CD quality audio.

Actually, I'm pretty sure that the source is CD quality or even better than CD quality.
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Teqnilogik
post Mar 18 2004, 21:44
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Doesn't look like any digital music stores at the moment offer CD quality FLAC/WAV/AIFF files for download. iTunes uses 128kbps AAC, Napster uses WMA (not sure of the bitrate). WMA and AAC have been the dominate two formats in the digital music store world because of their support for DRM protection. One Internet-based record label offers album quality FLAC downloads of their artists music and even lets you choose the price of the CD starting at $5. 50% of the profits go to the artist. The record label is Magnatune. Also I'm sure that Apple uses the original CD quality (or higher) sources to encode their 128kbps AAC files.

This post has been edited by Teqnilogik: Mar 18 2004, 21:45
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[JAZ]
post Mar 18 2004, 21:55
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KPS. Either I don't understand you, or you seem to ask if you get bit-for-bit (i.e. lossless) quality from Apple's Music Store.

This is the part that makes me think this:
QUOTE
  I don't want to be going source AAC 320 (at Apple server) -> WAV (my computer)


If this is it, then, your hopes are gone. It is a lossy codec, named AAC, contained in a ISO standard container, named M4A (MP4).

On the other hand, you're talking about low speed connection.. Well.. current lossless technologies seems to give not better than 2:1 or 3:1, which means that you won't get (in general) files smaller than 4~5MB/minute. Which means that it would take between an one and two hours for a modem to download a single 3 minute song.

I doubt Apple's store wouldn't be much popular in that case.

So either, be happy buying CD's/DVD's etc.. or don't worry that much since 128kbps AAC (iTunes' codec) is not always transparent, but it achieves a high rank. http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/show.php/showtopic/19190
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music_man_mpc
post Mar 18 2004, 22:39
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QUOTE (Teqnilogik @ Mar 18 2004, 12:44 PM)
One Internet-based record label offers album quality FLAC downloads of their artists music and even lets you choose the price of the CD starting at $5.  50% of the profits go to the artist.  The record label is Magnatune.

Thank you for showing me this website! I love this record company already, except for the fact that they licence music for advertising dry.gif. The Wretch is amazing! I'm going to buy that album and probably more . . .

edit: typo

This post has been edited by music_man_mpc: Mar 18 2004, 22:40


--------------------
gentoo ~amd64 + layman | ncmpcpp/mpd | wavpack + vorbis + lame
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KPS
post Mar 18 2004, 22:51
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Hello JAZ & others-

I.

Yes, I am asking if I can get a lossless copy of the track (ie identical in quality to the store bought CD track) via iTunes, by selecting my capture to AIFF or WAV?

(Putting the internet connection speed thing aside for now...)
Other ways to ask this question:
1. If I worked at iTunes and looked at my master database of files available to all, do I see AIFF files or compressed files (ie AAC 128, MP3 320, etc).
2. As an iTunes guy, do I rip a track to the master database as an exact copy (aka AIF or WAV) or do I rip it at 128 AAC?

II.

Someone said that the source file is AAC @ 128... I am getting conflicting answers.

I have just finished reading http://recordstorereview.com/misc/aacmp3part1.shtml

He implies throughout his first comparison that his AIFF download is, for lack of a better term, "pure."
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saratoga
post Mar 19 2004, 00:29
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I'm not even sure what you're asking, so I'll just quickly review:

iTMS: 128k AAC files.
iTunes files ripped yourself: AIFF/WAV/AAC/MP3

No one offers lossless, for that you need to buy the CD.
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Veej007
post Mar 19 2004, 00:37
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allofmp3.com is offering downloads in flac, monkeys audio, wav, etc. most of their content starts as 384 kbps mp3 and is transcoded into whatever format you want, but some of the newer stuff starts as the original, full-res cd audio. the catch is that it costs twice as much to get the non-transcoded stuff, but their prices are quite low anyway so i'm more than happy to do that
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Joseph
post Mar 19 2004, 01:05
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I've heard somewhere that on some songs in the iTunes music store, Apple went back to the original masters and encoded them for their store in AAC.
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Teqnilogik
post Mar 19 2004, 01:15
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iTunes does not sell CD quality tracks as you would find on a CD bought at a store. iTunes sells 128kbps AAC files...that's it. When you purchase a song on iTunes you purchase a 128kbps encrypted AAC file that is restricted for playback on 3 authorized computers (but can be burned an unlimited number of times I believe). There is no way to purchase a losslessly compressed or uncompressed WAV/AIFF from the iTunes music store.

Edit: At source, the audio quality is equal to CD quality when Apple encodes to 128kbps AAC. I am positive Apple doesn't transcode from 320kbps AAC to 128kbps AAC, that would be pointless as it would offer worse quality.

This post has been edited by Teqnilogik: Mar 19 2004, 01:20
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Atreus
post Mar 19 2004, 02:11
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I think people are confusing the iTunes program with the iTunes Music Store. If you have an original CD and use iTunes to rip it to AIFF or WAV, then yes, those AIFF or WAV files are basically identical copies of what's on the CD. They are 'lossless' and they are very large in size (~40-60 MB per song).

If you rip to AIFF or WAV you can then use those files and transcode into, say, AAC 128kbs (maybe you want to put them on an iPod, for example).

Now if you go to Apples iTunes Music Store (iTMS), for 99 cents you can download a song encoded that Apple has encoded into AAC 128kbs - that's it, nothing else. IMHO, this is not CD quality, but there are many who can't discern between the two.

So, if you're looking only to have songs in original CD-quality format, you need to go out and buy the CD, then use the iTunes program to rip it to AIFF or WAV files on your computer.

hope this helps,
Aaron
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KPS
post Mar 19 2004, 02:26
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Thank you guys for the clarifications.

So basically, there is no good reason to download the music at anything greater than 128 AAC right? (Because, of course, you cannot get better quality than what is given to you?)

-KPS
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KPS
post Mar 19 2004, 02:35
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(Aside: Huh. No wonder it's cheaper to buy the music on-line... It's of lesser quality than you would get at the store.)
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Cyaneyes
post Mar 19 2004, 04:21
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Apple stated when the iTunes Music Store was unveiled that it's the responsiblity of the labels to do the encoding of the songs.

http://www.gnutellanews.com/article/6830

Someone was kind enough to post that link in this thread this thread, also about iTunes.
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Veej007
post Mar 21 2004, 05:59
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QUOTE
So basically, there is no good reason to download the music at anything greater than 128 AAC right?


i don't think you have a choice, do you?

if you want to choose your file format and bitrate, try allofmp3.com. just a warning though, "online encoding exclusive" means that it's coming straight from the cd, but "online encoding" means that it will be transcoded from 384 kbps mp3s.
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