Apple launches Mastered for iTunes section

Apple launches Mastered for iTunes section
If you’re a music lover, you might want to hear the most of an original recording and if you’re not you might be surprised to find out that current compression on probably the largest music distributor these days - iTunes - brings just 3% of the original sound. Neil Young was the first to voice his disgust with the state of the music industry today and blamed the eroded sound quality as one of the main reasons while traditional music genres suffer in popularity today when compared to bass-driven contemporary genres. The reason? Young said you can practically only hear the bass in the tracks anyway.

"We live in the digital age, and unfortunately it's degrading our music, not improving it," Young concluded.

Apple was one of the companies that should have taken the blame for this, but it kept quiet and - turns out - for a good reason. The company has been working on the “Mastered for iTunes” section. This is a collaboration between Cupertino and artists allowing Apple to make the shift from traditional AAC-compressed 256Kbps iTunes Plus files based on 16-bit 44.1kHz CD sound. Now, the company will use full high-res 24-bit and 96kHz files as the base for encoding which should make a huge difference.

Apple has also released a white paper detailing the changes and saying how tracks should be submitted, so that users get the best quality available. The new standards really show the path to the future - with more bandwidth, better quality sound equipment, Apple is moving in the right direction from the lossy tinny-sounding compressions of today.

source: iTunes via ArsTechnica



1. squallz506

Posts: 1075; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

.flac or nothing i wonder how much apple is going to [over]charge for the "new" format. does anyone else see the irony of apple killing analog music and then bringing it back as if it is something new?

9. JeffdaBeat unregistered

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. MP3's existed far before Apple started selling music over iTunes (obviously) at far lower qualities. And you know what? Most folks didn't notice the difference. Just like we need to realize that the vast majority of folks out there aren't nerds, we need to also realize the vast majority aren't audiophiles either. Apple didn't kill analog music, the MP3 through sources like Napster and later Morpheus. Apple just decided to make a way for people to get what they wanted (compressed music) legally. And I don't think Apple can really charge or overcharge as you put it. Buy a CD at an actual store and you'll pay far more than the usual $9.99 you do on iTunes. And thay may be okay since you get packaging and stuff. But if EVERYONE wanted that, then iTunes would be a bust. Apple goes after what people want. Sometimes, they dictate what people should want and it's successful or a failure. But most of the time, Apple doesn't want to waste money on something that doesn't have any chance of succeeding. This is something for the audiophiles who would rather go out and buy a CD instead. Well, not they don't have to. I don't think Apple is proclaiming to have reinvented the wheel this time. Just offering another service for you to bitch about.

2. rcrider4

Posts: 118; Member since: Nov 14, 2011

Question is, how much more space will each song take up on my device than before?...

3. android1234

Posts: 203; Member since: Feb 09, 2010

They will bump up storage as well.....16gb has been the minimum normal for a while now....and for most people 16 gb is still fine. But i see the transition going to 32 gb as the normal with 64 and 128gb for more storage.

7. bigdawg23

Posts: 467; Member since: May 25, 2011

I have a 16GB iPhone 4S. I could easily use 128GB but at the same point I don't need that much of my collection on a device. I do agree the norm is going to increase especially when you look at the Cameras being proposed on some devices to cover MP and HD 1080P for longer duration.

4. EarnYourLeather

Posts: 87; Member since: Feb 14, 2012

This is laughable. They're using better rips as the BASE for their lossy compressions, but the compression rates will not change? The difference, if any, will be negligible. It may give you a better piece of mind, but a downscale to 256 AAC isn't going to sound any different whether it comes from 96kHz or 44.1kHz. Co-signed Squallz, .flac or nothing.

5. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

What's the point of making the music "better" when it's the music player that sucks?

10. nnaatthhaannx2

Posts: 820; Member since: Oct 19, 2011


6. AbsentbebniM

Posts: 21; Member since: Feb 09, 2012

I don't understand why they didn't choose to further develop the Apple Lossless (ALAC) format... It's already lossless and fully compatible with all iPods. @frydaexiii: I'm sure the music player could use a bit of enhancement, but put the blame where it is deserved... the cheaply made earbuds. Let's face it, the average person that purchases an iPod uses the included earbuds. Would you blame the engine of the car if the tires were crap? Apple should team up with a company, much like HTC did with Beats by Dr. Dre, and let the public hear the difference. It took me plugging in my high-end Sennheiser headphones (acquired while working at a radio station) to realize just how crappy my music files were and re-rip them all to ALAC.

11. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

Please, I didn't even touch those crappy wires they call earbuds, the moment I got the iPod I asked my classmates if any of them wanted them, none of them needed it so I just tossed it in the bin. I'm surprised Apple even has the balls to charge a premium price for them... I'm using a pair of Audio Technica earbuds, the sound still sounds so weak compared to so called "inferior" music players. The only reason I haven't changed to a Walkman is the same reason why iFans are always in denial, I paid way too much to throw it away, so I admit that even I am in denial, so I just bought a amp to carry around with it...

8. Sakmann67

Posts: 29; Member since: May 22, 2010

ALAC is a very good format. I ripped some of my MFSL CD's to ALAC and they sound great. Apple should offer more music in this lossless format.

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