Using iTunes, but is there something better?

Discussion in 'iPhone Forum' started by p9ul, Sep 17, 2007.

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  1. p9ul

    p9ul
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    I've been using iTunes for last couple of years and I've a library of about 1300 tracks, mostly using 320 AAC that I've ripped myself from CD's.

    A couple of weeks ago, I decided to go the lossless route, and re-imported about 500+ tracks using Apple Lossless - but after listening to the iPod on holiday, I can't tell any noticable difference so I've decided to reclaim the HDD space and go back to 320 AAC.

    BUT - some tracks that I've downloaded at 128 MP3 sound better than the lossless tracks, and I can only assume that the quality of the original recording and the software used to rip the track has a good deal of influence on the quality of the resulting files.

    I've heard about some other ripping programs that seem popular and was wondering if there'll be any noticable difference if I go this route and then import the file into iTunes, rather than letting it do the ripping for me?

    320kbps is fine for my needs, just confused as to why sometimes tracks with "inferior" bitrates sound better...

    thanks in advance.
     
  2. 3T3L1

    3T3L1
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    I don't know the answer to this but I agree that in a lot of cases 320 kbs sounds worse to my ears than 192 kbs (MP3 format). The former tends to amplify the music and attenuate the vocals on the punk or rock music I tend to prefer. I assume this is some feature of the encoding process, but I stick to 192 for all of my encoding.
     
  3. Autopilot

    Autopilot
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    Have you not get that the wrong way around? I have never heard of anyone preferring the sound of 192 over 320.

    It's odd, i would always suggest using a better ripper than iTunes (just use itunes to get the music on the iPod). Have a look at CDeX, DBpowerAMP or EAC. And make sure you use the latest MP3 LAME encoder.
     
  4. 3T3L1

    3T3L1
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    Nope, there's a number of albums that I've listened to at 320 kbs and 192 kbs and preferred the latter. I find the vocals tend to be much quieter at 320 kbs. Hence my decision to still rip at 192 rather than 320 kbs.

    I was going to switch to 320 after getting a new PC and an MP3 player with 20 Gb storage, but hated the 320 rip. This was using Musicmatch Jukebox on 320 kbs VBR vs 192 VBR rip.
     
  5. Autopilot

    Autopilot
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    Ah, yes... thats down to the encoder and/or decoder (playback device) i believe. The sound quality is considerably better with 320, it's just that the levels can be different with tracks encoded at 192kbps and sound more 'pleasing' sometime. This is down to the encoder/playback device giving inferiour tracks more 'punch' to counteract the effects of compression - which can make the sound very flat. Often it over compensates or just gets it wrong - however 'wrong' can sound better some times. You can alter the levels, or use the plays equaliser to get the same effects with any bitrate track.

    I once played a mate a lossless track and also a poor quality 96kps. He preferred the low birate because it was very bass heavy - in other words what he perceived as 'quality' was not sound quality, just more pleasing to his ears/taste because he is a bass head :)

    Try again with a better quality ripper like EAC or DBpowerAMP and the LAME encoder and try both bitrates then. But i strongly advise you stick to 320 and get the levels right though, mids to trebles probably for the vocal parts.
     
  6. p9ul

    p9ul
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    How does the LAME MP3 encoder compare to the AAC in iTunes?

    Pretty sure I've been the victim of the same scenario thinking that a track with more bass sounds better, as most the stuff I've downloaded has been dance tracks, although there been some movie soundtracks which sound terrible - appearing to suffer from a lot of noise/buzz at low volumes, at thats at 320 MP3...
     

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