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iTunes lossless or from somewhere else?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I just recently began upgrading my 20 year old home system speakers/receiver/amp etc. But, I have not dived into the digital music formats much since I just tend to listen to my CD collection. I have downloaded a few songs from iTunes but I have seen that there are "HD" websites to download music which claim to be of a better quality than what is offered on iTunes. Is playing directly from an ipod into the receiver with lossless iTunes music the highest quality available? I ask for myself, but I also ask for a friend of mine who just ordered an Audi A7 with the Bang and Olufsen sound system - a $6000 upgrade. I know he downloads all of his music from iTunes, and when I heard of his sound system upgrade, I asked him if he intended to start getting his music from a different site. He believes that the lossless is the best available, but is willing to look into other sites, such as HDTracks or something similar. Can anyone shed light on this subject? Thanks in advance.

The upgraded car audio system for the A7:

http://www.bang-olufsen.com/car-audio/car-models/~/media/616D6EB0681A466D8E19D225F06A2B16.ashx
post #2 of 7
It's about bit rate. Apple and MP3 downloads often were 128kbps in the past, now 256 is more common. Supposedly many have difficulty distinguishing better audio quality after 192kbps, some say they can. For some 320kbps is more than enough, some want lossless (about 800-840 for the little Apple lossless files I've got). I've got some files at 1411 kbps (WAV files). On a really good system you might be able to determine some differences but I think for the most part, for myself, 256-320 kbps works well enough. I'm still a relative newcomer to digital audio (and BTW it can be fed from your computer, a usb stick or a player like an ipod....assuming you've got the appropriate connector)
post #3 of 7
I am pretty sure that iTunes does not offer any true lossless music downloads, unless something has changed recently.
post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaison View Post

I just recently began upgrading my 20 year old home system speakers/receiver/amp etc. But, I have not dived into the digital music formats much since I just tend to listen to my CD collection. I have downloaded a few songs from iTunes but I have seen that there are "HD" websites to download music which claim to be of a better quality than what is offered on iTunes. Is playing directly from an ipod into the receiver with lossless iTunes music the highest quality available?

You might consider simply ripping your CD collection into iTunes with Apple Lossless as the import format and using that as the foundation of your digital music collection. Then you can start chasing higher resolution versions, either from HD tracks or by ripping from SACDs or DVD-audio discs. I'm pretty sure that iTunes will play higher resolution than CD resolution.

To connect that music to your new setup you have numerous options, of which iPod into the receiver is only one. Many receivers support Airplay or network-based connectivity and playback, and you could also get a digital-to-analog (DAC) device to take high-resolution audio from your computer and input into the receiver via analog connection....
post #5 of 7
First off, isn't an iPod a crappy way to get the songs for the outboard speaker playback.? I would imagine that the DAC in the iPod really sucks and being that it doesn't have any analog outs, you are basically stuck with the iPods internal DAC. I would look into a Samsung type player and get rid of the iPod. That is jmho.

Also, I have always understood that iTunes can not, and does not, support the bit rates and resolution in lossless music formats. Is this not still the case? Assuming that we can all hear the differences in these types of playback codecs, isn't iTunes sort of less than optimal?

Of course I know that in a double blind, placebo controlled test, most of us could not even begin to tell the differences between a track downloaded from iTunes in a lower bit rate and resolution, compared to s track downloaded from HdTracks in a much higher bit rate and resolution. BUT...

I know that for myself, if I consciously know the music I have downloaded is in any way inferior to other downloading methods, then I will sub-consciously bias myself against the iTunes versions and thus end up un-happy.
post #6 of 7
Quote:
First off, isn't an iPod a crappy way to get the songs for the outboard speaker playback.? I would imagine that the DAC in the iPod really sucks and being that it doesn't have any analog outs, you are basically stuck with the iPods internal DAC.
The iPod DACs are excellent. As for not having analog outs, what do you think a headphone jack is? It sounds like you are utterly unfamiliar with iPods.
Quote:
Also, I have always understood that iTunes can not, and does not, support the bit rates and resolution in lossless music formats. Is this not still the case?
It was never the case. iTunes has always supported three lossless formats: AIFF, WAV, and ALAC 9aka Apple Lossless). It sounds like you are utterly unfamiliar with iTunes.
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martycool007 View Post

First off, isn't an iPod a crappy way to get the songs for the outboard speaker playback.?

Not at all.
Quote:
I would imagine that the DAC in the iPod really sucks

You obviously haven't studied up on this issue. the DACs in iPods have always been about as good as the ones in a good CD player.
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and being that it doesn't have any analog outs,

In what alternative universe? iPods all have analog outputs, if nothing else in the form of a 3.5 mm jack.
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you are basically stuck with the iPods internal DAC.

...which is clearly not the worst day of your audio life! ;-)
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I would look into a Samsung type player and get rid of the iPod. That is jmho.


Whether your opinion is humble might be controversial but what isn't controversial is that it lacks being well-informed. ;-)
Quote:
Also, I have always understood that iTunes can not, and does not, support the bit rates and resolution in lossless music formats.

This was never true. Boy, your posts are just chock full of disinformation. Do you work for an Apple competitor? ;-)
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Is this not still the case?

Since you repeated the question, I'll repeat how clueless this statement appears to be. ;-)
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Assuming that we can all hear the differences in these types of playback codecs, isn't iTunes sort of less than optimal?

Never heard of lossless AIF I take it?

Quote:
Of course I know that in a double blind, placebo controlled test, most of us could not even begin to tell the differences between a track downloaded from iTunes in a lower bit rate and resolution, compared to s track downloaded from HdTracks in a much higher bit rate and resolution. BUT...

That all depends on bit rate and encoder. Since just about everything from soup to nuts has a lower bitrate than a lossless format, its not really clear where you are going on here.

Quote:
I know that for myself, if I consciously know the music I have downloaded is in any way inferior to other downloading methods, then I will sub-consciously bias myself against the iTunes versions and thus end up un-happy.

If you are that bound up in your prejudices, why advertise it????????????
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