Ars Technica tests quality of Apple’s ‘Mastered for iTunes’ music

“Apple’s push to increase the quality of songs distributed via iTunes has been formally realized in the company’s ‘Mastered for iTunes’ program—but does it really make music sound better?” Chris Foresman aks for Ars Technica.
“Some musicians and record executives have recently bemoaned the fact that what ends up on a fan’s iPod or iPhone is of arguably much lower quality than what is laid down on tape or hard drives in the studio,” Foresman reports. “While some players in the industry have pushed for higher resolution downloads, Apple’s current solution involves adhering to long-recognized—if not always followed—industry best practices, along with an improved compression toolchain that squeezes the most out of high-quality master recordings while still producing a standard 256kbps AAC iTunes Plus file.”

Foresman reports, “British recording engineer Ian Shepard called the entire process of specially mastering audio files for iTunes to sound more like the CD version simple ‘BS’ … So, we set out to delve deeper into the technical aspects of Mastered for iTunes.”


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