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iTunes sound quality

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by BuffaloBass, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. A slight revelation - via an A/B comparo..... I dumped a bunch of my funk files onto a old "Transonic" music device a few years ago, usb into your car stereo sort of thing. Last year, I picked up an Ipod and converted my old mpegs into whatever format the I stuff uses....

    What the heck happened to the low end?

    I cant compare some of my recent Itunes downloads, but the old mpeg files sounded much fuller, with much better low Hz response?

    I wasnt keen on the digital revolution for sound quality in the first place, and now I am realizing that the Apple products are somehow compressing the files to the point where musicality is lost?

    Dont get me wrong, I'll live with the limitations given I have access to thousands of tunes in my car, but....

    do my ears deceive me? Tell me its not so!
  2. So you did two lossy compression stages, that always hurt concerning quality. If the Transonic used MP3s you should have kept them as they are for iPod use.
  3. Art Araya

    Art Araya

    May 29, 2006
    Palm Coast, FL
  4. Oh, I kept them all right on my hard drive and on that device, but when importing them into the "new and improved" Apple device, it may have converted them, screwing their sound up. Certainly nothing I told the software to do. I seem to recall it required a file conversion to load into iTunes.

    I love when a cheap $20 item sonically outproduces the "new and improved" marketing genius device. $200 is spendy for low fi stuff imho.

    The price of convenience I suppose.
  5. I don't think iTunes automatically converts audio files, you need to do that manually so most likely that happened. Please don't blame iTunes for bad audio based on this, or why we have winter storms, or why concert tickets are so expensive.
  6. Dominic DeCosa

    Dominic DeCosa Habitual Line-Stepper Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 9, 2008
    Vero Beach, Florida
    DiCosimo Audio
    All my i-products sound awesome. Especially with my Sennheiser headphones. Most of my music is lossless, so that helps, but I have no issues with my mp3's. No loss of low end like you say.

    EDIT: after a quick bit of research, it looks to me like the transonic devices use mp3. There was no need for you to convert the files. Converting a lossy format to a lossy format will always make the files sound worse. No way around that.
  7. It's actually a typical question in the music production forums complaining about sound differences between iTunes and something played back from a DAW. Typical issues are:

    *) The iTunes settings have eq or sound enhance or sound check or all enabled causing the difference in the sound
    *) The iTunes file is a compressed file, let's say 128k MP3 while the DAW playback is from 24-bit or even 32-bit uncompressed audio.
  8. Man, the import process was pretty much plug and play, or cut and paste, so I would not have told it to do anything if I didnt know enough to. I am no digital wiz.

    The audio quality difference is quite noticeable. Although admittedly, I wouldnt have noticed it unless I literally unplugged one device and plugged the other in, and listened to the same cuts. As I did. Sounds like the I device has a low pass filter.

    Anyway, thanks for the replies.... ....

    BTW, as a matter of reference I still on occasion run vinyl through an Adcom LC, NAD power amps and KEF reference speakers, so I am somewhat like the princess and the pea, with a thrity year old matress.

    So tell me, am I cheating my ears when I buy music from iTunes in their file format? The last purchase was old Marvin Gaye, so I dont know what it should sound like.
  9. mellowgerman


    Jan 23, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    I've experienced this same problem with my iPod touch... how would one avoid the two lossy compression stage thing?
  10. If you go into the advanced import settings with for example MP3 you could filter out anything below 10Hz with is pretty much rumble and nothing sonic.

    As for hearing anything good below 100Hz, you need a really good reference monitor or club system or a good hi-fi system, or really good studio reference headphones. For example typical ear buds don't really reproduce anything nice down in that range.
  11. Dominic DeCosa

    Dominic DeCosa Habitual Line-Stepper Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 9, 2008
    Vero Beach, Florida
    DiCosimo Audio
    +1 Apple's earbuds are garbage for low end. You need to use either earphones that seal your ears or over the ear headphones.
  12. Uh, I use old skool non-neodium stuff! And this was in my car, with a sub. I dont own headphones, oddly.

    fwiw, my kids have powered headphones which dont sound good to me at all. I kept telling them to spend their $ on Sennheisers. The marketing spin dumped on kids is beyond reasonable. Very expensive junk in many cases.

    ksandvik, I dont see any such settings except for "sound enhancer" in advanced preferences.

    Hey MG, cool tunes! And Buffalo is like Buffalo NY. Stay warm!
  13. RDT


    Aug 28, 2009
    I recently noticed this 1st hand.

    I recently put 1 of my Red hot chili pepper CD's on my iPhone. Streamed via Bluetooth in my truck stereo (BTW, I have a kick a$$ stereo in my truck...as all bass players should.) Anyway, I just couldn't get a good eq setting to give Flea his well deserved credit. By happenstance, 1 day I slid the original CD in my truck system. Viola!!!!! Flea jumped up and smacked me in the back of the head, via two 12" sub's.

    This got me to thinking: Are all of my downloaded iTunes songs compressed so much I'm not getting a good sound??? Soooooo, I did the Marcus Miller test. I listened to MM's Blast, which I downloaded from iTunes. Then inserted a buddies CD of the same. Yep....Very little eq'ing was required to bring MM's pop/slap "in my face", as compared to the iTunes version of the same CD.

    Now, my truck is filled with CD's...again!
  14. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    Maybe you had set an odd EQ setting in the iOS menu that you forgot to change?
  15. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    The problem is : you use an Ipod to play back your music, it isn't the fault of iTune or the MP3 compressing everything.

    and Ipod or any similar device will compress things up a lot to save space and of course to help not using all its energy playing back music.

    If you plug your PC/Mac direct instead I'm sure you couldn't tell the difference between an original CD and the version on iTune !
  16. an iPod as opposed to a old generic device? Meaning the old generic doesnt compress?

    I am not "blaming" anyone as another claimed, only searching for truth. Blaming doesn't find truth.
  17. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    Well it is the same effect as going from a vinyl to a tape cassette or CD to a tape cassette. You're going to loose something. In a Ipod the space is limited so it has to compress things up.
  18. Dominic DeCosa

    Dominic DeCosa Habitual Line-Stepper Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 9, 2008
    Vero Beach, Florida
    DiCosimo Audio
    iPods don't compress the music. It just plays what ever files you put on it. It's up to you, the user, to chose the format and amount of compression. My iPods have no trouble playing lossless files.
  19. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    How do you do that ? because in my case there is a difference between the Ipod and what I hear using iTune on my computer.
  20. Phantasm

    Phantasm I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.

    Sep 16, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    I have to cut the bass on the new Rush album in my car. It's not iTunes.

    Check the EQ settings on your iDevice. Set them to Flat.