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iTunes Quality Music???

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
http://www.msnbc.com/news/909907.asp?0cv=CB20


is this true??????????????????????
post #2 of 25
Written by Mr. Friendly:

JLL

95% percent of the boat is owned by Microsoft, but the 5% Apple controls happens to be the rudder!
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JLL

95% percent of the boat is owned by Microsoft, but the 5% Apple controls happens to be the rudder!
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post #3 of 25
Quote:
Originally posted by gnanda
http://www.msnbc.com/news/909907.asp?0cv=CB20


is this true??????????????????????

Mr. Friendly indeed.

I won't comment on his sound quality opinions, as I haven't compared them myself. However, Mr. Friendly sure sounds like he was told to write a negative review of the new AMS. He is with MSNBC, afterall.

He call the AMS good, but 'mindless', and then he complains because burning AAC files to a CD won't play in a normal CD player. Try burning them as standard CD tracks, doofus! Then they'll work just fine.

Over all, I think he's (or someone over there) is trying to temper all the positive press Apple's been getting.
The people are so happy now, their heads are caving in.
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The people are so happy now, their heads are caving in.
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post #4 of 25
From his picture I can't help but picture the guy in a white tank top and greasy ball cap with a bent up shotgun and a couple of 'coon hounds. Yeah, he has tech written all over him...


blah, blah, blah, yeah I know,...judge a book by its cover and all...
Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face? - Jack D. Ripper
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Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face? - Jack D. Ripper
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post #5 of 25
Quote:
Apple downloads ring sour note

REVIEW By Gary Krakow, MSNBC


All hail Apple's iTunes Music Store. It's very well thought out, and beautifully executed. If only as much thought had gone into the sound quality, which is far from beautiful.
THE INTERNET is nearly the perfect medium for downloading music, video and more, as anyone who has ever played with Napster or other file-sharing services knows. But with the music industry up in arms about stolen royalties, something had to be done to give them and the musicians their share of the pie, and companies have been struggling to find ways to do it. You have to give Apple a lot of credit for figuring out a really neat way to tap into this huge market for downloads -- and for getting lots of publicity for its launch.

Overall, Apple's music store is a pleasure to use. It's easy, fast and efficient. It's so easy -- and mindless -- I can see users (assuming they have both a Mac and OS X) spending lots of money downloading music.

The premise is simple. First, you need Apple's latest digital music player software, iTunes 4, and the latest version of QuickTime (6.2). In addition to letting you burn CDs and sync song lists with your iPod, iTunes now also has a special button that takes you to the online store.

Once there, you can hear 30-second previews of songs before you buy them. Single cuts go for 99 cents, albums usually for around $9.99. Once you've set up your account and given Apple a credit card number, you press one button and the material is automatically downloaded to another new iTunes button: Purchased Music. It's that simple.

After downloading the music, it's yours -- sort of. You can burn the cuts onto a CD as many times as you'd like. You can stream them through your home via some clever Apple software (Rendezvous) and you can store them on up to three computers. Apple figures that should be enough to share your downloaded music with friends and family while not giving you free rein to trade it with many other people.

Overall, the experience is a lot better than anything that previously existed. The using and buying experience gets an A-plus.

Of course, the service only works on Apple computers right now, leaving more than 90 percent of its potential users out in the cold. And while sales were high in its first week, that's typical of most Apple products: demand is high at the beginning, then sales taper off rapidly once the built-in Apple audience buys its fill. Apple is going to need to break that cycle, or risk its store going the way of other cool, but short-lived, designs.

THE SOUND OF MUSIC
My biggest problem, however, is with the quality of the downloads.

Apple has chosen AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) compression for the music. (AAC is actually Dolby's version of the MPEG-4 audio codec.) Apple says AAC is more efficient than older formats like MP3 and that "expert listeners have judged AAC audio files compressed at 128 kbps (stereo) to be virtually indistinguishable from the uncompressed audio source."

I'd love to meet those experts.

Last night, I downloaded the latest album by The Wallflowers to hear what Apple's downloads sound like compared to the "real" CD, which I own. After my one-click download, I burned a CD of the cuts. The CD played on the Apple computer, on my PC and in my two standalone DVD players. (Any device that can play a DVD can play burned copies of Apple's AAC-compressed songs.)

The burned disk did NOT play in any of my CD players. Not in the ones hooked up to my stereo, my portable players, or even in an old laptop without DVD capabilities. Nor did they play on either of my older MP3 players.

It's true: Apple's AAC cuts sound great with the tiny little speakers that come with computers. And they sound pretty good on an original (but AAC upgraded) iPod through the stock headphones. But listen through good headphones and what you'll hear is dull-sounding bass, slightly sibilant voice quality and a lack of three-dimensionality.

When I moved up to the DVD player connected to my stereo, the difference was huge. The AAC cuts had a complete lack of air around the singer and instruments in the band. The sound quality was somewhat dynamic, but dull sounding. When I compared the downloaded songs to the real CD it was no contest. The uncompressed CD .wav files sounded much, much, much better.

This might not matter to most people, but consider this: The Wallflowers CD cost me $11.99 when I bought it. I can make as many legal copies as I like for my personal use -- and those copies all sound great and play on any device I can think of. I can also rip the songs onto my MP3 players and the iPod. The Wallflowers download from iTunes cost me $9.99, is limited in where I can play and store it -- and the sound is inferior.

Even if you think AAC cuts are good enough for your listening needs, you're paying way too much for this near-CD quality when a few cents more per cut can get you the real thing. Apple should consider slashing the price of their music to reflect the ultimate quality of its offerings. For now, I'll stick with CDs.

(so we don't have to give them eyeballs unless of course you want to vote down the article...

that bit about Apple's demand cutting off is spot on tho... I just hope it doesn't happen this time...
125/51041 (top .2449%)-Amie Street - awesome independent DRM-free music
People really have got to stop thinking there is only one operating system, one economic system, one religion, and one...
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125/51041 (top .2449%)-Amie Street - awesome independent DRM-free music
People really have got to stop thinking there is only one operating system, one economic system, one religion, and one...
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post #6 of 25
Everyone email this dork and tell him why he's wrong.

Gary.Krakow@MSNBC.com

Email
I never get tired of being right all the time... but I do get tired of having to prove it to you again and again.
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I never get tired of being right all the time... but I do get tired of having to prove it to you again and again.
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post #7 of 25
hehe the guy who wrote that article is a doofus... gee AAC files won't play on your CD player? Go figure! Try burning it as an Audio CD... duh. And since when are sound files on Redbook Audio CD's in .wav format? Ummmmkay Mr MS-centric.

One interesting thing was his note about DVD players apparently playing the AAC files? Hrm, thats kinda cool if true.
bah!
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bah!
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post #8 of 25
Yea if we burn a DVD of AAC will DVD players play it? Since they obviously have the hardware capacity (most DVD VOBs have AAC in them I've noticed, though some have DTS.)

Yea let's all email this guy. AAC won't play on a CD player!? This is why you don't sniff glue, it messes you up.
"Overpopulation and climate change are serious shit." Gilsch
"I was really curious how they had managed such fine granularity of alienation." addabox
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"Overpopulation and climate change are serious shit." Gilsch
"I was really curious how they had managed such fine granularity of alienation." addabox
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post #9 of 25
My email:
Quote:
Subject: Hey, I loved your story!
Body:
NOT!
Glad you got your facts.
NOT!
Glad you write for MSNBC.
NOT!
"Apple downloads ring sour note" Wow. That sells.
Not surprised though, this will be the first and last reading of your
rubbish. If you don't know how to burn a cd, then just say so. If you can't
find that ONE band you wanted, then submit a request with the 'request
button'. If the audio quality isn't 'up to snuff' then you need to quit
huffing whatever paint thinner your on since the quality is FINE. Perhaps
your 'good headphones' aren't as good as you think they are. There is a
reason they have equalizers, amps, and mixers.

"youre paying way too much for this near-CD quality when a few cents more
per cut can get you the real thing."

Yup, but NOT the easy ability to get INSTANT music and to buy ONE song.
(man, can you be shallow or what?)

"Apple should consider slashing the price of their music to reflect the
ultimate quality of its offerings."

Um, news flash, how much cheaper do you want it bub? Is .99 a single too
much for your journalist pocket? And if we are talking quality "holier then
thou" shouldn't you be on vinal?

"For now, Ill stick with CDs."

You do that. Since obviously you totally miss the point of ITMS and you
haven't a clue how to review it properly.

How much does Microsuck pay you to write bad reviews of good things? Thought so.

Impartial journalism my ass.

-Cheers

I never get tired of being right all the time... but I do get tired of having to prove it to you again and again.
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I never get tired of being right all the time... but I do get tired of having to prove it to you again and again.
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post #10 of 25
(chuckle) Somehow I sense your email won't do a lot to aleviate any anti-Apple bias this guy may have.

Come on folks, will sending him hate-mail do any good? All it will do is let MSNBC know that they rattled our cages. AND all it does is make us look like a bunch of cultists. I'm not looking to get flamed here, but some levelheadedness in dealing with Windows people is a lot more effective as a persuasion device then telling them that they are sheep and that they use a crap OS. The biggest thing holding Mac's back is a lack of information by the avergae consumer. Most of them think Macs can't do anything Wintels can. I'd say more but I'm straying off topic even as I type. Back to your programming.....
Computer: MacBook Pro 15.4", 2 GHz Core Duo, 1 GB RAM, 100 GB HD, SuperDrive, OS X 10.4.6

Internet: Verizon DSL (3.0 Mbps/768 Kbps), Westell 2200 DSL Modem, Netgear RP614v.2 Router, AirPort Express

"...
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Computer: MacBook Pro 15.4", 2 GHz Core Duo, 1 GB RAM, 100 GB HD, SuperDrive, OS X 10.4.6

Internet: Verizon DSL (3.0 Mbps/768 Kbps), Westell 2200 DSL Modem, Netgear RP614v.2 Router, AirPort Express

"...
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post #11 of 25
You know, you aren't going to make a lot of headway with letters like that.
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally posted by mrmister
You know, you aren't going to make a lot of headway with letters like that.

Nope, and it does nothing for the cause. The one good thing it does it relieve stress for me and that's good enough.
I never get tired of being right all the time... but I do get tired of having to prove it to you again and again.
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I never get tired of being right all the time... but I do get tired of having to prove it to you again and again.
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post #13 of 25
He's gonna do 2 things in response to your mail:

1. He'll write up some diatribe about rabid Mac users.

2. He'll be replying to your email personally mentioning that you have a pretty mouth and demanding that you "squeal like a pig boy!"
Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face? - Jack D. Ripper
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Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face? - Jack D. Ripper
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post #14 of 25
1. He'll write up some diatribe about rabid Mac users.

Good, free press. It lets me know I'm under his skin

2. He'll be replying to your email personally mentioning that you have a pretty mouth and demanding that you "squeal like a pig boy!"

Still good, the email address it's from was deleted 2 minutes after I sent it. It's fun to let him bounce messages.

Anybody else email the moron?
I never get tired of being right all the time... but I do get tired of having to prove it to you again and again.
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I never get tired of being right all the time... but I do get tired of having to prove it to you again and again.
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post #15 of 25
His opinion of the quality of the AAC encoding (which, as one would expect, varies depending on the nature of the song and the instrumentation) is not that anomalous. I've read complaints very much along the lines that this guy talks about.

As to the rest, yeah it's spun a bit negatively, but I've read far worse. I don't see any particular reason to mau-mau this guy, especially if you're going to play coward and do it from an invalid email address.

If it makes you feel better to trash someone, go ahead and fire up an email client, insult them and their family all the way back to Adam, and then when you've spent your rage, delete the email. Disagreements should be civil, between people who are willing to sign their names (or email addresses) to their honest opinions.
"...within intervention's distance of the embassy." - CvB

Original music:
The Mayflies - Black earth Americana. Now on iTMS!
Becca Sutlive - Iowa Fried Rock 'n Roll - now on iTMS!
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"...within intervention's distance of the embassy." - CvB

Original music:
The Mayflies - Black earth Americana. Now on iTMS!
Becca Sutlive - Iowa Fried Rock 'n Roll - now on iTMS!
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post #16 of 25
His only real complaint is that for the sound quality, the price should be cheaper. I don't see what the uproar is all about. The one thing though, is that most CD's cost more than the 11.99 he mentioned. Attacking the way the guy looks in the picture: what high class! This elitism is why people hate Mac users.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Any device that can play a DVD can play burned copies of Apples AAC-compressed songs.

Crack ... head ...

Why the hell did he keep referring to the AAC files as 'cuts?' Is he pretending to no music lingo?

Oh, and he's probably talking about the oldest Wallflowers album available, from 1992, which is $12, but probably wasn't when he claims to have bought it. Nice try. The latest album is $15 at Tower Records. Bill gates probably paid the other $3.
I can change my sig again!
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I can change my sig again!
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post #18 of 25
"THE INTERNET is nearly the perfect medium for downloading music, video and more"

What else do you use to download stuff...?
post #19 of 25
Since everyone else had already caught his faux pas with regard to burning CD's I had little left except the picture to comment on...

His gripes concerning sound quality may be valid depending on the tracks he listened to. Either my ears are shot or I've just listened to the good tracks so far.
Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face? - Jack D. Ripper
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Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face? - Jack D. Ripper
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post #20 of 25
While we're here, wouldone "type" of recording sound better than another, and would one codec do a better job at compressing one over the other? It's a dumb question, but I mean I've heard some poor rock and some good "acoustic"-ish (not really acoustic), and I'm wondering if one is more suited to the AAC compression they used. Shows my ignorance, but I had to ask.

These reviews are never as bad as they sound at first, but they of course sort of damn Apple with faint praise too.

Then again, I'm not planning on ditching Cds for the stuff I really want in high-quality sound. I doubt that twise the bitrate would have changed my mind on the issue. I'm basically buying singles that weren't worth a whole album, a bunch of back catalog stuff, some stuff I had on tape but weren't worth the CD upgrade, or the stuff I would never buy in public anyway. So my standards are a bit lower. I think I mentioned this idea before, but it would be nice if you could choose a preset quality in preferences sort of like QT movies.

I do think though that this is as much a request/demand of the big 5 so that it wouldn't directly compete with CD sales, to help temper piracy to some degree, and to test to see what the market will allow. Just a gut feeling becuase everywhere else, Apple likes to assume that all users have broadband.

I don't get the "it costs the same as the real CD thing." Considering most CDs now have 10 tracks and often include one segue/interlude in there and cost $15-18 US, I'd say that the downloaded albums are cheaper. Most of what I listen to has a low intro price then their price goes up after a few weeks. Except for some "super-saver" (i.e., they printed way too many) CDs at Sam Goody's (typical music chain), most are well over the $10 or $14 pirce I see at the iTunes Store.
post #21 of 25
Hmmm,
I have just re-ripped my entire library (in 160kbps AAC)
and it sounds fantastic, i mean way better than 192 kbps mp3.
I don't think 128kbps would be much worse.

This whole article is a pile of s*** and we all know it.

M$ lost the race before it began and they are pissed, itms has a huge potential. Just wait and see what will happen when iTunes hits winblows, and itms will be available outside of US.

If you are an 'audiophile' and own $100,000 hifi system, you will not use ANY compressed music format.

he's a dumbass.
What contemptible scoundrel has stolen the cork to my lunch? _(W.C. Fields)
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What contemptible scoundrel has stolen the cork to my lunch? _(W.C. Fields)
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post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally posted by BuonRotto
I'm basically buying singles that weren't worth a whole album, a bunch of back catalog stuff, some stuff I had on tape but weren't worth the CD upgrade

since I have heard it is legal to d/l mp3s of albums you already own... is it legal for you to download mp3s of tape cassettes that you own?
125/51041 (top .2449%)-Amie Street - awesome independent DRM-free music
People really have got to stop thinking there is only one operating system, one economic system, one religion, and one...
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125/51041 (top .2449%)-Amie Street - awesome independent DRM-free music
People really have got to stop thinking there is only one operating system, one economic system, one religion, and one...
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post #23 of 25
CD quality isn't always that great either. I have this Massive Attack CD that 1) sounds like it comes straight from vinyl with loud pops and scratches and 2) hasy some form of copy protection on it anyway.
I can change my sig again!
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I can change my sig again!
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post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally posted by Paul
since I have heard it is legal to d/l mp3s of albums you already own... is it legal for you to download mp3s of tape cassettes that you own?

Hm, you may be right. Well, I haven't downloaded any of my old cassette stuff yet, but that was my plan. I have to check into this, thanks for pointing that out.
post #25 of 25
Here's my repost to Gary:

Dear Gary,

I read your article concerning Apple's new online music store and take issue with the editorial!

You'll find that iTunes 4 can export (to iPod, CD and DVD) in various audio formats at differing bit rates. Yes, Apple may have 'fixed' the store bit rate, but this could be changed if general feedback errs towards complaints concerning 'low fidelity'! Overall Apple has delivered the goods and soon it'll be available to US Windows users too.

Long may competition continue, thereby precluding homogenised standards to the detriment of the consumer.

Kind regards,

John Hood
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