iTunes encoding, horrible distortion

in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
I bought a CD of acoustic guitar music and encoded it at 192kbs.

Prob is, when it gets to highs, it distorts like hell. I noticed this recently of a few other CDs I ripped, but thought maybe was just speakers.

Now took the chance to stick CD back in and actually compare the tracks with the rips. The rips are horrible in comparison. It totally distorts.

I selected a ripped track and 'got info' and tried lowering its volume. Hardly did anything.

I COULD try and encode at higher bit rate, but I never genrally have had prob at 192.



  • Reply 1 of 9
    If it's acoustic guitar music then the encoding bitrate is almost certainly not to blame. Also 'distortion' doesn't really describe low bitrate encodes, warbly, spacey, underwater, zoomy etc. maybe, but not distortion as such.

    Do you have Sound Check enabled? I found that could give me distortion, especially highs on quiet songs if I recall correctly. I was never motivated enough to find out why though.
  • Reply 2 of 9
    zozo Posts: 3,115member
    hmmm, yeah, I do have Sound Check enabled.

    Is there any way to "un enable" it to songs that have already been checked?

    I think you may be on to something seeing that I never noticed these kinds of distortions until I had Sound Check on.

    By distortion I mean that become ... umm.. warbly? Sounds like somthing yucky. Hmmm, I would actually say "raspy". As if there were interference when the notes get to a certain frequency.

    I just switched to the ripped tracks and its the base giving the problems. Its horrible. Its as if when you have bass turned waaaaaaaay up and your speakers cant handle it. Or like when you turn volume up to max and your speakers are just distorting to hell. Thats far from the case in my context. Im playing them on iBook speakers.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    When I had the problem with sound check I could switch it on and off in preferences and see immediate improvement/deterioration.

    I'm fairly certain it wasn't affecting the bass, maybe you've got the equalizer set weird?

    edit: sound check only checks the song once, but then stores that info and uses it to amplify the music to a constant level if the preference is on.
  • Reply 4 of 9
    zozo Posts: 3,115member
    did some more testing.

    I re encoded a few times.

    192 vbr

    192 vbr highest

    192 no smart encoding

    192 no smart and no filter freq below 10

    then 320

    when I turned off Sound Check, quality was quite good (better)... normal 192 encoding was bad.

    The eq was set to Acoustic... I'll try someother settings
  • Reply 5 of 9
    Does sound check work for AIFF or WAV files? Being able to test one thing at a time would help clarify what is responsible.
  • Reply 6 of 9
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Both Sound Check and Sound Enhancer should be turned off if you don't want to hear any distorted highs or lows.
  • Reply 7 of 9
    zozo Posts: 3,115member
    thanks for info.

    btw, is there any real advantage or diasadvantage to encoding with VBR? I'd think it was better, no?
  • Reply 8 of 9

    Originally posted by ZO

    btw, is there any real advantage or diasadvantage to encoding with VBR? I'd think it was better, no?

    In general you'll get better sound in less space so that's a bonus.

    Disadvantages are that some hardware players are only capable of playing constant bitrate mp3s. This is more a legacy problem though.

    Someone replied in another thread saying that iTunes VBR implementation was a bit ropey and so you shouldn't set the minimum bitrate too low.

    Sounds like a major bug to me as it in many ways negates the entire point of VBR but I don't use the iTunes encoder so I can't really comment.
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