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iTunes 4 and music store

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Mark SimpsoniTunes 4 and music store
by on May 17, 2003 at 8:03:03 pm

I really like the concept of only paying for songs I want, but I can't find any info on quality.

I'm assuming they are offering the music in MP3 format. Does anyone know how compressed they are? Can we download them in essentially CD qulaity, or are we forced to settle for something less?

Mark Simpson


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Tony!Re: iTunes 4 and music store
by on May 18, 2003 at 3:00:54 am

They are not MP3, they are a new format called AAC. It is suppose to be better quality at lower bit rates. It is still not as good as an uncompressed AIFF file or a CD, but it's not bad. I really like the Apple Music Store and I hope they keep improving it. Here is some infor from Apple.

"AAC-encoded files sound as good as or better than MP3 files encoded at the same or even a higher bit rate.

For example, a 128-kilobit-per-second (kbit/s) AAC file should sound as good as or better than a 160 kbit/s MP3 file. Because the bit rate is lower, the AAC file will also be smaller than the MP3 file. AAC files allow you to store the most music on your hard disk or iPod. The High Quality AAC setting creates files that are usually less than 1 MB for each minute of music.

Note: AAC files encoded from a source other than the iTunes Music Store (such as an audio CD) work the same as an MP3 file encoded from the same source. No authorization required to play or burn them. So, AAC files you encode yourself in iTunes 4 can be burned more than ten times per playlist and can be played on more than three computers."


Tony!


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Mark SimpsonRe: iTunes 4 and music store
by on May 18, 2003 at 5:39:13 am

What I'm hoping to do with this is to make CDs for the car that are compilations. My CD player plays MP3 files.

Can I expect to be able to download these files as AAC, reencode them as MP3, and expect a sound qulaity anywhere 'near' CD quality (uncompressed AIFF)?

Are there any MP3 compression settings that are of a high quality that will be reasonably close to AIFF?

I have iTunes, Digital Performer 3.11, Premiere 6.5, and Toast (earlier version).

Will any of these tools do the conversion/MP3 compression for me.

As you can tell, I am brain dead as to the whole MP3 thing, and am still stuck in uncompressed land.

Mark Simpson


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Tony!Re: iTunes 4 and music store
by on May 18, 2003 at 5:57:09 pm

Hey Mark,

It's not as complicated as you're making it. You just buy your songs, they download, you put them in a set and click burn. The CD you end up with will play in your car stereo and any other CD player. The quality is decent and unless you have a very high-end system and have the retail CD to compare it to you'll probably not know the difference. Try it, it doesn't cost much, it's easy and if you don't like it for some reason you can go back to buying CD's easy enough.

If you are converting your current CD's, then you may want to use higher settings than the default AAC or MP3 settings from Apple. The quality will be better. The only reason not to, is that they will take up more space which can be an issue on your iPOD as well as how many songs you can fit on a CD. I think I would do at least 192kbps for MP3's and at least 160kbps for AAC, vary these to your taste and needs. The downloads from Apple I believe are all 128kbps, but aren't bad.

Tony!


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CraigRe: iTunes 4 and music store
by on May 18, 2003 at 6:13:05 pm

"The CD you end up with will play in your car stereo and any other CD player."

including one that is not mp3 able? In other words can an AAC encoded song list burned to a cd-r play in all consumer cd players?

about how many 3 minute songs for each of the compression rates? If I choose a higher bit rate say AAC 160kbps, how many will fit on a cd-r?


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Tony!Re: iTunes 4 and music store
by on May 18, 2003 at 7:56:08 pm

Yes, they will play in most every CD player. iTunes converts them to standard audio files for CD.

"about how many 3 minute songs for each of the compression rates? If I choose a higher bit rate say AAC 160kbps, how many will fit on a cd-r?"

About 74 - 80 minutes (20 songs or so). iTunes converts them to standard audio files. You can burn a MP3 CD if you want, it will hold many more songs, but you cannot make an MP3 CD from AAC encoded songs from the Apple store. Only a normal audio CD.

Tony!


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CraigRe: iTunes 4 and music store
by on May 18, 2003 at 9:00:33 pm

Thanks Tony, I have never downloaded legal or illegal songs before because I'm not a walkman type music listener and i always thought that MP3s would not work with my stereo gear and were somewhat inferior quality. And although i thought the music companies were being greedy and legally wrong about the legality of file sharing networks, they were right about the immorality of distributing illegal copies of intellectual property.

I guess from your response i was wrong at least on the technical end -- that when you burn a CD, MP3s are converted to standard audio files. Or is this a recent development? Why then do car receivers say they play MP3s? Do they mean if you are connecting an ipod or other MP3 player to the receiver?

And one more question-- I understand that if i am burning my own CD of songs I am taking from my CD collection that i can choose a higher bit rate but are there any higher bit rate choices at the apple music store or are they preset? I would rather get less songs per cd-r than sacrifice quality.

Thanks





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Mark SimpsonRe: iTunes 4 and music store
by on May 18, 2003 at 9:06:48 pm

I think what Tony is saying is that the AAC files from apples website can't be converted to MP3 format (I'm not sure if this is only a restriction on direct conversion or if it's a restriction that applies even after they've been converted to uncompressed AIFF for the standard CD sudio).

The car stereos that play MP3s can play them from CD (haven't actually tried it yet myself though), you just can't convert the the AAC files directly to MP3.

Mark Simpson


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Tony!Re: iTunes 4 and music store
by on May 18, 2003 at 9:26:45 pm

If you burn an audio CD from iTunes (not an MP3 cd) using AAC files from the Apple Music Store, it will play on any CD player, not just ones that play MP3's.

Did that make sense?

Tony!


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CraigRe: iTunes 4 and music store
by on May 19, 2003 at 10:37:22 pm

Tony, I understood this even the first time. But my question is: if you can download music and then burn a cd that will play in any cd player, why did anyone invest in MP3 CD players to begin with? I understand the advantage to the compression in an ipod where you can fit "a thousand songs in your pocket" or whatever the number has swelled to. But why would consumers want cd players that can play the MP3 format if we can simply burn the CD in standard format that can be palyed in any old car/home player?


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Mark SimpsonRe: iTunes 4 and music store
by on May 20, 2003 at 12:06:38 am

Because you could then put a hundred and fifty songs on a CD instead of 15.... :)

Mark Simpson


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Aaron FisherRe: iTunes 4 and music store
by on May 20, 2003 at 12:13:17 am

hi Craig,
Like Mark said, you can fit a ton more mp3's on a disc than uncompressed AIFF files (probably upwards of 10 times as many) which is what itunes or any other program has to convert the mp3's to before it burns them. Another advantage is that "regular" CD's can be burned onto CDR's only, but MP3-CD players can play re-writeable (sp?) discs.

aaron


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Tony!Re: iTunes 4 and music store
by on May 20, 2003 at 12:51:56 am

iPOD's are up to 7500 songs incase anyone was wondering?

Just for the record, you cannot convert an AAC file to an MP3 in iTunes. They don't want to lose the copy protection the AAC files have. I think you could burn a CD from your AAC files and then encode that CD to MP3 with iTunes. You'll get some generation loss if it works though.

Tony!


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CraigRe: iTunes 4 and music store
by on May 20, 2003 at 5:05:25 am

Thanks. I get it now. So for a portable unit or car stereo you don't need to juggle tens of cds at a time. Most likely in a noisy car environment you can't hear the difference anyway. I wonder if the new blue laser discs or the ever increasing size of various card media are gonna cloud the issue of the format of choice.


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Mark SimpsonRe: iTunes 4 and music store
by on May 19, 2003 at 1:29:25 am

Well, I downloaded 18 songs and made me a classics R&B/soul?ballad/pop type compilation. Barry White, Al Green, Sly and family stone, michael jackson, hall and oates, smokey robinson, linda ronstadt, commodores, Al Jaraue, Stevie Wonder, Babyface, Chicago, Sade, and so on were among the artists.

Kind of an easy listening sing a long compilation thing going on there.

While it wouldn't play in my DVD/DVD-A/CD deck it did work fine in the Car stereo (which is what it's for anyways), and the quality was surprisingly good.

I couldn't find all of the music I looked for (No tommy james and the shondells, and not much in the way of contemporary christian stuff), but I'm sure all that will change very soon.

I'm very happy with it....

Kudos apple, this will change the way the consumer buys music. And as I understand it the artist gets a bigger cut (per song) than he does through conventional means.

Those of you who invest in the market, it might be a great time to buy apple. I understand their stock has already gone up 11 percent this week over this new technology.

Mark Simpson


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Tony!Re: iTunes 4 and music store
by on May 19, 2003 at 2:07:14 am

Good stuff Mark, I might have to download a few of those artists myself. The only reason I can think of for it not playing in your DVD/CD player would be the media. Apple burners are kind of sensitive to what kind you use. Try a different brand name CD R to see if it will work.

Tony!


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Mark SimpsonRe: iTunes 4 and music store
by on May 19, 2003 at 2:20:09 am

Good stuff Mark, I might have to download a few of those artists myself.

I have very little of that stuff in my collection, and so this made a perfect CD for my upcoming road trip. I did a quick listen to all the tracks in order, and I got pretty excited about it. I do indeed like this new iTunes store!

Mark Simpson


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