R/E/P Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: News: Apple in talks to improve sound quality of music downloads  (Read 4485 times)

bblackwood

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7036
News: Apple in talks to improve sound quality of music downloads
« on: February 22, 2011, 08:57:19 am »

http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/web/02/22/24.bit.music/index.ht ml?eref=mrss_igoogle_cnn

Interesting...

Quote:

San Francisco (CNN) -- Apple and other digital music retailers are in discussions with record labels to improve the quality of the song files they sell, executives involved in the talks say.

As a result, online music stores could eventually offer songs that sound truer to their original recordings, perhaps at a premium price.

Professional music producers generally capture studio recordings in a 24-bit, high-fidelity audio format. Before the originals, or "masters" in industry parlance, are pressed onto CDs or distributed to digital sellers like App

From there, the audio can be compressed further in order to minimize the time the music will take to download or to allow it to be streamed on-the-fly over the internet.

Why don't record labels at least give retailers the option of working from higher-grade recordings?

"Why?" Jimmy Iovine, a longtime music executive, asked rhetorically. "I don't know. It's not because they're geniuses."

In the quest to find more revenue, will labels eventually start pushing for more versions?
Logged
Brad Blackwood
euphonic masters

bruno putzeys

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1078
Re: News: Apple in talks to improve sound quality of music downloads
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2011, 09:14:00 am »

How about a bog standard 44/16 version that isn't squashed to death? That would be HD to me.
Logged
Warp Drive. Tractor Beam. Room Correction. Whatever.

Affiliations: Hypex, Grimm Audio.

Gregg Janman

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 70
Re: News: Apple in talks to improve sound quality of music downloads
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2011, 09:48:28 am »

I think it's about time Apple started to support FLAC.
Logged

aleatoric

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 58
Re: News: Apple in talks to improve sound quality of music downloads
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2011, 10:24:36 am »

It could be FLAC but more than likely Apple Lossless.  

I also find it odd they seem to be skipping over 16/44.1 (from the way the article reads at least).  24 bit is cool and all but a more practical first step in my mind is to start offering uncompressed 16/44.1 downloads.  

TotalSonic

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3728
Re: News: Apple in talks to improve sound quality of music downloads
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2011, 10:28:35 am »

Gregg Janman wrote on Tue, 22 February 2011 09:48

I think it's about time Apple started to support FLAC.


I absolutely agree with you - but I'm pretty sure they won't.  I'd say if they start selling music in a lossless format it will be in their own ALAC codec instead.  Apple's forward strategy has far as I can see has been to attempt greater control of the market with proprietary formats and to be antagonistic to any open source movements.

I'd say to date Apple hasn't pushed for supplying higher fidelity than 256kbps AAC even though their ALAC format has been around for a number of years simply because they don't see a demand for it - and it does require them to at least double the amount of servers and bandwidth for the iTunes Store if they decide to support it - so there is in fact some amount of expense necessary for them to do this.

Got to say also once again the majors are seriously behind the times in this in that tracks from a good number of independents has been available in high-res downloads for a few years now via sites such as http://www.hdtracks.com and a number of others (such as the ones listed at http://flac.sourceforge.net/links.html#music )
I've been heartened to see that a number of clients have made downloads available in their own stores in FLAC as well.

Finally I heartily agree with Bruno that 16bit/44.1kHz well mastered - without being hyper limited or clipped - can in fact sound far superior to 24bit/96kHz that has been crushed.  The treatment the most significant bits is far more important to the ultimate sound than how many least significant bits you have!

Best regards,
Steve Berson

jlapointe

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 121
Re: News: Apple in talks to improve sound quality of music downloads
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2011, 11:08:41 am »

TotalSonic wrote on Tue, 22 February 2011 11:28


Got to say also once again the majors are seriously behind the times in this in that tracks from a good number of independents has been available in high-res downloads for a few years now ...


Agreed.  Drag City and Merge (for example) have had FLAC downloads available for a while now.  Bandcamp.com is another.  Every band should have a bandcamp site imo (can be integrated into their own .com).  Best platform out there from both the sellers and buyers ends.

Quote:

Finally I heartily agree with Bruno that 16bit/44.1kHz well mastered - without being hyper limited or clipped - can in fact sound far superior to 24bit/96kHz that has been crushed.



Plus virtually no portable players support 24 bit playback, but almost all will do 16/44.1.  

Jerry Tubb

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2761
Re: News: Apple in talks to improve sound quality of music downloads
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2011, 11:20:17 am »

Great, at least they're thinking and talking about sound quality, thats good news!

I agree that simple 16/44.1 CD bandwidth would be just peachy.

JT
Logged
Terra Nova Mastering
Celebrating 20 years of Mastering!

MoreSpaceEcho

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 642
Re: News: Apple in talks to improve sound quality of music downloads
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2011, 11:26:23 am »

Quote:

perhaps at a premium price.


what do you guys think about this? i think it's a mistake. to my mind, you'd be more likely to entice people to get the hi-res versions if they were the same price as the mp3s. sure, i understand 'you should pay more for higher quality', but since these days it seems to be something of a struggle to get people to pay for anything AT ALL...
Logged

TotalSonic

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3728
Re: News: Apple in talks to improve sound quality of music downloads
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2011, 11:40:27 am »

MoreSpaceEcho wrote on Tue, 22 February 2011 11:26

Quote:

perhaps at a premium price.


what do you guys think about this? i think it's a mistake. to my mind, you'd be more likely to entice people to get the hi-res versions if they were the same price as the mp3s. sure, i understand 'you should pay more for higher quality', but since these days it seems to be something of a struggle to get people to pay for anything AT ALL...



I heartily agree.  To many end listeners the longer download time and larger amount of needed storage space for hi-res is in fact a serious downside - so to add extra expense to this is in fact a further discouraging factor.  To me providing higher fidelity is simply a way of opening up markets to those who simply won't purchase mp3's or aac's (i.e. people like ME).

Best regards,
Steve Berson

Adam Dempsey

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 546
Re: News: Apple in talks to improve sound quality of music downloads
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2011, 05:04:42 pm »

It was encouraging, reading that CNN piece today. Particularly given a piece in the business section of our major paper this week:

Sound quality
    http://www.theage.com.au/business/sound-quality-20110220-1b1 0a.html

Fingers - ears - crossed although I feel it's going to be up to us and artists to keep up the word & momentum.

In terms of iTunes, at least, curious to see if they can skip 320kb/s , let alone 1,411kb/s, and have bandwidths for 2,116.kb/s (24/44k), but it's only a matter of time - and demand.

Still, I must say I was both pleased and disappointed that Radiohead offered their new album in both wav and mp3 formats (albeit 320kb/s apparently), when they were clearly in a position to draw a line in the sand by omitting the latter.

(As for Sony's new "unlimited" streaming service via Quriosity: "The Qriocity service streams music at 48 kilobits per second" - Shawn Layden, Sony Network's chief operating officer).
Logged
Adam Dempsey
Jack the Bear's Deluxe Mastering
Facebook | twitter | MySpace

Add presence, or subtract absence?

aleatoric

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 58
Re: News: Apple in talks to improve sound quality of music downloads
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2011, 05:57:07 pm »

Adam Dempsey wrote on Tue, 22 February 2011 17:04

It was encouraging, reading that CNN piece today.


I'm really excited about all of this.  Lets face it, people follow Apple.  I can actually see many of my none audio geeky friends jumping on the lossless bandwagon as Apple pushes it more as the new thing to do.  iPods are getting bigger, download speeds faster, hard drive space cheaper, it's time to ditch these lossy formats for the general consumers.

Waltz Mastering

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 912
Re: News: Apple in talks to improve sound quality of music downloads
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2011, 01:47:43 pm »

jlapointe wrote on Tue, 22 February 2011 11:08


Plus virtually no portable players support 24 bit playback, but almost all will do 16/44.1.  



That's one reason I think this would be a good move for the industry in the long run...If it does happen.  They (Itunes/Apple) will have to support it with itunes compatibility and ipod compatibility etc.

The thought of making two versions comes back into play (or just one really good one), getting rid of the lowest kbps rate of mp3's.. opening more doors in general for the consumer, artist, recording engineers, and ME's... raising the bar.

Adam Dempsey

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 546
Re: News: Apple in talks to improve sound quality of music downloads
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2011, 07:21:32 pm »

Also of course a real shift forward for listeners & distribution (indeed, "sonic revolution"?) wouldn't even require 44.1k. Record and DSP at higher sample rates, or at least whatever the native rate, and avoid SRC altogether. As iTunes uses Core Audio, no problem on the sample rate side.
Logged
Adam Dempsey
Jack the Bear's Deluxe Mastering
Facebook | twitter | MySpace

Add presence, or subtract absence?
Pages: [1]   Go Up