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"it's just going to be an mp3, anyway"
Old 13th May 2006
  #1
Lives for gear
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
"it's just going to be an mp3, anyway"

WRONG.

It's more likely going to be the iPod proprietary format (.acc?), broadcast over 89.3FM, cut off at 15khz, and sounding like absolute garbage.

I'm still in awe at how my friends think their iPods are so cool and "it's so easy to play in my car! I can't tell the difference in sound, you're crazy..".


Anyone got a theory about this?
Old 13th May 2006
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
It's all a matter of relativity. Years ago when I was a kid, we had 9 transitor radios that were the hot thing, but REALLY sounded like crap, you could barely make out the announcer broadcasting a baseball game....so the mp3 and ipod craze is light years ahead in sound quality from that.
Old 13th May 2006 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Actually, it's the DRM component in the AAC's that Apple sells that are proprietary, AIUI. The format itself was developed, I'm told, by a consortium of Apple, Sony, Fraunhofer, and others. (Correction welcome, if necessary.)

I would say the consensus is that AAC, like WMA, and Ogg and probably some other advanced formats, sound better at a given bitrate than Mp3s. (At least in the 'lower' bitrates.)


I'd have to say that, as I see it, the main problem with iTunes product, as well as that sold by Napster and some others, is that the bitrate is restricted to 128 kbps. (Whether AAC or WMA, as the other stores sell.)

My subscription service also uses WMA, but it uses a 160 kbps average VBR rate, which provides, by and large, a considerably higher fidelity than files and streams restricted to a 128 kbps CBR. (MusicMatch On Demand. There are some recent content availability issues, there, though. Apparently at least one major label, EMI, pulled some or all of their content from subscription.)



ANYhow... I actually thought this thread was going to be about the care and effort some of us put into our mixes (not me heh ) only to see them reduceed to lower fi data-compressed formats.

And I was gonna say that, yeah, that sucks BUT it's no reason to stop lavishing care on your mixes.

Because, in my experience, perceptual encoding algorithms just make a BAD mix that much worse, magnifying negative issues.

But I hear some content (particularly from some of those studio wizards in Nashville -- now if they could just do something about the CONTENT heh ) that just sparkles (at least at 160) in defiance of all expectation. SOME of those guys can get a big, fat, competitively loud signal that DOESN'T sound squashed or lifeless and stands up really well to perceptual encoding...
Old 13th May 2006 | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
no mainstream song or material mixed for average users should rely on spectral components above 12k !
everything should be decent and perfect anyway, but some producers have a top end contest running like horny teen dudes and when their material is played back on a boombox or PC speaker ist sucks _musically_ because they placed important information too high in the frequency range.
I am getting demos and mixes that sound well only on high-end monitoring or 200$ headphones.
the better example would be these "nashville" products, from what I understand they sound nice on high end AND low end equipment. a kitchen boombox user still can compare how well she likes one or another song, and everything not explicitly aimed at audiophile audience should be planned and made to translate well in bandwith-limited environment. at least the music and beat should not suffer.
this is not about normal cheapo sound degradation but musical loss from incompatibility. also, meticulous high end perfection often cheats about weaknesses in midrange balance and melody.
mp3 is just another type of media that must be dealt with.
I found certain state-of-the-art effects like complex short-time delays and brickwall limiters particularly bad to translate in mp3. this format is somewhat old and was created with jazz, classic and acoustic music, and oldschool pop in mind (and "country" is well within the spectrum).
of course some mixing habits (or genre obsession) with extra-dense high end and transient fireworks will suffer.
every lossy compression has also to take some artistic decision.
Old 14th May 2006 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I think we all understand the concept of mix translation; I mix to a boom box as well - that's not what I'm complaining about.

It's the iPod-broadcast for car radio thing that just sounds absolutely *atrocious*. Think of a radio station that's not completely tuned in all the way - that's the sound.
Old 14th May 2006 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Alex Niedt's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If you convert your CDs at the highest quality iTunes allows, then use an actual iPod adapter in your car, you're wacko if you think the sound quality difference is going to be noticeable. Unless perhaps your car has been soundproofed, acoustically treated, bla bla bla...

That radio transmitter thing is a total joke.

And lastly...iPods are freakin' great. I put off buying one for so long because I was like, "Oh, it's gonna sound so bad. MP3s suck. Whine whine..." But honestly, if you're just listening to music casually on headphones or in a car and convert at the highest quality like I mentioned, there's absolutely nothing wrong with the things. And they're a MILLION times more convenient than carrying around CD books, hunting for CDs, changing CDs, etc. And believe me, I was (and still am) a CD freak.
Old 14th May 2006 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
theblotted's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Niedt
If you convert your CDs at the highest quality iTunes allows, then use an actual iPod adapter in your car, you're wacko if you think the sound quality difference is going to be noticeable. Unless perhaps your car has been soundproofed, acoustically treated, bla bla bla...
except the difference is when you drive over a pothole, iPod doesn't skip
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