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buying songs from iTunes? (1 Viewer)

John Mil

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I am new to the whole music downloading thing. I just downloaded Itunes and want to purchase some songs. Will the songs I buy for 99 cents be cd quality? Someone had said they will only be in 128 kbs AAC fomat. Is this true? I am considering purchasing the 60 gb i-pod to use as a "home jukebox" through my home stereo (Paradigm monitor 11 speakers), and also in the car.
 

Jeff_HR

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I can't tell the difference on my 60GB IPOD between iTunes 128k songs or ones I've ripped at 192k, whether I use Bose earphones or my car's audio system. But I don't have "Golden Ears" either. :eek:
 

Bryan X

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In most environments, it's 'good enough'. If you'll be listening to these tunes while driving, or through headphones while excercising, or as music at a party, all the outside noise from those activities should mask any imperfections. For me, I find that in the situations I listen to music, perfect fidelity just isn't that necessary.
 

David Williams

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The differences between 128 MP3 and 128 AAC are vast. 128 AAC won't sound anything like 128 MP3. I find it hard to distinguish between 192/256 MP3 and 128 AAC. I doubt anyone but the most sensitive audiophile could hear the difference.
 

Scott Merryfield

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Personally, 128K AAC sounds dull and lifeless to me compared to the 192K or 224K VBR MP3's that I encode using Exact Audio Copy with the LAME MP3 encoder. This is listening via a 40GB ipod and Shure E3C earbuds. If you compare AAC to the MP3 encoder built into iTunes, your results will be much different. The iTunes MP3 encoder is inferior to the EAC+LAME ripper/encoder.
 

MarkHastings

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Totally agreed. I'll even take it a step further - When I play my iTunes through my HT setup, some songs show a lack in quality, but quite a few actually hold up to CD quality.

And as far as the car goes, considering the equalizer on the iPod and the fact that it's hooked directly into my stereo, I find that the AAC's actually sound BETTER than CD's. Go figure!


John, Chris made a good point - try downloading the free songs and see if you like the quality before investing in an iPod. Who knows, you may like the quality of AAC.
 

Scott L

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I only download the occasional dance or rap song off iTunes. I'm with Scott M. on compressed 128kbps SQ. yeck!

If you have picky ears buy the CD & rip to 224kbps - lossless for your favorite artists.
 

Greg_R

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For 99 cents a song I can buy the album cheaper and rip it myself. I only buy MP3s online if it's a single track and I have no interest in the rest of the artist's songs.
 

Bryan X

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Most albums on iTunes are under $10.00. You don't have to buy each song individually. I can't beat that price at any store around here.
 

Aaron Reynolds

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I have found that the sound quality really depends on the source material and how easy it is to compress. A really simple album that I bought sounded fantastic -- it was Funky Kingston / In The Dark (two albums, actually -- for ten bucks for the pair!) by Toots and the Maytalls. It actually sounds significantly better than my mid-70s vinyl of Funky Kingston, because the source material was upgraded for the CD that this version has been ripped from.

However, based on that good experience I bought Twin Cinema by The New Pornographers, which sounded downright awful. So bad that I've been complaining about it to Apple. It's unfortunate, because it's a great album.

There is significant artifacting throughout, stuff that I can hear even on my crappy computer speakers.

Where Funky Kingston is very instrumentally simple and was recorded and presented in a very bare-bones way, Twin Cinema is layer upon layer of shimmering sound. The harmonica in Sing Me Spanish Techno actually vanishes into the guitar, it's so bad.

Too late, I discovered zunior.com -- a site that sells both LAME-encoded 192kpbs MP3s and FLAC versions of indie albums, for very reasonable prices. (Twin Cinema cost me $9.99 on iTunes, but is $6.88 for MP3 or $8.88 for FLAC on Zunior.) They've been covered fairly extensively on TV and in newspapers up here, so I have no reason to doubt their legitimacy. They don't sell individual tracks, however.

So anyways, I guess I'm saying that I'd recommend iTunes for stuff that's not complex-sounding, especially when it's a cheap way to buy two classic out-of-print reggae albums.
 

Garrett Lundy

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Yes, it is true.

Every tuesday iTunes Music Store also has a free download of the week which are suprisingly good pop (Quite a few have gone on to become very big hits) for free music.

Somes, but not always, there is a free 'Discovery Download', which is non-pop music. It could be anything from medieavel vocalists to instrumental jazz, to electronica.
 

Christ Reynolds

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aren't they under $10 if there are under 10 tracks on it? there isn't a discount for buying an entire album, is there? i thought it was just $0.99 for every track.

CJ
 

MarkHastings

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Not anymore - they used to, but take a quick look - I just saw a 16 track CD for $10 and a 12 track CD for $8.
 

Aaron Reynolds

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Under 10 tracks, you pay 99 cents per track. Above ten, most albums are $9.99 unless they're a double album.

For example, the Funky Kingston / In the Dark combo album I referenced above was $9.99 even though it contains 21 tracks and is 78 minutes long -- it was one CD when sold in stores, so it sells for the one CD price of $9.99 on iTunes.

Worth every penny, by the way, just for their crazy cover of Louie Louie.
 

Christ Reynolds

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ah ok, i knew that's how it was done at one time, i havent looked in a while though. much better deal now, for people who buy entire albums.

CJ
 

MarkHastings

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I'm sure that's why they are doing it. Trying to drum up more "Full Album" sales. I know I've never purchased full albums because I figured "why not just go get the CD, even if it's a couple bucks more, it's still not compressed", but at $8, I might start considering it (even though I probably still won't).
 

John Mil

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Thanks for all of your help guys!! My wife just gave me the 60 gb ipod as a gift. She bought it a few weeks ago, before Apple discontinued it. Just my luck, we finally spring for an Ipod and a few weeks later we could have gotten the new 80 gb for the same price (or less). Oh well, I can't see using the whole 60 gb, unless I imported everything in lossless. I won't be using it for video. I have bought a few random songs from Itunes and I think when I start importing my cd collection I will use 256 kps AAC format. I think that would give me a capacity for around 8,000 songs, correct? That should be fine. Thanks again for your comments guys!
 

Scott L

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8,000 songs yow! But yea you should have enough space. I only have about 1200 and didn't make a dent in my 30gb.
 

Scott Merryfield

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That sounds about right. As a reference point, I have 9,350 songs, mostly encoded at either 224Kbps or 192Kbps VBR MP3, and my library consumes 51.29GB of disk space. My iPod only has a 40GB capacity, but I manage somehow. :)

EDIT: Using this calculator, available on iPod Lounge, an 80GB iPod can hold 10,172 songs encoded at 256K, assuming an average song length of 4 minutes.
 

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