iTunes vs. CD Mixes
Last Post 21 Jun 2012 08:35 AM by NFX. 2 Replies.
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    20 Jun 2012 12:52 PM

    Can anyone here explain the difference between songs that are mixed for iTunes vs. CD/radio quality songs?

    I've been playing iTunes songs on my stereo system and they obviously sound pretty crappy  but I want to understand why exactly. I know that with mp3 or aac files, quality is lost as a result of compressing the data. But are they actually mixed/mastered differently from CD/radio quality songs as well? For example, I've noticed that when I play iTunes songs on my stereo system, it sounds really muddy and the bass drowns out everything including the vocals. When I play CDs, everything sounds perfectly balanced.

    Also, i don't know if anyone would have an answer to this but... is there any way I can get my iTunes songs to sound better on my stereo system?

    Help a noob out

    Edit: the bold is what I'm really curious about.

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    The Pimp Hand (moderator)
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    20 Jun 2012 03:10 PM
    In most cases professional artist will produce a "CD" mix and convert to iTunes formats from that. I'm sure some people master for MP3's but those are still rare and far between.

    The reason it sounds worse is that the MP3 format doesn't compress as much as it removes information (frequencies) from the original file. You could compare it to graphics in the way most online images are at 72dpi because that is what our displays were able to put out, but if you want to take the same image and print a poster with it, it should propably be atleast 300dpi in resolution so it would not look all pixelated.

    (For reference information DPI=Dots Per Inch, meaning the amount of pixels that occupy a square inch. The more pixels the sharper the image.)

    Did that make any sense?

    As for what you can do... Pretty much the only thing is to try and use EQ to adjust the song you are listening to. You can never gain back the quality that was lost while compressing the file.
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    Commander In Chief
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    21 Jun 2012 08:35 AM
    Also check if you have settings in iTunes that alters playback. You might, for example, have some iTunes feature to equalize the output or maybe even normalize it. I haven't used iTunes in a minute so I'm not sure where you might find those things, but it's something to think about.
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