The Official "Mastered for iTunes" Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by nbakid2000, Apr 19, 2014.

  1. nbakid2000

    nbakid2000 On Indie's Cutting Edge Thread Starter

    Location:
    Springfield, MO
    Thought I'd make an "official" thread where we can exclusively discuss Mastered for iTunes releases. It may or may not take off. It may or may not be easier than individual threads for each album.

    Anyway, this is where we can exchange information on what to buy or avoid or clear up questions and exchange information on what "MiT" really is.

    Right now, the selection is pretty small across the Alternative & Rock / Classic Rock spectrum, but I expect that to change as time goes on.

    I don't think the DR Database lists all of the iTunes, but it does some. It's definitely lacking from what I can tell, so maybe this thread can help pick up the slack. :)
     
  2. Clanceman

    Clanceman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, Or
    Well, the Led Zeppelin mfitunes are my top buy. The complete collection.

    I've been enjoying the ZZ Top, AC/DC and Bruce Springsteen as well. :)
     
  3. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Apple links:

    http://images.apple.com/itunes/mastered-for-itunes/docs/mastered_for_itunes.pdf

    http://www.apple.com/itunes/mastered-for-itunes/

    Interesting statement:

    To take best advantage of our latest encoders send us the highest resolution master file possible, appropriate to the medium and the project.

    An ideal master will have 24-bit 96kHz resolution. These files contain more detail from which our encoders can create more accurate encodes. However, any resolution above 16-bit 44.1kHz, including sample rates of 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, and 192kHz, will benefit from our encoding process.

    Don’t upsample files to a higher resolution than their original format. Upsampling won’t recover or add information to an audio file. Don’t provide files that have been downsampled and dithered for a CD. This degrades the file’s audio quality.

    As technology advances and bandwidth, storage, battery life, and processor power increase, keeping the highest quality masters available in our systems allows for full advantage of future improvements to your music. Also, though it may not be apparent because there may not always be a physical, tangible master created in LP or CD format, the iTunes catalog forms an important part of the world’s historical and cultural record. These masters matter—especially given the move into the cloud on post-PC devices.


    Note that not much is said about EQ, noise-reduction, compression, or limiting. The problem could well be that you could technically have a high-res, high bit-depth file, but if the mastering engineer deliberately made bad decisions, it could not only sound bad, it could sound worse than a CD issued years ago. "Mastered for iTunes" is only as good as the guy sitting at the console.
     
  4. Mike McMann

    Mike McMann Forum Resident

    I have a number of these MFiT (Stones, Led Zep, Billy Joel and Black Sabbath) and enjoy them all with no complaints.
    I've compared the Led Zeppelin files with the SHM-CD and prefer the iTunes version. The big selling feature for me is the fact that I can get all of these artists complete studio recordings in a very decent mastering for a fairly attractive price compared to buying the Hi Res downloads of each.
    I imagine and hope we will see more of these in the near future. Would love to see bands like Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd and Yes come out as complete studio recordings Mastered for iTunes.
     
  5. Stones_Fan_129

    Stones_Fan_129 New Member

    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Yes. I bought a couple of LZ albums from there and they definitely sound good and dynamic, no brickwall.

    Another that I wanted to highly recommend are the Black Sabbath albums from Mastered For iTunes. I bought Paranoid and I was actually the one who added the DR Database entry for it. Sure, it's not vinyl, but it is what it is.


    ----

    You guys may want to wait until around June this year. iTunes is rumored to be coming out with 24-bit downloads which are only supposed to cost $1 more than the current song prices. Not sure I can tell a huge difference, but you guys probably have more expensive gear than I do and can hear it.
     
    RockStar2005 and Clanceman like this.
  6. jeffmo789

    jeffmo789 Give The Gift of Music!

    Location:
    New England
    Just saw last night that INXS catalog is available MFiT.
     
  7. Clanceman

    Clanceman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, Or
    Yeah, I went on such an insane mfitunes binge, just before I left on vacation a few weeks back.

    The Zep sounded so dang good on my iPod that I just kept adding titles: Springsteen, ZZ Top, Bowies latest (his only mfitunes), Triumph, AC/DC, Clash, Elton John, Stones (Live from Charlie is My Darling), Frampton Comes Alive....a few others.

    By the time I was half way through clicking on "purchase" buttons, I realized I was racking up an insane bill. So, I ended up buying Sabbath: We Sold Our Soul. It sounds great!

    I wasn't into iTunes before I heard about mfitunes regarding Zep.

    I love mfitunes for the convenience of small files that sound great on the iPod for listening on the go.

    What I didn't realize, is that buying iTunes titles is so easy....too easy. It's worse than eBay. You can tell yourself that it's only 8.99 here and 10.99 here. In 10 minutes you can spend a heck of a lot of money.
     
  8. botley

    botley Forum Resident

    Tell me about it. Two clicks and you can have the entirety of the Rolling Stones' catalogue MFiT, minus one or two live albums. Ditto for Pink Floyd (except it's one click). They sound great, too.
     
  9. Stones_Fan_129

    Stones_Fan_129 New Member

    Location:
    Madison, WI
    A good mastering at 256k AAC definitely sounds better than a crap mastering at full CD quality. I still prefer recording my parents' vinyl though. Those ones I usually will record at 24/192, do all my editing, then spit out a consumption copy at 16/48.

    I did end up buying Miles Davis - Bitches Brew on iTunes a couple years ago before I had a turntable. It sounds a little loud compared to the near-mint vinyl copy I have sitting next to me right now.
     
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  10. Clanceman

    Clanceman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, Or
    I believe ya.....I just wouldn't know the first thing about doing all that stuff. I've got some nice playback equipment, but I don't know how to do needle drops and vinyl rips and can barely edit my own posts on here. :shrug:
     
  11. Clanceman

    Clanceman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, Or
    Ok, I've been meaning to ask about this.

    I know you've got all the Stones records, CDs, etc...like I do.

    Is it worth it to buy all the Stones mfitunes, in the same way as the Zep? Does the sound justify it? Or, can you recommend something that sounds different or better than say, the shm sacd stuff?

    Thanks.
     
    RockStar2005 likes this.
  12. Stones_Fan_129

    Stones_Fan_129 New Member

    Location:
    Madison, WI
    It's pretty simple. I have my RCA outs on my receiver going to the line out in my computer and then I just record it with Audacity and clean it up a little.
     
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  13. nbakid2000

    nbakid2000 On Indie's Cutting Edge Thread Starter

    Location:
    Springfield, MO
    Does anyone know if the MGMT album (the new one) sounds good for the MiT version or is it pretty much the same as the other versions?
     
  14. supermd

    supermd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Campbell, CA
    I have a few AC/DC songs and they sound great. On the other hand, I compared the MFiT "Hateful" by The Clash to its HDtracks counterpart and here is what I discovered: the MFiT version sounded punchier on my headphones, but the HDtracks version sounded much better with regular speakers and a sub (this is not the result of difference in resolution, but a different mastering). The reason why this Clash comparison is so interesting is that they were released at the same time (last year when they reissued their catalog). It's something to keep in mind. Overall, I like MFiT. Zeppelin sounds great.
     
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  15. Stones_Fan_129

    Stones_Fan_129 New Member

    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Just want to throw this out there - I bought Bruce Springsteen Born To Run and The Wild, The Innocent & The E-Street Shuffle and they both sounded great.
     
  16. spice9

    spice9 Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York, NY
    How does Frampton Comes Alive sound? And compared to what? What Elton did you get, and how does it sound? Thanks.
     
  17. rainspainplain

    rainspainplain Forum Resident

    There is a section in that PDF called "Be Aware of Dynamic Range and Clipping." In that section it says "Although iTunes doesn’t reject files for a specific number of clips, tracks which have audible clipping will not be badged or marketed as Mastered for iTunes."
     
    nbakid2000 likes this.
  18. Stones_Fan_129

    Stones_Fan_129 New Member

    Location:
    Madison, WI
    iTunes should reject music that clips - especially if it's being sold as one of these "Mastered For iTunes" files. HDTracks' quality control kind of makes me mad too. If you spend $18-25 for their music, it should be worth the extra cash you're paying for the higher quality.
     
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  19. Stones_Fan_129

    Stones_Fan_129 New Member

    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Has anybody tried the Aerosmith MFiT tracks yet? Wondering if they fixed "Get A Grip" yet or if that album is still super compressed.
     
    sound chaser likes this.
  20. nbakid2000

    nbakid2000 On Indie's Cutting Edge Thread Starter

    Location:
    Springfield, MO
    How were all these compared to other official versions on CD/hi-res downloads?
     
    RockStar2005 likes this.
  21. botley

    botley Forum Resident

    The SHM-SACDs are great, where they exist, but good luck getting them imported to your digital library. That's what these iTunes releases are for: a convenient way to get good sound in a compact format. If you have physical versions you're happy with already, you're not likely to notice any upgrades here.
     
  22. Clanceman

    Clanceman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, Or
    The Frampton sounds better than the shm mini lp that I have from a couple of years ago. The vox seem more out front to me, and overall it's well balanced, nice bass. However, I haven't had the original vinyl in years, and never replaced it.

    The Elton John titles I bought were"Yellow Brick Road" and "Captain Fantastic." I only had cds (not deluxe or original) of these, and like the mfitunes better.

    I don't know what they do with these mitunes, but dang near all of em' sound like the least compressed....compressed versions out there. It's still a bit of a mystery to me.

    The ZZ Top titles might be my favorite after the Zep. Aside from the London vinyl, those early titles haven't sounded better to me on any cd.
     
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  23. drahffir

    drahffir Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hartsville
    I've only bought one MFiT track, but got about 30 through Match that have the badge. I checked a dozen of them with the afclip command line utility and there was no clipping. It would be convenient for afclip to have a batch analysis mode, though.
     
    RockStar2005 likes this.
  24. spice9

    spice9 Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York, NY
    Did you get the recent ZZ Top CD box, which sounds really good? I'm wondering how the MfIt sound in comparison...
     
  25. Clanceman

    Clanceman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, Or
    Ok, I guess I shouldn't have used the shm sacd scenario. Let's say the sacd hybrids or the London CDs, Virgin, cbs, 09, etc....

    If I have those ripped to Apple lossless, or even to iTunes plus, is there a different sounding/better mastering here? I was just thinking that these, especially the later titles, might just be the 09' mastering reworked somehow.
     

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