The debate over how much Apple’s new “Mastered for iTunes” program improves sound quality is still flaming, but if you’re audio mastering for wide-audience distribution, the news is getting a little more encouraging.
While criticism of the new program flares, Apple believes its encoders can now preserve a more dynamic range of sound, giving consumers better-quality downloads, according to a Loopinsight.com post from Jim Dalrymple.
And Apple is inviting engineers to submit high-quality masters, adds Dalrymple, who spoke with veteran mastering engineer Jim Ludwig. Apple is even trying to give engineers some tips on how to master for digital, Dalrymple says.
Ludwig — who’s worked with Coldplay, Bruce Springsteen, Nirvana and Soundgarden — is sold on the new program, telling “The Loop” that Apple’s process doesn’t really change how engineers approach their work.
Mastered for iTunes doesn’t even come into play until after the creative process is finished, he says.
Here’s what is different, though:
“Instead of sending it to CD and then having the AAC files ripped from that, mastering engineers can now use Apple’s tools to create custom AAC files from the high-resolution master,” Dalrymple’s post explains.
The result? With any luck, ready-for-the-masses digital sounds that are as true as possible to what artists and engineers originally laid down.
“Some people think that mastering for a digital format is silly, but it’s downright stupid to ignore iTunes,” Dalrymple argues. “Apple is the largest distributor of music and if you don’t think that improving the quality of your music for millions of people, then you don’t really care about your fans.”
Whatever side you’re on contact us. We’ll help you make peace with the format.
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