Why should I download iTunes Plus files?
“iTunes Plus is VBR (Variable Bit Rate) 256kbps AAC (.M4A) – standard iTunes Store files. Apple’s sophisticated encoding engines convert Lossless (flawfree sound, around 40MB per song) files to lossy (smaller files, around 8MB per song) without compromising their sound quality too much. iTunes Plus files are in way better shape than MP3 since its encoder is always updated by Apple while MP3 has multiple open-sourced encoders out there that haven’t progressed at all. 256kbps iTunes Plus files sound better + are smaller in size if compared to 320kbps MP3s. Plus, most iTunes Plus files are WEB sourced. That means they’ve been mastered for domestic earphones/speakers and not for a CD Stereo.”
If the files posted on this blog are iTunes Plus, why isn’t there personal information on it? (non-existent ‘Purchased AAC audio file’ info)
“I use iTMS Scrubber (a personal info remover) + kid3 (an advanced tag editor) to remove all sources of personal information on my files. I do that since 99% of the files posted here do not 'belong to me' nor they have been purchased by me. I find it irresponsible to share other people’s e-mail accounts on the internet so freely. When I used to post untouched i+ purchases on my old blog, people would try to steal my password all the time, it’s crazy. And who needs all that e-mail purchase thing crap on our music's metadata anyways?”
How can I trust that these files truly come from iTunes Store?
“You can try looking for untouched files for the same content and compare them to my files using SPEK APP, which analyzes audio spectrum. Then you’ll see how they’re exactly the same. They just don’t have all that iTunes metadata. You're free to download untouched stuff on other sites, though. ;)”
When you post files that aren’t iTunes Plus, are they still AAC M4A and where do they come from?
“Yes, they’re iTunes Plus by all means. Turns out they just don’t come from iTunes Store for many reasons – not available on the store yet, haven’t been able to found it for download anywhere so I encoded iTunes Plus files on my own, et cetera. These files are always converted from Lossless files that I find on the internet. On each post, I comment where the original Lossless files come from – they could be CD sourced, WEB sourced or WEB Hi-Res sourced (which leads to Mastered for iTunes files).“
What’s this Mastered for iTunes thing all about?
“There’s a good detailed explanation for it on Apple’s website but to sum it up: these are iTunes Plus files encoded from Hi-Res Lossless Files (higher bit rate than 44kHz/16bit 1444kbps, which is the standard for CD sound quality) so that they can sound even better in lossy format. Since CD Lossless files are usually very compressed and they make Lossy files that are compressed twice, Mastered for iTunes files tend to sound ‘fuller’/‘richer in details’.”
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