It’s a great store, it’s well-integrated, the selection is good, the prices are okay, I like the presentation and recommendations, but the songs sound bad. They don’t sound horrible, and if you don’t really pay attention you might not notice, but for all of iTunes’ claims about the quality of what you’re downloading, their format at 128 sounds crappy.
Purchased songs are encoded using MPEG-4 Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) format, a high-quality format that rivals CD quality.
Bullll fucking shiiiiit. There’s no definition of rivals that covers “is obviously inferior”.
Noooww, I’m not a crazy audiophile with the $9,000 platinum interconnects. But I was comparing two songs, one off CD and the same version bought a long time ago off iTunes, and I was amazed at how clearly bad the iTunes was. For instance, the drums — the iTunes is a background dum-dum-dum, but on CD you can actually make out the strike.
So if you want to buy a CD online, you’ll probably find it for under $15 and get a strikingly better listen than the same CD off iTunes for $10. And then you can rip it, which takes all of a couple of minutes… but if the difference in quality is only $5 and it’s enough to drive me to purchase the physical version, why isn’t Apple in that business? If I could spend $15 and get a full album beautifully encoded, I’d probably do it every time, since almost all my listening is while writing at a computer or while working out and listening on my iPod.
I don’t get it. Why build a giant, beautiful storefront and stock it with shoddy merchandise? No retailer does that.
I don’t mind 128 for most things, but there’s no doubt anyone can hear the difference; I think the difference between 320 and cd quality is usually obvious. 128 is fine for my traveling earphone needs, but $10 for a cd of that quality is ridiculous.
I suppose it’s possible that many people care less about the difference between 128 and cd quality than they do about five bucks.