Author Topic: "Mastered for iTunes" - Audiophiles, please chime in  (Read 590 times)

U2Joshua

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"Mastered for iTunes" - Audiophiles, please chime in
« on: May 13, 2017, 05:43:28 PM »
So, U2 have come somewhat late to the game in the iTunes Store's offering of "Mastered for iTunes" content.  The "Mastered for iTunes" trend began in 2012, and for all practical purposes seems to have not ever gotten much major attention - a few articles can be found using Google, dating back to 2012.  I remember reading about it, then, but more recently some media outlets began exploring this format, again, from a critical / technical angle.  For example, https://www.justmastering.com/article-masteredforitunes.php

In short, the claim is that the original, HD audio raw "tapes" (or digital equivalent) are not scaled down to cd, and then cd ripped to iTunes, but rather, the HD source is taken through a unique mastering process resulting in an iTunes Plus bitrate (256Kbps AAC) track that is somehow superior to a track that's simply been ripped straight from cd. 

Visual:
  • Traditional Method of digitally compressed files: Master tapes --> Master Copy --> cd --> compressed digital file
  • "Mastered for iTunes" method:  Master Tapes --> "Mastered for iTunes" digital file.
Some claim that on audiophile equipment, "Mastered for iTunes" tracks rival HD (24-bit) audio (implying that it's "better" than a cd).

From what I can tell, the only U2 material available in the iTunes (U.S. Store, anyway) that is "Mastered for iTunes" include:
  • Achtung Baby remasters
  • Songs of Innocence
  • The Joshua Tree remasters
I'm trying to get a handle on this format, as I am an iTunes user.  Most all of my listening is through iTunes either on my computer, or through my iPhone (plugged in to car stereo, etc.).

Having owned all of these albums in as many formats and releases as they've ever been released in, I thought I was getting what the iTunes store offered when I simply ripped my cds to iTunes Plus and then listened to those.  However, if everything I'm reading and understanding about "Mastered for iTunes" content is true, then theoretically I am not getting the same mastering and listening experience as if I listen to the purchased iTunes ("Mastered for iTunes") versions of these albums. 

On that note, I just purchased Achtung Baby (Deluxe Edition) [Remastered] from iTunes and listened to it through, in it's entirety.  I'm a wannabe audiophile, at best, and don't have the equipment or ears to know what's best, I'm sure.  However, I'm always seeking out what is "best" and want to become more of a listening expert in my old age :-)

My only impressions are that it seems they master them a little bit more "dynamically" (is that the proper way to describe what I'm hearing? [I don't know]).  I think I hear greater separation of sounds (i.e. between instruments).  For example, when "Whose Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?" came on, I noticed some string sections at the beginning of the song in a way I'd never heard it before.  I went back and listened to my cd rip, and sure enough, those strings are present, but not as prominently.

Has anyone else dabbled with this format, or formed an opinion about the format, as a whole - or, more specifically, have you listened to any of the U2 "Mastered for iTunes" content and come away with any impressions?

Thanks in advance~

U2Joshua
« Last Edit: May 13, 2017, 06:01:36 PM by U2Joshua »

dagobah

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Re: "Mastered for iTunes" - Audiophiles, please chime in
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2017, 11:15:42 PM »
That is a well-written, detailed forum post.  Even the grammar and spelling seems perfect.  I wish more people (who post on forums) took the same approach as you.  As far as the topic is concerned, I have nothing to offer.  My ears just can't tell the difference between all that audio stuff.  And I am very grateful for that.  Someone on this forum will probably offer you some feedback.  There are plenty of audiophiles on the @U2.com forum also.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2017, 11:17:16 PM by dagobah »

U2Joshua

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Re: "Mastered for iTunes" - Audiophiles, please chime in
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2017, 09:53:53 AM »
Welp!  There ya have it.

https://www.atu2.com/news/u2s-album-catalog-mastered-for-itunes--on-sale.html

"Thanks for your money, and for buying the same albums for the 3rd, 4th or 5th time from us, suckas!," iTunes

"You're welcome," me

slaneman

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Re: "Mastered for iTunes" - Audiophiles, please chime in
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2017, 11:41:46 AM »
Apple needs mo money.

« Last Edit: May 28, 2017, 05:59:05 PM by slaneman »

Brad

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Re: "Mastered for iTunes" - Audiophiles, please chime in
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2017, 12:34:06 PM »
The MFIT version of HTDAAB is still winning the loudness wars.

Code: [Select]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Analyzed folder: /Users/.../Mastered For iTunes/How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 DR Peak RMS Filename
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 DR4 over -6.13 dB 01 Vertigo.m4a
 DR6 over -7.65 dB 02 Miracle Drug.m4a
 DR5 over -7.20 dB 03 Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own.m4a
 DR4 over -7.03 dB 04 Love And Peace Or Else.m4a
 DR5 over -6.44 dB 05 City Of Blinding Lights.m4a
 DR5 over -6.38 dB 06 All Because Of You.m4a
 DR6 over -6.92 dB 07 A Man And A Woman.m4a
 DR5 over -6.62 dB 08 Crumbs From Your Table.m4a
 DR7 over -10.46 dB 09 One Step Closer.m4a
 DR6 over -7.78 dB 10 Original Of The Species.m4a
 DR5 over -6.36 dB 11 Yahweh.m4a
 DR5 over -6.19 dB 12 Fast Cars.m4a
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 Number of files: 12
 Official DR value: DR5

==============================================================================================

U2Joshua

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Re: "Mastered for iTunes" - Audiophiles, please chime in
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2017, 05:26:47 PM »
The MFIT version of HTDAAB is still winning the loudness wars.

Code: [Select]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Analyzed folder: /Users/.../Mastered For iTunes/How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 DR Peak RMS Filename
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 DR4 over -6.13 dB 01 Vertigo.m4a
 DR6 over -7.65 dB 02 Miracle Drug.m4a
 DR5 over -7.20 dB 03 Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own.m4a
 DR4 over -7.03 dB 04 Love And Peace Or Else.m4a
 DR5 over -6.44 dB 05 City Of Blinding Lights.m4a
 DR5 over -6.38 dB 06 All Because Of You.m4a
 DR6 over -6.92 dB 07 A Man And A Woman.m4a
 DR5 over -6.62 dB 08 Crumbs From Your Table.m4a
 DR7 over -10.46 dB 09 One Step Closer.m4a
 DR6 over -7.78 dB 10 Original Of The Species.m4a
 DR5 over -6.36 dB 11 Yahweh.m4a
 DR5 over -6.19 dB 12 Fast Cars.m4a
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 Number of files: 12
 Official DR value: DR5

==============================================================================================

LOL ;D

slaneman

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Re: "Mastered for iTunes" - Audiophiles, please chime in
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2017, 11:28:37 PM »
I don't want to get into Star Wars...I mean loudness wars...
but you can check these:

http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/list?artist=u2&album=
« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 12:05:33 PM by slaneman »