Does “Mastered for iTunes” matter to music?
A nice, detailed article on the subject [link]
We enlisted Chicago Mastering Service engineers Jason Ward and Bob Weston to help us out, both of whom were somewhat skeptical that any knob tweaking could result in a better iTunes experience. We came away from the process learning that it absolutely is possible to improve the quality of compressed iTunes Plus tracks with a little bit of work, that Apple’s improved compression process does result in a better sound, and that 24/96 files aren’t a good format for consumers.
To test this, Ward downloaded a track from a recently mastered album available on iTunes. He then loaded the original 24/96 master file and used Apple’s supplied iTunes mastering tools to compress the file to iTunes Plus format. He then played both tracks back in iTunes, using the studio’s equipment to switch back and forth between the two versions. The version created directly from the 24/96 master did indeed have a slightly brighter, crisper sound, according to our observations.
Readers would probably know that I use iTunes as my music player. And now with the iCloud shackle, I can’t move to any other player 🙂