Mastered for iTunes?

(16 posts)
  1. kutu
    Member

    Disclaimer in advance: It's already so hard to make the slightest criticism about anything from Kurt and now we also have J. Farber and G. Calbi on the list. So, please don't be harsh on me, the only foundation of these words is the cheesy marketing words of Apple.

    I purchased the album online from Wommusic, in Apple lossless format and since the first second (well, actually since the first second that the band joins the mix, after the intro in Gamma Band) it sounded slightly loud for my ears. I am not talking about a "loudness wars" kind-of compression/loudness, instrument seperation and everything is great and the dynamic is there. It's just loud, even causing distortion from time to time.

    Although the album gain analysis reported that the whole album was ~8dB louder than normal (normal: ~89-90dB), with respect to the legendary names above, I thought that this was only a choice until I saw the "Mastered for iTunes" thing. Now, I wonder, is what I got (Apple Lossless) the exact rip of the CD or is it a specially mixed/mastered version of the album?

    By the way, do I need to say that it is a great album? :) Thank you so much, Kurt.

    All the best
    Utku

  2. kurtisrosenwinkel
    Administrator

    Interesting question. There should definitely not be any distortion whatsoever. I never heard any and i am very sensitive to that. It is louder than a norml jazz record but not anything crazy. But perhaps if you are using some EQ on your ipod or computer it is causing digital overloads. What system are you monitoring on? Headphones/ipod or computer out to stereo system?

  3. wommusic
    Key Master

    Hey, the Apple Lossless files are exact rips of cds. Only Apple can sell "Mastered for iTunes" files.

  4. kutu
    Member

    @wommusic
    Thank you, it's a relief. But how is it working? Do you send the original unmastered copies to Apple for them to compress and sell? So, are there two versions of the same album? Will anyone purchasing from iTunes, really, be able to appreciate the work of Farber and Calbi?

    @kurt
    A direct answer from "the" man, now it is even harder to talk. I can assure you that I am monitoring through a trustable audio path as I am, kind of, obbsessed with sound quality and fidelity. My audio path is:

    FLAC (converted from Apple lossless) -> Linux ALSA system (no resampling, no eq, no replay gain: bitperfect) -> USB DAC -> Stereo Integrated Amp -> Bookshelf Speakers or Ultrasone/Grado headphones

    Most of the time, I can easily distinguish between those "crackles" and Eric's fretnoise. But sometimes, listening is distracted. For example, during your ostinato at the intro to "Gamma Band", just before Aaron's first "big" piano chord of the album, there is an obvious distortion on the left channel. Actually, every single unison note you are playing with Aaron is at the distortion margin. Of course, every audio setup has a different headroom, so those exact moments may pop with some setups while they are OK with others. "Reflections" was also louder than a normal jazz album but lack of a piano was preventing frequency overlapping and there was no audible distortion at all.

    Since we are talking, I'd like to say that I consider your each album as a piece of art, so "Mastered for iTunes" phrase is as silly as a Mona Lisa with a "Painted for iPad screen" sticker on it (not exaggerating, really). So, please don't mix and master for the guys who listen through their laptop speakers. I think your audience prefer their albums "mastered for music". Thank you so much for your concern on this subject, Kurt.

    Hey, maybe, the loudness perception is just because of Justin -the animal- Faulkner ;)

  5. docbop
    Member

    Is Apple remastering or is WOM supplying the Apple lossless format master to Apple?


  6. wommusic
    Key Master

    Hi Kutu,

    "Mastered for iTunes" is Apples own program to improve the sound quality of the files they sell though iTunes. You can easily google and read more about it, both from Apple as well as independent opinion. The CD's we sell are not mastered for iTunes, nor are the Mp3's or Apple lossless files. If you have issues with the Apple lossless files you purchased, then please send us an email to [email protected], with your order number etc, and then we will send you a link so that you can download new ones. Thanks!

  7. wommusic
    Key Master

    P.S: Kutu it may also be possible that something happened to your Apple Lossless files when you converted them to FLAC's....

  8. kutu
    Member

    Hi Anders,

    Thank you so much, you are trying to solve a possible technical problem but that's not the case, I believe. I was just choosing every word carefully as it's a Rosenwinkel album we are talking about here and I don't want to be the fussy guy. I will be direct...

    Please see the link below, it's a simple pdf file I just made, it shows the waveforms of four modern songs. Waveforms were produced by Audacity. There is no particular reason I chose those four songs other than they were the first ones which came to my mind to represent relatively louder and stronger modern songs. They are:

    Kurt Rosenwinkel - Gamma Band
    Mary Halvorson – Sea Seizure
    Reid Anderson – The Owl
    James Farm - Polliwog

    Waveform for Gamma Band clearly displays what I was trying to tell. I was just paranoid and blamed Apple for this "loudness" but apparently they are innocent :)

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/120648/waveforms.pdf

  9. patfarlow
    Member

    whoa

  10. kurtisrosenwinkel
    Administrator

    Gamma Band is a very dense and loud song.

  11. thedwork
    Member

    and that is part of its charm...

  12. carlmorgan
    Member

    I hear what the author is talking about. at 1:11 a split second before and after the piano hits that low D you can hear a bit of what might be clipping mainly in the left channel.. Got my files from the WOM store.

    Barely noticeable though... Amazing album Kurt!

    Edit: Got files from Itunes.. You can actually hear the distortion in the itunes sample of gamma band.

  13. 111
    Member

    Is that the same stuff you hear around 3:19 and 5:11 for a little. Sounds like part of the sound like the rapid cymbal hits at the end. it works for me.

  14. contremisart
    Member

    I got my mp3's from WOM and I listen to Gamma Band as loud as possible through my headphones(GRADO) whenever I go out and never noticed a distortion. It just kicks ass..



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