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From where should I download my music???

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by richedie, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. richedie

    richedie Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Hey all! I have been using CDs for years. I am a musician and always noticed a quality difference from CD format or WMA files over MP3, but then I started using iTunes M4A files and they seem great. However, our iTunes account was hacked twice so we stopped using them!

    Now I am back to using CDs and ripping them on mty PC and copying to my HTC Inspire.

    Are there any other sites that use M4A files or a file format as good a quality? I am not sure what to do. :(

    One other thing I noticed that is unrelated is some of my albums are listed as untitled on my Droid and this is a pain because it is hard to search music when several albums show as untitled. Can I resolved this issue?

    Thanks!
     



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  2. drmonocle

    drmonocle Newbie

    M4A is just a different encoding, it's not necessarily better than MP3. Lossy formats like M4A and MP3 can have a wide range of quality depending on the bitrate. If I remember correctly, MP3 and M4A are pretty much equivalent bitrate-wise. (Meaning a 256kbps M4A will sound about as good as a 256kbps MP3)

    Google music MP3s are 320kbps, and Amazon MP3 uses 256kbps.

    It can be tricky though because higher bitrate doesn't always equal higher quality, it can depend on the encoding process and the quality of the master used.
     
  3. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants

    If quality is a must, stick with CD's for now. Amazon generally has really great prices.
     
  4. Litemup13

    Litemup13 Newbie

    If you go to "youtube converter" in your PC search, you can convert any song on youtube legally in high quality format, then move it to your phone, or wherever. Works very well for me.
     
  5. Litemup13

    Litemup13 Newbie

    Oh, it downloads as a music file, not a video.
     
  6. pastafarian

    pastafarian Pâtes avec votre foie

    Keep in mind that the legality of youtube converters is a bit muddy. It appears that it is legal under re: the betamax case as long as the subject is not already pirated in some way and it's for personal use only. The MPAA, RIAA and probably Google will argue that it's 100% illegal.
     
    blackepoxy likes this.
  7. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    Is this music you ripped with iTunes and songs bought from the iTunes Store? There's been a few posts on AF about tagging problems with iTunes and certain Android devices. iTunes is apparently doing something non-standard with tagging, OK if you have an iPhone or iPad though. A tool like MP3Tag should be able to fix that.
     
  8. i3i

    i3i Newbie

    This is just my moral opinion but it stands on common sense. If you buy any song, you own the rights to a copy of that song within the legal rights of ownership and broadcast. Now if say your dog doesn't like acdc and chews up the disc, you still own a legal right to a copy of that song. The cd is just another medium to carry it. Thus you should have no worries getting another copy from anywhere and feel 100% safe in the knowledge that you have purchased therefore own the rights to have a copy of that song.

    I would stand up in any court against anyone and maintain this notion.

    So as a result, I would get your music from anywhere you can for your phone or other devices. Rather than rip hundreds of cds, I would rather buy the cd, never play it and happily download said tunes and feel completely legit doing so. Remember what you are paying for is license to own and play.

    I personally can't stand iTunes because they seem to want to own and control you. They have taken the idea of eg : 1000 mp3s and an optional text database and table of contents and turned it into a complete embarrassment. I've seen it bring a computer to its knees. It is almost as if they want to sell you a simple glass of water by making you sip it through a series of complex straws that require heavy suction.
     
    mikedt likes this.
  9. mikedt

    mikedt 你好


    That's OK then, because I still have my copy of Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep by Middle Of The Road on a 45 I bought in 1971. It's all scratched and virtually unplayable now and I don't have a record player anyway. However I can go ahead and download a copy of the song from bit-torrent and have a clear conscience about it. :)

    I wonder how many times the music industry would have loved to have sold me The Beatles - White Album over the years, LP, quadrophonic LP, reel-to-reel, 8-track, cassette, Elcaset, CD, SA-CD, DVD-audio, Minidisc, HDCD, MP3, M4A,...

    I like your analogy.
     
    blackepoxy likes this.
  10. richedie

    richedie Newbie
    Thread Starter

    I read that the m4a files are lossless. I compared the m4a and Amazon mp3 files and don't hear much of a difference. I am old school and still believe nothing is as rich and full as vinyl played through a tube amp and good speakers, but I need convenience and even CDs can't compete with the convenience of having my music all on my phone.

    I will have to check to see what the total storage is on my HTC Inspire 4G. Wonder how much I can store!?
     
  11. JIMV

    JIMV Android Enthusiast

    This is what I do...First, my Droid III has a Hi-Rez 24/96 DAC (capable of better than CD quality music. A CD is 16/44.1) I am serious about my music and have 99% of my music files recorded at CD quality of better FLAC or WAV files. The downside is, these files eat space on the phone. I use a 32GB card and at the moment I have maybe 40 music files, at least two hours of play, on the phone. (and many times that in free space)

    I rip my CD's to my computer at 16/44.1 and then move the files to the phone. In addition, I have some 24/96 files from Hi-rez sites like HD-Tracks that also play, in Hi-Rez, on my phone.

    Bottom line...M4A files are just the beginning of better music files. You can load stuff at CD or better quality if you have the right phone and enough storage. I use the Poweramp App for my music...If you want music art, you will need to rip to FLAC files.
     
  12. drmonocle

    drmonocle Newbie

    They usually aren't. The confusion is because M4A isn't actually an audio format, it's a "container" format that can hold many different kinds of audio. Most of the time M4A files contain AAC audio, which is a compressed format that's pretty similar to MP3, quality-wise. However, M4A can also be used to hold Apple Lossless audio. (ALAC)
     
  13. JIMV

    JIMV Android Enthusiast

    I was short of time in my answer last night and cut a lot of corners...Here is a better, I hope, answer to your question...

    Audio files are broken into three basic groups, CD quality, compressed audio and High resolution audio. CD is the defacto standard as everyone knows what they sound like on their own stereo's. The CD has a word length of 16 Bits and a sampling frequency of 44.1.

    Compressed audio is a remnant of the time when computers has very limited storage and making bit perfect CD quality files ate up that hard drive capacity fast. The result was a series of greatly compressed lossy file options, all of which sound worse than a CD and some sound like crap. Next came lossless compression schemes like FLAC, which result in files smaller than CD size but are much bigger than compressed schemes. Apple through their MP3 driven iPOD made compressed audio a standard for an entire generation who liked the convenience but had never heard audio reproduced well. Folk who wanted better sound tended to drift into vinyl, which was fussy but cool and very trendy.

    Today computer storage is vast and external drives can make it unlimited for very little money.

    The heart of the hardware needed for music is the DAC, digital to analogue converter. It takes the bits of a digital file and converts it into music. All CD's play at 16/44.1...Modern CD players, separate DAC's, and many, many portable devices use DAC's that are capable of playing files of much higher resolution. Most are either 24/96 or 24/192 with the bigger the numbers the bigger the file needed and the better sounding it CAN be...

    I say CAN because no amount of file size will fix a crappy recording and a MP3 will always be an MP3.

    ALL iPOD's are limited to CD quality sound by their DAC...Many phones have much more modern DAC's. My Droid III has a 24/96 DAC meaning it can play files capable of sounding much better than a CD or an iPOD BUT, only through headphones or hard wired to an external audio system. The Bluetooth wireless signal is limited to CD quality.

    High resolution is all the rage in serious audio today. While I own a CD system, 99% of my music is sourced from one of my computers to an outboard high resolution DAC and then to my serious stereo. Even my basic laptop, the one I am typing on now, is full of high resolution music that goes from the PC to a USB DAC and then to powered speakers.

    Now, you asked where to get music better than the lossly stuff you noted. I recommend HD Tracks..

    https://www.hdtracks.com/index.php?file=staticpage&pagename=audiophile_96khz

    If your audio gear is decent, the better sound might surprise you.
     
    EarlyMon likes this.
  14. drmonocle

    drmonocle Newbie

    Compressed audio's been popular since long before the iPod. FM radio has been around for decades, and AM even longer. Modern MP3 files can be higher quality than FM radio at certain bitrates.

    MP3/AAC audio still has its place. Yes hard drives are huge, but mobile phones are still limited to 32/64 GB. Many people like to carry around their entire music library on their phone/iPod, but this wouldn't be possible for some people with FLAC/ALAC audio.
     
  15. JIMV

    JIMV Android Enthusiast

    If your goal is to carry around vast quantities of badly compressed files, then quality is not your issue and the thread does not apply. If you do desire quality music reproduction, then you have to go where it is possible to get that high quality. Today that is not apple but instead other providers and, for me, that means Android platforms with good DAC's capable of Hi-Rez.

    Put succinctly, I would rather carry 5-8 hours of quality files than hundreds of dross.
     
  16. SUroot

    SUroot Extreme Android User

    I don't buy music online, but does nowhere sell in FLAC?
     
  17. JIMV

    JIMV Android Enthusiast

    HD Tracks are FLAC both in CD quality and Hi-Rez
     
    IOWA and SUroot like this.
  18. drmonocle

    drmonocle Newbie

    Haha. It's great that you're serious about music and you value high-quality files. Most people are fine listening to FM radio and 256k/320k quality, same way that not everyone wants a sports car or expensive wine - not everyone has the same tastes as everyone else. :)

    The OP was asking how to find audio that was the same quality as iTunes Store M4A files, which uses 256k AAC. (Similar to 256k MP3.)
     
    Seanette likes this.
  19. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast

    AAC is actually more efficient so that 256kbps AAC is likely more or less on par with 320kbps MP3.

    Interesting. Didn't realize you can buy high res tracks in FLAC now. Dad has a bunch of SACDs at home. :p Also didn't know there are portables capable of playing high res tracks without downsampling. :rolleyes:

    Almost never listen to music on my portables, though. Normally prefer listening at home with the speakers at night. :p
     
  20. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    There's a few niche specialised stores that sell music in high quality FLAC. e.g. Linn Records - The best recordings in Studio Master Download, Vinyl and SACD Linn Records is independent and is a division of Linn Products, a Scottish manufacturer of audiophile-grade/extremely-expensive audio equipment.

    Something like Linn Records are not selling anything mainstream though, certainly wont find Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber here. However there's NO international restrictions and NO nasty DRM either. :)
     
  21. linuxrich

    linuxrich Well-Known Member

    Magnatune seems to do a variety of formats which are better quality than your usual mp3.
     
    EarlyMon and mikedt like this.
  22. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    When I think back to what I listened to, previous generations didn't really listen to music well either, e.g. Dansette record players, cheap music centres, cassettes, 8-tracks, AM transistor radios. All convenient, but not much audio quality. Listening to lossy MP3s is what most of the current generation tend to do, it's good enough for most people and is convenient and cost effective. Even if they're listening to CDs, often the equipment is inexpensive and not high quality.

    I'm sure to actually hear the difference between high-bitrate lossy MP3 and lossless FLAC, one really has to be using high quality(expensive) equipment. Certainly not the standard earbuds that come with most mobile phones.

    Can also be extremely expensive as well. A decent audiophile record deck can cost upto $1000 USD or more, just for the deck. Not including all the other things required, like amps, cables, speakers, stands, etc. One's desired music might not be available on vinyl either.

    If I want the music I like in high quality lossless CD-rip FLAC or whatever, I've basically got to bit-torrent it. English language artist CDs are not readily available here, well apart from things like Carpenters, Celine Dion and Justin Bieber, etc. Certainly NO Jethro Tull, Uriah Heep, UFO, Budgie or Black Sabbath CDs in Xilinhot, and NO vinyl either.

    Many music stores and online streaming services seem to be USA only, thank you RIAA for encouraging me to steal music. :rolleyes:
     
  23. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast

    If you're listening to Lady Gaga or Justine Bieber, even high resolution FLAC won't help. :p
     
    JIMV likes this.
  24. AntimonyER

    AntimonyER CHANGED FROM AF ADDICT MIKESTONY

    lol.
     
  25. JIMV

    JIMV Android Enthusiast

    Just for info, if you are looking for a very high quality portable player for better than CD quality music, a company called HiFi Man sells one that does nothing but music but it does it very well and has a quality Hi-Rez DAC

    Amazon.com: Hi-Fi Man - HM-801 - Portable Music Player: MP3 Players & Accessories

    Something else to consider, really good portable players need earphones better than the throw away earbuds that come with most players. Good earbuds run to the hundreds of dollars.

    I also almost never listen to music on the go from a portable player. I do listen at my destination when I travel though. In addition to the phone and earbuds, I also pack a very good and very small wireless portable speaker.

    Amazon.com: Jawbone JAMBOX (Red Dot): Electronics

    These silly little speakers sound WAY better than they should and can operate wireless via Bluetooth with most phones.
     
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