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Apple Releases ‘Mastered for iTunes’ Section for Music Lovers

Whether you consider yourself to be a hard-core audiophile or just like to listen to the occasional song, you may be pleased by this news from Apple. They just released a new program called “Mastered for iTunes”, which includes tracks specifically mastered to sound good at low bitrates – no matter what kind of audio equipment you’re using.

Apple currently makes use of the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) codec for music compression. Most modern music tracks are recorded using 24-bit samples at 96 kHz or 192 kHz, depending on the processing power and storage space of the system. iTunes files are then compressed to a 256 kbps AAC “iTunes Plus” format, which loses 97 percent of the data contained in the original, uncompressed recording. The “Mastered for iTunes” tries to minimize this lost data by downsampling the original, high-quality music file to 44.1 kHz using a 32-bit floating-point intermediary file. It is used to create high-quality iTunes Plus files from AIFF or WAVE masters. Here’s a snippet from the guide:

“The Droplet creates an AAC audio file from an AIFF or WAVE source file by first generating a CAF (Core Audio File) rendered with an iTunes sound check profile applied to the file. If the sample rate of the source file is greater than 44.1 kHz, it’s downsampled to 44.1 kHz using our mastering-quality SRC. Next, it uses this newly rendered CAF to render a high quality AAC audio file. Once the final AAC audio file is generated, the intermediary CAF is deleted” ~ Apple Mastered for iTunes guide

For more details on the technology behind these new Mastered for iTunes tracks, you can visit Apple’s new Mastered for iTunes website.