1. TheSultan's Avatar
    Hey Everyone,

    I've tried getting responses to inquiries in iTunes forums, but no one in there is really intelligent, or helpful. This place is incredible in terms of people willing to help so I thought I'd try here in the off topic area.

    I have about 45 gigs of music that I've ripped over the last week to my Sony Vaio (Vista) laptop with iTunes 8. To me, the songs sound empty and even slightly distorted in some areas. Anyone else have this trouble? I've tried 192, 320 and VBR bit rates and they all seem to provide the same garbage results.

    I'm looking for someone who might have some input as to why my music sounds empty and distorted. Maybe even someone I could send a file to and you could say "uhm, no, dummy, that's how it's supposed to sound, remember it's mp3 so it sucks to begin with--stop obsessing"

    Please help

    ~c
    09-25-08 02:49 PM
  2. karwilliams's Avatar
    I'm no expert or audiophile but I do know more or less how the whole ripping process goes. My questions to you would be, what program are you using to "rip" music to your laptop and what are you listening to your music on after its "ripped"? My suggestion would be to research a good quality piece of ripping software. That's probably where the problem is. Then, maybe some high quality speakers or headphones. That's just what I would do. Again, I'm no expert.
    09-25-08 03:31 PM
  3. tkstrong's Avatar
    Something that might help is a free program called MP3gain. What this does is set the internal gain level of the MP3.

    I use it and had it set at a fairly high level. The music sounded fine with cheap car stereo and high road noise, but it sounded like crap in a quiet environment on a decent stereo system.

    I lowered the gain level on all of the MP3s and now they sound great (great for my ears that is)!

    Like the previous poster, I'm no expert either.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    09-25-08 05:16 PM
  4. TheSultan's Avatar
    I use iTunes 8 to rip the discs and am listening to them on my laptop with headphones or computer speakers, or on my iPod in the car or in a dock with speakers.

    Last week I had 194 gigs of music that I decided to delete and start fresh from. I had used MP3Gain a number of times on the files, and they finally had become distorted and sounded so much like garbage I couldn't handle it anymore. I will never ever again load that program or recommend it.

    But this isn't a volume/gain problem anyway. It's a quality issue. I'd love to find someone on here that I could send a file to to have them listen and give their opinion!
    09-25-08 07:20 PM
  5. oakie's Avatar
    if you're using a ripper that utilizes anything other than the original fraunhofer codec, then you've found your problem. but the other side of the issue is what are you using for playback?
    09-25-08 07:29 PM
  6. TheSultan's Avatar
    I use iTunes 8 to rip the discs and am listening to them on my laptop with headphones or computer speakers, or on my iPod in the car or in a dock with speakers.
    I don't know what the fraunhofer codec is but I'll google it.
    09-25-08 07:41 PM
  7. fathom7411's Avatar
    I have been into home and car audio for the last 15 yrs and since I have had mp3's I have never had luck with getting anywhere near cd quality sound quality no matter what ripper or codec I installed. If you want to get really anal I don't think cds sound as good as even vinyl. Once music became digital it lost its warmth. In my opinion mp3s are for convience of having a lot of music on limited space. But that's just my opinion and can be taken with a grain of salt.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    09-26-08 01:27 AM
  8. TheSultan's Avatar
    I agree completely fathom. I used to have a fantastic Rotel disc player running through a great Marantz amp and a great pair of Energy studios.

    I wanted the convience of MP3 and was willing to put up with the loss of quality in the compression rates. However, iTunes 8 seems to introduce some quality loss that is further than the lossy format of mp3. Mp3 has always sounded crappy to me in comparison to CD and certainly to a great (true) analog sound. This seems to be even worse than what mp3 usually sounds like. And is nearly intolerable.
    09-26-08 01:41 AM
  9. StoneRyno's Avatar
    1st off Fraunhoffer is the original MP3 basically think of any other MP3 codec as nockoffs. But LameMP3 is a good alternative to Fraunhoffer. Anyway your problem is your choice of VBR (variable bit rate). You want to use CBR (constant bit rate). 2nd and next important is the bit rate itself. With sound spectrum analysis 256kbit/sec is very close to identical to the CD. Anything less than that you are loosing significant portions of sound. So 256 or 320kbit/sec are good choices depending on how much stuff you have to rip and how much space you have to work with. 3rd factor is what app you use to rip with. I haven't ripped CDs in a long time so I forget the name of the app I used. But generally I don't like to use apps like WMP and itunes to rip music. a dedicated ripping app would probably be a better choice but the key is being able to choose which MP3 codec is used and choosing the bitrate and type CBR and not VBR.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    09-29-08 01:26 AM
  10. oakie's Avatar
    I agree completely fathom. I used to have a fantastic Rotel disc player running through a great Marantz amp and a great pair of Energy studios.

    I wanted the convience of MP3 and was willing to put up with the loss of quality in the compression rates. However, iTunes 8 seems to introduce some quality loss that is further than the lossy format of mp3. Mp3 has always sounded crappy to me in comparison to CD and certainly to a great (true) analog sound. This seems to be even worse than what mp3 usually sounds like. And is nearly intolerable.
    any audiophile knows from the onset that compressed sound is just that. there is no way to compress a file without removing parts of it. all of the codecs just have different algorithms to decide what data gets removed during the compression process.

    but if you're looking for lossless sound from a lossy codec, keep dreaming. stick to WAV, Ogg Vorbis, or FLAC if you just have to have it digitized without a hard medium.
    09-29-08 10:24 AM
  11. TheSultan's Avatar
    You guys are 100% correct. HOWEVER, there is a bigger issue at hand since I got the same quality listening experience while playing back a CD, which is NOT compressed. It seems there is something wrong with soundcard somewhere, which scares me because I believe it's a part of the motherboard.
    09-29-08 08:33 PM
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