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Audiophile set-up using just iTunes (not ripping CDs)

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Much of the music I have accumulated in the recent future was dowloaded directly from iTunes. What quality am I missing out on by downloading from iTunes vs ripping a CD? Is it possible to move forward and grow my music collection just downloading music from iTunes?


iMac Intel + NAD C372 Integrated Amp + JM Lab Cobalt 806 + Straightwire cables

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The only real way you'll be able to tell if you're missing out is to pick a few tracks and do side by side comparisons. Bear in mind to get volume levels matched as closely as you can, otherwise it's easy to fool yourself into thinking the louder one is superior.


And choose a range of music, not just the old hi-fi show standbys (ie not light jazz, single guitar, all easy non-stretching stuff). This may mean buying some tracks you already have on CD but if you want to be certain ...


Oddly enough, I've found something raucous fares less well on the mp3 discs I've made for in-car use (who'd have thought it, Eddie and the Hot Rods showing up the hi-fi system?).


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iTunes now sell 256K AACs and these are probably the equivalent of 320K MP3s, so it may just be possible with the best equipment to tell a difference between them and the full file. However some music can be compressed far further without the effects being audible and some less so.


The important thing to remember is that compression never sounds unpleasant and that the quality of the recording is the dominant factor. In short, I wouldn't worry about it because you'll be able to make much bigger differences by making changes in other parts of your system.




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