Anything that promises an enriched musical experience is fine by me, so this announcement from Apple caught my attention.
The company already offers “Mastered for iTunes” which makes AAC files sound a little bit better–better than MP3s but not as good as FLAC files. (iTunes can’t handle FLAC.)
Now comes news of Apple Digital Masters which “provide uncompromising studio sound, virtually indistinguishable from the original master recordings. With less noise and higher fidelity than ever, this is world-class audio for everyone. Apple Digital Masters combines cutting-edge technology, industry-wide best practices, and the best available artist master recordings to bring listeners an unrivaled streaming audio and digital download experience.”
The source material for these new files are high-resolution masters. According to Apple, their engineers “are able to capture all of the detail of a recording in a size that is convenient for streaming and downloading. Using 24-bit files means less noise and higher encoding efficiency. Apple has distributed our industry-leading encoder for free to mastering engineers worldwide and by using these software tools engineers are able to create ‘test pressings’ of exactly what the audience will hear. The result is music that is virtually indistinguishable from the original hi-res master recordings.”
Huh. But I’ll be the judge of that. They gotta go a long way before they’re as good as uncompressed FLAC files.
Apple Digital Masters will be rolling out worldwide over the next few months.