Mastered For iTunes

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Mastered For iTunes

Postby da goose » Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:27 am

I also posted this in the no AAC support thread, but this way it might be attracted a bit more and since it was a bit offtopic, I thought it would be better of having it's own topic.

Mastered For iTunes is slowly going to be the standard and I get more and more requests for it.
The basics of MFiT is that you deliver a master in the highest resolution (at least 24/44) so that the encoding to AAC is better (it really is). But there is also the clipping/ISP part, which is a matter of delivering a master that doesn't clip when converted to AAC. There are dedicated tools from Apple to check that, but that is mac only (a big miss if you ask me). Sure you can play it on the save side and aim for -1db but this will still be guessing. You can also encode to AAC with iTunes and import that AAC file again in wavelab and check, but this could be better and more professional.
This is where wavelab can play a big part. 8-)

Sonnox made a plugin, Pro-codec (http://www.sonnoxplugins.com/pub/plugin ... -codec.htm), which is just for doing this (and a lot more) and is, as far as i know the only piece of software for PC to check if your masters are OK for MFiT.
Since there are some sonnox pluginns included since wavelab7, maybe something like a stripped down version of the Pro-codec plugin could be 'made'. The coding is already there and so are the connections to sonnox so 1 + 1 = 2
It only needs AAC (MFiT) and maybe mp3 320kbps and I think you don't have to ABX and compare things so it could be a real basic, stripped down version.

I would happily pay extra for that!
Maybe even a WL8 PRO edition next to WL8 and WL8 elements?
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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby Arjan P » Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:57 am

da goose wrote:I would happily pay extra for that!

Well, you can - at Sonnox and probably many more third party plugin makers. I don't see any reason to include this in Wavelab and don't need it.
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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby PG » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:08 pm

Being able to Master audio files while monitoring the effect it would have in mp3 format (among others) would be a welcome addition to WaveLab.
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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby da goose » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:25 pm

Arjan P wrote:
da goose wrote:I would happily pay extra for that!

Well, you can - at Sonnox and probably many more third party plugin makers. I don't see any reason to include this in Wavelab and don't need it.

Well, since wavelab is aimed to be professional mastering software (which it is), it IS needed. That you might not need it is a different story, you will probably also don't need EBU r128 metering while there is a big demand for it.
There is no other option then the apple utility (mac only) and the sonnox so there are not many more options i'm afraid.
For professional mastering engineers this funtion alone would be a reason to start using wavelab without a doubt!

@PG: yes please :)
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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby Dave500 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:47 pm

PG wrote:Being able to Master audio files while monitoring the effect it would have in mp3 format (among others) would be a welcome addition to WaveLab.


Hi Philippe,

I agree, does the above statement mean that Wavelab may get this at some point. I was hoping Wavelab 8 might have this feature so I would not have to purchase something like the Sonnox pro-codec separately.

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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby PG » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:14 pm

does the above statement mean that Wavelab may get this at some point


I want so.
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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby C.LYDE » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:26 pm

Arjan P wrote:
da goose wrote:I would happily pay extra for that!

Well, you can - at Sonnox and probably many more third party plugin makers. I don't see any reason to include this in Wavelab and don't need it.


Request - please implement additional monitoring, analysis or audio manipulation as part of the existing windows and tool format.
I'm thinking that the already powerful menu based tools should be expanded, rather than following a plug-in format ... :idea:
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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby JeffM » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:59 pm

Thanks for starting the thread da goose - I am also doing a lot more MFIT things now and I am sure many more engineers will be too. Slightly off topic but I hear that iTunes will only accept MFIT audio by iTunes certified engineers - I assume then that the only way an engineer can be certified is by having the right codec software and therefore a mac! what does that mean for us PC and WL users?
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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby Bane » Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:50 am

Super cool! I could definitely see using that!
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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby Biss » Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:54 am

I can't understand why anybody would believe in this MFit at all! It is pure apple marketing. It doesn't sound any different!
I really support the idea of having AAC format in WL.
But, am I the only one who master delivering wav only and then clients sell on any digital platforms with no problem at all? They don't ask me for any other format, ever.

Am I the only one who think that if the master is properly done (simply put, not over-compressed), it will sound good in any format?
Distributors like Tunecore do all the conversions. Never had any problem or complaint.
Do you want to master for iTunes? Just eliminate dithering and master at 24bit wav. Everybody is going to be just happy. iTunes will do the rest for you. :lol:
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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby da goose » Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:06 pm

Biss wrote:I can't understand why anybody would believe in this MFit at all! It is pure apple marketing. It doesn't sound any different!
I really support the idea of having AAC format in WL.
But, am I the only one who master delivering wav only and then clients sell on any digital platforms with no problem at all? They don't ask me for any other format, ever.

Am I the only one who think that if the master is properly done (simply put, not over-compressed), it will sound good in any format?
Distributors like Tunecore do all the conversions. Never had any problem or complaint.
Do you want to master for iTunes? Just eliminate dithering and master at 24bit wav. Everybody is going to be just happy. iTunes will do the rest for you. :lol:

I disagree on this. Sure, partly it is marketing (trust me, i'm totally no apple fanboy, i don't even have an ipod or any other product from apple) but the fact that you can upload in 2496 for encoding really makes a difference.
Have you ever tried converting to mp3 with a 2496 and a 1644 file to mp3? Have you listened to the difference and did you also do a null test? you should..
Also the fact that ISP's/clipping not shown in the wav/aif master will cause clipping after the conversion and there is no standard guideline saying, if you peak at -0.5db you wont have clipping after the conversion. This totally depends on the music, sometimes -0.1 will be enough while with some other music -1.0 will still clip after conversion. Clipping in lossy audio will give really bad artifacts and so you simply want to know what is going on, hence the apple tools, or I hope, and if i understand PG's response, WL will have the option soon and that would be GREAT!
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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby Biss » Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:13 pm

da goose wrote:I disagree on this. Sure, partly it is marketing (trust me, i'm totally no apple fanboy, i don't even have an ipod or any other product from apple) but the fact that you can upload in 2496 for encoding really makes a difference.
Have you ever tried converting to mp3 with a 2496 and a 1644 file to mp3? Have you listened to the difference and did you also do a null test? you should..


If you really believe this, good for you.
To me, people who are looking for music with quality sound listen to CDs or wav. People who listen to mp3 just don't care. And people who listen to mp3s on a high quality hi-fi system (the only place where you might hear the difference you are talking about) are crazy.
If people at Apple cared about quality, iTunes would sell wav and not this marketing crap.
This is what we (the professional mastering community) should tell them.
Instead, as always, we will follow the market and give the clients what they want.
By the way, I stopped caring about 96K a long while ago. Just my opinion. :)
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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby Vocalpoint » Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:47 pm

Biss wrote:I can't understand why anybody would believe in this MFit at all! It is pure apple marketing.


+100. Could there be a bigger oxymoron than "Mastered for iTunes?" As if "iTunes" has ever delivered any kind of fidelity whatsoever? And then try to scam the general public that this is somehow special?

No matter how you attempt to dress it up - AAC is still a crap,lossy format - period. No amount of marketing hype or fancy filters can make it any better than the average MP3.

Biss wrote: But, am I the only one who master delivering wav only and then clients sell on any digital platforms with no problem at all? They don't ask me for any other format, ever.


Most of my clients - whether MAC or PC - always want wav. The next most popular is the good ole MP3. In 11 years of operation - I have never had a single customer, colleague or anyone else for that matter - ever ask for aac.

It may be the default for Apple - but not the rest of the world.

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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby Biss » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:02 pm

da goose wrote:Also the fact that ISP's/clipping not shown in the wav/aif master will cause clipping after the conversion and there is no standard guideline saying, if you peak at -0.5db you wont have clipping after the conversion. This totally depends on the music, sometimes -0.1 will be enough while with some other music -1.0 will still clip after conversion.


Of course there is no standard guideline, because it is not about peaks, it's about loudness and over compression/limiting.
I can show you masters at -0,01 that won't clip converted to mp3.
Just don't over-compress and everything is going to be fine.
If the client wants to go crazy loud, no ISP/Mfit/Apple tools/-1 peak/whatever will save your mastering from clipping once converted.
Take a look at any super-loud mastered track for download over the internet. Even very famous stuff. They all clip like crazy.

Having said that, I welcome any new function in WL. ;)
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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby da goose » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:38 pm

Guys, may I suggest seriously reading this book first and then come back complaining about MFiT?
http://www.amazon.com/iTunes-Music-Mast ... 0415656850
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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby Vocalpoint » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:11 pm

da goose wrote:Guys, may I suggest seriously reading this book first and then come back complaining about MFiT?
http://www.amazon.com/iTunes-Music-Mast ... 0415656850


Really? While I love Bob Katz and I am a fan - the very name of the book is joke

"iTunes Music: Mastering High Resolution Audio Delivery".

iTunes is not (and will never be) high resolution so spending another 25 bucks just to find out how one takes a real high res file and throws away most of the data to arrive at a lossy "mastered for iTunes" file is laughable in my opinion.

In order for anything to be high resolution - it must first retain the required resolution. And of the 8 albums or so that I know of that are truly "Mastered for iTunes"...all have been heavily analyzed to death by the music press and fans alike - the general consensus is "yawn". The tracks are either ruined by relentless volume (Red Hot Chili Peppers) or have no real difference at all....

Apple - understandable (with their stock in freefall and nothing else exciting on the way) is simply reaching for anything to prop up their dead end outlet as streaming, HD tracks and other true high resolution music playback (like ripping your own CDs) continue eat away at their aging carcass.

Apple should get with the program and simply offer true Apple lossless files and get the respect that most of us would then be comfortable to give. But putting any effort whatsoever into "mastering" to an inferior format coupled with trying to convince the masses that it sounds better is truly lame and pointless to me.

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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby Arjan P » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:24 pm

Vocalpoint wrote:But putting any effort whatsoever into "mastering" to an inferior format coupled with trying to convince the masses that it sounds better is truly lame and pointless to me.

+1, and exactly why I say I don't need this. A bit disappointed in Bob Katz too..
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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby da goose » Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:26 am

Come on guys... this is 2013 we are living in! You HAVE TO accept that these are simply facts no matter how hard you try to avoid it!
I think about 90% of all music that we master as a wav (at least for the professionals here) will be played back on spotify, iTunes etc and are lossy codecs and so you simply can't deny that these are the facts. Deal with it and do that in the best way you can.

Bob Katz was only the guy writing the book, he is not the person that came up with MFiT and the ideas about. If you read the book (which you all probably didn't) you would have read that on the first pages.

The way you respond only proves that you didn't even READ the book, you only judge it while not even knowing what is in it. Maybe first read it and then come back with the same meaningless, dumb, arguments.
I'm not going to argue again about this. Fine if you want to continue not living in 2013, I know I am.
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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby Arjan P » Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:57 pm

da goose wrote:Bob Katz was only the guy writing the book, he is not the person that came up with MFiT and the ideas about. If you read the book (which you all probably didn't) you would have read that on the first pages.

Actually, your pedantic assumption that I didn't read it says more about you than me. I read Bob Ludwig's foreword, and my disappointment with Bob Katz and this book is that it glorifies Apple and iTunes, while there are many more deliverables out there (MP3 anyone?).

da goose wrote:Maybe first read it and then come back with the same meaningless, dumb, arguments.
I'm not going to argue again about this.

So, you're taking it personal now cause people happen to not agree with you. You want others to come with arguments - which you already classify as dumb and meaningless, but aren't going to argue about it yourself. That in itself means that it's useless to even carry on and you are not here to discuss anything, just to get what you and only you want. I guess you didn't exactly win any argument, let alone make a strong case for MFiT.
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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby da goose » Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:46 pm

I have the book, read it and since then I think differently about the approach for mastering that will end up as lossy audio. I have the book laying in my studio for attending customers to understand the story behind it, because that is what the book is about and has nothing to do with apple.

OK.. let's get back on topic now since it seems like some people seem to take things personal which was never the idea. :geek:

There is a big demand for MFiT files and the demand grows per day as most professional mastering-engineers will know. It takes special care as you might have read in the book, MFiT guidelines or other topics, whenever you are dealing with lossy audio as the final medium. No matter what lossy audio (mp3, aac) you will be dealing with, you will ALWAYS have a big chance of clipping and there is only one way to find out. WL8 can play a big part in this with the already mentioned ideas and it looks like PG luckily agrees on this.
It's 2013.

Some figures about iTunes:
http://www.factbrowser.com/facts/11479/
http://www.factbrowser.com/facts/11472/
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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby Vocalpoint » Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:08 pm

da goose wrote:OK.. let's get back on topic now since it seems like some people seem to take things personal which was never the idea. :geek:


Seems that only you started to take it "personally"....

da goose wrote:There is a big demand for MFiT files and the demand grows per day as most professional mastering-engineers will know.


Easy on this...until you can show any information that actually quantifies interest...I highly doubt there is any "demand" from a typical 16 year old kid who uses iTunes saying "I wish I had the MFit version of this song".

People that buy anything from the Apple store simply do not (and cannot) be associated with audio quality. It's simply not possible.

da goose wrote:It takes special care as you might have read in the book, MFiT guidelines or other topics, whenever you are dealing with lossy audio as the final medium.


From all that I could gather on this thing - this entire "toolkit" is nothing more than a file converter (at best) and as such - should not require any "special care". It's not like you are in control and "creating" anything with it. Any mastering engineer (or me for that matter) simply runs his or her tracks through it to create an aac file. Where's the skill in that?

da goose wrote:WL8 can play a big part in this with the already mentioned ideas and it looks like PG luckily agrees on this.


I am truly hoping that PG will not suddenly decide to taking WL in any direction that panders to any inferior "lossy" file creation or any kind of "Apple" specific egosystem in particular - I (and many others) will be very disappointed.

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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby Transistor » Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:49 pm

da goose wrote:Bob Katz was only the guy writing the book, he is not the person that came up with MFiT and the ideas about. If you read the book (which you all probably didn't) you would have read that on the first pages.


Well, I have read it, and must say that I--as much as I admire Bob for his knowledge and contributions to the audio community (and my copy of MA is a couple of reads away from being in pieces) as well as being a really nice guy--also am quite disappointed in this last effort. There's a bunch of useful info in there, but (apart from being shoddily written and looking like it was designed by a rank amateur), its basic premise is in effect flawed. Statements such as "Apple has always been concerned about [audio] quality" are ludicrous (given the fact that they have been pushing 128k mp3s for years), and promoting a lossy format as a step forward is plain silly in 2013, when Flac and Apple Lossless are the obvious HQ contenders.

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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby Vocalpoint » Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:04 pm

Transistor wrote:Promoting a lossy format as a step forward is plain silly in 2013, when FLAC and Apple Lossless are the obvious HQ contenders.


+1.

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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby da goose » Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:28 pm

sure.. you are all right of course.... what was I thinking.. :shock:
OK,.. back on topic again guys!
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Re: Mastered For iTunes

Postby Vocalpoint » Sat Apr 20, 2013 11:04 pm

da goose wrote:OK,.. back on topic again guys!


OK - on topic. I am not interested in paying extra for any addon I would never use.

Nor would I ever need any WL gadget to tell me that my master is "clipping". While there are dozens of ways to ensure your master is not clipping - the easiest one is called "headroom".

Common sense dictates that every mix should have some. Don't need a plugin for this.

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