Friday, March 23, 2007

Surprise: AAC to CD to AAC produces awful results

I've never done much with Apple's iTunes store, but recently I realized the time had come to stop entirely. What should I do, however, with the 20 or so DRMd tunes that the children or I had collected over the years?

I figured I'd just burn them to a CD and then recode them as AAC. iTunes even creates a "Text CD", which passes the critical metadata to the CD. It took a few minutes, but I did all twenty. Then, as I was cleaning up, I decided to compare the orginal AAC (128 bit) to recycled new AAC (160 bit VBR).

The copy was bloody awful. It was the difference between a CD (or at least a good tape) and AM radio. I don't have any musical talent or abilities whatsoever -- this was not subtle. I knew there'd be some loss of quality, but I didn't expect it to be this bad. I deleted the bunch.

So now I have to choose between buying the CD for the music I own, or looking for pirated copies of key tunes that I've paid for. Hmmm.

One thing is for sure. I have to tell the relatives not to send any more iTunes gift certificates!

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