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Difference in sound between iTunes 7.6 and Play

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 6:12 pm
by mrtaber
OK, I have converted several albums' worth of ALAC files to FLAC. Now, both are lossless, and should sound identical. However, I notice that the ALAC files playing in iTunes have a bit more "space" around them, and seem less flat than the FLAC files in Play.

I have the equalizer turned off in iTunes, so I don't think that's the problem. Is Apple adding some undocumented "secret sauce" to playback in iTunes? There is also the possibility that it's psychological. I'm just too lazy to set up an ABX test by myself...

Just wondering if anyone else has noticed this, and if they have any ideas. I'm very pleased to have Play in my toolkit...now I can have Ogg Vorbis and Flac on my Mac! Thanks for the hard work Stephen, everyone.

Mark :)

Re: Difference in sound between iTunes 7.6 and Play

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:29 pm
by Mike1
mrtaber wrote:There is also the possibility that it's psychological.
I should imagine there is.
...now I can have Ogg Vorbis and Flac on my Mac!
You can anyway:

http://earpick.wordpress.com/2007/06/11 ... es-on-mac/

But Play will play unusual formats with no further fuss needed and besides has plenty of other advantages.

Re: Difference in sound between iTunes 7.6 and Play

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:40 pm
by mrtaber
Very interesting! Thanks very much for the reply.

Mark :D

Re: Difference in sound between iTunes 7.6 and Play

Posted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 6:24 am
by mrtaber
Well, I don't think there is a "secret sauce" in iTunes, and it's not psychological, either...I was coming down with a cold and didn't know it, and my ears are plugged up and on the fritz!

Sorry for the false alarm, but thanks for the good information.

Mark :D

Re: Difference in sound between iTunes 7.6 and Play

Posted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:35 pm
by sbooth
Play uses MAD for MP3 decoding at 24-bit resolution. So there is a possibility that for MP3s Play could sound different (I won't use the term better) than iTunes. But, for lossless formats, I would doubt there is any sound difference. In fact, I would hope not!

Re: Difference in sound between iTunes 7.6 and Play

Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:12 am
by veddervan
iTunes has the "Sound Enhancer" turned on by default. Check the Playback tab in the iTunes preferences. It adds a bit of "space" like you're talking about. Turn it off, and I bet they sound exactly the same.

Re: Difference in sound between iTunes 7.6 and Play

Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 4:27 pm
by mrtaber
That was it! Sound enhancer was on by default. Without it, they do, in fact, sound the same.

Thanks,
Mark :)