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Re: Upload WAVs or MP3, AAC etc to iTunes, Spotify etc

Postby watsonius » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:06 pm

Evie McCreevie wrote:
jpalmer wrote:Always upload lossless/uncompressed (i.e. wav/flac/aiff) in the highest bit rate you have...

Thanks for that – confirmed what I was thinking. I went ahead and loaded the full 24bit WAVs - so far, so good.

Hi Evie, when you said so far so good back in 2017, can you please confirm if that meant when the files landed on itunes/spotify/tidal etc that it sounded exactly the same quality as the source file you uploaded, or can you describe how good it sounded compared to your uncompressed source file, please? Just wondering if I should be uploading from WAV as source file or if I should upload from ALAC (m4a) lossless format, and would be great to hear your feedback from your experience in 2017 where we almost got to hear the outcome.

Thanks!
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Re: Upload WAVs or MP3, AAC etc to iTunes, Spotify etc

Postby James Perrett » Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:18 am

watsonius wrote: Just wondering if I should be uploading from WAV as source file or if I should upload from ALAC (m4a) lossless format, and would be great to hear your feedback from your experience in 2017 where we almost got to hear the outcome.

Evie hasn't been around here for a while but my experience is that you go with whatever your distributor accepts. Most of the time it will be a .wav file at 44.1kHz sample rate. Some require 16 bit files while others will accept 24 bit files. If your distributor accepts ALAC files then your upload times will be reduced but there will be no other difference as the data is identical.

The end result will be mangled so much by the encoding that you won't really hear the difference between 16 and 24 bits.
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Re: Upload WAVs or MP3, AAC etc to iTunes, Spotify etc

Postby watsonius » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:17 pm

James Perrett wrote:
watsonius wrote: Just wondering if I should be uploading from WAV as source file or if I should upload from ALAC (m4a) lossless format, and would be great to hear your feedback from your experience in 2017 where we almost got to hear the outcome.

Evie hasn't been around here for a while but my experience is that you go with whatever your distributor accepts. Most of the time it will be a .wav file at 44.1kHz sample rate. Some require 16 bit files while others will accept 24 bit files. If your distributor accepts ALAC files then your upload times will be reduced but there will be no other difference as the data is identical.

The end result will be mangled so much by the encoding that you won't really hear the difference between 16 and 24 bits.


Thank you, James. Appreciate the feedback. Interested to see if the online stores like Apple music and Spotify sound the same as the WAV files that are uploaded. Will update this thread when I get my results to post feedback about.
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Re: Upload WAVs or MP3, AAC etc to iTunes, Spotify etc

Postby James Perrett » Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:13 pm

watsonius wrote:Interested to see if the online stores like Apple music and Spotify sound the same as the WAV files that are uploaded.

They won't sound the same - the trick with mastering is to create something that sounds acceptable when heard through their data compression.
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Re: Upload WAVs or MP3, AAC etc to iTunes, Spotify etc

Postby watsonius » Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:42 pm

James Perrett wrote:
watsonius wrote:Interested to see if the online stores like Apple music and Spotify sound the same as the WAV files that are uploaded.

They won't sound the same - the trick with mastering is to create something that sounds acceptable when heard through their data compression.

Thanks James. That made me think of another important question. When it comes to uploading files to a distributor such as Distrokid or Tunecore, if you give them a lossless format (e.g. ALAC or FLAC) it's still compressed even though it doesn't sound compressed, but then they take that compressed file and then compress it themselves, they are essentially compressing an already compressed file, so: would the end result on their streaming service sound better or worse than if you had given them the WAV uncompressed format? This is I think the question I meant to ask in the beginning, but it just came to mind and so hopefully you might have some input on that. Thanks!

-Clint
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Re: Upload WAVs or MP3, AAC etc to iTunes, Spotify etc

Postby James Perrett » Thu Apr 11, 2019 12:48 am

You are confusing two different types of data compression - lossless and lossy. A file compressed with lossless compression (FLAC or ALAC) can be decoded to give an output that is identical to the input. The main reason for using them is to save disk space or network bandwidth. You can encode to FLAC or ALAC as many times as you like - the decoded result will still be the same.

When you compress using a lossy compression scheme like mp3 or AAC the decoded file may superficially sound very similar to the original but, if you were to line it up with the original in a DAW, invert the polarity, and listen to the result, you would hear all kinds of strange burblings that are the parts of the sound that have been thrown away. To my ears cymbals are the most obvious instrument to listen for - they lose their complexity and depth and become very one dimensional when encoded with a lossy algorithm. What makes things worse is if a file that has already been compressed with a lossy algorithm is further compressed with another lossy algorithm you'll end up throwing away two different sets of sounds which makes things even worse.

I hope that helps. I'll bet Hugh has already written a detailed article explaining all this far more clearly than I have.
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Re: Upload WAVs or MP3, AAC etc to iTunes, Spotify etc

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:44 am

James Perrett wrote:I'll bet Hugh has already written a detailed article explaining all this far more clearly than I have.

No need -- you've done a great job of it. :D

All I would add is that the loss-less formats (FLAC and ALAC) reduce the original WAV or AIFF file size by roughly 2:1, so the are data-reduction schemes, but not very efficient ones. However, the files can be unpacked and perfectly bit-accurate versions of the originals rebuilt.

In contrast the lossy formats (MP3, MP2, AC3, aptX, AAC, ATRAC, Ogg, WMA, and others) manage much smaller files sizes -- some will reduce the file size by as much as 20:1, and 12:1 is common. But they achieve that by throwing away audio elements that the designers think the average listener won't notice when hearing the file replayed in the intended conditions.

Passing a lossy-coded file through further stages of lossy codec will degrade the signal quality very quickly -- much like copying a cassette tape from one machine to another and back again (for the older generation ;-) ) ...

With one or two particular exceptions, lossy codec files are all intended for end-user applications: you get the file and listen to it. They are not intended for further signal processing of any kind, or subsequent re-encoding.

Loss-less files can be re-processed and re-encoded without problems...

And that's why you should always use original WAVs/AIFFs or lossless files in production and post production. Lossy files are generally fine for consumer listening (assuming a sensible bit-rate is chosen), but for quality applications loss-less files are appreciated.

H
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Re: Upload WAVs or MP3, AAC etc to iTunes, Spotify etc

Postby watsonius » Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:21 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
James Perrett wrote:I'll bet Hugh has already written a detailed article explaining all this far more clearly than I have.

No need -- you've done a great job of it. :D

All I would add is that the loss-less formats (FLAC and ALAC) reduce the original WAV or AIFF file size by roughly 2:1, so the are data-reduction schemes, but not very efficient ones. However, the files can be unpacked and perfectly bit-accurate versions of the originals rebuilt.

In contrast the lossy formats (MP3, MP2, AC3, aptX, AAC, ATRAC, Ogg, WMA, and others) manage much smaller files sizes -- some will reduce the file size by as much as 20:1, and 12:1 is common. But they achieve that by throwing away audio elements that the designers think the average listener won't notice when hearing the file replayed in the intended conditions.

Passing a lossy-coded file through further stages of lossy codec will degrade the signal quality very quickly -- much like copying a cassette tape from one machine to another and back again (for the older generation ;-) ) ...

With one or two particular exceptions, lossy codec files are all intended for end-user applications: you get the file and listen to it. They are not intended for further signal processing of any kind, or subsequent re-encoding.

Loss-less files can be re-processed and re-encoded without problems...

And that's why you should always use original WAVs/AIFFs or lossless files in production and post production. Lossy files are generally fine for consumer listening (assuming a sensible bit-rate is chosen), but for quality applications loss-less files are appreciated.

H

Thanks guys for all the input, it really helps with hearing different thoughts on releasing in the digital world.

I uploaded the songs to online stores yesterday as WAV 44/16 which sounded perfectly fine to me, but I won't know the degraded quality of each site (compared to the WAV file) until May 3rd when it gets released. Each site does their own type of loudness control so it will end up with different results per site, but I'm just hoping the result quality will be closest as possible to the original WAV, which is the only goal of my posts but it might have seemed like I meant other things. I'm not the best question asker.

Couple of things about the music I uploaded, if anyone that reads this thread in the future is interested. Thanks again for all your help, guys!

-All of the tracks are measured at -16 LUFS integrated
-All of the tracks have limiters with ceiling set to-.1db
-All of the tracks were saved from Logic and uploaded as 44/16 WAV
-Future albums will be uploaded in formats that depend on decisions made from how different this album's sound quality is between the original WAV files and the uploaded results. If they compress the heck out the tracks then I will try the smaller sized lossless FLAC format
-Album is pre-order status until May 3, so at that time is when I can check the quality difference (between WAV and end squashings) to see if they squash my tracks, although my limiting and LUFS setup keeps it under control pretty well
-I make multiple types of music and this is just one of them, because i get bored with just one type and it seems limiting
-https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/skekz/sleeper
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