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Quality Music Sources?


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I'm making some changes to my stereo setup and I'm having a hard time tuning it in because all of the songs on my iphone are of very different quality. This has bothered me for a while and now I'm looking for a solution. The majority of my music was uploaded from old burnt CD's with tracks that came from who knows where. I'm ready to scrap my whole library and start over. If I need to buy a few things to do it right then so be it. Note - I am using an EQ as my head unit - CD's are not an option.

Does itunes have quality music for purchase? Is there another source/site that is better?

Should I get a different Mp3 player? I have older ipods and an iphone4.

Music Apps (streaming) - I've read that Pandora has the lowest quality and Beats, Rdio, and Spotify offer the highest at the moment @ 320 Kbps bitrate. Choosing one of these apps sounds like the easiest thing to do but how is it in the quality dept compared to MP3's?

Different Phone? Are there phones out there that offer better playback or music programs?

Is there a way to re-format all my songs within itunes to make them better? I think I know the answer to this.

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you have an iphone... if your carrier is AT&T, their beats music program (the one they were advertising during the superbowl) is VERY good. The songs are 320kps. It's $10 a month for a single phone or $15 for every device on a shared data plan. It's like having the entire tower records library in your pocket all the time. Yeah, you are only renting the music. For about the cost of an album a month.

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What are they? I'm still inside the 90 day trial but I'm VERY impressed so far.

Were you an MOG user before? If not, you may not notice the bugs.

Last time i checked with my son, they had not rolled over his MOG library to Beats and there was no shortcut back to the main menu, you had to hit back WAY too many times. Not as user friendly as the MOG

Edited by MLA
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Yes I do have AT&T so I'll have to check out BEATS. They give you a 90 day trial? Wow. Can you build a library within the app for playing without cell service? Service is spotty on my lake and it's the main reason I haven't went that route in the past.

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I just checked and the majority of my songs are 128kbps with the lowest being 56kbps... I do have some 320's as well. I still feel like some of the 320's are just bad copies though.

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yes, you can build a library for offline listening. I've been pretty impressed with their curation too... every day when you log in there are new suggestions, both playlists and albums, based on what you've listened to and "liked".

Edited by shawndoggy
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There is tons of proof and studies you can find that the DA conversion the Ipod/Iphone does and the music coming out of the headphone port is not the weak link to a great sounding system. With that being said the ipod/iphone will only play up to the quality of library. My library consists of a combination of ripping my own CD's to itunes at 320 kbs and itunes purchased music. Not sure about the beats audio but I uses Spotify and love it. $10/mo for unlimited use on multiple phones and home computers. The one thing to consider on a boat is if you get good cellular signal to stream and what your data plan is. Playing hours of Spotify's highest quality can eat up data in a hurry.

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I already order a 30-pin to RCA and will report back if I can hear any audible difference.

I stumbled across a new device and music source that is being kickstarted as we speak. The PonoPlayer and Ponomusic by Neil Young. Goofy name.... http://www.ponomusic.com/#testimonials

I am going to look into the stream options this week. Waiting on my new amp still.....

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Why spend $ on something that probably won't even be around in 2-5 yrs just like HDCD's, HDDVD's, and a host of other formats? If you are starting from scratch your best bet would be buy up used and new CD's at vintage stock or wherever and convert to FLAC files or Apple lossless. Sounds like you are chasing 2 different rabit trails to me though. Any and I mean any streaming method isn't going to be high qualifyt like the pono, FLAC, Apple lossless, etc.

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Just realized after reading all that pono is is an ecosystem (place to buy and a player) for FLAC files. It is nothing new you can buy flac files from other places and convert your own CD's to FLAC and there are several FLAC players. I think you can even get an Ipod/Iphone to play them.

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I'm 99% all head units with an aux input just send the analog signal straight to the amp, at least the ones I've owned have. I still say for sound quality in a boat that an ipod/iphone directly into a wetsounds or exile audio processor and just skipping the head unit completely is the way to go. Why add the middle man when it isn't needed? My last bit of input into this topic is that the focus should be on good components ie amp and speakers. With no stereo imaging like what you try for in a high end car audio or home listening setups, the arguments about FLAC, mp3, pono, etc, etc are basically worthless. As long as its not a competely trashed file you will not hear the difference on a boat with the same equipment between a FLAC file and a 256kb/s mp3 or apple file. What you can hear the difference in is between a crappy amp and speakers and a quality amp and speakers whether that be with mp3, FLAC, CD, or whatever.

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I'd tune my amp and HU before resorting to better quality files. Although FLAC format is the way to go for quality sound and maintaining some compression.

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Instead of making it complicated with some kick starter product, a head unit that plays lossless file formats + a USB stick is an easy way to go. Still have to get good quality music files by whatever method you choose to take.

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I'm not getting that kick starter product. I Just threw it in the thread as another option.

It sounds like streaming is the way to go so that is what I'm going to look into. In the meantime I might upload some cd's in higher quality and see if there's a difference.

I'm pretty sure my stereo equipment isn't the issue.

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"Wow that sound quality is horrible" said no one ever, ….while listening to Spotify streaming to my phone, then via bluetooth to the Wetsounds WS-420, and played on Wetsounds speakers.

And I'm sure the same would apply to any quality equalizer, amp, and speakers. We just prefer Wetsounds. :)

I own no music. I do have Spotify playlists saved to my phone that will work offline if I choose.


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Funny you mention this. I got Spotify, went out for a cruise yesterday and it made a HUGE difference. My old tracks must really suck! I still haven't got my new 30pin cord but we're much happier already. I'll report back once we try the new cord too. I did notice that streaming drains my battery down quite a bit so I may need to run the headphone jack so I can hook up a charger at the same time. No biggie.

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