Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
So what are the tricks to get the best sound quality from an iTunes encode? It turns out that the considerations are about the same as with MP3 encoding. First of all, turn it down a bit. A song that's flat-lined at -1 dB full-scale isn't going to encode as well as the song with some headroom. This is because the iTunes AAC Encoder tends to output a tad harder than the source. So there may be inter-sample overloads that happened at that level that aren't detected on a typical peak meter. All digital audio converters on consumer and professional audio gear have different sensitivities, and some may overload while others sound clean.
As a result, a level that doesn't trigger an over on your DAW's converter, may actually be an over on another playback unit. If you back it down to -0.5 or even -1 dB, the encode will sound a lot better and your listener probably won't be able to tell much of a difference in level anyway. Don't squash the master too hard. Masters with some dynamic range encode better. Masters that are squeezed with an inch of their life don't encode as well, it's as simple as that. Listeners like it better when there's more dynamics too.
Although the new AAC Encoder has a fantastic frequency response, sometimes rolling off a little of the extreme top end around 16 kilohertz and above can help to encode as well. A typical roll-off might look something like this. Any type of data compression requires the same common-sense considerations. If you back off on the level, the mix bus compression in the high frequencies of the mix, you'll be surprised just how good your AAC encode can sound.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
73 Video lessons · 15550 Viewers
130 Video lessons · 17631 Viewers
110 Video lessons · 9135 Viewers
71 Video lessons · 12631 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.