Download MP3 Store?

scriptasylum

OSNN Senior Addict
Joined
Dec 25, 2001
Messages
832
#1
I don't really know where to put this since there isn't a "media" forum, but here goes...

I checked out some of those Napster-like stores as well as Napster itself, but they don't give much info. What I'm looking for is a place where I can download and pay for a song without having to use the site's special player app. I'd like to be able to simply download a sample clip of a song to see if I like it (kinda like how CDNOW.com works), then download the MP3 directly. I don't want to deal with one of those "you can play it only twice" scenarios either; if I buy the song, then I buy the song...period. Oh, and I also can't seem to find what setting the MP3 are encoded at. I only use ones encoded at 320kbps; I have a fairly decent car system and the lesser quality at lower bitrates is audible IMO. I've ripped just about all my old CD's (about 400) so now I'd like to extend my collection to newer stuff.

Has anyone come across or is a member of a site that has the above qualifications?

TIA.
 

scriptasylum

OSNN Senior Addict
Joined
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832
#3
Well, that's not the answer I wanted to hear. :) Oh well, I guess I can keep looking. I don't know why it's so difficult: When you buy a CD, it doesn't stop working after X plays because the license expired. I'm tired of buying overpriced CDs when there's only one or two decent songs and the rest are "filler" so it'll still have 12 tracks!
 

Xie

- geek -
Joined
Sep 29, 2003
Messages
5,275
#5
scriptasylum said:
Well, that's not the answer I wanted to hear. :) Oh well, I guess I can keep looking. I don't know why it's so difficult: When you buy a CD, it doesn't stop working after X plays because the license expired. I'm tired of buying overpriced CDs when there's only one or two decent songs and the rest are "filler" so it'll still have 12 tracks!
well iTunes you get unlimited plays but you said you didn't wanna have to use companys player ...
 

scriptasylum

OSNN Senior Addict
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Messages
832
#6
dreamliner77 said:
www.allofmp3.com

Hint download the freeformat 384kbps mp3's and then convert to 320 LAME for minimal loss (transcoding IST death)
That site is probably the closest I've seen so far. Still, it seems like a pain to re-encode it at the bitrate I want. Not to mention the re-encoding process will remove more quality.
 

muzikool

Act your wage.
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#7
It doesn't completely match your specifications, but still, I highly suggest iTunes. At the very least, download the software and browse around to see what you think. I didn't think much of it when it was released, but I recently started using it and I love it.

The major clash with what you are looking for is the fact that your download will be encoded in AAC format. I didn't know much about the format before, and like you I only encoded into 320 kbps MP3s, but trust me when I say that the AAC files sound amazing considering their size. The compression is much more advanced than MP3, and you can still decode to burn them on discs.

The software itself is great and the online store has much to offer. You can sample 30 seconds of any track by streaming it through the software, just like on CDNow. Anyhow, that's enough of a sales pitch I think... give it a try. :)

http://www.apple.com/itunes/overview.html
 

scriptasylum

OSNN Senior Addict
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Messages
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#9
Xie said:
Yeah mp3 era is dead if you care about music quality IMHO.
Well, I know MP3's lose sound-Q during the encoding, but encoding them at 320kbps sounds fairly good and yet small enough to cram a butload on a CD. My current CD deck (Alpine CDA-9815) is able to play MP3 and WMA directly.

I'll check out that iTunes place... Thanks!
 

muzikool

Act your wage.
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#11
Funny how the best formats (as far as quality is concerned) are some of the least-well-known. :(
 

scriptasylum

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#12
Yeah, OGG is pretty good. So is APE, but the files are still a wee bit too big still. 320kbps MP3's are about 1/5 the size of the WAV file.
 

muzikool

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#13
I'm a fan of SHN for lossless compression, but 320 kbps MP3s are usually more practical. However, I'm considering encoding everything in AAC format now because I can get a song that sounds like a 320 MP3 at the size of a 128 MP3.
 

dreamliner77

The Analog Kid
Joined
Mar 16, 2002
Messages
4,708
#14
Musepack for lossy compression MPC
you gotta hear it

FLAC for lossless FLAC

and sometimes monkey's audio www.monkeysaudio.com

I will continue to stay away from AAC. It is a format that is still way to much in flux. Hell, there's still way too much confusion with container formats and file extensions.
 

scriptasylum

OSNN Senior Addict
Joined
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Messages
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#15
Obviously, lossless compression would be the most ideal format. Typically, these types of compression ratios seem to be about 2:1. Unfortunately, when you have somewhere in the range of 1900+ songs whose raw WAV filesize is ~50MB, this is still ~45-50GB. Of course, by today's standards, this amount of drive space is almost negligible.

The advantage that MP3 has is that at 320kbps, you can get about a 4:1 or 5:1 compression ratio. Those same 50MB WAV files compress down to ~20GB total. Plus, more of these smaller sound files can fit on a CD to play in a car/home/portable MP3 player (assuming built-in support of course). Then there's the big issue of compatibility. Most decks that play compressed audio play MP3s. Some also do WMA or whatever, but the most common one is MP3. I know the sound Q is not the best, but that's why I choose 320 rather than 128. 128 would be probably ok for those small devices like iRiver players and stuff, but on a halfway decent audio system they sound like crap. I think it's the best compromise between compliance, sound quality, and size.

Maybe when one of those lossless compression methods become the de facto standard (meaning there will be a flood of various players with built-in support) I'll switch. By then, we'll all be playing songs on DVD instead so size will be less of an issue. Drive space will be phenomenal then too. Maybe there will be more online music services with no file expiration (or other stupid limits) for a decent cost.

I have no problems whatsoever paying $1 - $1.50 for a song I like. I do have a problem paying $10-$16 for a song, which is what happens when you buy many of today's CD's with one or two good songs and the rest is filler crap. Speaking of CD cost (I hate it when I get myself going like this), why are CD prices still that high? Can it cost that much to record a set of songs, pay the artist/record company, and supply the CD raw material when you can get a DVD movie for about the same price?!? I see DVDs at Wal-Mart all the time starting at $5.50 (of course those are the older movies that don't sell well) up to ~$25, but average ~$18. There's a whole hell of a lot more time/money/effort spent on a movie than a song IMO. But, I digress. :rolleyes:
 

muzikool

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#16
scriptasylum said:
I have no problems whatsoever paying $1 - $1.50 for a song I like. I do have a problem paying $10-$16 for a song, which is what happens when you buy many of today's CD's with one or two good songs and the rest is filler crap. Speaking of CD cost (I hate it when I get myself going like this), why are CD prices still that high? Can it cost that much to record a set of songs, pay the artist/record company, and supply the CD raw material when you can get a DVD movie for about the same price?!? I see DVDs at Wal-Mart all the time starting at $5.50 (of course those are the older movies that don't sell well) up to ~$25, but average ~$18. There's a whole hell of a lot more time/money/effort spent on a movie than a song IMO. But, I digress. :rolleyes:
Part of a recent article from The Wall Street Journal can answer that...

"Some of the country's biggest record labels may owe you $20. But you might not want to tell your friends.

In the 15 years since the LP's demise, the price of the CDs that replaced
them has been a source of grumbling among many music lovers. Now, some
relief is in store for millions of people in the form of a payout from a
class-action lawsuit.

The potential refund is the result of a long-spinning dispute over pricing
between record labels and some retailers. The issue: Were consumers hurt by
policies introduced in the mid-1990s that curtailed discounting of CDs at
retailers such as Best Buy, Circuit City and Wal-Mart? Some retailers
complained that if they advertised music at prices below the record
companies' so-called minimum advertised price, they risked losing millions
of dollars a year in promotional payments from record companies."
 

mooo

thecyberninja
Joined
Jan 6, 2004
Messages
886
#17
i tunes is great, i use it for mp3 purchasing. it comes in protected thing so only itunes can play it. but you can also burn the songs with itunes and then rip to mp3 or ogg later on.
 

gballard

OSNN Senior Addict
Joined
Dec 12, 2001
Messages
549
#18
muzikool said:
I'm a fan of SHN for lossless compression, but 320 kbps MP3s are usually more practical. However, I'm considering encoding everything in AAC format now because I can get a song that sounds like a 320 MP3 at the size of a 128 MP3.
What do you use to encode in AAC? And I am guessing you are talking about ripping straight from CD to AAC right?
 

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