Mastering for iTunes? Here’s what you need to know

Wondering what the best techniques are when preparing your songs for the iTunes store? Even if you’re a seasoned pro it’s worth spending a few minutes reading the PDF document that Apple has published on its website.
Don’t expect anything magic or revolutionary though. Still, these “best practices” for mastering for iTunes shed some light on a process that for some musicians and engineers it’s still quite “obscure”.

In this document you’ll find topics like: providing high resolution masters, being aware of dynamic range, clipping and oversampling, considering iTunes Sound Check and similar Volume Controlling technologies.
Again, most of this stuff may not be new to most of our readers, but some details and tips (especially since they’re straight from the horse’s mouth) make it a worthwhile reading.

On the same page you’ll also find a mini-suite of (Mac only) free software tools that can help you in this process:
– Master for iTunes Droplet. The Master for iTunes Droplet is a simple, standalone drag-and-drop tool that can be used to quickly and easily encode your masters in iTunes Plus format.
– afconvert. The afconvert command-line utility can be used to encode your masters in iTunes Plus format.
– afclip. The afclip command-line utility can be used to check any audio file for clipping.
– AURoundTripAAC Audio Unit. The AURoundTripAAC Audio Unit can be used to compare an iTunes Plus file to the original source audio file to check for clipping

Read more and download the tools here: Mastering for iTunes

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