Apple has developed a hi-quality technology for AAC encoding called Mastered for iTunes recently replaced by Apple Digital Master.
CraftLabMastering has integrated these encoders into its Mastering chain to ensure the compatibility of its masters under new Apple regulation
For years, CD Red-Book was the standard in digital music with a Sample Rate of 44.1 KHz and Bit Rate of 16 bit. With the development of Digital Streaming platforms in which iTunes was the leader in this industry, AAC encoding got many improvement from Apple, especially after the numerous concerns from the Audiophiles, Music Quality Appreciators and Mastering Engineers.
With time, recording engineers started to use higher sample rates and bit rates. With some types of converters, a deteriorated audio quality was noticeable. Encoding to lossy formats from high-resolution audio files encountered challenges with severe artifacts and undesired effects. Apple had to improve more its AAC encoder.
The transition to high resolution files submittal on the digital platforms and online streaming application led to more and more issues especially with the era of the loudness war. Hyper Compression became vital and producers started to compete, without noticing the listening fatigue and distortion mainly encountered during any conversion.
The majority of Studio Quality Productions became similar, Loudness War has killed Natural Music with enjoyable dynamic range.
After years of protests, the most famous music streaming platform, Apple, has decided to contribute in ending the loudness war in which hyper compressed music would not sound good after being encoded. A Loudness Normalization or “Sound Check” option was improved and got integrated into other audio streaming companies who followed similar regulations.
Loudness war began to end, finally, Quality Music with Natural Dynamic Range won!
In order to qualify as an Apple Digital Masters, analogue recordings should be digitally recorded with a high-resolution Sample Rate and Bit Rate. Resampling won’t give acceptable results. The remastered as Apple Digital Masters Music will be reviewed to ensure a noticeable improvement in quality.
As for Mastering Suites, an encoding software package of verification tools was provided to selected mastering studios which will help create the intended Sound of your Masters!