Yeah, after extensive testing a couple years ago I found that of all the compressed formats, Apple had the best offering when taking advantage of CVBR encoding. The sound is much more pleasing to the ear to me (I have sharp ears for comparisons) than standard MP3. Apples’ M4a format itself is just overall more pleasing to the ear than MP3, and so all the lossy versions of my projects are rendered at that format for playback on mobile/standard devices… again it’s just the best of the best, highest quality of the highest quality, from my tests (obviously were talking about formats that everyday consumers can actually play on their devices.)
You might think that 6 kbps isn’t a big deal of a difference between the Mp3 and CV mp4, but for my ears, its huge especially because that’s just an average bit rate…. meaning overall it’s higher quality, however the bit rate can shoot up to 520kpbs at any given moment in the song where it’s very busy… and then lowers the bit rate when there isn’t much detail at all.. I’ve found it always averages out to be over 320kbps. Also again, the format also just has something about it that just sounds higher quality and closer to the lossless version. Idk what it is but Mp3’s just have a cardboard boxy feeling, and that could be due to the constant bit rate filling information in where there isn’t any, putting every audio into some kind of blocked room or a cardboard shopping bag… meanwhile moving bit rates seem to be like having the music wrapped in a plastic bag that conforms to it’s contents, liquids & what not… idk that’s the best way I can explain how I feel about the two file containers, & I believe what I hear is subtly changes the acoustics of the music.
Also, I use Apples Lossless format for my Hi-Fi (studio quality–my personal versions), it’s very compatible compared to FLAC which is also good, but not the format of choice for me. Obviously Wave and AIF (I have always rendered all my work files in AIF, cough another Apple format) are out because those are just not optimized whatsoever and honestly just not attractive formats outside of studio work.
Lossless means that there is no loss of quality the way there is when we make tiny mp3/m4a files. I will be offering lossless versions of my projects, because it’s the preferred format in my opinion, it’s a noticeable difference… but if I am to offer lossless, it would probably be for a limited time just because where an entire Midnight & Lion M4a album would be just under 200MB w/ album art, the project in lossless format @96,000HZ (Hi-Fi) would be easily over 1GIG. So transferring over 1 Gig of data for every download, for an indie musician is kind of ridiculous. You really need to have dedicated servers to moving large amounts of data like that like they have over at Google… and even though I supposedly have unlimited bandwidth to transfer, I don’t really believe that I could transmit that much data with no consequence or site issues…. but I’ll keep looking into options.
Really I just want people to get the music directly from me because I will have the highest quality versions of all my work in existence, no middle men. I care alot about quality. I work too hard for people to end up with low quality audio. I mean some will though lol when they see how many breadcrumbs I left related to Midnight & Lion, some Russian sites have hijacked them for free download and they are literally trash quality decoys.