Enhanced by iTunes

02007-01-23 | Computer, Internet, Music, Technology | 7 comments

A Red Cat’s Journey, Enhanced by iTunes – New York Times
Then Mr. Cooder noticed something else: When he burned a copy of the album using Apple’s iTunes software, it sounded fine. He didn’t know why until one of his younger engineers told him that the default settings on iTunes apply a “sound enhancer.” (It’s in the preferences menu, under “playback.”) Usually, that feature sweetens the sound of digital music files, but Mr. Cooder so liked its effect on his studio recordings that he used it to master – that is, make the final sound mixes – his album. “We didn’t do anything else to it,” he said.

Mr. Cooder is most likely the first well-known musician to master his album using iTunes, but other producers have also noticed its effect.

If this wasn’t the NYT, I would think it was a hoax. Well, what happens when the same algorithm is applied to the music twice, once by Ry Cooder and for the second time when somebody listens to his music on iTunes? Would it be like adding an EQ twice and possible over-doing it?


  1. Eno

    I wonder if Ry thought of that =) One thing that is so cool about recording is that there are a large number of different manufacturers all making the same devices. By this making all sorts of colors for you to paint with!

  2. Keith House (Mr Mamiya 645)

    It is probably similar to a trapping flag in a PDF file…..the incoming file is identified as being trapped and is passed through without trapping…..or an archiving application looks at the archive bit in a file and either archives it or passes on it the next time an incremental backup is done ….

    I suspect incoming files are evaluated by iTunes to see if the optimization/enhancement has been applied. There is likely a flag inside the file to identify it as being “enhanced”.

  3. ottmar

    I doubt it. There has never been a need for this and I doubt iTunes would check for a sound enhancer flag. Only one way to find out. Record a CD with Sound Enhancer setting on, rip said CD and play back file. If Sound Enhancer still enhances further there is no flag etc. yadda yadda.

  4. Curt

    I agree with you Ottmar, you will get the enhancer applied again. However, Ry’s engineer fibbed to him a bit – the Sound Enhancer is not enabled by default!! He would have had to deliberatly turned that feature on. Ooo! The scandal!

  5. Matt Callahan

    OK, here’s the true test. Take one of the finest recordings ever, One Guitar, and burn a copy with the sound enhancer. Could it get any better? I have my doubts.

  6. anna

    One Guitar is perfect.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Concert Dates

Thu, May 30 2024 in Phoenix, AZ

Fri, May 31 2024 in Tucson, AZ
@ Rialto Theater

Sat, Jun 1 2024 in Sedona, AZ
@ Sound Bites

Sun, Jun 2 2024 in Sedona, AZ
@ Sound Bites


@Mastodon (the Un-Twitter)