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Handling High-Resolution Files in iTunes

Many of us like to keep high resolution (greater than 16-bit/44.1kHz) files in our iTunes libraries as references when mixing and just for plain high-quality listening. A few things to note:

  • iTunes supports hi-res audio files just fine. WAV and AIFF files both work for greater than CD-quality resolutions.
  • If you use iTunes to convert, say, a 24-bit WAV file into an AIFF file so that you can, for example, add album cover artwork and metadata, iTunes will keep the sample rate of the resulting file the same but will truncate the resolution to 16 bits behind the scenes (and without telling you or giving you the option).
  • Your playback hardware (DAC, etc.) must support high-resolution digital input signals.
  • You cannot convert a low-resolution file into a high-resolution file. Well, technically you can upsample, but there will be no audio quality improvement.

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