I want to buy a few reference tracks: Is iTunes the usual site people buy songs from (if you don't have an iPhone)?

Hi - I’d like to buy a few songs on-line to load up in my project to serve as reference tracks. .wav format would be ideal.

Where are people generally buying songs on-line from nowadays? I know the iTunes store is happy to sell, are there others?

I’ve heard about all kinds of problems with songs purchased from iTunes, that’s why I’m asking about other sites. If that is all urban myth, etc., and if iTunes has no problems (I’m on PC, and don’t have an iPhone), then I’m fine going through the iTunes Store.

Thanks for any advice!

Well, I usually go to Amazon, but those are not .wav files; they are mp3 files. So are iTunes files as far as I know.

What if you borrow CDs from the library or a friend, then rip the tracks you want to wav files?

Good idea, if you get CD’s from the library you’ll get .wav quality. Although in my opinion high enough bit-rate mp3s are indistinguishable.

You guys think .mp3 is high enough quality to use as reference tracks? Thinking things like John Legend, Bruno Mars, Paul McCartney.

Thanks for your helpful comments!

What do you want to reference, specifically? I mean, at best I’d say you can reference the balance between instruments for example, but mp3’s really have to be pretty “high quality” to get close to .wav at 16/44.1 as far as perception goes, and I know a lot of them didn’t go that high at least a few years ago.

I would just buy second hand CDs and be done with it. I know nothing of Bruno Mars (even though I’ve heard his music) so I’m not sure if this is a relevant album, but just as an example:

Amazon, Bruno Mars, “Doo - Wops & Hooligans”, used from $1.94

Know what I mean? Two bucks and all of the songs, all legal, all full res.

Yes, balance between instruments, but also “that piano effect sounds really cool, let me see if I can build that up in Cubase to sound similar/identical”. Whether .mp3 quality nowadays is good enough for that or not … I don’t know!

Good point about used CDs … though I’m only looking for 1 or 2 songs from each artist, if they’re on the CD, why not? Amazon is pretty trustworthy, I’m a little hesitant to sign up for and use eBay. I have Amazon Prime, I think they actually have a music store discount, I’ll have to look into that.

Thanks, MattiasNYC!

Go to Amazon, not itunes. At least with Amazon you can simply download the MP3 you’ve purchased with out installing all the bloatware itunes demands you to.

Yes, what mitchie said, that’s why I went to Amazon. I personally think a 256-bit MP3 is perfectly fine for a reference track, or even a track you want to listen to over and over. Especially in rock, where the dynamics are not so wide. You can train yourself to hear the artifacts that will let you distinguish between a 256-bit MP3 and a .wav file, but if you have to train yourself, it’s not that important. You will get the same dynamics, the same stereo image, the same loudness, and the same frequency representation, which I think covers what you want to have for a reference. What you will not get is a perfectly clean fade out to zero sound, so, if you listen closely, you can hear the reverb tails with little breakups at barely audible volumes. You kind of have to turn the volume way up just as the song is ending to catch it. So as I said, you can train yourself to hear those, but I don’t see the relevance.

OK thanks, guys, I’ll look at Amazon.

Much appreciated!

I don’t know about others but on 2016 I was buy some iTunes from 4saleUSA so you can try with them hope you will get a positive note from them.