How to Crossfade with iTunes

Understanding how to crossfade with iTunes allows you to control the transition from song to song. Crossfading is a technique of fading out of one song and fading in another. You hear it on the radio and when DJs play live at clubs. Used properly, crossfading can create a seamless listening experience.

Understanding Crossfades
An audio crossfade lowers the volume of a song near the end of the track while simultaneously increasing the volume on the next track in the playlist. Generally, crossfades are used to remove the long pauses that occur between songs.

The pauses may not appear on the full-length album, either because they weren't there at all or because the songs are sequential and it is not noticeable. Unfortunately, they can be very annoying on individual tracks. Even songs that originally didn't have a pause on the full-length album will have a pause on the version purchased from iTunes because a pause is added during the encoding.

Crossfades in iTunes
Crossfading removes the pauses or increases them, depending on the settings you choose. It can also be used to create dramatic fade ins or fade outs for your music. 

In iTunes, crossfade is set to the default of ON. To change the crossfade settings, go to Preferences-Playback-Crossfade. If you uncheck the crossfade, the feature is turned off and songs will play with their pauses intact. Turn it on, and you'll get crossfades from one track to the next in a playlist.

You can control when a crossfades begin and end by moving the slider left or right. This increases or decreases the number of seconds allowed for each crossfade.

It takes some practice and a good knowledge of your music to create great crossfades. As a rule, setting the crossfade to two or three seconds will eliminate pauses without having a noticable effect on your music. Setting longer crossfades can have some consequences. For example, if a song has a dramatic opening, that effect will be lost as iTunes crossfades the volume up from zero. You could also wind up losing the last words or notes of a song, or creating a strange mishmash between two tracks that have radically different tempos.

Experimenting with different settings and choosing songs that have long intros and fadeouts will give you the best results with crossfading. Keep in mind, too, that the crossfade function only works on iTunes, so crossfades won't be synced to your iPod.

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