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conversion to AIFF and DRM issues


TimH
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First post from a new member and I'll be bold and try a new topic since I haven't seen it specifically addressed so far.

 

I am still absorbing all of the great information here and have not taken the music server plunge yet. I am still weighing the Mac versus PC decision. I have read most of the posts extolling the virtues of the products from the Bay Area as opposed to those from Redmond, and I won't fan that fire any more than it has been over the decades. Suffice it to say that I've used PCs for a loooooong time and there is some fear of the unknown (Apple) here. I'd be interested in responses to a particular concern relating to this forum subject. I plan on using MusicGiants to download a large quantity of music. (As opposed to ripping lots of CDs and digitizing lots of vinyl and tape.)

 

Is it true that in order to work on a Mac, MusicGiants' WMA lossless files would need to be converted to AIFF? How tedious would this be for a large number of files?

 

Is it also true that a lot of MusicGiants' music is DRM'd? Isn't that a showstopper for conversion on a Mac?

 

Thanks!

 

Tim

 

 

 

 

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Hi Tim - Welcome to Computer Audiophile. Don't worry about searching too hard for a previous post covering your topic. We're laid back around here and don't mind if you post a new topic for every question you have.

 

As you said the Mac & PC fire has been flamed many times over the years. I use a Mac first because sound quality is great and simple to achieve without fiddling around and using an application that looks like it was designed for Windows 95. If you are comfortable with PCs you should stick with a PC. It is possible to get bit perfect audio from a PC, but in my opinion not nearly as easy and slick as a Mac.

 

On to the MusicGiants questions. MusicGiants certainly does have the best selection of popular music at high quality on the Internet as of today. I start with your second question first. Yes, most MusicGiants downloads have DRM wrapped around them and this is a showstopper for a Mac. Your second question may stem from my article on converting a MusicGiants download to AIFF to play on my Mac ( http://www.computeraudiophile.com/node/226 ), but it is not necessary to convert to AIFF. That is just my preferred format as it is uncompressed. WMA files without DRM can be converted into several formats that work on a Mac. Pick the one you like and run with it. MusicGiants also offers what they call SuperHD downloads. These are 24/88.2 albums and most do not have any DRM. the albums without DRM can be converted to play on a Mac, which is exactly what I did in the aforementioned article. Converting a bunch of DRM-less files is not painful at all as there are severl programs that will do this at the folder level. you can point the app at a folder containing your music and let the app do its thing. Once again, only for files without DRM. if you browse the MusicGiants site you'll notice some albums have the symbol next to them. These are the only albums without DRM.

 

 

 

Let me know if I skipped something or this brings up more questions. Thanks for posting!

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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Thanks for the reply Chris. My conversion question was really one of whether you had to convert the WMA lossless files to something else (AIFF or otherwise) to work on a Mac. And I see the answer is yes, as I thought. I really want to step into the Apple world, as I know the usability is so much nicer than PC, but these conversion and DRM issues are frustrating for the average user. I guess my quandary here is that what I am trying to do is losslessly (is that a word?) digitize my existing music library which is around 60% vinyl, 20% cassette, and 20% CD. Total of around 1000 albums I would guess. That's a lot of ripping and digitizing (especially all that vinyl), hence buying in bulk from MusicGiants, hence the conversion and DRM issues with the Mac. If you can suggest any other convenient way of accomplishing this project on a Mac, I'd be grateful to hear it. One option is to bite the bullet and buy used CDs from Amazon or ebay to replace the vinyl and cassettes and rip them, but I don't know. Seems like a lot of work and all of a sudden I have more CDs to find storage for.

 

Tim

 

 

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Hey Tim - I think the biggest problem you will encounter in your project is DRM, not any sort of conversion. I would opt for any option that got you around the DRM issue. I think you'd be very wise to purchase used CDs from any online source like Amazon.

 

To be honest, I would get a Mac and rip to AIFF. Buy used CDs for the albums you can't find DRM-less. The used CDs will be cheaper, usable on anything now and in the future, and will provide a physical backup.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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Well, DRM is the biggest headache, for sure.

 

However I have also found there is different capabilities and levels of performance among the various format converters. If there is a standard application for the Mac I'm very open to hear what people use.

 

I recently experiemented with MacFlac, Switch, Max, and xACT 1.2. On some files with some of these programs I had errors and they failed to convert. With others, I got an output file but with 'skips' in the music. What's worked the best for me so far on the Mac is the xACT program.

 

These are all freeware/shareware type programs. Is there a commercial offering that I should know about -- that works on all files, has suppport, etc.?

 

Steve

 

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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