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I've been using iTunes for several years on a MacBook Pro. Recently I'm hearing some distortion in my files. I've read somewhere that this is a result of crowding the hard drive. I've been thinking of moving all my music files to a Mac Mini. Now, if I do this, will the distortion be carried over to the NAS or will the additional real estate fix the problem?

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If you have a USB drive (stick), then try a simple test first. Put a music file on that USB drive, open the file with iTunes ( assumes you do not have the preference to consolidate all music into one folder ), and play it back and see if it too suffers from distortion.

 

As to the music files themselves, I have never heard of music files being corrupted with "distortion" because there was a lack of disk space. Perhaps others can chime in.

Silver Circle Audio | Roon | Devialet | Synology | Vivid Audio | Stillpoint Aperture | Auralic | DH Labs

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Well, I decided to begin with ordering a new Macbook Pro and go from there. I'll add on a NAS later. I cruised the forums here a bit and got some good tips about Macbook Pro. I will try your suggestion to try a USB stick to see if the distortion is passed on. I've been having other problems with my Macbook, no doubt due to its age (2009). Seemed to be time to upgrade. Thanks for your advice.

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Well, I decided to begin with ordering a new Macbook Pro and go from there. I'll add on a NAS later. I cruised the forums here a bit and got some good tips about Macbook Pro. I will try your suggestion to try a USB stick to see if the distortion is passed on. I've been having other problems with my Macbook, no doubt due to its age (2009). Seemed to be time to upgrade. Thanks for your advice.

 

If your starting over with a new machine I would highly recommend moving away from

I-Tunes while the gettin's good. It's crap at best once you start diving deeper into the world of ComputerAudio land.

 

To test your files do a CRC Checksum test on a few random samplings of files from different folders using the original source CD as the master file to compare against. If you find discrepancies you have your answer wether or not you have fell victim to "Bit Rot".

 

The only real fix is to re-rip the original cd, but I would choose something other then an

i-tunes format (ie..pick .wav or .flac) if given a choice.

 

I love the iPAd and iPhone but Apple iTunes is the bastard stepchild of the audiophile world

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I download all my iTunes files using ALAC and have so far been satisfied. Recently I tried HD Tracks with one of the few classical offerings (Mahler 5th Symphony/Simon Rattle) using flac but it came out a bit clipped, this being possibly native to the original recording. Even so it was quite impressive. Currently I use an old Wadia 12 for processing and I am pleased with this; it will serve until I find a good USB DAC, preferably with upsampling.

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I use iTunes every day, most of the day. It works fine for Redbook material and ACC files, if you have any. With over 6500 albums in my playing system, it is the best day in and day out player. Not a redheaded stepchild… I have several other players, and use them at times with HDTracks feeds, also AIFF is good for those on a Mac, FLAC is not so much. To each his own, live and let live, as long as you have choices, that is good. Pick that which works best for you.

Some people are still afraid of the dark… Purveyor of Remorseless Audio

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If your starting over with a new machine I would highly recommend moving away from

I-Tunes while the gettin's good. It's crap at best once you start diving deeper into the world of ComputerAudio land.

 

To test your files do a CRC Checksum test on a few random samplings of files from different folders using the original source CD as the master file to compare against. If you find discrepancies you have your answer wether or not you have fell victim to "Bit Rot".

 

The only real fix is to re-rip the original cd, but I would choose something other then an

i-tunes format (ie..pick .wav or .flac) if given a choice.

 

I love the iPAd and iPhone but Apple iTunes is the bastard stepchild of the audiophile world

 

I read that FLAC has a some sort of CRC built in to the CODEC. However, this is the first I have heard of "Bit Rot" with iTunes related files or Apple Lossless (ALAC). Can you provide some references to support your statement and so I can do some research?

 

If one follows a good Ripping Methodology, i.e. the one that is listed on this site, re ripping the track should be an issue. The real problem if this "Bit rot" is a real thing, is how much is affected?

 

Thanks for bringing this up.

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If your starting over with a new machine I would highly recommend moving away from

I-Tunes while the gettin's good. It's crap at best once you start diving deeper into the world of ComputerAudio land.

 

To test your files do a CRC Checksum test on a few random samplings of files from different folders using the original source CD as the master file to compare against. If you find discrepancies you have your answer wether or not you have fell victim to "Bit Rot".

 

The only real fix is to re-rip the original cd, but I would choose something other then an

i-tunes format (ie..pick .wav or .flac) if given a choice.

 

 

Bit rot happens. FLAC can pick it up but can't heal it. The best solution is RAID, specifically RAID systems that can scrub & repair. Once I see a drive accumulating parity errors, I toss and replace it.

Custom room treatments for headphone users.

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Well, it turns out I was listening to files I ripped from older CDs which I compared against the downloads and found to be natively corrupted. I bought these albums in the 80s, before I had developed audiophilia and ruined my life. I was then listening to music on a boombox I found in the trash and Radio Shack headphones and, if you can imagine it, actually enjoying the experience (I am almost nostalgic now!). I just happened to want to hear these particular downloads and made no comparisons. I understand that CDs degrade over time. I've found this to be particularly true of RCA/BMG recordings from the 80s. I had forgotten my experience with the James Levine version of the Mahler 10th symphony which I played a while back and found to be utterly trashed.

 

Also I finally went to the trouble of checking my hard drive space under THIS MAC and discovered I have plenty of room left. If all of this sounds naive, well it is; I've used Macs for several years but I am new to music downloads beyond the simple iTunes ALAC procedure with which I have up to now been content. However, being afflicted with audiophilia has driven me to hit the MORE-IS-BETTER default which presents me with screen after screen of wonderful apps and options and more expensive things to buy. I've been avoiding replacing my Mac for a while but this little adventure obliged me to do it even though the final decision was based on an error.

 

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions.

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You might consider using something like XLD to rip your CDs as it will give you more information on ripping errors than iTunes.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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I originally got into computer audio as an attempt to rescue some damaged CDs that would no longer play in a CD player. Briefly, these were from the 1980s and completely thrashed. Ripping them in plain old iTunes saved every last one of them, and they sound perfectly fine. I am worried you have something else going on.

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Well, as I say, I'm fine with iTunes. I am however interested in what can be done with high rez files. I don't anticipate downloading many of them since there is very limited classical material available. As for jazz, I don't see the point. Most jazz recordings from the period I like (late 1950s thru mid 1960s) were so poorly recorded anyway, with hard right and left driving, that iTunes will serve me there too. You listen to Atlantic, Blue Note recordings from that time on the original vinyl and you get the idea. And I don't care what you do with them in the way of remixing, upsampling or simply releasing them in 24/96 as is, they are just bad. Some Verve discs are good though. i'd go after a flac or whatever download of something like the Louis and Ella "Porgy and Bess" but such recordings are rare. It is a shame that the whole John Coltrane catalog is such a mess, and I don't think much can be done with that unless you falsify the whole thing with digital re-engineering, etc. However there are many, many classical albums which are splendid, even in Red Book, and some of the newer recordings are done from the start using higher sampling rates and being released as SACD and now Blu-Ray Audio that are quite good, I feel just as good as vinyl, perhaps even better.

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iTunes is not capable of secure ripping.

Therefore any disc you rip with it is susceptible to having audible errors.

 

It may still be possible to get an exact copy of discs which are producing audible errors in iTunes by using a secure ripper. It is best to try and make a copy of them as soon as possible, as damaged discs especially may become unreadable over time.

 

On Windows, my preferred ripper is dBpoweramp - though others like the free EAC tool, and on Mac most people seem to recommend XLD - though I see that there is now a beta version of dBpoweramp for OSX.

 

In my experience, dBpoweramp is more likely to produce a good rip from a bad disc than any other tool.

 

I use iTunes every day, most of the day. It works fine for Redbook material and ACC files, if you have any. With over 6500 albums in my playing system, it is the best day in and day out player. Not a redheaded stepchild… I have several other players, and use them at times with HDTracks feeds, also AIFF is good for those on a Mac, FLAC is not so much. To each his own, live and let live, as long as you have choices, that is good. Pick that which works best for you.
I find that iTunes starts to get quite sluggish with large collections, and does not offer the flexibility required to manage large libraries. With iTunes, you have to do work to conform to its standards, doing things such as renaming albums to "Album Name - (CD Rip)" "Album Name (HDtracks)" etc. to avoid duplicates, while other players such as JRiver allow you to display the files as you like, based on any criteria.

 

As configured in JRiver, I can have multiple versions of the same album, still tagged with the correct (unmodified) album name, but grouped separately based on both sample rate differences, and whether or not I have entered anything in the "description" tag.

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I read that FLAC has a some sort of CRC built in to the CODEC. However, this is the first I have heard of "Bit Rot" with iTunes related files or Apple Lossless (ALAC). Can you provide some references to support your statement and so I can do some research?

 

If one follows a good Ripping Methodology, i.e. the one that is listed on this site, re ripping the track should be an issue. The real problem if this "Bit rot" is a real thing, is how much is affected?

 

Thanks for bringing this up.

 

My reference to "Bit Rot" was not targeted towards any certain piece of software to rip the music. IMO, "Bit Rot" is a byproduct from a hardware related issue. In the end, it will ultimately effect the music file (software) residing on that hardware. I don't think it matters what method was used to put said file on the storage device, could be just a simple copy paste from local disk to NAS or vise versa. Once the sectors of the disk start to show problems whatever file was in that location can fall victim to Corruption/Bit Rot.

 

Despite SSD being super-fast and cool its not an ideal medium for long term archiving purposes of ripped music files. Conventional disk is a much better option. I don't think RAID anything will save you in a Bit Rot scenario though. If a "piece" of the original data has gone bad due to a hardware related issue the RAID set may just spread the bad data across all disks so even after rebuild you could end up with the same unusable file.

 

I've seen situations where a bad sector in X 1 hard drive of a RAID set prevent the rebuild process of a new disk. The rebuild would begin as normal after a new HD was installed and every-time it reached the bad sector of the surviving member disk it would hang/get stuck and never complete the rebuild of the new member. The only fix was to replace the other disk too. In this situation RAID 6 would have come in handy as it allows for double failures in a RAID set but anything less then RAID 6 and your starting over.

 

Things get very tricky when dealing with sector failures or corrupt data. I think the ideal way to avoid all of the above is to have a separate NAS Disk or external HD containing X 2 different versions of your Primary Music folder. One version would be kept fairly up to date and the other backup version would be a few months or years old. This is the only real way to protect yourself from Bit Rot.

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