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Seeking Opinions On Changing Library From AIFF To ALAC


mwheelerk
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I originally began my library using ALAC. Some years ago while considering the purchase of a media server I mistakenly thought required the use of AIFF files I converted my ALAC library to AIFF. Everything has been fine with my AIFF library. One of the concerns with AIFF has been the transportability of metadata. While transferring my library over three different sets of HDD and using two different Mac computers along with iTunes, Pure Music, Audirvana, JRiver and Sonos my metadata has remained stable and intact.

 

Now I've come across a situation where my album artwork doesn't seem to transfer with the music file. I bought a new car which has Bluetooth. The first music I played in the car was from my girlfriend's iPhone and her library is AAC. The artwork and other metadata display on the car's screen. When I went to play music from my iPhone the artwork does not display. This is what got me thinking of transcoding back to ALAC.

 

Are there era any issues I should be aware of or concerned with if I do this? Any advice is appreciated whether for or against the idea.

"If you fly a flag of hate you are no kin to me"

Ry Cooder

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Be careful with 24 bit AIFF, converting to ALAC with iTunes/Quicktime (which I assume the Dougscript does). I am not sure if this still happens, but at some point it would compress to 16 bits.

 

If it were me, I would either leave it alone (let iTunes compress to AAC when it loads it on your phone), or use XLD to batch-convert to ALAC.

 

Recently, I batch-copied/converted my library to mp3 using XLD, and it seems to skip over stuff somewhat randomly. I have no idea whether this generalizes to other conversions, but it would be a deal-breaker for me.

 

Check the AIFF files to verify the album art is actually embedded in each file, and not just associated in iTunes. That would be the easiest fix (there is a Doug script for that).

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I do not think there are any sonic implications, but how are you getting the music to your iPhone?

 

I mean, are you physically loading it, or are you streaming from JRMC, Apple Match, or something like that?

 

In either case, I think you should be able to transcode from your main library on the fly with no effort, and avoid having to convert your entire library.

 

But if you do decide to convert your library statically, XLD is probably the best way to go. ITunes may not preserve your high res music in the conversion.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Be careful with 24 bit AIFF, converting to ALAC with iTunes/Quicktime (which I assume the Dougscript does). I am not sure if this still happens, but at some point it would compress to 16 bits.

 

I regularly use iTunes for AIFF->ALAC conversions, and have never had that problem. 24-bit AIFF becomes 24-bit ALAC. The other way doesn't work; iTunes will turn a 24-bit ALAC into a 16-bit AIFF. (I use XLD for conversions in that direction.) I think this odd asymmetry is because iOS devices will play 24-bit ALAC, but not 24-bit AIFF.

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The other way doesn't work; iTunes will turn a 24-bit ALAC into a 16-bit AIFF. (I use XLD for conversions in that direction.) I think this odd asymmetry is because iOS devices will play 24-bit ALAC, but not 24-bit AIFF.

 

OK, maybe that is what I am remembering.

 

In any case, I would advise (a) double-checking everything (both for resolution information and completeness of the conversion) and (b) keeping the original AIFF library, even if offline in a safe or something.

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If it were me, I would either leave it alone (let iTunes compress to AAC when it loads it on your phone)
In either case, I think you should be able to transcode from your main library on the fly with no effort, and avoid having to convert your entire library.

What they said.

1. AIFF has worked fine for you.

2. Does the job with proven software on (most) Macs, PCs, smartphones, tablets and DAPs.

3. HDDs are cheap.

BT streaming is cool, convenient. But the SBC sub-band BT audio codec maxes out at 345kbps for stereo streams. Unless your car stereo head unit uses the aptX codec, in which case the BT streaming can (theoretically) reach 721kbps. All depends on the spec/implementation of the BT receiver.

Likely the album art “no show” issue has more to do with the head unit's software than file format... which may/may not be addressed by AIFF >> ALAC conversion.

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Artwork gets lost frequently, usually because a many software programs (including iTunes and SoX) don't encode the artwork in the file with the other metadata. iTunes keeps the artwork in the library database, which means that if you import its files into another library, the rest of the metadata will be transferred, but the artwork will be lost. Both AIFF and ALAC support encoding the artwork in the file, and iTunes will look after the artwork separately for both formats, so it isn't an issue of file format. I don't care about albums not showing artwork, but if you do, you can add the artwork, either automatically (iTunes has this feature, based on matching an online database, but it makes lots of errors) or by hand (slow).

 

Most new cars allow playing music through a wired USB connection. If you care about the best possible sound quality I recommend this over Bluetooth, since the wired connection is lossless. Besides, the USB port will charge your phone while you drive.

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  • 3 months later...

I here ya. In same position right now...

New simplified setup: STEREO- Primary listening Area: Cullen Circuits Mod ZP90> Benchmark DAC1>RotelRKB250 Power amp>KEF Q Series. Secondary listening areas: 1/ QNAP 119P II(running MinimServer)>UPnP>Linn Majik DSI>Linn Majik 140's. 2/ (Source awaiting)>Invicta DAC>RotelRKB2100 Power amp>Rega's. Tertiary multiroom areas: Same QNAP>SMB>Sonos>Various. MULTICHANNEL- MacMini>A+(Standalone mode)>Exasound e28 >5.1 analog out>Yamaha Avantage Receiver>Pre-outs>Linn Chakra power amps>Linn Katan front and sides. Linn Trikan Centre. Velodyne SPL1000 Ultra

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