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best audio format for itunes


danny_C
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Flac is the best, most widely used and compatible lossless encoder. Of course Itunes does not support FLAC, or APE, or SHN, etc. And Apple computers, basically forces you to use what they want.

 

For you, I recommend using AIFF, which is not lossy and of course, larger sized files. The AIFF as I understand it is the Apple equivalent of WAV which is PCM 16 bit 44.1 Khz.

 

There are applications that can play Flac files on a mac so I suggest you search around.

 

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AIFF is the best format provided you have the storage room. If I understand correctly, AIFF is the Apple version of WAV, which is the raw, uncompressed music format for CD's.

 

There's always a lot of debate about sound quality of the compressed (apple lossless) versus noncompressed (AIFF) with preference to noncompressed.

 

BTW, a good rip/encode program is MAX.

 

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Apple supports ALAC, the Apple lossless format and the equivalent of FLAC. Both are lossless, which means audio files compressed with either will sound just as good as the other and as good as AIFF or WAV files.

 

If you're on a MAC, ignore FLAC and use Apple Lossless.

 

Unless you're 'chasing ghosts', there's no reason for the additional file sizes of AIFF.

 

There is an application called Fluke which will play FLAC files, but unless you have a precise reason for using FLAC (downloading from HD Tracks, e.g.), go with Apple Lossless. You can select it when you import files into iTunes under the 'import settings'. Even if you know you will play the occasional FLAC files, that's no reason to compress files in FLAC format.

 

enjoy the music,

clay

 

 

 

 

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When you rip your CD's the usual advice is to have "Error Correction" turned on and select either AIFF or Apple Lossless. Both of these format choices have all the bits from the original CD, so you're not losing any music. Apple Lossless is compressed and so it takes up less space on your hard drive. That's its reason for being.

 

I recommend that you select a CD or two and rip them both ways -- and then compare. You can then see if there is any appreciable difference with your setup.

 

For me, on my ancient PowerMac G4 Cube, AIFF is far better than Apple Lossless. It may be this is due to the Cube's impoverished CPU and antiquated system bus; I think it is just not up to the task of the real time decoding of these full resolution compressed files.

 

Enjoy your music. Computer audio is tremendously exciting and gratifying.

 

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

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And I wanted to mention that, even though I use AIFF with iTunes, I do buy songs in FLAC format. After they're downloaded, I convert them to AIFF using xACT and import into iTunes.

 

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

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"After they're downloaded, I convert them to AIFF using xACT and import into iTunes."

thanks for the tip,

 

interesting observation on the Cube's limitations as well.

 

I've been playing AIFF files that are stored on a network drive, but not trying to play lossless.

How does playback of ALAC sound - dropouts, something else?

 

How are you getting audio out - USB? I've only tried Firewire thus far.

 

Are you using Wireless? I gave up relying on the Airport card in the Cube and hooked the box directly to an Airport Express via Ethernet out.

 

I was expecting to run into issues with non-RBCD playback, but not for 'normal' files.

 

thanks in advance,

 

clay

 

 

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For me, with lossless, it does depend on the musical selection as to how much I notice it. But in all cases there is a noticeable difference.

 

I don't perceive this as drop outs. However, the timing or "flow" of the music is not steady and doesn't feel convincing. The quality of the tone suffers equally, especially on the highs, but I think extending throughout. It just sounds bad, and is more noticeable on some selections than others -- perhaps depending on the degree of compression. Some files, you just feel "this is a crappy recording", but then listening again to an AIFF rip, everything sounds great.

 

Since not everyone reports this, I'm speculating that it's my cpu speed and/or bus throughput. And there may be other aspects of my setup that are to blame -- maybe decisions the designers made in the hardware or software architecture, disk paging, or something like that. I have no idea really. ;-)

 

If I ever upgrade to a new computer, I'm looking forward to revisiting this.

 

I take the signal out via USB to a dac and then by singled ended (wired) interconnect into my amp. All of my external drives are on the Firewire bus.

 

I tried using wireless to the Airport Express, and this was terrifically convenient. But the result seemed flatter -- just not as rich. So I have long cables dragging across the middle of the room when I'm listening. I could definitely see going wireless for informal listening, however.

 

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

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