Apple lossless on external--AAC internal?

Discussion in 'iPod' started by wayland1985, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    #1
    I'm moving into my own place (again) in the next few weeks. Before I go, I'd like to rip some of my roommate's CDs to iTunes.

    But, since it seems digital audio formats keep changing, I was thinking it would be best to rip songs in Lossless, and then convert them to AAC (or whatever format) in the future.


    Is it possible to encode some CD's in Lossless, and put them in an external folder? And then is there an easy way to use iTunes to convert the Lossless files to AAC for my internal hard drive???


    Or am I just making way too much work for myself???
     
  2. macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #2
    Create a new iTunes library and move the Music folder to your external. Google it. There's a wealth of info on this topic.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    #3
    Ah, thanks. I didn't know what to search for.

    I'm curious though, will this just let me put the Lossless songs on the external?

    And then, can I just go back to my original library, and right click on the songs I want to be AAC, select "CONVERT TO AAC", and have them in my internal HD???
     
  4. macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
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    #4
    Putting the lossless on the external is easy. Creating AAC files from those is a little more involved than your description. Apple hasn't done a very good job of accounting for people who want to have their music collection in two different formats. Do you homework though, and you'll be up and running in no time.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    #5
    In your opinion, is all of this work worth it? I mean in the long-run, I could theoretically take any of my lossless tracks and convert them to the "New standard" of audio compression formats.


    But, is 256 AAC VBR a good enough format? What about 320 AAC VBR (As now offered in iTunes 9)????


    I just want to make sure my library lasts forever!
     
  6. macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
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    #6
    I'd say it's definitely worth it. Keep your collection in Lossless. It will last forever. You'll never have to re-rip everything when you get a new stereo system and find out your music is garbage as a lossy file...
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    #7
    Gotcha...


    Now, if forced to use a Lossy file format:

    Would you go with AAC VBR??? And if so, now iTunes offers 320kbps. Is it more beneficial than 256? (I.E.: Would you encode with AAC 256 (VBR) or AAC 320 (VBR) ?)
     
  8. macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #8
    Harddrive is cheap. I've been doing loseless for years. Never have to think about format again.
     
  9. macrumors 68000

    JonHimself

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #9
    Here's my process, I actually just finished.

    -iTunes Library is on my MBP's internal laptop.
    -I would rip the CD in Lossless, add any relavent info (I've added BPM, Producer, Label and Recording Location... but that's just me).
    -I would highlight a song from the recently ripped album and then reveal the file in Finder (apple + R), move up one directory level (apple + up arrow) and then drag that folder onto the desktop*
    -Back in iTunes, I would highlight all of the songs I just ripped and convert them to 256kbps, not VBR.**
    -Finally, I would highlight the Apple Lossless files in iTunes and delete them***
    -I take the Lossless folder on my desktop (it will be named with just the album name, so I add the band name as well) and add it to a folder on my external drive. I don't have two libraries, the AAC files are in my iTunes library, the Lossless files are just keep in folders and subfolders on my external drive.

    * I do this so that the newly created AAC files don't have '1' or 'copy' (can't remember which) at the end of the filename

    ** Personal preference for 256kbps. 192kbps sounded fine but it was a mental thing that made me bump it up to 256kbps... 320 seemed like overkill - and if I really was concerned about quality on a big stereo I always have the lossless files

    *** Since the files aren't in the iTunes library folder, you won't have to confirm if you want to "Delete Files or "Just Remove From Library"

    I'm sure there are better methods, that's mine, hopefully it helps in some way.
     
  10. macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #10
    Since you will have the lossless file, it really doesn't matter too much what you convert your songs to. If space is a concern, use 192, if it's not, use 320. I assume you would be using these files on your computer, ipod or phone and not on your home speakers where you could really tell a difference. So make it fit whatever your requirements require.

    One thing to note, play counts and such will not sync with each library. For example, if you play a song from your lossy folder, it will not show as played in your lossless library. Same goes for album art, if you add album art to your lossy file, it will not add it to your lossless file. But if you add everything you want to your lossless file and then convert, this won't matter at all...
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    #11
    I really like this method. It'll allow me to set up a new library if I wanted to, but it also allows me to view individual song files without using iTunes. Thanks a lot!


    Also, I'd like to thank Tilpots, you've been very helpful. I think I have the room for the 320kbps, so I'm going to go ahead with that.


    Thanks again, guys, for the help. Unfortunately the Apple support Discussion Board gave me the boot about this same topic. (Apparently this topic involves illegally owned music :confused: )

    Thanks again!
     
  12. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    #12
    OH, and another quick question:

    I was curious if converting from the Lossless file to AAC would have any loss of quality (compared to converting from an actual CD to AAC)???


    Lossless is a compressed version, no? So does converting from lossless to AAC result in loss of fidelity?
     
  13. macrumors 68000

    JonHimself

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    Nov 3, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #13
    My understanding is that the lossless copy is an exact duplicate of the source and is not compressed. While the size is smaller (maybe?) than a CD, it's still an exact duplicate.

    I hope/assume that there is no difference between going from CD to AAC and Lossless to AAC but couldn't cite any actual sources to prove it.
     
  14. macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #14
    Going from lossless to AAC won't result in a "worse" file compared to going from a CD to AAC, AFAIK. What you do want to stay away from is going from 320 to, say, 192. Basically, don't compress an already lossy file. Use your lossless file as the master, not a lossy one. The degradation will add up. Good luck on your project!
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    #15
    What throws me off is that the file is smaller than the original. So how is there no loss in quality???


    I guess I'm just confused by it.
     
  16. macrumors 68000

    JonHimself

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    Nov 3, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #16
    This never really made complete sense to me (in that I couldn't quite wrap my head around it) but when you look at lossless compression (ie ALAC, FLAC) vs lossy compression (ie AAC, MP3) it was explained to me that lossless compression will compress a file in such a way that when it is decompressed it is an exact duplicate of the source where as a lossy compression can NOT be decompressed to a duplicate of the original source (which is why the lossless compression takes up so much more space than the lossy compression).
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    #17
    So, essentially ALAC is just a ZIP file? The file is compressed into a format that iTunes automatically decompresses to play???


    Does this mean that AAC is just a re-formatted file (like converting a pages document to word, or vice versa?)???
     
  18. macrumors 68000

    JonHimself

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    Nov 3, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #18
    I guess, in a way, like a ZIP file, yes.

    Not so sure about the reformatted file... more like a ZIP file of a ton of information that got rid of some information that you'll likely never need (as opposed to the ALAC version which would keep ALL of the information). Comparison being that with lossy compression you lose some of the detail in the music but it's done in such a way that you probably don't notice... terrible explanation and I'm sure someone who actually understands audio properties could do better, but that's kind of how it works.
     
  19. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
  20. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    #20
    Here's an alternative method: I use multiple iTunes libraries (Option + iTunes), one called "Compressed", one called "Compressed and Lossless," and one called "Lossless," all of them on the same external drive. I do all my ripping in "Compressed & Lossless," ripping two versions of each CD (and labelling them as such when ripping, for instance "Abbey Road AAC" and "Abbey Road AL." You have to label them this way so they aren't written over when you re-rip in the other format). Then close out "Compressed & Lossless," and re-launch the "Compressed" library, then add the AAC version to that library (Apple + O). Do the same for the "Lossless" library, adding "Abbey Road AL." It's a little more work but then you not only have all of your library(s) safe on an external drive, you can navigate to any of them using iTunes. I add my AAC files to my iPod and stream my Apple Lossless files to my Apple TV in my home theater.
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    #21
    iTunes won't write over your files, even duplicates, unless you tell it to replace your tracks. So you shouldn't need to rename the albums with Lossless or Compressed, unless I'm missing something.

    Originally, I had everything in one library. I would simply uncheck all the lossless files, created a master playlist with "Playlist Is Music", "Kind Does Not Contain Lossless", and base all other playlists upon that new list. It essentially became my new master "music" list.

    I have them in two separate libraries now, but that's due to lack of drive space on a single drive, I have it spread across a couple of externals.
     
  22. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    #22
    If you don't rename the album in some way, it will indeed write over the files. Learned this the hard way.
     
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    #23
    I'm going to test this in a short while and see what happens. I am almost certain iTunes pops up with a message asking you if you want to replace the existing files. If you choose yes, your files will be written over (regardless of format.. it uses the tag info) and they will occupy the place of said files in the library, and if you choose no, you will get duplicates both in your iTunes library and in your music folder. But it should not replace your files. I thought iTunes never overwrites files without permission of the user. Even when it updates apps, it moves them to the recycle bin.
     
  24. macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #24
    Check out this thread. It should help...
     
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    #25
    A word of advice for anyone reading this thread...

    If you're going to use your valuable time ripping discs to lossless, do it right the first time. Use a secure ripper like EAC or dBpowerAMP. Do not use iTunes for lossless ripping.

    EAC and dBpowerAMP will make sure you have as close to a perfect rip as possible and let you know if there were any errors on your disc. And don't think that just because your disc is clean that it's free of errors. I had a half-dozen CD's in flawless condition with errors on them.
     

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