Best Audio Format?

Discussion in 'iPod' started by swwack91, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. swwack91 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #1
    I'll be getting my new Mac soon and want to re-import my CD's...

    What's the best audio format (of the ones iTunes can import) compared to the size?

    Basically, what format has the best Sound/Size ratio?

    (And if the format has several options like MP3 has several bit rate options, which one?)
     
  2. Krevnik macrumors 68030

    Krevnik

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2003
    #2
    Well, there are a couple options, and no real silver bullet.

    Apple Lossless gives you true CD quality audio. All it does is compress the audio ripped from the CD, and doesn't do anything that throws away data. It is the largest (at about 300MB/CD), but you can't get any better than this in terms of quality. This can only really be played in iTunes, on iPods, Apple TV, and so on. Nobody outside of Apple supports the codec as of yet.

    AAC and MP3 are both 'lossy' formats, in that they throw away data that is believed that the human ear can't hear. So, bitrate becomes important here. AAC tends to get just as good quality at one step 'down' from what MP3 needs (so if you have a 160Kbps MP3, the 128Kbps AAC should sound similar). The catch is that AAC doesn't play on all the devices MP3s can. So if you are mostly playing it back using iTunes and an iPod, AAC is just fine, but if you have some exotic devices that don't support AAC (.m4a/.mp4) audio, then you should stick with MP3. As for bitrate, I prefer to go no lower than 160Kbps AAC for my own rips, and for classical, I like to stay above 192Kbps AAC. For my own purposes 256 and 320Kbps MP3/AAC sound the same to me.

    Unfortunately, the best advice I can give is rip a single track using the codec you want to use, with a couple different bitrates, and listen. Pick the one that hits that sweet spot for you and what you listen to.
     
  3. Mpulsive81 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Location:
    McKinney, TX
    #3
    One thing to consider is that many aftermarket car cd players are starting to support AAC as well. My girlfriend's kenwood does, but my alpine doesn't. I personally like AAC. Great quality and takes less space. If you go w/ AAC, you can always burn a mix cd and put it in a AAC cd player if you don't have an ipod. But I understand the point that was previously made, AAC is a proprietary format for now.
     
  4. Krevnik macrumors 68030

    Krevnik

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2003
    #4
    AAC isn't exactly proprietary. Anyone can license it for use in their hardware, but because of how pervasive MP3 has been, and people dodging MP3 license fees for their devices to make them cheaper... MP3 has been the main choice.
     
  5. swwack91 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #5
    Does anyone know if Final Cut Express HD supports AAC for editing? 'Cuz I know the PC editing suite i have doesn't.... just wondering
     
  6. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #6
    Archive in ALAC and then make a secondary library if you want something that takes up less space or can be fit on an iPod.

    Honestly, you only want to archive your CDs once, and when you do, you don't want to lose a single bit of information.
     
  7. Krevnik macrumors 68030

    Krevnik

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2003
    #7
    FCE will import AAC audio for tracks, but normally you will want to convert it into AIFF or something similar to do the actual editing with (which FCE can do, IIRC). FCE can tap into any Quicktime-compatible file and import it (and convert it into a format better for editing).
     

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