best import settings in iTunes?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by jinda, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2012
    What is the best settings to use when importing content from a CD to the iTunes library?

    Looking for quality.

    Windows XP

    I heard Apple Loseless quality is best but takes a lot of space, so what is the best quality after that?

    Provide a step-to-step guide if possible because it's not as simple as picking 256 etc...
  2. macrumors 65816

    Dec 13, 2009
    apple Lossless is compressed lossless so the sound quality is exactly the same as the CD it also supports metadata which is really useful when it comes to backing up your music.

    the next best quality would probably be either AAC 320kbs or MP3 320kbs both are perfectly valid options but both are lossy meaning sound quality is lossed so you would not be able to just switch to another format without re-ripping the CD, you will need some high end equipment to even tell the difference between either AAC/MP3 and ALAC/the CD.
    which you choose depends on what your mp3 player/mobile phone can play (ie if your phone can't play AAC then MP3 is the better choice.

    personally I ripped all my CDs to ALAC purely because I never wanted to rip them again, from the ALAC I can create a copy to any format and it would be exactly as if it was from the CD.

    for your information a random 15 track album I have in ALAC is 344MB and the same album in MP3 320kbs is 130MB
  3. macrumors 65816


    Feb 28, 2012
    United States
    So almost all my files are in AIFF, should I switch to ALAC?
  4. macrumors 65816

    Jolly Jimmy

    Dec 13, 2007
    Yep, you'll save a ton of space without any loss in quality.
  5. macrumors 65816

    Dec 13, 2009
    I agree with Jolly Jimmy exact same quality but takes up less space plus the fact the metadata is stored in the actual file is a huge bonus if you move files around to a 2nd computer or for backup.

    the same 15 track album I quoted above in AIFF is 570MB, so that ~230MB saving per album soon adds up
  6. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 9, 2012
    Boston, MA
    Yes, definitely. No reason to store your files as AIFF if you're just playing them with iTunes.
  7. macrumors 65816


    Feb 28, 2012
    United States
    Thanks guys, took me a day or two, but almost all of my music is now in ALAC format. It does indeed sound the same and conserves so much more space. :D
  8. macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    If you can hear a difference with anything better than 256K, the you have very expensive equipment and a tuned room to listen in.

    ALAC if you want to compress the CDs without losing any sound quality. iTunes Plus(AAC 256) or MP3 256 w/VBR for files that are a more reasonable size.
  9. macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Most of the time the above is correct. But MP3 can have transient artifacts. These are defects that occur now and then and not even in every song. Some thing a drum hit will sound bad or an electronic synth sound is not right. So if you listen for 30 seconds in an A/B test you may not notice a difference but if you play enough music you will notice these, the defects are very short and then many seconds go by with pretty good sound.

    The best way to notice this is with good studio quality headphones, no "perfect room" is required. I can hear this stuff with just a pair of K240 plugged into a PreSonus audio interface, Just a few hundred $ of gear not thousands

    Disks are so cheap now, don't worry about the space.

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