Is Apple Lossless really better than mp3?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by ShaggyLR, Nov 20, 2004.

  1. macrumors member

    Jan 12, 2004
    I've been reading into how no matter how well you rip an mp3 from a CD, you will always lose a good bit of quality. Is the difference between mp3 and Apple Lossless really noticable? If so, I would actually consider ripping many CDs over again into iTunes for my iPod.

  2. Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    Both quality and size are noticebly different. Yes, lossless is better. However, it's a matter of your hearing. If you can't tell the difference between your CD and an good .mp3 file, why bother re-ripping?
  3. macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2003
    Mp3, aac, vorbis et al are all lossy compression algorithms. If you rip a CD with any of these, at any bit rate, the result will never be identical to the sound content of the original CD. At high bit rates, most people, especially casual listeners, won't be able to tell the difference. At lower bit rates, you'll be able to discern a difference. Whether the difference in quality is large enough to bother you varies from one person to the next.

    Any lossless compression algorithm is just that; the content takes up less space, but when it is uncompressed, it is bit for bit identical to the original source. There is no degradation in quality. The price you pay is space. Most lossless compressors for audio get you around 50% space savings.

    From my experience, Apple lossless compression takes up about 3 times as much disk space as AAC at 192 kbps, give or take.

  4. Moderator emeritus


    Jan 19, 2003
    London, England
    Unless you have VERY good headphones or are listening through decent amp/speakers, then Apple lossless is just bigger files, 240 AAC (or even 160) is plenty good enough, and does sound better than MP3 at a comparitive rate.

    However, if you have a good system and listen in very quiet environments, then Apple lossless is worth the work, but it does hammer you battery a bit, as it makes the disc work a lot harder.
  5. macrumors 6502a


    Feb 13, 2002
    You should just use what sounds better to you. If 128 mp3 sounds good to you then use it and save yourself a whole lot of disk space. Apple lossless is better in the sense that it is not as compressed and thus does not have to alter the original file as much.

    I use 192 aac for my music because i can tell the difference on my home stereo system, but some people cant. I suggest you try encoding the same song in a few different ways and see which one is the best mix of quality and size. If you cant tell the difference between lossles and 192 then use 192.

    If i used lossless, i would never be able to fitt all of my music on my computer or my ipod. Consider how many songs you have before thinking about lossless encoding.

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