Questions About Music Quality

Discussion in 'iPod' started by snverhallen, Nov 8, 2008.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    #1
    So basically what I want is pure CD quality music in my iTunes library. I've heard about all the different codecs such as Apple Lossless, LAME and FLAC. Out of these which is the best? And can't I just drag the music files from a CD and import those, wouldn't that be uncompressed, CD quality files?

    snverhallen
     
  2. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    #2
    Uncompressed CD audio takes up way too much space. Apple Lossless is natively supported by iTunes, and it's got the same sound quality as uncompressed audio, but in about half the space.

    In the iTunes preferences, click on "Import Settings..." and where it says "Import Using:" click on the drop-down, and click on "Apple Lossless Encoder." Start ripping CD's afterwards, and they'll all rip as Apple Lossless.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    #3
    Thanks for your answer, but how can Apple Lossless half the file size but maintain the same sound quality, seems impossible? And could you give me an example of a song directly ripped from a CD with no compression?

    snverhallen
     
  4. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    #4
  5. macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #5
    Apple's pro thats why! lol, i seriously dont know.
     
  6. macrumors 65816

    Galley

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2008
    #6
    WAV (lossless, uncompressed) = 10MB/minute
    ALAC (lossless, compressed) = ~6MB/minute
    128Kbps AAC (lossy, compressed) = 1MB/minute
     
  7. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #7
    How does a Zip file 1/2 the size of the original contain 100% of the numbers of a spread sheet without loosing a single number? Not exact or scientific but if you had an encyclopedia about dinosaurs you could make it smaller by creating a table and code words. The word Stegosaurus could be coded as S1. So ever time you need to type the word Stegosaurus you type S1. Look at the space you save while not loosing any info.

    Apple Lossless is the way to go since it works on all iPods (sans Shuttle) and you can easily convert back to a WAV (CD) file. I have my entire library in Apple Lossless (about 400GB).
     
  8. macrumors 6502

    wpc33

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #8
    I have always had all my CD's in iTunes as AIFF(same as WAV). I love lossless, and have been willing to make room on the hard drive for it.

    Only as recently as two months ago, I finally bothered to test out ALAC. Sure, I read all the facts:p yet was somehow unsure.

    Apple Lossless sounds perfect, just as the science and the data said it does(go figure!). I converted all my AIFF to ALAC, and not only have I saved over 150GB of space(which is about $50 of my HDD's space/dollar ratio), but these files actually have built-in tags, so I will never have to re-enter the titles, artwork, or other info-data, again. When I lost my iTunes library three years ago, I had to redo the whole sha-bang. That sucked!

    I would've loved if :apple: allowed FLAC in iTunes, as it was already so popular:)apple: had their reasons), but for iTunes....ALAC FTW.


    PS if you rip your CD's in a lossy format, and someday, you have the space/need for a different format/bitrate, you will have to re-rip from the source. As you may already know, you cannot transcode lossy without it sounding worse. Lossless is your master source, and will serve you well.

    PPS I only have MP3's on my iPod, however. I encode, transfer, and delete/backup the encodes. To keep me from doing this twice, I keep a full backup of my iPod's HDD with SuperDuper.
     
  9. macrumors 65816

    Foxer

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #9
    I have been using Apple lossless since4 it was introduced and can vouch for it being "lossless."

    I'm not an engineer either, but I've always assumed that it is simply smarter than the compression method used to encode traditional CD's. That format is, remember, almost 30 years old. It can't be abandoned, given the sheer volume of CD players out there. Apple lossless can take a CD track and compress it simply beacuse over the years compression technology has gotten better. I suspect that eventually there will be something better than Apple Lossless...
     
  10. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    #10
    As far as I'm aware, lossless files are half the size but all the quality because lots of the sound captured on a CD is at frequencies that are beyond the range of human hearing. So you can cut out all of that whilst not affecting the quality for anyone apart from your pet dog.
     
  11. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #11
    This is incorrect. Removing any sound would be perceptual coding and lossy. CD's only contain frequencies to just beyond 20K Hz which is the limit of hearing, so there is no frequencies "beyond the range of human hearing" to remove. As I said in my previous post it uses tables to compress and encoded the data. When it is uncompressed 100% of all the original data is intact just like a Zip file. Not a single sound, frequency, or 1dB of range is removed or missing. It is 100% bit for bit identical to the CD file it came from.
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    #12
    The question over what is best is a tricky one too!

    I did a test with iTunes and a few CD's. Took about 40 minutes and made my mind up for me. Pick 4 or 5 of your favourite tracks. Try and find a good cross-section of music types too. From my CD collection (converting tracks to different codecs from anything other than CD or Lossless file is pointless!) I picked a heavy rock song, an instrumental track from a movie score, some dance with lots of bass (Daft Punk) and nice mellow indie track with acoustic guitars and piano.

    I then ripped all of them in iTunes in several different codes- Apple Lossless, high-bitrate mp3, low-bitrate mp3, high-bitrate AAC etc and name the files accordingly with the track name and codec. I then tried listening to all of them with the following:

    iMac and speakers
    iMac and closed-ear headphones
    iPod Touch 2G and closed-ear headphones
    iPod Touch 2G and earbuds

    I could tell the difference with Lossless but not enough to justify the file size. The argument above for having a lossless back-up of all your tracks is a good one but I'm willing to take a chance with my CD's. For my iPod and Mac I just couldn't justify the sheer file size and stuck with 256k mp3's instead.

    Your mileage, of course, will vary but it's worth a try just to see what you think of the difference. Use the set-up's you use everyday for listening to music and see what sounds best for you :)
     
  13. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    #13
    I stand corrected! Cheers!:)
     
  14. macrumors regular

    kwk1

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #14
    I dunno, I have 1000 songs on Windows Media Player. They're at lossless ripped from CD's, they take up 22GB's of space.

    When I ripped all the CD's to iTunes, I did them as AAC files at 256 kbps and it's taking up a little over 7GB's of space.
    I'm quite happy with the sound quality and it's just not worth the space to do lossless audio. For me anyway.
     
  15. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #15
    How much did you pay for the CD's? :eek: Now how much does 22GB's of HD space cost? ;) So by lossy compressing them you saved a WHOPPING $5.00 worth of HD space.
     
  16. macrumors regular

    kwk1

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #16
    About a hundred cd's, $5 -$15 a piece over 25 years.
    Not really much cost.
    As for harddrive space, I don't care about the space on my computer, it's the space on my iPod touch. I still have all my music at lossless on WMP, and just made them AAC 256kbps for iTunes. A 32gb touch is $100 more than a 16Gb touch, so I'm not sure where you get $5 from.:rolleyes:
     
  17. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #17
    But you could have kept two copies of the songs in your library, one in Apple Lossless and one in 256k mp3/aac. Then use a smart playlist to separate the two kinds, and only sync the lossy ones to your iPod. That way you can buy a smaller capacity iPod, and have everything in lossless at your computer.

    22GB + 7GB is only <30GB. Computer harddrive space is cheap.
     
  18. macrumors regular

    kwk1

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #18
    What? I do have 2 copies of them, wma lossless and AAC 256.
    Windows Media Player works just fine playing tunes from the computer.
    There's no need to make another copy of them @lossless in iTunes.
    My music does take up 22+7=<30GB.

    The only playlist I use is Genius.
    I'd rather have all my music on the iPod itself.
    I pick a song I'm in the mood for, then hit genius, that's how I roll.

    Thanks anyway for your suggestion.
     

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