Apple Lossless vs. 320 KBPS

Discussion in 'iPod' started by Numbers, Mar 6, 2009.


What format should I use?

  1. ACC/320 KBPS/VBR

    40 vote(s)
  2. Apples Lossless

    93 vote(s)
  3. Other (please specify below)

    10 vote(s)
  1. Numbers macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2009

    I am currently in the process of copying all of my music from CD to my hard drive for use in iTunes. I was wondering whether I should go with ACC/320 KBPS/VBR or Apple Lossless. I was also wondering whether I should go with error correction. File size does not matter to me; I am going for the best possible quality.

  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    You've answered your own question. Without going through separate CD ripping software like XLD, CD-ripping Apple Lossless with error correction on in iTunes is the way to go.

    Note that excluding iPods, Apple Lossless files are not necessarily compatible with many portable players and other devices.
  3. Doju macrumors 68000

    Jun 16, 2008
    DEFINITELY lossless if file size isn't an issue. You won't have to rerip down the road.
  4. Numbers thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2009
    Is Apple Lossless compatible enough? Will it become the new audio standard?
  5. Teej guy macrumors 6502a

    Aug 6, 2007
    The nice thing about ripping to lossless is that even if Apple Lossless doesn't become any kind of standard and another lossless format takes over (you could argue FLAC is the most popular lossless format around right now), you can easily convert from one lossless format to another without any quality loss...because it's lossless. No re-ripping of the CDs is required. You can go between AIFF, Apple Lossless, WAV and FLAC as many times as you like, and the data you get out will remain the same.

    If you rip to MP3 now and a different format comes up later that you want to rip to, you'll have to rip everything all over again because converting from one lossy format to another results in large quality loss. (converting between MP3/AAC/WMA being an example)

    If you're looking to make definitive copies of your discs, look into using XLD to rip. If you want to use iTunes, definitely make sure error correction is on.
  6. darkcurse macrumors 6502a


    Nov 5, 2005
    If you're paranoid about scratches etc, use Max to do a full CD paranoia rip. Its kinda like Direct Audio Copy thats on the windows side.
  7. Teej guy macrumors 6502a

    Aug 6, 2007
    Both Max and XLD use CD Paranoia. XLD just does full pregap detection and checks against the Accurate Rip database. It's a little weirder to use though.

    Try both!
  8. Numbers thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2009
    I have ended up deciding on 320 KBPS; as it turns out though, VBR isn't available with 320. So, I was wondering whether I should go with 256 and VBR or plain 320? Again, looking or quality.
  9. techfreak85 macrumors 68040


    Jan 13, 2008
    dude, if u want best sound i can not stress more


    u wont have to rerip later and it is like a zip file were it can be reproduced bit for bit after uncompression, with no loss what soever but same quality as full Aiff.
  10. Teej guy macrumors 6502a

    Aug 6, 2007
    I must point out the above seems a little contradictory.

    If all you care about is quality, and you're using the MP3 format, go for 320kbps. That's the most amount of bits the MP3 format can use within spec. VBR lets the encoder decide where to allocate bits instead of using a constant bit-stream. It gives you the best quality/size ratio if size is an issue. The highest quality VBR method for MP3s is using the LAME encoder with the V0 VBR setting. The highest quality possible out of MP3 is CBR 320kbps.

    EDIT: Just realised you were talking about's the same deal...just replace "MP3" in that last paragraph with "AAC".
  11. Cinematographer macrumors 6502a


    Sep 12, 2005
    far away
    So basically you started a thread and asked for expert advice and in the end you completely ignore it. :cool: That's brave. I like that. :D
  12. SactoGuy18 macrumors 68030


    Sep 11, 2006
    Sacramento, CA USA

    How big a hard drive do you have? If you have a 750 GB or bigger hard drive in your computer, using Apple Lossless is a good idea since it would be about 350-370 MB per 74 minute CD (since most CD albums are very smaller than this the file usage per CD is going to be much smaller).

    If you own an iPod, these Apple Lossless files can be re-encoded in 192 to 256 kbps VBR AAC format, and since you listen to music through headphones most of the time on an iPod going to the lossy AAC format will have almost no change in sound quality. :)
  13. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    If quality is the only thing that matters then the choice is easy - use Apple Lossess. But the files will be two to three times larger. Lossess only compress to about 50%. So expect that you can fit 3 CDs per gigabyte on your hard drive. If you use losses format you will never have to re-rip your CDs again. I actually had to re-rip when I discoverd I did not like the compression artifacts. Hard disks are cheap. $100 will get you a terrabyte which will hold 3,000 CDs in Apple Losses format. Few people have such a large collection. Do remember to buy a few more hard drives for backup.

    I can hear the difference in about 1% of my music. Not 1% of the complete songs but just in short passages. Mostly 320K sounds good but then now and then it fails to handle some "techno" or drum riff or whatever. The defect sounds to me like a CD that skips but only on one instrument. Certain notes or drum hits skip

    Also you will never hear the difference if you are just using a cheap playback system. You are going to need to spend $200 on a set of headphones or $2K on a set of good stereo speakers plus an amp. Otherwise you may as well stick with 320K. If you are listening with a pair of "computer speakers" or in-ear phones just go with AAC
  14. Fuzzy.Dunlop macrumors regular

    Jan 12, 2010
    If size really isn't an issue lossless, but, the file size of lossless is huge, a single track is generally 50mb - my current library is 170gb for 17,000 tracks all at 256AAC+ or MP3 320 - If it was to be in lossless it would be around 850gb

    As for the audophile bit the human ear only has certain tolerances and the average person will never own the kit needed to hear any

    Get yourself a decent amp (or portable amp) and headphones and rip everything in 320 AAC constant
  15. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    You're going for best possible quality and don't care about file size but go with 320kbps aac anyways? Oh well.

    But to be frank, I can't tell the difference between 320kbps aac and apple lossless on any of my songs with my pair of audio technica studio monitors, but to be fair, I've only compared around 20 songs on a couple of playthroughs per each.
  16. FixYouriTunes macrumors member


    Oct 16, 2010
    San Francisco
    Hands down it's 320! I have found it much more compatible with folks that I'm dealing with day to day. Delivering AAC to clients I have had problems with them not being able to open the file and listen to tracks versus the 320. I always have to have them listenable by everyone. Just my two cents worth here. :>)
  17. ascendent macrumors newbie

    Mar 23, 2011
    Lossless Does Make a Difference for Home Audio

    If u are listening on headphones, it may be different but if you pipe music through powered home audio system, it can matter -- quite a bit actually.

    I am using a nice but not super nice setup. polk Audio floor speakers supplemented with a second set of bookshelf Polk speakers linked to a nice Onkyo receiver and dock. I am not an audiophile, but am an active music fan and I have burned some "favorite" tracks in Lossless for the music I turn up the volume for and actively listen to. The difference is indeed discernible on many passages for Classical, accoustic guitar or piano, and Latin (salsa, merengue) tracks as well as Film Scores that are symphonically oriented, as well as some Jazz. Lossless is a defininte improvement and if space is truly not an issue, i would highly recommend it. If your music is just background, or listening through less than premium headphones, 320 will be fine, and is actually very good.
  18. dime21 macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2010
    Apple Lossless = CD Quality. It's an exact 1:1 copy of all the 1's and 0's on the physical disc.

    AAC or MP3 is lossy compression. It discards many of the 1's and 0's from the original disc to create a compressed audio format that takes less disk space.

    Disk space these days costs next to nothing, and I paid for all the bits on the CD, I want to hear all of them. :D That said, I have a home stereo that costs more than most people's cars (over $20k) and even on this system, I cannot tell the difference between AAC 320 and Lossless. I can hear AAC 256 and Lossless, which is very very tiny difference to my ears, but I cannot distinguish 320.

    If you are listening on a typical sub-$1000 consumer stereo system, you will never hear any difference at all.

    But one benefit you do have with lossless, is that you can convert it later on into any other format - WAV, MP3, AAC or some future standard not yet invented. If you store using lossy compression like MP3 or AAC, each subsequent time you convert to a new format, the quality goes down and down.

    But quite frankly I do most of my listening to the actual CD disc while I'm at home. Audio CD is probably the very last consumer format that is free and open, and isn't crippled by DRM, encryption, and other rights restrictions garbage.
  19. ThaDoggg macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2010
    Peterborough, Canada
    I tend to stick with 326...I find that the quality is really good. The file size is fairly big at 326 and any bigger would just take up too much space.
  20. OneMike macrumors 603


    Oct 19, 2005
  21. koruki macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2009
    New Zealand
    I voted VBR because this is in the iPod section. I rip loseless but I use VBR for my iPod.
  22. emaja macrumors 68000

    May 3, 2005
    Chicago, IL

    A mere two years cannot kill a thread like this - LOL!
  23. BlackMangoTree macrumors 6502a

    Sep 30, 2010
    All these people who claim they hear the difference make me laugh.

    I bet my whole who life saving no one here can hear the difference between 320 AAC and ALAC on any equipment.

    It's all placebo.
  24. blackburn macrumors 6502a


    Feb 16, 2010
    Where Judas lost it's boots.
    Try head-fi:D

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