Convert higher bit rate songs to.....

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by occamsrazor, Oct 23, 2014.

  1. occamsrazor macrumors 6502


    Feb 25, 2007

    I'm using iTunes to sync some of my music to my iPhone 5s. Previously I only ever had MP3s at varying bit rates up to 320kbps so I just synced them normally.
    Now I've started adding some Apple Lossless (ALAC) files to iTunes on the Mac and some of them are at higher sampling rates such as 24bit at 192 or 96khz and some of them give an error and don't sync with the iPhone.
    Now, I'm happy to have these files auto-converted down to AAC/MP3 for iPhone syncing and I notice the option ""Convert higher bit rate songs to....." and can choose 256kbps AAC.
    However the problem is this would appear to also down-convert 320kbps MP3s, which I don't want.
    Can someone clarify to me what exactly gets converted, and what doesn't, using this option?

    What I would like is for iTunes to automatically, for songs to be synced to iPhone: Leave all MP3s untouched, even 320kbps files. Down-convert all ALAC files to 256kbps AAC. Is this possible?

    PS - Yes I know I could down-convert manually using XLD etc, but then I'd need to keep two copies and it seems like a big hassle.

  2. cycledance Suspended

    Oct 15, 2010
    you want that.

    the problem is that u are under the impression that a 320kbps mp3 is of higher quality than a 256kbps aac. its actually much lower quality.
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You are correct. 256K AAC is better than 320K MP3 if both were converted from a lossless format. But ANY conversion degrades the sound and for sure the 320K MP3 after being converted to 256K AAC will loose something.

    So much for theory. In the real world you are NOT going to hear a difference after conversion to AAC. The degradation is way to small.

    If you are worried about it then manage this process manually. Convert to AAC on the computer then move the converted songs one at a time by hand. But it's not worth the bother.
  4. occamsrazor thread starter macrumors 6502


    Feb 25, 2007
    Thanks both for your replies...

    No, as ChrisA accurately described, I'm aware that recompressing an already-compressed 320kbps MP3 to a 256kbps AAC will degrade it further (albeit slightly) and is pointless.

    Yes, exactly...

    Agreed. It just seems a pointless step that complicates and lengthens the sync process and thus I was hoping to avoid it. However it seems I may have to do it anyway otherwise managing the ALACs manually will be too hard.

    I am not worried about the quality on iPhone, and agree it's not worth the bother to manage manually, that's why I was hoping to use iTunes automatic conversion function. Well, it seems that iTunes can't do what I was hoping to do - i.e. down-convert only ALAC files - which is a shame. To me it seems like it would be a sensible and easy option to implement....
  5. cycledance, Oct 24, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2014

    cycledance Suspended

    Oct 15, 2010
    u must have audiophilia. it's absurd. there is no degradation. not even a little.

    and there is no audible difference between a 256 vbr aac and any lossless format.
  6. occamsrazor, Oct 24, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2014

    occamsrazor thread starter macrumors 6502


    Feb 25, 2007
    Yes, I already mentioned above that I am not worried about this minor degradation. Why are all you guys complaining about something that I already said is not the issue for me?

    However suppose I have 5000 songs, 4900 of which are 320kbps MP3s and only 100 are high-res ALACs....
    Does it really make sense to auto-recompress down all 4900 MP3s for no purpose whatsoever other than to accomodate iTunes' rigid system, simply to allow me to sync those 100 high-res ALACs?

    It just seems pontless to recompress MP3s to a similar bitrate AAC, it's just a waste of time. But seems that is the only way to sync a mixed library unless you want to keep and maintain dual-copies and manually manage them.....
  7. cycledance Suspended

    Oct 15, 2010
    here is what i'd do. backup. convert everything to 256 aac (also the alac). delete the old stuff. listen to music.
  8. occamsrazor thread starter macrumors 6502


    Feb 25, 2007
    That would be totally stupid and utterly pointless. If I have MP3s of varying bitrates from 128 to 320, what would be the point of converting them all to fixed 256kbps AACs?
    Clearly you like AACs, I get it. That's fine. I have no problem with AACs. But suggesting to recompress a large library of already compressed files merely to accomodate an application's quirks is plain silly....
    The question I asked was pretty simple... Can iTunes do XYZ? Clearly the answer is no....
  9. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
  10. cycledance Suspended

    Oct 15, 2010
    u said all your mp3s are 320.

  11. occamsrazor thread starter macrumors 6502


    Feb 25, 2007
    In my first post I wrote "at varying bit rates up to 320kbps"....
    The reason I focused on the 320kbps ones in later posts is because I'm assuming that files of less than 256kbps get ignored. At least that's how the language would indicate.
    The 5000/4900/100 figure etc was merely an illustration of the principle and indicated by the use of the word "suppose". I thought that would be obvious.
  12. steve-p macrumors 68000


    Oct 14, 2008
    Newbury, UK
    It would be a one-off operation the first time you synced, and would take a couple of hours (or more) for that first sync. It might seem overkill to do that, but I guess for Apple it's a trade-off between flexibility/complexity and a simple dropdown that anyone can figure out and therefore might use. I would just try it and see.

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