converting Apple Lossless to Uncompressed Audio

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by rjce2k, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. rjce2k macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2007
    Ive been researching on the advantages and disadvantages of using compressed lossless audio (like apple lossless) and uncomprssed lossless audio (like AIFF and WAW). Bottomline i've seen is that spacewise, compressed is better, support-for-format-in-the-futurewise, uncompressed format like AIFF or WAV is better.

    My question is, isn't it possible to archive your CDs in compressed lossless format then convert it to uncompressed when the need arises (like no support for the audio format)? Will there be quality loss converting from compressed lossless to uncompressed lossless. Theoretically, I am thinking, there should be none.

    Please enlighten me on this.

  2. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Feb 12, 2005
    Within iTunes, you can go into "iTunes:preferences:Advanced:Importing" and select the AIFF importer. Then highlight your lossless compressed music file (assuming it's in your library), and select "Advanced:Convert selection to AIFF". I believe you are correct in that it wouldn't result in any loss of quality.
  3. deputy_doofy macrumors 65816


    Sep 11, 2002
    I also agree. While I don't know first-hand, I'm under the impression that lossless is just that - lossless. It's just done in a way to compress a little bit.
    Think of Apple lossless as a TRUE way to zip an audio file (have you ever tried to zip an audio file using zipit or sit?).
  4. cschreppel macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2006
    Boston, MA
    Converting from mp3 to WAV wouldn't result in quality loss, but you won't get the original WAV or AIFF quality back from it. It will be mp3 quality, but 10 times the ask yourself if it's really worth it there.

    Apple Lossless to WAV or AIFF isn't quite as bad. There's very little to no quality loss when you import CD audio as Apple Lossless (CD audio is originally WAV or AIFF). I've done "A minus B" tests that reveal bad encoding and I've noticed virtually no differences between Apple Lossless, WAV, and AIFF. So if you convert Lossless files to WAV or AIFF, you're not gaining quality or anything, but you are doubling the file size.

    If you want WAV files, I suggest re-encoding your CDs rather than converting mp3, aac, or Apple Lossless files to uncompressed audio.

    Once you've downgraded the quality of uncompressed audio, you CANNOT get that back by re-encoding the degraded files back to WAV...that's the point of encoding audio to be removes data that's not absolutely necessary (mostly super hi-end and low-end).

    Good luck!
  5. nose macrumors newbie


    Jan 12, 2007
    Asheville, NC
    Definition of: lossless compression

    A compression technique that decompresses data back to its original form without any loss. The decompressed file and the original are identical. All compression methods used to compress text, databases and other business data are lossless. For example, the ZIP archiving technology (PKZIP, WinZip, etc.) is a widely used lossless method (see ZIP file).

    Lossless Audio
    Although most compression methods used for audio and video are "lossy" and discard bits deemed unnecessary, there are also lossless audio methods. Apple Lossless, WMA Lossless and FLAC are examples of lossless compression applied to CD audio. Such methods reduce a full audio CD only to about half its original size rather than 1/10th the original as with MP3; however, no bits are discarded.
  6. rjce2k thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2007
    Thanks to all

    I think ive made a decision to archive my CDs to apple lossless files. It saves space and has 0% quality loss (same as original and same as WAV and AIFF). Perhaps the only 2 downsides are a) a very little more time to process and b) posibility of no support in the future. However, since there is an option to revert it back to its original uncopressed format (without losing any quality) then it's "good as new."

    Makes me wonder why people dont use this aside fromt he fact that support maybe an issue.

    I am hoping that my assumptions are correct.
  7. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Feb 12, 2005
    Well, you could always hang on to your existing computer for playback if support happens to be nonexistent or nearly so in the 20 years. Not entirely unlike vinyl these days -- plenty of old tables out there for playback. The medium is still alive today, just not nearly as much.

    I've got a Mac 512k sitting on my desk still able to "play back" applications from its day. ;)

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