flac to itunes Quality question?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by MikaelSmoot, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. MikaelSmoot macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    #1
    if i download a flac album, and use xAct to convert to aiff, it says no quality loss, then drop in itunes and convert to 256k aac, will this be the same as ripping the cd
     
  2. J the Ninja macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    #2
    http://sbooth.org/Max/

    That will do the conversion directly, saving a few steps. And you will get the same results as ripping the CD at 256kbps AAC. Remember that AAC is itself a lossy codec, but you will not loose quality until you get to that point. (Use Apple Lossless instead of AAC is you want to keep CD-quality)
     
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #3
    I use Audacity to convert .flac to 192kbps .mp3. The quality is superb!
     
  4. MikaelSmoot thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    #4
    when i convert flac or aiff to apple lossless the file size shirnks pretty good, is that normal is it still lossless, or did i loose some quality there
     
  5. J the Ninja macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    #5
    No, you won't loose quality. AIFF is uncompressed, so you'd of course see a smaller file turning that to lossless. Whether going from FLAC to Apple Lossless (or vice versa) gives you a smaller or larger file is going to be dependent on the file, but you won't loose quality either way.
     
  6. MikaelSmoot thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 26, 2009
    #6
    is aac or apple lossless both future proof formats, incase apple should go belly up one day
     
  7. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #7
    Even in such an extremely unlikely event, there would be plenty of 3rd party apps for conversion to other formats.
     
  8. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000

    MacUser2525

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #8
    You have something going on there then I use XLD to do my conversions and the resulting .m4a always ends up a little larger as you can see on this test conversion I just did.

    Code:
    MacUser2525s-Mac-Pro:~ MacUser2525$ ls -l /Volumes/Media/flac/Bad\ Company/Bad\ Company\ -\ Run\ With\ The\ Pack 
    total 979816
    -rw-r--r--  1 MacUser2525  staff  28106844 12 Oct 03:40 01 - Bad Company - Run With The Pack - Live For The Music.flac
    -rw-r--r--  1 MacUser2525  staff  28681893 27 Nov 22:11 01 - Bad Company - Run With The Pack - Live For The Music.m4a
    -rw-r--r--  1 MacUser2525  staff  22998975 12 Oct 03:40 02 - Bad Company - Run With The Pack - Simple Man.flac
    -rw-r--r--  1 MacUser2525  staff  23565418 27 Nov 22:11 02 - Bad Company - Run With The Pack - Simple Man.m4a
    -rw-r--r--  1 MacUser2525  staff  23865645 12 Oct 03:40 03 - Bad Company - Run With The Pack - Honey Child.flac
    -rw-r--r--  1 MacUser2525  staff  24337101 27 Nov 22:11 03 - Bad Company - Run With The Pack - Honey Child.m4a
    -rw-r--r--  1 MacUser2525  staff  19359522 12 Oct 03:40 04 - Bad Company - Run With The Pack - Love Me Somebody.flac
    -rw-r--r--  1 MacUser2525  staff  19736686 27 Nov 22:11 04 - Bad Company - Run With The Pack - Love Me Somebody.m4a
    -rw-r--r--  1 MacUser2525  staff  38088162 12 Oct 03:40 05 - Bad Company - Run With The Pack - Run With The Pack.flac
    -rw-r--r--  1 MacUser2525  staff  38747880 27 Nov 22:11 05 - Bad Company - Run With The Pack - Run With The Pack.m4a
    -rw-r--r--  1 MacUser2525  staff  34200678 12 Oct 03:40 06 - Bad Company - Run With The Pack - Silver, Blue & Gold.flac
    -rw-r--r--  1 MacUser2525  staff  34890363 27 Nov 22:12 06 - Bad Company - Run With The Pack - Silver, Blue & Gold.m4a
    -rw-r--r--  1 MacUser2525  staff  18360149 12 Oct 03:39 07 - Bad Company - Run With The Pack - Young Blood.flac
    -rw-r--r--  1 MacUser2525  staff  18769713 27 Nov 22:11 07 - Bad Company - Run With The Pack - Young Blood.m4a
    -rw-r--r--  1 MacUser2525  staff  19084891 12 Oct 03:40 08 - Bad Company - Run With The Pack - Do Right By Your Woman.flac
    -rw-r--r--  1 MacUser2525  staff  19404239 27 Nov 22:11 08 - Bad Company - Run With The Pack - Do Right By Your Woman.m4a
    -rw-r--r--  1 MacUser2525  staff  26035639 12 Oct 03:40 09 - Bad Company - Run With The Pack - Sweet Lil' Sister.flac
    -rw-r--r--  1 MacUser2525  staff  26453471 27 Nov 22:12 09 - Bad Company - Run With The Pack - Sweet Lil' Sister.m4a
    -rw-r--r--  1 MacUser2525  staff  18288445 12 Oct 03:40 10 - Bad Company - Run With The Pack - Fade Away.flac
    -rw-r--r--  1 MacUser2525  staff  18650660 27 Nov 22:12 10 - Bad Company - Run With The Pack - Fade Away.m4a
    
    
    Edit: If you see a large decrease in the file size then you are most likely converting to the .m4a lossy format.
     
  9. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #9
    AAC > mp3

    AAC is Mp4, 15 years newer than mp3
     
  10. Lunchbox16 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    #10
    The other benefit of using Max is that it doing a direct transcoding will preserve the ID3 tags. If you convert to WAV/AIFF and back to mp3, you will have to re-tag all of your music. Using Max to transcode not only saves a step in the conversion process, but also in the organizational process.

    The real problem here is that iTunes does not support FLAC, a matter that truly needs to be rectified. If the program can support multiple lossy formats, AAC, M4A, and MP3, not all of which are proprietary, why won't they do the same with lossless?
     
  11. justaregularjoe macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2008
    #11
    Please don't use MP3 OR AIFF. Use ALAC. (aka m4a) Lossless to Losless conversion, quality is 1:1 to CDs.
     
  12. DaftUnion macrumors 6502a

    DaftUnion

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #12
    There's nothing wrong with LAME mp3 for lossy encoding. iTunes mp3 encoder; yes, but LAME mp3 encoder sounds just as good as AAC.
     
  13. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #13
    I couldn't agree more. I wish is supported FLAC. I would be a very happy camper.
     
  14. JonHimself macrumors 68000

    JonHimself

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    Nov 3, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #14
    When I look at it from Apple's perspective I don't understand why FLAC needs to be supported. If you're ripping you're own CDs, Apple offers a lossless option that as far as I know is just as good as FLAC (in terms of quality, not in terms of being able to play it on other players.. but this is from Apple's perspective, remember). If you're working with audio editing/production software you might be using aiff or wav and iTunes supports both of those. On top of that, there are numerous third-party programs that can convert FLAC to ALAC (or anything else) if needed.
    Maybe I'm just missing something - but why are people that use iTunes using FLAC in the first place?
     
  15. GermanSuplex macrumors 6502a

    GermanSuplex

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    Aug 26, 2009
    #15
    ^I couldn't agree more. I totally get that in a perfect world everyone would support everyone else's formats, and also support free and open formats like flac, but if you're using iTunes, Apple Lossless is the format to go with as far as I can see. If you're not using an iPod, then just go with flac and use a player that supports flac and your device.
     
  16. JonHimself macrumors 68000

    JonHimself

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    Nov 3, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #16
    It is puzzling. If you're using iTunes you're music is coming from the iTunes store (which isn't lossless) or from your own CDs. If you're looking for the best quality file (whether it's for backing-up your discs, or actually playing them on an audio system) iTunes has one and it's just as good as FLAC. Why then, does iTunes need FLAC support?
    Maybe if you've previously backed-up all of your content using FLAC because you figured it would provide the most compatibility, then I could understand wanting FLAC support to prevent having to convert it to ALAC, but I would be very shocked it that was only relevant to small group of people.
     
  17. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #17
    Lots of tapers use FLAC as the codec of choice to release their recordings on. So being an iTunes user, once I torrent the show (legally, because the bands are OK with it) I must convert it to ALAC.
     
  18. Lunchbox16 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    #18
    This is certainly the case with me as well. I have hundreds of shows in FLAC and SHN (all legit) as well as all of my CD collection backed up in FLAC. All told about 700GB at present. I understand the argument from Apple's POV, however, it certainly seems a bit myopic in my opinion. FLAC is clearly the accepted standard for lossless, not ALAC, just as mp3 is the standard for lossy, not AAC. If iTunes started to sell lossless music in ALAC, perhaps ALAC would surpass FLAC, but I don't think that would happen any time soon (and they certainly wouldn't provide st5 checksums for audiophiles, which is a shame, too). The lack of a lossless option is exactly why I DON'T use the iTunes store. Why would I want to pay good money for an inferior product (mp3) over the CD itself, when I can just rip it into whatever format I want AND archive it in lossless format?

    The greatest advantage to iTunes, for me, is it's organizational structure as a database. I don't use it as a multi-media application, just music. Furthermore, how difficult would it be to add FLAC support? Others have made the point that plenty of other programs support FLAC, and that's exactly the point. Other programs support a wide variety of formats, why wouldn't iTunes, an industry leader, support both widely accepted and utilized lossless and lossy formats as well as their own proprietary ones? It's not as though Apple gains additional revenue from their ALAC codec, i.e. if I encode a song from a CD I own in both mp3 and ALAC, how does Apple benefit? They don't.

    This comparison is a bit dated, but still FLAC rates better than ALAC. I'm sure improvements have been made to both formats since this was conducted, but other questions remain. How do the two compare in terms of compression options? Do st5 checksums verify? etc.

    So while others may think the logical thing would be to submit and use ALAC, in my opinion the matter is not so simple. Granted everyone is different, but iTunes is clearly designed to cater to as broad of a customer base as possible (just look at all the bloat). Given that truth, which I think we should all be able to agree on, how does it make sense NOT to include FLAC? I'm sure it would probably take a week or less of coding to get it into the program.

    Just my thoughts on the subject.
     
  19. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    Nov 25, 2005
    #19
    If the economy ever gets so bad that Apple goes "belly up", then your music files are not something you will be worrying about.
     
  20. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    Sunny, Southern California
    #20
     

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