Get Info doesn't distinguish between AAC and Apple Lossless???

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by wannaknowstuff, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. wannaknowstuff macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2013
    Hey everyone - kind of an old-school newb here so please forgive me, but I have listened primarily to CD's over the years. Ripped them all to iTunes a while back, but don't use it to listen to much. Now I want to. I always knew .mp3's lost quality, and have now learned more about lossless vs. lossy, etc. I'd like all my CD's in lossless format, if for no other reason than to have a good backup of the original quality (but hopefully because there will be a bit better quality of sound).

    So….I went to iTunes and under the "kind" column they all said AAC, so clearly I need to re-rip. OK fine. I heard and read XLD is good because it checks agains the AccurateRip database - good. Downloaded XLD, ripped 1 CD to try it out, choosing Apple Lossless in the preferences. This is a CD I originally had in iTunes, so now I can compare the sound quality (I think I do notice a difference!!!), and also how they appear on my computer. But here's what's weird…..

    Original file:
    - When I view through iTunes and add the "Kind" column, Kind says "AAC Audio File."
    - When I right-click on that file in iTunes, and click "Get Info," Kind says "AAC Audio File."
    - When I view the file through Finder, I right click and Get Info (the Get Info window looks different than it did in iTunes), double check the location is the exact same as the one I clicked in iTunes (to make sure it's the same file), Kind then says "Apple MPEG-4 audio."

    New file:
    Have not yet moved into iTunes library, but when I find it in Finder and click Get Info, Kind says "Apple MPEG-4 audio."

    So, it appears that it's the same Kind as the older AAC file. Now, I've read (I think) that both AAC and Apple Lossless are saved with .m4a extension, which is the case here, and I'm assuming that it's the .m4a that translated into "Apple MPEG-4 audio" as the Kind. The question I have is how can I actually confirm the the new .m4a file is in fact ALAC, as opposed to AAC? I know I know, I can verify my XLD setting does in fact say Apple Lossless, and of course I can look at the file size and see it's significantly larger than the iTunes AAC file (which it is), but in general, when looking at the "kind" of file, how in the world are you to know whether it's ALAC vs. AAC?

    Thanks for any info you can provide!
  2. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000


    Mar 17, 2007
    Well you have hit the nail on the head the only way to tell at a glance is the file size.. Or in the Get Info you can look at the bitrate the lossless is way higher in that area compared to the lossy .m4a.

    Edit: You could do what I do which is for the lossy I use .mp3 for my portable player and all my lossless is in .m4a. XLD will do a conversion to both at the same time if you wish it to using the multiple format when converting option.
  3. wannaknowstuff thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2013
    Got it. I also imported to iTunes library and it shows up as Lossless within iTunes there, so I'm good! Thanks for the reply! Now I'm starting my big ripping project (not too huge - a little over 200 CDs), but am dealing with a couple issues - one with the XLD log. Trying to find a good reference manual or something for that. I google specific issues but can't find anything that addresses my specific question - which revolves around the fact that it looks like AccurateRip comparison may not have worked for a track but track was still ripped. How bad was it? Any references out there for interpreting the log?
  4. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000


    Mar 17, 2007
    That I have no idea on I do not believe I have ever seen a reference for it anywhere. I would think giving it a good listen too would tell you whether it has made you a good copy. I would not get hung up on it, if it passes that test.
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Another way to look inside an MP4 file and determine the audio codec is to open the song on Quicktime and then look in the inspector window.

    Can yu REALLY hear the difference? Try an ABX tester. You load two RIPS of the same track and ABX will flip a coin and play one oor the other track and you have to guess which is best. If you score more than 50% then it means yu can hear the difference.

    Many audiophiles HATE this program because it proves they can't hear and MP3 for a FLAC file. They like to think they have super human ears but few people over about 16 years old do.

    All that said, my gripe with ABX is that the quality of an MP3 is not constant. It will sound good for a while then one drum hit will sound horrible. The compression artifact lasts only 1/10th second but it is 100% noticeable followed by 100 seconds of the ABX tests perfectly.

    Still it is a good tool and it will show you that your 256K AAC files are very good.
  6. cheekypaul macrumors member

    Apr 22, 2005
    hi chris, i would like to point out that sound quality balance is not the ONLY factor to consider whenever ripping audio (or shrinking anything).
    i'm sure you'll agree.

    ripping lossless gets you a digital copy of your audio which means you can put the cds away, safe in the knowledge you have them perfectly copied. you can then shrink the lossless files to your hearts content.
    it also means you have the full quality audio for any pro applications use in the future.

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