Help figuring out music formats

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by vsp, Jun 22, 2004.

  1. vsp macrumors regular

    Jan 23, 2004
    Chico, Ca
    I've got some basic questions about music formats and I'm finding it somewhat difficult to get clear answers. The questions revolve around iTunes standard format and copying my own CDs.

    1. So AIFF format is closest to pure CD quality? If I'm importing a CD into iTunes and want the same sound quality as the CD I should choose this option?

    2. If I'm using iTunes to copy my own CDs onto a blank CD (or make a mix) and want CD quality I should the setting to AIFF in the preferences? Is there a better way to copy a CD (I don't own Toast) and still maintain CD quality?

    3. Are the tunes I purchase on iTunes in MP3 format or AAC? I leave AAC selected as the default for importing but I don't know if that covers purchasing music over iTunes. I've noticed that all the songs currently in my library have the "Convert to AAC" option available under the Advanced menu. Does that mean they aren't currently AAC or is that option always availabe regardless of format?

    4. Are files listed as .m4p the AAC format?

    I appreciate any info on these or any links to web sites or threads that cover these. I haven't had much luck in finding clear answers to these questions.

  2. Veldek macrumors 68000


    Mar 29, 2003
    3. They're (protected) AAC. Purchasing isn't covered by the preference for Music importing. But the "Convert to AAC" option is there, because you set AAC in the Import preferences, even if they're already AAC.

    4. m4p files are protected AAC files.

    Can't say anything about AIFF...
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    You can also get the info for each song to see what its recorded in, if you're not sure. Click on the song and then apple-I or File->Get Info.

    As for item (2), if you want perfect CD quality you're pretty much stuck with AIFF, Apple Lossless or WAV. AIFF will give you the greatest intercompatibility with other Apple software -- like SoundStudio or something if you want to de-hiss or anything like that. You might take a look at SoundStudio just for fun -- it should be in your Applications directory if you have a recent mac. Anyway, WAV will give you better compatibility with PC and possibly open-source software? And Apple Lossless will take the least space.

    One more may have another option for actually just making exact copies of CDs (not mixes). Using Disk Utility (Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility) I think you can make an image of a CD, and then burn the image back to a disc. You do this by going to Images->New Image from Folder. Then a requester opens up and you chose the CD in the left side and click choose or okay or whatever at the bottom.

    The option to compress here should be lossless, and you should get a perfect disk copy. The copy will be a single file (.dmg) on your computer, and then you can trash it when you're done with it.

    Does anyone use this for music CDs? I've only ever used it for Linux-y / open-source type stuff.
  4. vsp thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 23, 2004
    Chico, Ca
    Thanks for the info, both of you. It helps a lot. Now I'll just have to experiment with the different ways of making copies or mixes of my CDs and keeping CD quality sound.


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