How to convert MP3 or AAC files from iTunes back to CD audio or FLAC or WAV?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by joemarioz, Oct 27, 2010.

  1. joemarioz macrumors member

    joemarioz

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    #1
    Hi! I am a music lover, and I am planning to buy a Hifiman HM-801, and I have read in many blog posts that the best way to hear music is through 24 bit-96 kHz FLAC or CD audio quality, I am also planning on buying the UE 18, so I don't want crappy music on my expensive gear. I have bought most of my music through iTunes, can it be converted back to FLAC or CD audio? The rest of my music has been imported through CD's but most of them were borrowed or I lost them, and they are all in AAC files...WHAT SHOULD I DO?!
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #2
    There is no point in converting your lossy (MP3, AAC) files back to a lossless format (AIFF, FLAC). You cannot restore the missing information necessary for a file to be lossless- you need to re-import it from the original source.
     
  3. joemarioz thread starter macrumors member

    joemarioz

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    #3
    So I have to practically buy everything again in CD format? is there any way to get it digitally and efortless?:(
     
  4. c-Row macrumors 65816

    c-Row

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Germany
    #4
    Borrow them again from your friends or your local library. Other than that, nothing legal comes to mind.
     
  5. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    #5
    CDs and iTunes Plus sound almost identical. You'd need an excellent system (DAC, amplifier, speakers, room, ears) and to be actively looking for it in order to tell the difference between the two.
     
  6. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #6
    Yes - what they said. You can't put back information that aac or mp3 has thrown out. That's why I've always bought on CD and ripped myself.

    It is possible to hear differences between Apple Lossless, mp3 and aac but it really depends on the sort of music you listen to. My 'test recording' is 'Overkill' by Motorhead. You may not think that's particularly 'hifi' - but the splashy cymbals in this track are noticeably degraded even by good quality 256kbps compression.
     
  7. joemarioz thread starter macrumors member

    joemarioz

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    #7
    what is iTunes plus exactly? I remember apple did some hype about it but I never really got it...and I can't find it it iTunes.....
     
  8. wywern209 macrumors 65832

    wywern209

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Location:
    do you rly want to know?
    #8
    itunes plus is music in 256kbps AAC. it is higher quality sound than what itunes used to sell before w/ the 128kbps DRMed music.
     
  9. joemarioz thread starter macrumors member

    joemarioz

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    #9
    what about on headphones?
     
  10. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #10
    It's dependant on the listener and the type of music.

    Why not experiment yourself... we can't tell you what you can hear!!

    Rip a CD using Apple Lossless, then get iTunes to create an aac. Compare and contrast!!

    I rip in Lossless and convert to 250kbps LAME mp3s using Max
     
  11. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    #11
    The easiest way to test is to listen for cymbal crashes in a quiet environment (jazz music usually) or violins. Compression ALWAYS screws up violins noticeably. It drives me nuts.
     
  12. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #12

    I find what you say to true 95% of the time. But on many songs there is something like a percussion or and electronic note that MP3 just does not like and it sounds bad. So MP3 artifacts are not something I hear all the time but they are frequent fractional second events. I notice those without any A/B testing.

    And then there is the difference you can't hear without A/B testing. This is wy many people thing MP3 or AAC is "good enough" because they never listen carefully. LIsten next time and ask questions like "which string did he just play the D on? Whet he the drummer hitting? Musicians care about things like that. Can you here it? When you are evaluating audio you need to listen for specific thing not just "is it good?"

    Disc space is so cheap not there is not reason to compress. a 1TB disk cost less than $100. So you compress all your music, why? to save $20 in storage space. When you put it on your iPod that is different. iPOdes have limited space but you archive storage there is no reason to compress
     
  13. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    #13
    Depends on the quality of the DAC, amping, headphones and your ears. What I was saying was don't assume you need to re-buy all your music. You may find the CD versions and those bought from the iTunes Store indistinguishable. Listening via an Apogee Duet and pair of Denon D2000 headphones, iTunes Plus rips sound very, very close to the CD.

    I was always hoping Apple would start selling Apple Lossless downloads, but now I'm convinced that the next worthwhile step up in audio quality is 24-bit and a hell of a lot less of the other kind of compression.


    The difficulty with any perceptual compression scheme is that everybody's perception is different. And I don't just mean in terms of what they hear and see, but also in terms of what they find desirable in any given thing. Some people add noise to recordings, where others do everything they can to completely eliminate it.
     
  14. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #14
    While that's a very valid point, and the view I used to hold up to a few months ago, it's not quite the whole story (with all due respect).

    I have two listening systems, one comprised of a pair of B&W DM303s, a Rotel RSX-1055 amplifier and a BBC/Sonic Solutions broadcast DAC and on this system I simply cannot hear the difference between my CDs ripped in 256kbps AAC and Apple Lossless. On my other listening system (RME Fireface 800 + integrated DACs -> Adam A7), the difference is most definitely there on A/B comparisons, and even 320kbps AAC is a step or two down from Apple Lossless (even more so with MP3).

    However, what BOTH systems show up is fatigue - listening to Apple Lossless/original CD at length on both systems is just so much more comfortable than listening to the lossy counterparts at length. Heck, the difference is even there with my cheapo Sennheiser cans and my iPhone, even though I can't tell the difference straight away.

    Listening fatigue really is all about psychoacoustics, something a direct A/B comparison doesn't always cover. Hence, I believe Apple Lossless is always the best route to go down if you really enjoy listening to music...


    I wish this would happen too - 24bit masters always seem to have more depth and precision in imaging than 16bit versions - releasing 24bit recordings will unfortunately require a remaster of the original material though :( I can't see that happening for a long time, if ever.


    +100 to that, which is why it's incredibly important to always audition loads of equipment before you decide what to buy.
     
  15. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #15
    Nine Inch Nails have been releasing material on 24/96.

    http://dl.nin.com/theslip/signup

    "as a thank you to our fans for your continued support, we are giving away the new nine inch nails album one hundred percent free, exclusively via nin.com.

    the music is available in a variety of formats including high-quality MP3, FLAC or M4A lossless at CD quality and even higher-than-CD quality 24/96 WAVE. your link will include all options - all free. all downloads include a PDF with artwork and credits."

    It's well recorded, covering a wide range of styles from ambient/soft piano to loud industrial. A good test album!
     
  16. xlii macrumors 68000

    xlii

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    Millis, Massachusetts
    #16
    Very true. I find that the busier the music the bigger the difference. Get one folk singer and an acoustic guitar and there isn't much difference between lossless and 320kbs.

    I tend to buy used cds from amazon.
     
  17. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #17
    True, but Nine Inch Nails are in the vast minority...
     
  18. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #18
    You and me both. I also just found FYE. They have some really good deals on cd's (used and new) and if you join the club ($25 a year) you get an even bigger discount on new and used cd's. I have been really pleased with them so far. I use to shop at my local werehouse used section all the time. I can care less of the cd is brand new. Just as long as it plays and I can rip it to my hard drive I am a happy camper.
     

Share This Page