iPod Is Lossless worth it for me?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 15, 2005
I normally burn my CDs at 320k 44khz, but I just noticed and read up on lossless. I'm going to be playing most of this stuff thru a decent pair of Infinity speakers, but nothing super high end. It'll be amped thru a mid 70's Marantz receiver as well. Should I just leave it at the high quality AAC or use Lossless?


macrumors 6502a
Jun 22, 2004
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
depends on what type of music it is. if its some Rap, then 320kb/s is more than enough. but if its some Classical or real 'dynamic' music, then you might want to think about Lossless.


macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2004
Boise, ID
It really depends on your ear as well. Alot of people can't hear the difference. I would do some test, try the same track on both and see if you can hear the difference.

Personally I like lossless just so I can archive the music with perfect quality. A also agree that it depends on how dynamic the song is. There is alot to consider. ;)

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
Two drawbacks to lossless.

1.) The file-size. If you have a large CD collection then prepare for many many GBs of music. 300 CDs=about 90Gb on my Mac

2.) If you have an iPod (not Shuffle), I've read that Lossless files are very hard on the battery. The Shuffle has Autofill with downsampling so you can have Lossless on the Mac & 128AAC on the Shuffle without affecting the Lossless files. Unless you mess around with alternate libraries or Apple introduce this feature for all iPods, then it may not be worth considering.

Having said all that, Lossless sounds great regardless of what musical genre you listen to and is well worth it IMHO, if you have the disk space.

Note: Converting an MP3/AAC file to Lossless will not 'magically' improve the audio quality of the file -- you must rip from the source CD.


macrumors 68000
Jan 14, 2003
Lossless AAC not worth it yet

'Lossy' AAC is better than most people make it out to be. Compared to every other lossy codec there is, AAC sounds the best at the same kbs settings. At 160 kbs it is as good as CD quality for the majority of people and it will fit a decent size CD library into a 20 GB iPod.

Unless you are fussy.

If you have good hearing, a good sound system and do comparisons between lossy AAC, lossless AAC and uncompressed versions of the same track you will notice subtle differences between the three. The difference however is negligable and not worth the extra strain it will put on your iPod's hard drive and battery.

Lossless AAC will be a good option if iTunes ever autofills the hard drive based iPods the way it autofills the iPod Shuffle (that is, re-encoding to lossy AAC) but that is not an option yet. If it never happens then Lossless AAC would be a good choice when the terrabyte iPods come out.


macrumors newbie
Dec 5, 2004
Vancouver, Canada
And some people, like myself, can hear the difference but refuse to use Loseless anyway. It takes up a lot of space and I personally prefer to be happy with good enough. So, even if you can hear the difference you'll need to decide if it's worth it.

James Philp

macrumors 65816
Mar 5, 2005
Depends on:
Type of music
Type of setup
Quality of encoding
Personal preference
HD real estate
And many others (speaker stands, mains isolation, cables, room dynamics etc etc.!)

Personally, I find it hard to distinguish even between 128 AAC and Lossless for a lot of my music (on GRADO SR80s). But that is just my music, my ears, my setup.

Bear in mind once you have encoded to a certain rate, you can never get the data back (i.e. burning CDs from 128 AAC files will give you CDs that are 128AAC quality) but i'm sure everyone knows this!


macrumors 68020
Nov 18, 2002
heres how i look at it...

if you buy cds, you already have a "lossless" backup so either way your safe to go back and re-rip as anything you want.

if you download stuff itunes or otherwise, its going to be lossless so its kinda pointless to rerip as lossless if half your library is lossy.
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