iTunes 10.6 brings selectable bitrates for on-the-fly conversion

Prodo123

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In previous versions of iTunes, it was either a full sync or a transcoding to a measly 128kbps AAC.

Now, with iTunes 10.6, you can change this bitrate to 128kbps, 192kbps or 256kbps AAC!

This was by far my most requested feature. Thank you Apple!!
 

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steve-p

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Oct 14, 2008
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Glad I went for 64GB with both 4S and iPad 3 now. Previously, all my lossless music would have just squeezed into 32GB at the old 128kbps. Currently resynching 4S with 256 kbps :)
 

tonyr6

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Oct 13, 2011
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256 kbps AAC is just a waste of space. 128 kbps AAC sounds real good. If anything encoding anything higher than 160 kbps AAC is just a waste.
 

JohnDoe98

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May 1, 2009
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256 kbps AAC is just a waste of space. 128 kbps AAC sounds real good. If anything encoding anything higher than 160 kbps AAC is just a waste.
256 kbps AAC often sounds like crap in my Lexus. I couldn't imagine anything lower. Apple lossless does sound pretty good though.
 

JohnDoe98

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May 1, 2009
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Considering it's lossless it should. :p
You would think so, but oddly enough I played lossless on my audio system at home, and played CDs, and for reasons I can't explain, the CD does sound better, though not enough to prefer CDs to Lossless digital formats overall, given the inconvenience of dealing with CDs.
 

Prodo123

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Nov 18, 2010
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256 kbps AAC is just a waste of space. 128 kbps AAC sounds real good. If anything encoding anything higher than 160 kbps AAC is just a waste.
I used to be able to carry all of my music on my 32GB iPhone in ALAC.
Then my library size tripled and was forced to use the 128kbps option.
I did not listen to the music on my iPhone for 7 months.
It's that bad.
 

jimthing

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Apr 6, 2011
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I'm just about to encode my whole CD (& some vinyl) collection into ALAC.
Fed-up of lossy *****, and want to finally archive into lossless once and for all.

My reading around tells me that using iTunes sw to do it is not reliable enough at ripping discs. Something about it being better to rip them into WAV first, then use iTunes sw to do the re-encode into ALAC (for best compatibility).

Though the only thing that seems to do the job best is EAC sw (which is Win only though!), so anyone used something else for Mac users?

...or anecdotes on their past efforts in doing this stuff generally...

(now ALAC is open-sourced, sure many may have the same idea, so may need such info ;-)
 

Prodo123

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Original poster
Nov 18, 2010
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I'm just about to encode my whole CD (& some vinyl) collection into ALAC.
Fed-up of lossy *****, and want to finally archive into lossless once and for all.

My reading around tells me that using iTunes sw to do it is not reliable enough at ripping discs. Something about it being better to rip them into WAV first, then use iTunes sw to do the re-encode into ALAC (for best compatibility).

Though the only thing that seems to do the job best is EAC sw (which is Win only though!), so anyone used something else for Mac users?

...or anecdotes on their past efforts in doing this stuff generally...

(now ALAC is open-sourced, sure many may have the same idea, so may need such info ;-)
XLD is my gold standard for audio. It can rip to FLAC, ALAC, WAV, WavPack, AIFF, the works. It can also convert your music to nearly any codec you want!

To put it simply, X Lossless Decoder is pretty much EAC + dbPowerAmp for Mac.
 

Jamo12

macrumors regular
Mar 23, 2009
240
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Ohio
You can tell the difference between 320 and lossless coming from the iPhone? Unless you have audio coming from the 30-pin port and through an amp, there is no difference that is noticeable at all. but yeah, 128 is pretty crappy.
 

Prodo123

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Nov 18, 2010
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You can tell the difference between 320 and lossless coming from the iPhone? Unless you have audio coming from the 30-pin port and through an amp, there is no difference that is noticeable at all. but yeah, 128 is pretty crappy.
I can tell between 320kbps and lossless anytime.
It's quite easy. Try to distinguish the notes in a given chord. That is one of the parts of music that lossy compression tends to delete because we humans tend to hear the chord as one note instead of multiple harmonizing notes (try humming Iron Man by Black Sabbath, you'll find out quickly). Lossless music preserves all of this information and the individual notes of the chord stay crystal clear.

At least that's my theory on it. I remember having a heated debate on this a few months back and everyone thought I was lying about whether I could tell the two apart or not. This theory was the result.
 
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steve-p

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Oct 14, 2008
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You would think so, but oddly enough I played lossless on my audio system at home, and played CDs, and for reasons I can't explain, the CD does sound better, though not enough to prefer CDs to Lossless digital formats overall, given the inconvenience of dealing with CDs.
You must need a better DAC then in whatever means you are using to play it. Lossless via Airplay through Apple TV and straight into a decent DAC is indistinguishable from a CD source. Better, compared to using the built in DACs in most CD players. I'm assuming we are not talking about feeding a hifi system from iPhone/computer/dock analog outputs, none of which are exactly audiophile quality anyway.

----------

My reading around tells me that using iTunes sw to do it is not reliable enough at ripping discs. Something about it being better to rip them into WAV first, then use iTunes sw to do the re-encode into ALAC (for best compatibility).

Though the only thing that seems to do the job best is EAC sw (which is Win only though!), so anyone used something else for Mac users?

...or anecdotes on their past efforts in doing this stuff generally...
I used to use EAC and ripped about 500 CDs with it. For the last 3 years I have been using (Mac) iTunes instead, and by now have probably done about the same number or more with it. As long as you turn on error correction in the import settings, iTunes does a decent job importing direct to Apple lossless, and I don't see the need to make things any more complicated than they need to be.
 
Are podcasts included in this feature?

It's been awhile since I tested for it, but podcasts did not used to be included, which really bothers me since some providers encode long podcasts at high rates, eating up lots of space for programs where fidelity isn't as essential as in music.

In previous versions of iTunes, it was either a full sync or a transcoding to a measly 128kbps AAC.

Now, with iTunes 10.6, you can change this bitrate to 128kbps, 192kbps or 256kbps AAC!

This was by far my most requested feature. Thank you Apple!!
 

Jamo12

macrumors regular
Mar 23, 2009
240
14
Ohio
I can tell between 320kbps and lossless anytime.
It's quite easy. Try to distinguish the notes in a given chord. That is one of the parts of music that lossy compression tends to delete because we humans tend to hear the chord as one note instead of multiple harmonizing notes (try humming Iron Man by Black Sabbath, you'll find out quickly). Lossless music preserves all of this information and the individual notes of the chord stay crystal clear.

At least that's my theory on it. I remember having a heated debate on this a few months back and everyone thought I was lying about whether I could tell the two apart or not. This theory was the result.
sweetness :D You have quite a theory there. And from what I just listened to, you may be right.
 

jimthing

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Apr 6, 2011
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I used to use EAC and ripped about 500 CDs with it. For the last 3 years I have been using (Mac) iTunes instead, and by now have probably done about the same number or more with it. As long as you turn on error correction in the import settings, iTunes does a decent job importing direct to Apple lossless, and I don't see the need to make things any more complicated than they need to be.
AFAIR, the articles I read said something about, depending on the drive reading the disc, ALL the data may not be read from the disc properly. :-/
So, for example, this is one of the reasons why torrent users (yes, bad naughty, I know already!) add EAC files to downloads they put-up, as proof of a perfect rip from the original CD before encoding to FLAC.

Is that right?
 

Prodo123

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AFAIR, the articles I read said something about, depending on the drive reading the disc, ALL the data may not be read from the disc properly. :-/
So, for example, this is one of the reasons why torrent users (yes, bad naughty, I know already!) add EAC files to downloads they put-up, as proof of a perfect rip from the original CD before encoding to FLAC.

Is that right?
Not true. Multiple passes and error correction gets rid of those imperfections.
Pirates include the EAC .log file to show that the FLACs were not created from an MP3 source (analogous to putting a Camry engine in a Ferrari body) more so than the accuracy of the rip. They include the .cue files so users can make verbatim copies of the disks.
 

jimthing

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Apr 6, 2011
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Not true. Multiple passes and error correction gets rid of those imperfections.
Pirates include the EAC .log file to show that the FLACs were not created from an MP3 source (analogous to putting a Camry engine in a Ferrari body) more so than the accuracy of the rip. They include the .cue files so users can make verbatim copies of the disks.
Oh, okay. Good to know.
But just wondering, when you say "Multiple passes": how does this relate to ripping using iTunes, though?

Also:
Prodo123 said:
XLD is my gold standard for audio. It can rip to FLAC, ALAC, WAV, WavPack, AIFF, the works. It can also convert your music to nearly any codec you want!

To put it simply, X Lossless Decoder is pretty much EAC + dbPowerAmp for Mac.
re. XLD, I read something that some files encoded with XLD sometimes do not work in iTunes sw on some devices. Dunno if this is currently still true, or a legacy bug though?
 

steve-p

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Oct 14, 2008
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Oh, okay. Good to know.
But just wondering, when you say "Multiple passes": how does this relate to ripping using iTunes, though?
I assume iTunes re-reads areas of the disc it thinks are problematic until it is satisfied, hence why some discs rip very quickly and others much more slowly, and sometimes you can see the speed it says it is ripping at take a dive and then it can speed up again afterwards.
 

Prodo123

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Original poster
Nov 18, 2010
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Oh, okay. Good to know.
But just wondering, when you say "Multiple passes": how does this relate to ripping using iTunes, though?
Also:
re. XLD, I read something that some files encoded with XLD sometimes do not work in iTunes sw on some devices. Dunno if this is currently still true, or a legacy bug though?
Error correction is a mechanism where the file is read multiple times and the most consistent data is taken as the correct data. This can be set for only problematic areas or the entire disk.
Multiple passes is a way of extending this. Normally the ripper would skip over erroneous data after hitting a reread threshold. You can set this reread threshold with multiple passes, all the way up to infinity. This can make the rip take a veeeery long time, but also ensures that the rip has the most accurate data.

XLD never has problems. If iTunes cannot open it, then it's due to user error.
 

pacohaas

macrumors 6502a
Jan 24, 2006
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Wow, I've been requesting this each version for over 6 years (since they had this feature available for 1st Gen iPod Shuffle). Time to celebrate and delete my non-lossless of all my songs!

Oops, spoke too soon. It's missing the pat where you can define what "high-bitrate means" For me, there's no point in converting any lossy format down to another (256, 128, or any other choice). All I want is to just convert my lossless stuff to 128kbps and leave the mp3's and other stuff alone even if they're over 128kbps.
 

pacohaas

macrumors 6502a
Jan 24, 2006
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I can tell between 320kbps and lossless anytime
I'll never believe statements like this without ABX results to back it up. Folks over at hydrogenaudio forums have done these tests in the past and among those experts iTunes 128kbps is indistinguishable from WAV for most folks. Up that to 160kbps and you'll cover 99.9% of the population. 320kbps is overkill when using AAC, I believe they found that AAC-128 was similar to the best VBR MP3 ~160 or even 192kbps