Playing High-Quality Downloads via iTunes

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Vereina, Dec 26, 2008.

  1. Vereina macrumors member

    Jan 27, 2008
    Hampshire, UK
    I would like to be able to convert and import 96kHz / 24 bit FLAC or WMA files (e.g. the "Studio Master" downloads from Linn Records) into iTunes on my MBP, and then stream them via an Airport Express into my CD player (which has an optical input and can act as a DAC for external sources).

    Is this feasible?

    From what I have managed to glean from this and other forums, I understand that I will need to convert the FLAC or WMA files to e.g. Apple Lossless or AIFF.

    Three additional questions:

    1. Which format is best to convert to for this purpose (i.e. to maintain the original level of sound quality)?

    2. What would be the best way to do the conversion? (I have seen plenty of positive comments about the Max program, for example.)

    3. Is iTunes then able to send the same level of quality over a wireless network and thence to the CD player via the Airport Express? (Or, if it's limited to, say, 48kHz / 16 bit, I'm wasting my time!)

    Any answers and recommendations gratefully accepted!

    Many thanks in advance ....
  2. Bmode macrumors regular

    Jan 2, 2004
    California, USA
    Down converting is never an issue, there are quite a few applications to assist you with that. Audacity is an excellent free application and is self contained with many audio formats to choose from, including exporting and importing of .FLAC files. I use Sound Studio as well. Quicktime Pro can do a lot too with audio files. iTunes will play just about any audio file format, bit-rate and sample rate.

    I'm unclear about what your trying to do? What's the media format and source of these 96Khz/24 bit files? Is your CD player a recordable standalone player, and are you using it as a thorough put?

    The second you down convert these sound files you will loose quality, but not noticeable for the average ear or most playback systems. Stick with AIFF or WAV, either can support 96Khz and 24-bit.

    Use Audacity since it's free and supports the .FLAC format. Just make sure when you export via .FLAC that you set the options to highest quality possible, I think it's 8(highest)? Always use the highest settings to preserve your music.

    I'm not sure on limitations of Airport Extreme as the Apple website doesn't list bit-rate or frequency support, it should handle anything that iTunes can playback, but make sure your using the Optical out of the Airport Extreme to wherever your going!

    I'm sure you know this already, but turn off the iTunes preference "Sound Enchancer" and "Sound Check" and apply no EQ in the options for any song to get true playback in iTunes. This raises another question that I will post shortly, but iTunes 8 is "mid range colored" with sound and I can't flatten it out?
  3. Vereina thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 27, 2008
    Hampshire, UK
    Many thanks for the quick reply, Bmode!

    I would like to be able to stream these files from iTunes on my MacBook Pro, over wireless, connecting the AirPort Express optical port to the digital input on my CD player (which can be used as a DAC for external digital sources), simply to then play the tracks through my hi-fi system. One source of such files I would like to be able to use is Linn Records, which makes some of their excellent recordings available as what they call "Studio Master" downloads, in the FLAC and WMA formats. Other record companies are starting to make some high resolution formats available, too.

    Is it not possible to convert at the same sampling rate and word length, thereby maintaining the same level of quality? I thought that Max, for example, could do this.

    Yes, that's the problem; I have not been able to find this information in the Airport Express (not Extreme) specs. But I am beginning to think that it may be limited to 44.1kHz, in which case I need a different solution ....

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