Starting iTunes Library from scratch: Rip in what Format?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by sjcharles, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. sjcharles macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2012
    #1
    My iTunes Library is a mess, and I need to basically start from scratch and re-rip my CD's...many which were ripped at low bitrates. I had duplicates and unnamed tracks...I used programs in the past to delete duplicates and name tracks..which did very poor jobs..and I am at the point I need to start over.

    I basically use Apple Products for all music listening (iPhones, Macbook Air, iPad). My main computer system is a Windows 7 machine however. I use the Music Match service.

    Since I am starting over, I want to do it right. I am considering re-ripping the CD's in Apple Lossless Format (ALAC), so I will have everything in a pristine format. From there...I am considering letting Music Match service upload and stream "stream" the 256 bitrates to the other devices, such as iphone and iPad...which I usually listen to in not so perfect conditions, so I doubt I would miss listening to them in a lossless format.

    My question is what would I gain with a lossless format? I am not able to stream lossless music into my stereo receiver from the Windows 7 machine, and listening the lossless format from cheap computer speakers will not really benefit itself from a lossless format. So am I wasting my time and hard drive space re-ripping to a lossless format, or should I just rip to 256 or 340 bitrate and have have it "good enough". Also, I never did know if I should rip with VBR or not.

    Thanks for the help!

    Steve
     
  2. Teclis, Feb 5, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012

    Teclis macrumors member

    Teclis

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    Location:
    Trondheim, Norway
    #2
    For the use you are describing i would say you are wasting your disc space if you choose to rip in ALAC.

    Personally I always rip in this format, but I also have invested a fairly high amount of money in a hi-fi to high-end stereo system and use a headphone amplifier (and a headset to match it) for my on-the-go listening experience. While I personally hear a significant difference in audio quality from my lossless files from the songs downloaded directly from iTunes, it would be difficult to notice any difference on the audio quality, even for me, on the audio system you describe.

    As far as lossy formats go, I recommend without a doubt AAC 256kbps.
    EDIT: Also, iTunes Match do not copy your audio files to the other devices you own, but the file that you would get if you bought that particular song in iTunes. In other words, the lossless files on your main computer would be stored as normal AAC on all other devices. (Which is why I don't use it myself)
     
  3. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #3
    Apple lossless or wav files are the safest bet for purely archival purposes IF you're confident that you have the hard drive space now and will have more later on.

    Other than that, take a song or two that you think you really know, create multiple bitrate rips of them, and abx them until you can't hear a difference with the higher bitrate variants. For me it's personally 320kbps aac for 90% of my music and wav files for albums I know that are really well mastered and recorded, plus I really like.

    I have some decent audio equipment as well, but I'm hard pressed to hear the difference most of the time for lossless. Hearing those subtle differences is more about how well you're trained to hear them, not just how good your equipment is.
     

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