iPod what iss the best way to import?

biohazard6969

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 23, 2005
836
0
toronto canada
hey i'm just wondering what the best way to import songs into itunes is? AAC, AIFF, Lossless, MP3 or WAV an what are the advantages and disadvantages of each and the differenced between them
 

stridey

macrumors 65816
Jan 21, 2005
1,136
0
Massachusetts, Connecticut
biohazard_6969 said:
hey i'm just wondering what the best way to import songs into itunes is? AAC, AIFF, Lossless, MP3 or WAV an what are the advantages and disadvantages of each and the differenced between them
Well, WAV, AIFF and Lossless (duh) are lossless encodings. If you want a lossless encoding use Lossless, as it'll be the most compact encoding.

If you don't mind lossy encodings (note that even lossless creates HUGE files compared to either of the lossy choices), use AAC, either at the default (128), or higher if you're picky about the sound.
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,777
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Yeah, my advice would be: rip something you really love, really know well, that has intricate sonic details, at 128k AAC. Play it in the best case scenario -- find a quiet room, maybe hook up to your stereo and turn it up, or use the nicest over-ear headphones available. If you're happy, stick with that. If not, try cranking up the bit rate. If you can't get happy that way, try lossless next....

It really varies between people. Also there's a difference between music lovers and audiophiles -- that is, most audiophiles love music, but not everyone needs 100% optimal clarity to really enjoy music. I was trained in violin for nine years, and I love a wide variety of music, but to be honest, 128 AAC works for me almost always, because the way my mind works, it is happy enough to fill in the blanks -- I can tell the difference between it and the CD, but I adjust to it and it doesn't bother me much. After a while, I can only notice the differences if I listen very, very closely. But that's *ME*. Other people cannot easily make themselves stop noticing.
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,777
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
biohazard_6969 said:
ok, thanks a lot. what is the diff between the lossy formats? ie size, sound etc
My impression is that for lossy formats, something like this is true:

- WMA and AAC are both higher quality than MP3 at a given bit rate
- iPods can only play AAC and MP3, and most other players can only play WMA and MP3, so that might be a concern. You can always re-encode, but that's another lossy step.

Wherever it is an option, you want to use variable bit rate (for some formats, it's automatic; it may be automatic for all formats in iTunes). VBR means that the encoder targets an average number of bits per second, but uses more when the music is complex and less when it is not so complex. So the effective bit rate is higher, since all the bits go where they're most useful.

I don't know that there's any huge difference between WMA and AAC at the same bit rate; if anyone else has info on that, please share. I think there was a sound quality jury test done somewhere that inquired into this issue.
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,777
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Oh, there are also other options like LAME and Ogg Vorbis, that are similar, and can be used with iTunes plugins, I think. They have unique advantages. I think some of these offer even higher quality (maybe) at a given bit rate than AAC, and are also open standards. But the number of portable players that support them is lower.