Previous 1 2 Next 20 Replies Latest reply: Feb 18, 2011 9:50 AM by Rachael Allen
Rachael Allen Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hi I originally imported all my treasured CDs to iTunes several years ago, and they've served me well (AAC 128 - default setting) but in recent times hard-drive sizes have trebled and my much loved iTunes Library has not been updated.

I am thinking of re-importing all of my original CDs - as I think now that hard-drive space would allow for a higher quality but at the same time I do not want to fill my hard-drive completely with music - hence my question;


(I know this has probably been asked a million times, but I did a search and nothing came up that answered my Q - also all the answers that came up in Google search where dated 2003/ 2004 - a little out-dated me thinks!!)


 MacMini 2GHz Intel  MacBook Air 1.6GHz Intel , Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • Chris CA Level 9 Level 9 (77,095 points)

    5 people will give you 7 different answers.
    Apple default is 256 kbps AAC w/VBR.

    That's what I use (and most likely the majority of others since it is default they would have no idea how to change it).

    If you really want (to waste time ) the best for you, get a few of CDs with really different music (classical, heavy metal/grunge, jazz, slow, loud, etc.) and RIP each one several different ways and compare.
    Pick whatever sounds best to you.
  • ed2345 Level 7 Level 7 (20,605 points)
    Rachael Allen wrote:


    MP3 at 32 kb/s


    One of the lossless formats: WAV, AIFF, or Apple Lossless.

    Seriously, most people nowadays use 256 kb/s, and the preference of Mac users is AAC. Unless you want to do more research, follow Chris's suggestion and use the default.
  • dknightd Level 3 Level 3 (700 points)
    Personally I've started ripping everything Apple Lossless. That way I hope I never have to rip again.

    I used to rip 320 mp3. I couldn't tell the difference between 320 mp3 and lossless, but, one day I might be able to - big maybe. But since disk price is not likely to go up, I figured I'd rip lossless from now on "just in case."

    Probably few, if any, people could tell the difference between 256 AAC and lossless (I've done it at 192, but never at 256, and I have not bothered trying again recently - there might be a song out there where I could hear the difference, hence ripping lossless from now on - my time costs more than disk space . . .)

    256 AAC is a pretty safe bet, unless you need mp3 compatibility, then use 256 (or 320) mp3.
  • rickwyler Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I started using Apple lossless because that is what the guy at the HiFi shop used and what he was playing for me through very high end equipment was sounding great. I am going for a like setup. Playing Itunes lossless ripped song -> V-Dac digital to analog converter via USB cable -> Denon receiver via RCA cables. I am still experimenting with A-B comparison between that and an Ipod hooked straight to the receiver.
    I doubt I could tell the difference between AAC and lossless on the Ipod alone.
    I plan on ripping everything from now on using loseless. I have a 1 TB hard drive.

    I was hoping to find in the forum exactly what lossless does versus WAV encoder. I think lossless is supposed to be bit for bit.
  • ed2345 Level 7 Level 7 (20,605 points)
    rickwyler wrote:

    I was hoping to find in the forum exactly what lossless does versus WAV encoder. I think lossless is supposed to be bit for bit.

    WAV and AIFF are "uncompressed lossless" formats. They match bit-for-bit the audio on a standard CD, i.e. 44/16 2-channel PCM stereo.

    FLAC and Apple Lossless are "compressed lossless" formats. They capture all the audio content of the original, but store it more compactly.

    AAC and MP3 are "lossy" formats. They achieve even smaller sizes by stripping out certain frequency combinations by the use of psychoacoustic algorithms.
  • woodmeister50 Level 4 Level 4 (3,980 points)
    First, what sort of playback devices will you be using?

    Second, don't use AIFF or other uncompresses formats.
    Use Apple Lossless or FLAC formats for full fidelity. They
    basically work like Zip or any other data compression scheme
    saving exact data duplicates in a compact format. Usual
    size reduction is ~1/2 CD size.

    The down side of this, some dedicated music players can
    only play back the lossy forms of audio compression (AAC,MP3,etc.),
    so you won't be able to use that.

    If you want to save more space, rip to ACC/320kbit and compare
    on your best playback device to the CD. If you can't tell the difference,
    then go with this compression. It will typically reduce the CD size by ~1/4.
  • Bill Scott Level 6 Level 6 (11,445 points)
    Rip to Apple Lossless. This means you don't lose any information on the original CD. It is possible to hear the difference, even with just a decent set of headphones. If you rip your CD into a lossless format, you can always convert it to another lossless format, or burn a CD without degrading the information. If you decide to invest in some good audio equipment, you won't have to go back and re-rip your CD collection, like I did.
  • Eric Willie Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    I was looking for answer on this subject. Still bewildered on what is best for both listening to imported music in iTunes through some good quaility computer speakers and .... which also allows song from my itunes library to be put on an iShuffle or iPod ?

  • Bill Scott Level 6 Level 6 (11,445 points)
    Apple lossless is the "best" option in your case because you can preserve all of what is on the CD, and your iPod (via iTunes software) can compress music on the fly to squeeze it onto your iPod, if you want to do it that way. In other words, you have nothing to lose, except for some computer hard drive space, with Apple lossless. (Apart from this, every lossless format is an equally good option. FLAC, for example, is another option, but the main problem is iTunes won't recognize it. But since it is lossless, you can convert back and forth with an application like XLD without loss of information.)
  • Eric Willie Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    I was using Apple Lossess to import because I thought that it was the best option for sound quality, but I find that my iShuffle will not allow songs because I get a pop-up window saying the file is too large ... Thanks - I guess it is another problem that does not allow me to import songs to my iShuffle.
  • Bill Scott Level 6 Level 6 (11,445 points)
    In the iTunes software there is a checkbox that allows you to compress stuff on the fly. Did you try that?

  • Eric Willie Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Thanks , I did not try that ... I will in the future !
  • Chris CA Level 9 Level 9 (77,095 points)
    Select the iPod in iTunes, then tick *Convert higher bit rate songs to 128 kbps* (as shown below).

  • iinami Level 4 Level 4 (1,405 points)
    after i started using apple lossless i could swear the cd's i burn sound better on the stereo in my pickup. i know people say you can't tell the difference, and it may be i used better cd's or something, but it sounds better to me and that's all that matters.
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