Lossless Audio? - DFWstangs Forums
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
yes, jluv
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 17,073
Lossless Audio?

I'm not good with Ipods or Itunes or downloading stuff at all, but I'm learning.

I do know that my CDs sound a million times better than anything on my Ipod. I've heard of lossless audio, and wonder if I can do that.

I want to move a ton of songs from my CDs onto my Ipod. I may also download other stuff from the internet, Itunes, whatever, if I can get CD quality from there as well.

Can I do this without compressing the crap out of it? Can I get my CDs onto my Ipod without losing much, if any quality? If it takes up a lot more room, I don't care. And secondly, where could I find losless downloads for music I don't already have on CD? Does Itunes have it? Do any of the "free" sharing sites have it?

And if I can't get it perfect, what is the best "version" I can download for the best sound quality?
jluv is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 11:20 AM
is chilaxing
 
Rafa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,760
ALAC(Apple Lossless) I believe will compress about half of original WAV file(format that CD uses). Ipod can play both of these types. There's another popular one called FLAC, but I don't think ipod can play that type unless there's a plug-in for ipod. Hope you have a lot of room on your ipod. Songs on your regular CD range from probably around 30 to 40+ Megs. Itunes can convert your CD's to ALAC...preference/general tab/import settings.....then choose ALAC.

50M .wav song

about 25M(roughly half) on ALAC
MP3 128K-320K...varies up to about a 1/10 of original....around 5M

I'm probably about less than average when it comes to this, but hope this kind of points you in right path. MOMO and/or Andrew will know a lot more than me.
Rafa is offline  
post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 12:33 PM
Aspiring Bean Counter.
 
Slowhand's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Howard Johnson's Earthlight Room
Posts: 12,279
FLAC > *

More reasons not to get an iPod...

Slowhand is offline  
 
post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
yes, jluv
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 17,073
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rafa View Post
ALAC(Apple Lossless) . Itunes can convert your CD's to ALAC...preference/general tab/import settings.....then choose ALAC.
So, if I already downloaded my CDs into my Itunes library, can I convert them to ALAC before I put them on my Ipod? Will I still have them in their normal version in my Itunes library as well?

Thanks for the info.
jluv is offline  
post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
yes, jluv
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 17,073
Okay, so when I go to the Import tab, I have the following options:

AAC Encoder
AIFF Encoder
Apple Losless Encoder
MP3 Encoder
WAV Encoder

Which one is best? How do I know what form the ones are in that I already downloaded? Can I change those now that ithey're already downloaded? Can I change them as I, or before I put them from the computer/Itunes into the Ipod?

Fuck, this shit is way too complicated.

I just want the best possible sound quality. If I can have the file on my Ipod for each song be exactly identical to the file on my CD, that's what I want. If not, I want the closest thing possible.
jluv is offline  
post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 01:52 PM
HERE WE GO STEELERS
 
Geor!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: HERE WE GO!!!
Posts: 18,685
Quote:
Originally Posted by jluv View Post
Okay, so when I go to the Import tab, I have the following options:

AAC Encoder
AIFF Encoder
Apple Losless Encoder
MP3 Encoder
WAV Encoder

Which one is best? How do I know what form the ones are in that I already downloaded? Can I change those now that ithey're already downloaded? Can I change them as I, or before I put them from the computer/Itunes into the Ipod?

Fuck, this shit is way too complicated.

I just want the best possible sound quality. If I can have the file on my Ipod for each song be exactly identical to the file on my CD, that's what I want. If not, I want the closest thing possible.
You'll have to rip the CDs again. You might be able to convert to lossless format, but it would be for naught as the MP3s you have are already extremely compressed. I rip mine at 256 and that's suitable for me when I'm listening through the speakers on the computer or through headphones.

I want to get my entire collection in FLAC/ALAC as well, but I'll need a 2-4TB drive. If they ever come out with a car stereo that supports lossless audio, I will begin the process then.

Geor! is offline  
post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
yes, jluv
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 17,073
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geor! View Post
You'll have to rip the CDs again. You might be able to convert to lossless format, but it would be for naught as the MP3s you have are already compressed.

I want to get my entire collection in FLAC/ALAC as well, but I'll need a 2-4TB drive. If they ever come out with a car stereo that supports lossless audio, I will begin the process then.
Rip them again? How do I know how they are ripped now?

Which setting is the absolute best?

And what do you mean by a car stereo that supports lossless audio? Are you saying that if I have losless audio on my Ipod or a disk, my stereo won't play the music?
jluv is offline  
post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 01:57 PM
HERE WE GO STEELERS
 
Geor!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: HERE WE GO!!!
Posts: 18,685
Quote:
Originally Posted by jluv View Post
Rip them again? How do I know how they are ripped now?

Which setting is the absolute best?

And what do you mean by a car stereo that supports lossless audio? Are you saying that if I have losless audio on my Ipod or a disk, my stereo won't play the music?
If you downloaded the files, I believe they are high bit-rate MP3s. If you ripped the songs off of CDs, then it's whatever file type and bit-rate you set iTunes up for.

ALAC/FLAC is the best, but it's a hog on disk space.

No, your car stereo will not play FLAC -- it might play ALAC through the iPod, but I'm not too sure.

Geor! is offline  
post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
yes, jluv
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 17,073
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geor! View Post
If you downloaded the files, I believe they are high bit-rate MP3s. If you ripped the songs off of CDs, then it's whatever file type and bit-rate you set iTunes up for.

ALAC/FLAC is the best, but it's a hog on disk space.

No, your car stereo will not play FLAC -- it might play ALAC through the iPod, but I'm not too sure.
Is ALAC/FLAC the format that it's in as it sits on the original disk, os it that a wav file? If it's wav, or whatever else, can I "rip" it into that exact same file type as I put it into Itunes, and then from there to my Ipod?

I ripped the songs off of CDs, but I didn't set up any kind of file type or bit rate before I started, and I have no idea what they are in now.

Hmmm... If you can't play FLAC, or any other format on a car stereo, what can you play it on?
jluv is offline  
post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
yes, jluv
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 17,073
Okay, okay, let me keep it simple, for my own understanding. Please help me answer these two questions, if you can.

1. Is it possible to take the songs from my CD and copy them EXACTLY as they are onto my Ipod, without losing ANY quality at all?

2. If not, what is the absolute best way to get as close as possible to having the original file onto my Ipod, and how do I do it?

TIA
jluv is offline  
post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 02:17 PM
is chilaxing
 
Rafa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,760
The .wav is the original file that is on a CD. If you didn't change any settings in itunes when you 1st used it for you ipod, then it's not in ALAC(Apple Lossless). ALAC(playable on ipod) is one format and FLAC is another type of lossless format.

Change the settings to ALAC(Apple Lossless)
Delete songs/albums on your ipod so you don't have duplicates.
Insert CD and re-rip, but this time it will convert it to ALAC to put in ipod.
Rafa is offline  
post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
yes, jluv
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 17,073
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rafa View Post
The .wav is the original file that is on a CD. If you didn't change any settings in itunes when you 1st used it for you ipod, then it's not in ALAC(Apple Lossless). ALAC(playable on ipod) is one format and FLAC is another type of lossless format.

Change the settings to ALAC(Apple Lossless)
Delete songs/albums on your ipod so you don't have duplicates.
Insert CD and re-rip, but this time it will convert it to ALAC to put in ipod.
Can I not keep it in .wav, since that is the same as my CD?
jluv is offline  
post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 02:21 PM
is chilaxing
 
Rafa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,760
Quote:
Originally Posted by jluv View Post
Okay, okay, let me keep it simple, for my own understanding. Please help me answer these two questions, if you can.

1. Is it possible to take the songs from my CD and copy them EXACTLY as they are onto my Ipod, without losing ANY quality at all?

2. If not, what is the absolute best way to get as close as possible to having the original file onto my Ipod, and how do I do it?

TIA




Just choose wav




Choose Apple Lossless Encoder
Rafa is offline  
post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
yes, jluv
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 17,073
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rafa View Post
[/COLOR][/B]



Just choose wav




Choose Apple Lossless Encoder
Okay, so wav is better than Apple Losless? If that way works, then that's what I will do. Is there any reason (besides size) that I would choose Apple Losless over wav?
jluv is offline  
post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 02:29 PM
is chilaxing
 
Rafa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,760
Quote:
Originally Posted by jluv View Post
Okay, so wav is better than Apple Losless? If that way works, then that's what I will do. Is there any reason (besides size) that I would choose Apple Losless over wav?

YES

NO


wav>flac>alac>..............mp3's

What you could do is rip one song you like in WAV and ALAC and listen to it. I bet you could not really tell the difference between the 2.
Rafa is offline  
post #16 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 02:38 PM
is chilaxing
 
Rafa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,760
How big is you ipod? To give you an idea, 80gig ipod can handle about 1600 songs if each one is about 50meg(wav file) each.
Rafa is offline  
post #17 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
yes, jluv
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 17,073
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rafa View Post
YES

NO


wav>flac>alac>..............mp3's

What you could do is rip one song you like in WAV and ALAC and listen to it. I bet you could not really tell the difference between the 2.
Awesome. Thanks for the help, dude.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rafa View Post
How big is you ipod? To give you an idea, 80gig ipod can handle about 1600 songs if each one is about 50meg(wav file) each.
The one I have now is just a 30 gig, but I will go bigger to get enough of my favorite songs on there if I can get CD quality sound out of it. I don't need every song off of every CD.

Thanks again.
jluv is offline  
post #18 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
yes, jluv
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 17,073
Oh ya...

What about songs I find on Itunes or Limewire? Do I just look for the ones with the best bit rate?
jluv is offline  
post #19 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 03:04 PM
is chilaxing
 
Rafa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,760
no problem man
Rafa is offline  
post #20 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 03:31 PM
Aspiring Bean Counter.
 
Slowhand's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Howard Johnson's Earthlight Room
Posts: 12,279
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geor! View Post
I want to get my entire collection in FLAC/ALAC as well, but I'll need a 2-4TB drive. If they ever come out with a car stereo that supports lossless audio, I will begin the process then.
I'm slowly gathering/converting what I can of my collection in/to FLAC but like you mentioned, it takes a lot of HDD space. It's impractical at the moment because it's just not useful right now, but I'm anticipating that technology will catch up here in the next few years.

Slowhand is offline  
post #21 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 04:38 PM
is chilaxing
 
Rafa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,760
I would stay away from limewire if you want quality. I don't know anywhere to get CD quality online other than buying CD. I don't know about itunes since I don't use it. I use Winamp for my ipod.
Rafa is offline  
post #22 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
yes, jluv
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 17,073
Well, I just downloaded a CD with 17 songs on it using the wav encoder option, and it was 791.6 MB.

I deleted it, and ripped it again using the ALAC option, and it is still showing 791.6 MB.

Am I missing something?
jluv is offline  
post #23 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 10:20 PM
Turbobrooks
 
Andrew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: You can call me Aaron Burr from the way I'm dropping Hamiltons
Posts: 16,252
Quote:
Originally Posted by jluv View Post
Okay, okay, let me keep it simple, for my own understanding. Please help me answer these two questions, if you can.

1. Is it possible to take the songs from my CD and copy them EXACTLY as they are onto my Ipod, without losing ANY quality at all?

2. If not, what is the absolute best way to get as close as possible to having the original file onto my Ipod, and how do I do it?

TIA
The songs on your computer in itunes that you currently have are already compressed and it is not possible to recover the full information from them. You will have to rip them again from your CD. That being said, you ought to consider what source media, speakers, etc. you're using to play the songs through.

I would recommend creating several different versions of the same song using different encoding schemes and bit rates, and then playing ALL of those on your system to see WHERE you can hear the difference, and where you can't. That will help you decide what level of compressive tradeoff has an audible difference to you, and what doesn't. I would make sure to try SEVERAL different styles of music.

Depending on how good your source/preamp/power amp/speaker setup is, you may or may not be able to hear a difference. For example, if I'm listening on my computer speakers or ipod headphones, I can't really tell the difference between a 128 kbps .mp3 file or a cd. On my B&W/Denon setup at home, I can hear the difference between a 128 kbps or higher .mp3 file, a cd, and a SACD/DVD-A. Basically what I'm trying to say is there's no reason to use up huge amounts of memory real estate on your ipod if YOU can't hear the difference on your setup.

If you have access to a PC/wifi, you could consider an apple airport xpress.... it supports optical audio output via mini toslink to toslink, and you get to keep the audio digital and use your receiver's DACs to create the actual analog audio signal. I suspect your receiver's DACs are MUCH superior to the ipod/airport xpress DACs.




Allen Werl Performance Racecraft Motorsports Inc.

Made possible by:
http://www.jamesbschassisservices.com
http://www.brooksracecraft.com
Andrew is offline  
post #24 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 11:02 PM
Time Served
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Frisco
Posts: 243
You're never going to get CD quality out of an iPod/iPhone. Mostly because the audio circuitry in them is crap. I've never heard a worse portable device.

This is actually a complicated question. Everything these days is recorded, mixed, mastered, not for people listening through good sound equipment in a quiet room. Instead they tailor the sound to the devices most people are using nowadays. This means that you're listening on portable devices in loud places. So the mixes are compressed(dynamic compression as opposed to file compression) and EQ'ed to fit with these crap audio reproduction devices. So, take that into account when you're listening and comparing.

Back to formats and codecs. FLAC is my favorite because it's open source and lossless. No way Apple would ever supports such a thing. Apple Lossless(ALAC) is the next best thing. Don't be mislead, your music is still being heavily compressed, but ALAC doesn't remove any information from the sound file like mp3, etc. File size for ALAC will be about 40-60% of an equivalent uncompressed PCM file.

As for whether you should convert old files to FLAC or ALAC, you should consider the original source. If you have mp3s that you've downloaded with Limewire or something, don't bother converting them. The damage is already done. So, unless you have the original cd or another trusted source to get the file in PCM and then convert it, you would just be wasting space on your portable device.

I'm a Sound Engineer/Designer, so I could talk about this all day, if y'all want. I'm actually doing some of my graduate work on high-fidelity audio formats. We've regressed so much since the day of a hi-fi and vinyl. Most people just don't realize it.

-Jason



Last edited by Jastanginator; 08-29-2009 at 11:05 PM. Reason: Clarification of Terms
Jastanginator is offline  
post #25 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
yes, jluv
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 17,073
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
The songs on your computer in itunes that you currently have are already compressed and it is not possible to recover the full information from them. You will have to rip them again from your CD. That being said, you ought to consider what source media, speakers, etc. you're using to play the songs through.

I would recommend creating several different versions of the same song using different encoding schemes and bit rates, and then playing ALL of those on your system to see WHERE you can hear the difference, and where you can't. That will help you decide what level of compressive tradeoff has an audible difference to you, and what doesn't. I would make sure to try SEVERAL different styles of music.

Depending on how good your source/preamp/power amp/speaker setup is, you may or may not be able to hear a difference. For example, if I'm listening on my computer speakers or ipod headphones, I can't really tell the difference between a 128 kbps .mp3 file or a cd. On my B&W/Denon setup at home, I can hear the difference between a 128 kbps or higher .mp3 file, a cd, and a SACD/DVD-A. Basically what I'm trying to say is there's no reason to use up huge amounts of memory real estate on your ipod if YOU can't hear the difference on your setup.

If you have access to a PC/wifi, you could consider an apple airport xpress.... it supports optical audio output via mini toslink to toslink, and you get to keep the audio digital and use your receiver's DACs to create the actual analog audio signal. I suspect your receiver's DACs are MUCH superior to the ipod/airport xpress DACs.

This is strictly for use in my car, where I do have a very elaborate system. My head unit, processor, amps, and components are all high-end products known for great sound quality. In fact, I use an optical cable to run audio from the head unit to the processor, and then RCAs to each amp.

Does that change things? Should I do this airport xpress thing you're talking about?

I may even go with a large separate hard drive just for my music files, instead of an Ipod. I've heard they have 500 gig or higher units that I can hardwire into my 12v system. My head unit should allow me to navigate folders and such using the touch screen.

All I know is that if I listen to a song from my Ipod now, and play the same song right afterwards from the CD, the difference is HUGE. Same goes for Sirius music and HD radio music. None of it comes close to the sound of a CD on my system.

In the end, it would just be nice to have a collection of my 1000-1500 favorite songs or so with perfect CD quality, and not have to lug around my CDs, or change them out every time. I need to not sacrifice the quality, because I often "audition" my stuff for people with even pickier ears than my own. No, it's not a SQ competition car, but I like it to be "that" good.

I'll try your idea of testing several different formats. I really do think I'll be able to tell a difference.

And again, thank you everyone for your input.
jluv is offline  
post #26 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
yes, jluv
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 17,073
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jastanginator View Post
You're never going to get CD quality out of an iPod/iPhone. Mostly because the audio circuitry in them is crap. I've never heard a worse portable device.

This is actually a complicated question. Everything these days is recorded, mixed, mastered, not for people listening through good sound equipment in a quiet room. Instead they tailor the sound to the devices most people are using nowadays. This means that you're listening on portable devices in loud places. So the mixes are compressed(dynamic compression as opposed to file compression) and EQ'ed to fit with these crap audio reproduction devices. So, take that into account when you're listening and comparing.

Back to formats and codecs. FLAC is my favorite because it's open source and lossless. No way Apple would ever supports such a thing. Apple Lossless(ALAC) is the next best thing. Don't be mislead, your music is still being heavily compressed, but ALAC doesn't remove any information from the sound file like mp3, etc. File size for ALAC will be about 40-60% of an equivalent uncompressed PCM file.

As for whether you should convert old files to FLAC or ALAC, you should consider the original source. If you have mp3s that you've downloaded with Limewire or something, don't bother converting them. The damage is already done. So, unless you have the original cd or another trusted source to get the file in PCM and then convert it, you would just be wasting space on your portable device.

I'm a Sound Engineer/Designer, so I could talk about this all day, if y'all want. I'm actually doing some of my graduate work on high-fidelity audio formats. We've regressed so much since the day of a hi-fi and vinyl. Most people just don't realize it.
Man, your expert advice is appreciated. Anything you can "learn" me on when it comes to formats and the potential quality of stored music, well, I am all ears. I am always on a quest for great sound in a vehicle. Well, and the ability get insanely loud still makes me smile as well. I know the two don't always mesh, but anyway...

A lot of "casual" music listeners who love their Ipods tell me that they can't tell a difference. I am able to change every single one of their minds once they hear a back-to-back comparison in my ride.

I sometimes run around with two Ipods hooked up (the girl's and mine), and it's cool for the shuffle feature. Like listening to a radio station with songs that I know I like. But when I want to impress or be impressed, or jam out and hear every single pluck of a guitar string, or distant "ticking" or "tapping" or even subtle vocals where the artist threw in a faint "ya", or "uh huh", or whatever, I always reach for a CD. Actually, my favorite audition material is an Eagles concert DVD in 5.1. Even without a center channel (for now), the experience is amazing.

Which I guess brings up a whole 'nother question. If I download DVD stuff onto my Ipod video, like that concert DVD, will I be able to get the same format/quality? I'm guessing it would take up gobs of room. But is it doable?

EDIT: Dude, I'm being a little bit "liberal" with my "quotations", aren't I? lol I'm drunk.
jluv is offline  
post #27 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2009, 01:37 AM
is chilaxing
 
Rafa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,760
at least I pointed you in right direction...I hope.........LOL
Rafa is offline  
post #28 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2009, 08:32 AM
Turbobrooks
 
Andrew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: You can call me Aaron Burr from the way I'm dropping Hamiltons
Posts: 16,252
In your case I believe you will hear a difference.

Part of the difference you hear is because of the lossy format the rest is because the DAC is crap. The DAC in your processor is going to be much
higher end. For best sound quality you will want to keep the data in a bitstream format as long as
possible and let your processor do the decoding and analog conversion. I think your hard drive idea with digital connection utilizing lossless format to your processor will be the best sounding option.



Allen Werl Performance Racecraft Motorsports Inc.

Made possible by:
http://www.jamesbschassisservices.com
http://www.brooksracecraft.com
Andrew is offline  
post #29 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2009, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
yes, jluv
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 17,073
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
In your case I believe you will hear a difference.

Part of the difference you hear is because of the lossy format the rest is because the DAC is crap. The DAC in your processor is going to be much
higher end. For best sound quality you will want to keep the data in a bitstream format as long as
possible and let your processor do the decoding and analog conversion. I think your hard drive idea with digital connection utilizing lossless format to your processor will be the best sounding option.

Groovy, thanks!
jluv is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Bookmarks

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the DFWstangs Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome