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Is WAV to Apple Lossless a mistake?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm in the process of permanently deleting every MP3 on my PC. I've had my final straw with any lossy audio codec and am moving on. I have my sights on a 160GB iPod, and am interested in ripping all of my music to Apple Lossless. The issue is that about a third of my CDs are a little "weathered" and I'm thinking iTunes won't be able to rip the whole album without errors. I'm thinking I need to use EAC to rip the songs to WAV and then use iTunes to convert them to ALAC. I know that by doing this, ID tag entry will be a little more manual but I want to know I don't have any errors on my ripped music, as this is what I listen to 90% of the time. Any thoughts or tips? Thanks!
post #2 of 12
Converting WAV to lossless within iTunes should not result in any loss of information as lossless is bit-for-bit. As you seem to be aware, WAV does not support metadata, but if you rip to WAV within iTunes the software does associate file info with the WAV files ripped there. I think if your WAV rips are done within iTunes and you convert to Apple Lossless you should be able to maintain the pertinent data. If, otoh, you rip within EAC and then go to lossless it is a matter of manual entry and a royal PITA! I'm on a Mac and have been experimenting with the Mac alternative to EAC which is a software called MAXX. Because I'm on a Mac I use AIFF (the Mac-native version of WAV) which is an uncompressed codec which does support metadata (so none of the pesky problems that come with manipulating WAV files). I think in your case, ALAC will be easier to maintain than WAV simply because of the metadata issue. WAV becomes challenging in moving files or restoring from backup. Also, the last time I checked, iTunes would not allow you to add artwork to WAV files (it would allow the software to retrieve them from the database, but would not allow you to manually add them). I don't know if that's changed as I've gone over to AIFF.
post #3 of 12
When ripping using Apple Lossless, there is an "error" correction button that you can choose to use during the conversion. I highly recommend using it. This might help too:

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f15/ri...lained-344397/
post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidhunternyc View Post
When ripping using Apple Lossless, there is an "error" correction button that you can choose to use during the conversion. I highly recommend using it. This might help too:

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f15/ri...lained-344397/
In my experience, the error correction in EAC and MAXX is audibly superior than the error correction in iTunes. Check some of the PC Audio sites for further input on this issue (ComputerAudiophile and PCAsylum would be two good resources among others). Should I be putting on my asbestos suit at this point?
post #5 of 12
Sound quality wise encoding to Apple Lossless from WAV is perfectly fine (lossless).
Using EAC for ripping to WAV should be fine as well, although as you say no tags will be transferred. Using iTunes for ripping directly to Apple Lossless is an alternative, but make sure you have its error correction enabled.

Welcome to Head-Fi!
post #6 of 12
Two options to consider:

Rip to CUE using EAC then use CUETools to split the CUE to individual tracks and convert to ALAC (m4a). CUETools uses FFMPEG to do the ALAC encoding and FFMPEG only does 16-bit ALAC. So no 24-bit encodes. CUETools has an option to decide HDCD encoded discs to 24-bit. Won't be able to take advantage of that feature if using ALAC. CUETools verifies against the AccurateRip database as well.

Rip using dBpoweramp. It's a good ripper. Can encode to ALAC. Has an option of decoding HDCD to 24-bit files. I believe dBpoweramp can do 24-bit ALAC though I haven't personally tried. dBpoweramp verifies against the AccurateRip database (the developer of dBpoweramp created AccurateRip).

Both EAC and dBpoweramp can rip scratched or damaged CDs. Both go about it slightly differently. Sometimes EAC will rip a damaged CD that dBpoweramp won't. Sometimes dBpoweramp will rip a damaged CD that EAC won't. Enable the "Ultra Secure ripping" feature in dBpoweramp and have it vary the drive speed on each pass.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you guys for all the input. I'm also toying with the notion (pending certain spousal approval) of switching from PC to Mac. I will try all these tips and report my results. Again....many thanks. =]
post #8 of 12
You could always just rip to FLAC from EAC, and transcode FLAC to ALAC. At least that way, EAC records some metadata, though you'll have to transfer it over during transcoding. Since FLAC is lossless, there's nothing lost, you'll just have to wait for it to compress (you could use flac -V0 to speed that up, though the intermediate FLAC would be huge).
post #9 of 12
Here's a good way to use EAC to encode to Apple Lossless.
  1. Download iTunesEncode.exe from here.
  2. Read this guide on how to set up EAC. (It looks long and it's separated over six pages, but it's simple to follow and doesn't take very long.)
  3. Instead of following that guide's instructions for the Compression Settings window, make it look like the screenshot I've attached. For the additional command-line options, put this:
    Quote:
    -e "Lossless Encoder" -a "%a" -l "%g" -t "%t" -g "%m" -y %y -n %n -i %s -o %d

Once you've set it up this way, it's incredibly simple to put in a CD, hit the CD->MP3 button in the left panel in EAC, and wait for perfect lossless copies tagged and copied to your iTunes folder (assuming you have iTunes set to automatically transfer files to iTunes media folder when adding to library). It even deletes the intermediate WAV file from your hard drive.
LL
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muero View Post
Here's a good way to use EAC to encode to Apple Lossless.
  1. Download iTunesEncode.exe from here.
  2. Read this guide on how to set up EAC. (It looks long and it's separated over six pages, but it's simple to follow and doesn't take very long.)
  3. Instead of following that guide's instructions for the Compression Settings window, make it look like the screenshot I've attached. For the additional command-line options, put this:

Once you've set it up this way, it's incredibly simple to put in a CD, hit the CD->MP3 button in the left panel in EAC, and wait for perfect lossless copies tagged and copied to your iTunes folder (assuming you have iTunes set to automatically transfer files to iTunes media folder when adding to library). It even deletes the intermediate WAV file from your hard drive.
Thanks for this - I have just followed the steps and got this working great.

I am stunned by how much better 5 sample tracks sounded when encoded this way vs the same 5 tracks encoded using itunes and 320kbps mp3 encoder.

So starts a process of re-ripping my music collection - will i get significantly better results using EAC/itunes lossless instead of itunes itself to encode my music?

The only benefits i can see to using itunes to re-rip my collection is that its faster and I wont have to manually delete all of the duplicate files I will end up with, but I think i can cope with this for the sound i will be getting!
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by d.g View Post
will i get significantly better results using EAC/itunes lossless instead of itunes itself to encode my music?
The only difference will be in the error correcting (important for CDs with scratches and other wear). EAC should be able to create a bit-perfect rip every time, while iTunes doesn't have the error correcting ability EAC has. I always use EAC, even when ripping a pristine new CD, just to be sure. I figure if you're crazy enough about music to both join Head-Fi and use lossless encoding, then secure, accurate ripping should be important to you as well.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muero View Post
The only difference will be in the error correcting (important for CDs with scratches and other wear). EAC should be able to create a bit-perfect rip every time, while iTunes doesn't have the error correcting ability EAC has. I always use EAC, even when ripping a pristine new CD, just to be sure. I figure if you're crazy enough about music to both join Head-Fi and use lossless encoding, then secure, accurate ripping should be important to you as well.
All makes sense! I will perhaps try a file using EAC and make a copy using itunes and see.
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