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Need help deciding which audio format I should use!!!

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I have plenty of CD's and i figured that it'd be much easier to just put them on a hard-drive incase i have to ever put them on another mp3 device. So the problem is that i brought a 64GB iPhone 5 but theres no way all my music will fit on it since i copied the files in 1411 kbps from cd to hard-drive confused_face.gif. So i was wondering which option i should use as i believe these are all my choices

 

1. Somehow lower the bit-rate quality through iTunes. But I believe this lowers the overall quality and sounds even worse than the bit-rate your trying to go for or so i heard. 

 

2. Have the files in full 1411 kbps on iTunes and just use the lower bit-rate option on the iPhone menu which convert it for you to i believe 214(not sure) bit-rate. I'm not sure although if like option one it will worsen the overall quality completely. 

 

3. Am hoping u pros can help me out here lol beerchug.gif

 

 

 

PS. What bit-rate do you believe i should rip my music at that i can still feel like it's 1411 kbps without noticing the quality worsen? 

 

Thx alot 

post #2 of 18

Many options here, but your goal is smaller files so you can get more on the iPhone.  Your best choice is AAC, 256kbps.  It's extremely high quality compression, and a format well supported.  It beats MP3, and produces much smaller files. 

 

Your challenge here is to decide if you want two libraries, one for your high-rate files, one for the iPhone, or just one library and do everything in AAC 256 only.  For 99% of all users I'd suggest one library, AAC 256 (possibly 320bps if you're obsessive). No real need for anything more than that. It just makes life easier to have just one library.  Do NOT re-rip your CDS at AAC 256, or convert them within iTunes!  You'll end up with a mess on your hands, two versions of everything, and that's very difficult to manage.  

 

Just to satisfy yourself, though, take your best recording, convert it to AAC 256 within iTunes and listen to it. Compare it to the original.  You'll be very happy I'm sure. 

 

The nuts and bolts (assuming your on a Mac):  To create a fresh iTunes library and not throw out your old one, hold Option key down while launching iTunes, it will ask if you want to create a new library.  Be careful to name it something different and pick out a new folder for it.  Pick out your new import settings in Preferences > Import Settings > AAC > Custom, pick your bit rate.  This setting applies to converting also.  Rip away.  Importing already imported files does not convert them to the new settings, don't try to cheat!  When you're done, sync your iPhone. 

 

The above works on Windows iTunes too, the menu items may be located slightly differently.  I also have not updated to the latest iTunes version yet, and I know they changed a bunch of things, but the settings will still be there somewhere.  You may be able to find a tool that will batch-convert your files, probably out there, but I've never had to do it. Watch out for converters that convert the file type but drop the meta tags.  You'll end up with orphaned files with out any info attached. 

 

One more thing, you've got a pretty good sized iPhone there.  I know everyone wants to sync their entire library...I do, but only on my iPod Classic 160.  If you're a bit selective about what you sync, you can have most of what you will really play, and re-sync selectively from time to time to mix it up.  No re-ripping required for that, just careful sync management and selection.  Build some playlists, sync just those for example.  My iPhone is only 16gb, and yet I keep quite a bit of entertainment on it. And I never rip anything at less than 320K AAC (because I do have the OCD thing working) so big files, just not all of them all the time. 

post #3 of 18
If you own the CDs, a lossless copy would be redundant.
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by beatmaker234 View Post

I have plenty of CD's and i figured that it'd be much easier to just put them on a hard-drive incase i have to ever put them on another mp3 device. So the problem is that i brought a 64GB iPhone 5 but theres no way all my music will fit on it since i copied the files in 1411 kbps from cd to hard-drive confused_face.gif . So i was wondering which option i should use as i believe these are all my choices
You do not have to have 2 libraries.

When you plug in your iPod or iPhone, there is an option on the home page of your device in itunes that allows you to check a box to automatically convert all content to 256kbs ACC. Just check that box and it will convert the selected files onto your device only. Takes longer to sync of course but it works fine.

Then it is easy to have the best of both worlds without multiple libraries.

All of this is assuming you ripped your CD's into ALAC format.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc-holliday View Post


You do not have to have 2 libraries.
When you plug in your iPod or iPhone, there is an option on the home page of your device in itunes that allows you to check a box to automatically convert all content to 256kbs ACC. Just check that box and it will convert the selected files onto your device only. Takes longer to sync of course but it works fine.
Then it is easy to have the best of both worlds without multiple libraries.
All of this is assuming you ripped your CD's into ALAC format.

 

Yep I did

And thinking I'm gonna do this. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post

Many options here, but your goal is smaller files so you can get more on the iPhone.  Your best choice is AAC, 256kbps.  It's extremely high quality compression, and a format well supported.  It beats MP3, and produces much smaller files. 

 

Your challenge here is to decide if you want two libraries, one for your high-rate files, one for the iPhone, or just one library and do everything in AAC 256 only.  For 99% of all users I'd suggest one library, AAC 256 (possibly 320bps if you're obsessive). No real need for anything more than that. It just makes life easier to have just one library.  Do NOT re-rip your CDS at AAC 256, or convert them within iTunes!  You'll end up with a mess on your hands, two versions of everything, and that's very difficult to manage.  

 

Just to satisfy yourself, though, take your best recording, convert it to AAC 256 within iTunes and listen to it. Compare it to the original.  You'll be very happy I'm sure. 

 

The nuts and bolts (assuming your on a Mac):  To create a fresh iTunes library and not throw out your old one, hold Option key down while launching iTunes, it will ask if you want to create a new library.  Be careful to name it something different and pick out a new folder for it.  Pick out your new import settings in Preferences > Import Settings > AAC > Custom, pick your bit rate.  This setting applies to converting also.  Rip away.  Importing already imported files does not convert them to the new settings, don't try to cheat!  When you're done, sync your iPhone. 

 

The above works on Windows iTunes too, the menu items may be located slightly differently.  I also have not updated to the latest iTunes version yet, and I know they changed a bunch of things, but the settings will still be there somewhere.  You may be able to find a tool that will batch-convert your files, probably out there, but I've never had to do it. Watch out for converters that convert the file type but drop the meta tags.  You'll end up with orphaned files with out any info attached. 

 

One more thing, you've got a pretty good sized iPhone there.  I know everyone wants to sync their entire library...I do, but only on my iPod Classic 160.  If you're a bit selective about what you sync, you can have most of what you will really play, and re-sync selectively from time to time to mix it up.  No re-ripping required for that, just careful sync management and selection.  Build some playlists, sync just those for example.  My iPhone is only 16gb, and yet I keep quite a bit of entertainment on it. And I never rip anything at less than 320K AAC (because I do have the OCD thing working) so big files, just not all of them all the time. 

Thanks for your help bro. 

I am thinking that i might just have to convert them to 256kbps from the iphone menu to fit all my songs.

Do you notice the difference in 1411 and 256 kbps?

I feel like 1411 is much more full of life and sounds much more live than 256.

Then again i could just be crazy k701smile.gif

post #6 of 18

why not use FLAC set to compression level 6?, the files aren't that big,

With 64 gig that's over 200 cds

 

Do you need to choose from more than 200 cds ?

 

I use Capriccio FLAC player on my 32gig Iphone 5

post #7 of 18

The tip to use "Options"/Convert higher bit rate to" function is an excellent one.  I don't personally use it because I want to retain control over the bit rate on my iDevices, I do keep some Apple Lossless (uncompressed) files on it for specific purposes, which is the only reason I don't do that.  Sorry, I never even thought of it.

 

FLAC offers no advantage over Apple Lossless, and the one big disadvantage in that it takes a special app on the iPhone to play the files.  Not worth the trouble.  You can do a plugin to get iTunes to play FLAC, but again, who cares if you've got Apple Lossless.  

 

A lossless copy is NOT redundant if you own the CDs.  You don't have the utility, convenience, or portability of an iPod with CDs, and you don't have the ability to run playlists of lossless files from the computer.  Ripping a CD into a lossless format has many advantages...none of them relating to sound quality over a CD though.

post #8 of 18
If AAC 256 sounds exactly like lossless (which it does) you can have your cake and eat it too by simply ripping directly to AAC 256. Also, lossless doesn't give you the option to rip to single channel mono. If you listen to classic jazz or historical classical music, you can save half your disk space by ripping straight to mono.
post #9 of 18

Amarok has a feature that re-encode the track into whatever you want when copying it to a DAP. You seem to say iTunes has a similar feature. Can't you set the output format? Or has apple again dictated it's users the only true option that they will use?

 

Such tools don't modify the original audio file. They create a copy of lower bit rate, copy it to the DAP and then delete it from the disc. It was by far the most wanted feature on Amarok forums for the past couple of years, and I totally agree. This way you don't have to keep two copies of each files in two different formats. My collection is mostly FLAC, so I re-encode it when I transfer it to my phone. I have it to output to the best variable bit rate available, which offer the best quality to file size ratio for MP3 files. AAC is different, and will have better quality on lower bitrates.

 

A low bitrate lossy file will not have the same resolution as a lossless file, but on the go from a portable setup you simply won't care. The hardware and the environment will not allow you to make the best of lossless files.

post #10 of 18
I'm not able to tell the difference between lossless and AAC 256 on a great home system, and I'm a very picky SOB.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by KimLaroux View Post

Amarok has a feature that re-encode the track into whatever you want when copying it to a DAP. You seem to say iTunes has a similar feature. Can't you set the output format? Or has apple again dictated it's users the only true option that they will use?

 

Such tools don't modify the original audio file. They create a copy of lower bit rate, copy it to the DAP and then delete it from the disc. It was by far the most wanted feature on Amarok forums for the past couple of years, and I totally agree. This way you don't have to keep two copies of each files in two different formats. My collection is mostly FLAC, so I re-encode it when I transfer it to my phone. I have it to output to the best variable bit rate available, which offer the best quality to file size ratio for MP3 files. AAC is different, and will have better quality on lower bitrates.

 

A low bitrate lossy file will not have the same resolution as a lossless file, but on the go from a portable setup you simply won't care. The hardware and the environment will not allow you to make the best of lossless files.

Apple hasn't "dictated" much of anything.  You have your choice of several file types and bit rates when importing to iTunes: aiff, wav, Apple Lossless, AAC, and mp3.  And if you pick AAC, MP3 or Aiff, you can also select the sampling frequency (just about anything up to 48KHz), bit rate (from the ridiculously low to 320Kbps for lossy, automatic for lossless), stereo/mono, variable vs fixed rate, etc.  Whatever is set as your import preference also works when you "create a <file type>", which makes a new copy of the original in the type and rate you chose and adds it to your library.  I agree that AAC is a far more sophisticated codec than mp3.  What's not commonly known is AAC is not an Apple invention at all, it comes from Dolby, Sony, AT&T, and yes, Fraunhofer.  Apple had nothing to do with it, except to realize it beat mp3, and adopted it as their defacto standard. Apple Lossless is of course their thing, it's the functional equivalent of FLAC, except it plays native on Apple devices.  FLAC isn't supported directly by Apple...yet.  Probably will be some day, though. 

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

I'm not able to tell the difference between lossless and AAC 256 on a great home system, and I'm a very picky SOB.

...which is nice because the current stuff you can buy and download from the iTunes store is largely 256 AAC, not true of Amazon downloads.  

 

...good you're a very picky SOB too, not enough of us when it comes to audio these days.  

post #13 of 18

I suggest you take a look to this short article : http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Choosing_the_best_codec

But seeing that you're using apple's products the most convenient will be indeed AAC


Edited by Puranti - 12/14/12 at 8:10am
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Puranti View Post

I suggest you take a look to this short article : http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Choosing_the_best_codec

But seeing that you're using apple's products the most convenient will be indeed AAC

 

The file and codec type has nothing whatsoever to do with convenience.  Any supported type can be made the user's standard.  Once chosen in "preferences", anything imported from CD will be in that preferred format.  The exceptions will be any purchased files.

 

That Wiki article...oh boy.  Not very helpful.  Especially the last criteria "How good is your hearing?"  That's really very ambiguous.  It implies hearing acuity is a factor in the audibility of a codec's artifact.  Not true! Loss of hearing acuity comes in two common types, loss of sensitivity and loss of high frequency sensitivity.  Usually the two come together.  However, codec artifact is an issue of masking and a form of aliasing.  Codec artifacts are often mid band, a portion of hearing not usually the first to go, and overall sensitivity isn't an issue because we have this thing called a volume control that most of us use at will.  The question should be, "How sensitive are you to bit-rate reduction artifacts?"  That's a MUCH harder thing to determine.  But I'll say this, once you've heard and learned to recognize a low-rate mp3 and the kind of artifact it has, you'll never NOT hear it.  So just avoid the low-rate files before you own a thousand or so.  

 

The article's best advice is to audition codecs.  But that's not really helpful when you consider the hundreds of permutations arrived at by changing sampling frequency and bit rates.  Who's got time to audition a dozen or so different musical samples at dozens of different combinations?  That's not helpful to even suggest.  

 

Clearly you want a codec that's supported well by the devices you'll be using.  Clearly, on devices with limited storage space, you want one that offers the best combination of quality vs bit rate.  That gets it down to just a few, really two: mp3 and AAC.  None of the others, performance aside, are supported nearly so well across so many devices and platforms.  AAC beats mp3 bit rate for bit rate.  Using high rate AAC gets you compact files, playability on portable devices and audibly identical files for playback on serious high end systems.  

 

Forgive my tone of frustration, but why is this so hard?

post #15 of 18

Sorry just tried to be helpful and thought it was a good idea to share this article. beerchug.gif

If you don't find the article helpful or accurate then it's too bad,

it helped me choosing mine and I settled for a vorbis codec they were recommanding.

I was talking about convenience because his apple products only reads apple files (or mp3) hence it is more convenient to use them.

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