Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Apple music player programs and lossless encoder
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apple music player programs and lossless encoder

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
A few questions:
1. Are there any versatile programs, itunes aside, for playing a variety of formats on OS X? ie foobar in windows. I want to be able to play the Monkey audio format or whatever lossless encoder I decide to use when ripping my cds.

2. What is the difference between all the lossless codecs? (FLAC, Monkey Audio, Apple Lossless)

3. If it comes to the Apple Lossless format (meaning I can't use the others in OS X), is it any good?
post #2 of 9
There are a variety of programs available for playing music on OS X, but I haven't heard of any that are as polished as iTunes.

There is no substantive difference between the various lossless formats. They all have compression ratios in the same ballpark, and there are slight variations in the amount of CPU time they take to decode, but overall they're basically functionally identical. Support on various portable devices varies, however. FLAC is only supported on the Rio Karma. Apple Lossless is only supported on the iPod. WMA Lossless and Monkey's Audio are not supported on any portable device.

All the lossless file formats have one big advantage over AIFF/WAV: they support tagging, i.e. embedding the artist/album name/track name/etc. directly in the file.

Unlike lossy file formats, there's no real risk to selecting one file format over another. There are tools that can convert all your lossless files from one format to another if you decide at a later date that you'd prefer a different format. You won't lose any information doing this. This is the beauty of lossless.

Apple Lossless is just as good as the others. The only problem with it is that some people have reported the occasional "skip" when trying to play back these files on their iPod. Most people believe this is just a bug in the current iPod firmware and that it will be fixed in the next version (the current iPod software being essentially "version 1.0" of lossless support).
post #3 of 9
I have stopped trying to fight against iTunes by using other audio playing apps or other codecs and have decided that iTunes is really the best player available. I now use iTunes and nothing else and am very happy with it. The Apple Lossless codec is very good and I don't see why I would use anything else. AAC is also very good and I encode most of my CD's to AAC these days.
post #4 of 9
I'm the process of giving in, too. It will mean converting 4000 flac files, but I guess there are some decent batch conversion utilities out there.

One of the biggest arguments for me is being able to use iTunes to quickly burn lossless cds to use in my car or give to a friend...too many steps with flac, which means keeping the cd originals around, which kind of defeats the purpose of this whole (exhausing) excercise.

The real question I'm grappling with is whether to start using iTunes to do the ripping/conversion, or stick with EAC. Anybody do listening tests between the two?
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Macamp lite http://www.arcticlounge.com/maltx/index.php plays FLAC with the plugin found on that site. Also, you can find a FLAC encoder right here http://www.danrules.com/macflac/ . I'm going to be using this primarily on my Mac from now on.
post #6 of 9
I guess my question was more about whether EAC's rigorous error correction really makes an (audible) difference over iTunes' rips.

I could go:
EAC->WAV->iTunes ALE
or iTunes ALE direct from the disc.

I run a mixed Win2k/OSX environment so platform support isn't much of an issue. It would just be nice to standardize on a single lossless format!
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wodgy
Apple Lossless is just as good as the others. The only problem with it is that some people have reported the occasional "skip" when trying to play back these files on their iPod. Most people believe this is just a bug in the current iPod firmware and that it will be fixed in the next version (the current iPod software being essentially "version 1.0" of lossless support).
I think it has sth. to do with the RAM limitations of the iPod (32MB) and many AL encoded songs being or exceeding that size, so the caching has to be smarter with the next firmware. Otherwise AL is fine, I especially like that it is a lot faster than the lossy encoders. Which is logical though, as there shoulbe be no analysis of the audible content needed, just file compression.

BTW, iTMS Europe, whohoo! I hope they expand to more countries soon.
post #8 of 9
I really wonder how much cache is included in the Aiprort Express...since it's streaming ALE...hopefully more than 32mb! I haven't been able to find any information on this, if anyone has info please share.
post #9 of 9
One small difference from FLAC and all the other lossless codecs is that FLAC can be directly encoded into OGG. All the other lossless formats must first be decoded to wav, then encoded, FLAC can do it directly. This does shave off a little bit of conversion time, not so much to worry about. But like for me, I store all lossless backups on my hard drive in FLAC, then encode them to ogg onto my ihp120, so if you intend to do something like that, using FLAC would prolly be better.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Computer Audio
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Apple music player programs and lossless encoder