Apple Lossless/ALAC in WMP - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 11-07-2010, 03:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Firstly, I wasn't sure which Forum was most appropriate for this question but ultimately chose this one as it certainly relates to my efforts to get music distributed around my home via network devices and, of course, portable players. Basically I'm wondering if anyone has managed to get ALAC to play successfully on WMP/MCE.

I am in the process of re-ripping all of my old CD's to a lossless format and ultimately settled on ALAC since my Squeezebox supports it (where my HiFi lives - Benchmark DAC, Adam Audio speakers, etc), my car supports it (Audi AMI) and, of course, all of our iPods support it.

The lone outlier of course is WMP and more importantly MCE on the HTPC in my living room. I have the library on Itunes shared to that PC and, yes, I can switch to that from MCE, but it just is nicer to work within MCE on this.

After some Google searching on this topic I found this thread: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/...howtopic=46551. I followed the instructions on there, but I'm getting nowhere. I downloaded the BASS modules from http://www.dsp-worx.de/ and installed them. Using DirectShow Filter Manager I can see File Source (MP3) referring to the module MP3Source.ax and I manually set the priority to Normal. First attempt, WMP cannot play any ALAC files.

The really odd thing though is WMP can play AAC files. So, suspecting another filter is getting in the way, I tried using GraphEdit to view which filter it was using. However, when I try to load an AAC file in GraphEdit I get an error saying it could not construct a graph from the file and it asks if I have the right filters installed. Now I'm really lost!

Any help is appreciated...
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post #2 of 5 Old 11-07-2010, 03:07 PM
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I don't believe WMP will play ALAC files. Any reason for using WMP as opposed to MediaMonkey or other player?

Also, just in case it matters, it is my impression that the Squeezebox will only play up to 16/44 or 16/48 ALAC files. If you convert higher resolution FLAC to ALAC, the high res ALAC won't be read by the TOUCH. I haven't TESTED this, however, so if I am mis-remembering, please correct me.

I too ripped all my CD's to ALAC which can be read by Roku's, SBS and iTunes, which is why I did it. The eight or nine albums of high res FLAC are somewhat orphaned in my collection, but they do sound awesome through the TOUCH and stereo with outboard DAC.
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post #3 of 5 Old 11-07-2010, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duffer_mcmulliga View Post

I don't believe WMP will play ALAC files. Any reason for using WMP as opposed to MediaMonkey or other player?

Also, just in case it matters, it is my impression that the Squeezebox will only play up to 16/44 or 16/48 ALAC files. If you convert higher resolution FLAC to ALAC, the high res ALAC won't be read by the TOUCH. I haven't TESTED this, however, so if I am mis-remembering, please correct me.

I too ripped all my CD's to ALAC which can be read by Roku's, SBS and iTunes, which is why I did it. The eight or nine albums of high res FLAC are somewhat orphaned in my collection, but they do sound awesome through the TOUCH and stereo with outboard DAC.

Actually it's MCE I'm trying to use to play music, I have an HTPC in my living room and everything is linked into MCE. For the living room viewing, I much prefer the MCE interface to squinting to view Itunes...

Anyway, according to the link to the forum above, it IS possible using a special directshow filter for WMP. I was hoping someone on here had experience setting that filter up to work correctly.

As for Squeezebox, it plays my ALAC files just fine, but maybe you could educate me on resolution. I'm using EAC to rip and ItunesEncoder to transcode the WAV output to ALAC. ItunesEncoder has no options (that I can see at least) to change resolution (or even bitrate for that matter). In terms of the ALAC files I'm getting a high (default I guess?) bitrate, comparable to FLAC, but am not sure about resolution. Either way, when I was debating this issue myself, I did compare a number of the same tracks I had in FLAC vs. ALAC on my 'reference' hardware (the Benchmark DAC, Adam Audio Epsilon speakers) and my ears could not tell any difference.
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post #4 of 5 Old 11-09-2010, 03:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok FWIW - more Google searching and I found a way to get ALAC to play in WMP.

1- download and install the Shark007 codec, for me 32-bit and the x64 components as well - go to the 32bit settings and under Audio tab check 'support M4A containing ALAC' and go to the 64bit settings and under Config tab ensure Windows Media Player is set to 32bit player
2- download and install the QuickTime DirectShow filter from RiverPast
3- download and install WMP Tag Plus so WMP can recognize tags

The remaining problem is that all of my ALAC files are showing up in one list under "Other Media" and not within the normal Music Library... so a bit more work to do here.
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post #5 of 5 Old 11-12-2012, 06:06 AM
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A belated reply but here is the answer for you.

I have been told by the original programmer of the BASS ALAC codec that all other codec packs still use that it should be possible to use just his directshow filter. However my own experience was that by itself it did not disable the built-in M4A codec. I therefore myself also used the Shark7 pack which as you mention has a tick box to disable the built-in codec and then installs the directshow filter.

I did not have to install any QuickTime filters. For WMP 12 as included with Windows 7 a final step is needed, despite the fact that with the Shark7 pack installed you can now successfully play Apple Lossless files and despite the fact they have the same file extension and tag format as AAC files, Microsoft in their infinite stupidity deliberately look for and treat Apple lossless files differently and put then in the 'other' section of the WMP library. It is therefore necessary to 'cheat' and trick WMP12, a plugin called WMP Tag Plus 2.1 used to be needed for older versions of WMP as in the past WMP could not read MPEG4 meta-tags, this same plugin when used with WMP12 no longer adds the MPEG4 tag support but does specifically trick WMP12 in to think Apple Lossless files are AAC files. So what you need to do is install and activate this free plugin.

If you then add Apple Lossless files are installing Shark7 and WMP Tag Plus 2.1, Apple Lossless files will end up in the right music section AND will work with Media Center as well. You can also set WMP to monitor the iTunes Music folder for new files and have it add them automatically. WMP12 will then even show embedded artwork in Apple Lossless files and report the correct bitrate.
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