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post #1 of 27 Old 08-23-2012, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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So heres my dilemma

I recently got into the digital realm of audio. My entire music library (until now) was ripped at 192, as that was good enough for me on my ipod. Now, I am using my PC as a music source, so I started re-ripping everything as ALAC in itunes. Everything is great, in itunes, but when i try to copy those files to to thumbdrive or my phone, the format is invalid (they are m4a files). Here are my options, and my question to you guys

-re-rip everything (again), this time as WAV
-convert from m4a to WAV (my gut tells me that the ALAC files are inferior to WAV, so I might as well re-rip to WAV)
-re-rip using Windows Media Player as FLAC (then the FLAC files wont play in itunes)

Is there a better "universal" media player/ripper? Ive heard Db Poweramp can do everything, but will i be able to load songs on to my ipod shuffle with that program??

Its either go all apple, or dont use apple at all. damn it.

Thanks guys!
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post #2 of 27 Old 08-23-2012, 04:57 PM
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Do you really want to put full-size WAV files on your phone? Most phones don't have that much space.

ALAC files are not inferior to WAV. They're just data-compressed. Uncompress them and you get the same quality you started with.

Here's what I do: I rip everything to ALAC in my main iTunes library. But I have a second iTunes library called "iPod Library." I import the ALAC file into the second library, create a 192 copy, then delete the ALAC file from that library. When I want to stream, I use the main library. When I'm loading an iPod, I switch to iPod Library.

I suspect you could do the same with Windows Media Player. There are conversion utilities that'll convert ALAC to WAV or FLAC or whatever. So just rip to ALAC in iTunes, use a conversion utility to create a second file in a different format, and move the resulting files to Media Player.

You definitely don't need to re-rip anything. Use a converter.

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post #3 of 27 Old 08-23-2012, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
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so, data compressed isnt the same as data lost?

i have a 32gb card in my phone, so its fine for a handful of albums. i dont think i would want my entire library on my phone, just albums or playlists for a bike ride or going to the gym

awesome post, thanks man!
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post #4 of 27 Old 08-23-2012, 07:06 PM
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Hi Jdoostil,
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdoostil View Post

so, data compressed isn't the same as data lost?
There is lossy compression, and there is lossless compression. WAV is uncompressed. ALAC and FLAC are lossless. MP3 and M4A are lossy.

I do what mcmarus described, but without the Apple. All my recent music is in FLAC, but I make 320kbs MP3 copies for my Audiotrons, which don't recognize FLAC.

WAV is not a good idea, because it has poor support for tags. I consider the quality of the tags to be almost as important as the quality of the music.
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post #5 of 27 Old 08-23-2012, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
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ok sweet!

so, if i convert m4a to FLAC, is that like, upconverting? should i just re rip as FLAC with windows media player?

thanks again for your input guys!
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post #6 of 27 Old 08-23-2012, 08:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdoostil View Post

ok sweet!
so, if i convert m4a to FLAC, is that like, upconverting?
No, it's like "side-converting." The resolution stays the same.

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post #7 of 27 Old 08-23-2012, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdoostil View Post

so, if i convert m4a to FLAC, is that like, upconverting?
No, the result will be a lossless version of a lossy file. It will sound no different.

Quote:
should i just re rip as FLAC with windows media player?
Yes, you should re-rip to FLAC, but no, you shouldn't use WMP.

Use either ExactAudioCopy (free) or dBpoweramp ($38). Both will give equally good results, and nothing else I know equals them. They both will tag your tracks and fetch album art, as well as verifying that your rips are accurate.

I use EAC, simply because it was what was available when I started ripping, but dBpoweramp is said to be easier to setup. It took me a while to setup EAC.
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post #8 of 27 Old 08-24-2012, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

No, the result will be a lossless version of a lossy file. It will sound no different.
Yes, you should re-rip to FLAC, but no, you shouldn't use WMP.
Use either ExactAudioCopy (free) or dBpoweramp ($38). Both will give equally good results, and nothing else I know equals them. They both will tag your tracks and fetch album art, as well as verifying that your rips are accurate.
I use EAC, simply because it was what was available when I started ripping, but dBpoweramp is said to be easier to setup. It took me a while to setup EAC.

Why does he need to re-rip anything? m4a is the file extension for apple lossless and he said that's the format he used. Lossless is Lossless. If he wan't s to keep the files lossless for his phone just convert them to flac. If you don't want the bigger flac files on your phone, convert them to mp3. There is no need to do any reripping.
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post #9 of 27 Old 08-24-2012, 04:12 PM
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Hi Tbaucom,
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbaucom View Post

Why does he need to re-rip anything? m4a is the file extension for apple lossless . . .
I just looked it up, and you're right. Apple is sowing confusion.

M4A is the extension for Apple's AAC lossy format as well. So it means that you can't tell lossy from lossless by the extension. I assumed his rips were lossy because I assumed Apple lossless would have a different extension, like .ALAC. All of my M4A files are lossy, as I got them from the iTunes store. You can tell I'm not an Apple guy . . .


Hi Jdoostil,

If your M4A files are already lossless, you can just convert them to FLAC without re-ripping. Sorry for the bad advice.
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post #10 of 27 Old 08-24-2012, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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yep, i ripped them originally as ALAC. Thanks guys!
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post #11 of 27 Old 08-24-2012, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
So it means that you can't tell lossy from lossless by the extension.
True. In iTunes itself, in Column View, you can turn on a column called Kind.

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post #12 of 27 Old 08-24-2012, 05:25 PM
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I wouldn't bother playing lossless files on a phone. Keep your ALAC files on your hard drive(s) and convert to lossy as needed. Converting to MP3 is probably the smartest since that's the most universally compatible lossy audio format - it will work on iPods or phones. And 192kbps VBR (variable bit rate) should be fine.

Foobar2000 can do a bulk conversion (load all your files --> select all --> convert), which might be most convenient. You will have to point it to an MP3 encoder -- download and install LAME.exe for that. Then point foobar's file converter at it when it prompts you. You'll only have to do that the first time.

(Btw there should never have been a problem copying your .m4a ALAC files to a *thumb drive* -- that's just a storage drive, not something that plays music files -- can you explain what you meant there?)
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post #13 of 27 Old 08-24-2012, 06:32 PM
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What you need to do is get iPhone. It will play ALAC files without problems. Either all your music chain is made of Apple products, and they will play with each other well. Or ditch all Apple devices. None of Apple products have good compatibility with devices and software from other vendors.
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post #14 of 27 Old 08-24-2012, 08:04 PM
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What you need to do is get iPhone. It will play ALAC files without problems. Either all your music chain is made of Apple products, and they will play with each other well. Or ditch all Apple devices. None of Apple products have good compatibility with devices and software from other vendors.
While there's a wee bit of truth to this, it is overstated. The OP's problems stemmed from ripping his music in a format not supported by his phone, not from any inherent incompatibility between his phone and iTunes. And as krab said, all he's got to do is convert his ALAC files to MP3 (doable within iTunes), and he's fine for whatever devices he wants to use.

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post #15 of 27 Old 08-25-2012, 07:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Quote:
What you need to do is get iPhone. It will play ALAC files without problems. Either all your music chain is made of Apple products, and they will play with each other well. Or ditch all Apple devices. None of Apple products have good compatibility with devices and software from other vendors.
While there's a wee bit of truth to this, it is overstated. The OP's problems stemmed from ripping his music in a format not supported by his phone, not from any inherent incompatibility between his phone and iTunes. And as krab said, all he's got to do is convert his ALAC files to MP3 (doable within iTunes), and he's fine for whatever devices he wants to use.

But if he wants lossless, it won't work. His phone doesn't understand ALAC and iTunes doesn't understand FLAC. So it is a catch 22. His choice is either get rid of Apple tools, or get an iPhone.
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post #16 of 27 Old 08-25-2012, 09:02 AM
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His choice is either get rid of Apple tools, or get an iPhone.
Or do a very simple conversion, as everyone else on the thread has said. He does not need a bit of new equipment.
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post #17 of 27 Old 08-27-2012, 10:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krabapple View Post

I wouldn't bother playing lossless files on a phone. Keep your ALAC files on your hard drive(s) and convert to lossy as needed. Converting to MP3 is probably the smartest since that's the most universally compatible lossy audio format - it will work on iPods or phones. And 192kbps VBR (variable bit rate) should be fine.
Foobar2000 can do a bulk conversion (load all your files --> select all --> convert), which might be most convenient. You will have to point it to an MP3 encoder -- download and install LAME.exe for that. Then point foobar's file converter at it when it prompts you. You'll only have to do that the first time.
(Btw there should never have been a problem copying your .m4a ALAC files to a *thumb drive* -- that's just a storage drive, not something that plays music files -- can you explain what you meant there?)

sorry, i didnt explain that very well. what i meant to say, was that nothing that ive stuck the thumb drive in to has been able to recognize the files (marantz and pioneer elite avr, denon br player, lg br player).

so, final question (for now): which program do i use to convert the apple file to FLAC? a poster above said either ExactAudioCopy (free) or dBpoweramp ($38). any other suggestions?
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post #18 of 27 Old 08-28-2012, 07:34 PM
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Did you actually re-rip everything to lossless ALAC files?

There is no point to converting a lossy rip (at any bit rate) to a lossless codec as you'll essentially just be adding non-existent audio information into the file making it take up more space.

Also, when you rip in iTunes it adds copy protection information to the file, making it hard to move from device to device, and if you want TRUE lossless and accurate rips without all the junk iTunes drops into it, pay for dbpoweramp and rip everything securely with accurate rip to a lossless codec.

THEN you can convert the true, accurate lossless file to any other lossless or lossy codec.

I have my entire music library stored in ALAC, WMA Lossless, and mp3 on my pc and I use all 3. It's around 130gb all told. A small amount of storage all told.
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post #19 of 27 Old 08-28-2012, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goros View Post


I have my entire music library stored in ALAC, WMA Lossless, and mp3 on my pc and I use all 3. It's around 130gb all told. A small amount of storage all told.

What is the purpose for that duplication? Keep everything in FLAC and it will play almost everywhere, with exception of Apple's devices.
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post #20 of 27 Old 08-29-2012, 05:27 AM
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Ah...if that were only true.

My trucks head unit will only read WMA & MP3 from USB or CD,, and the head unit before that (factory) read MP3 only from CD.

My Xbox 360 as an extender won't handle lossless in any form, and my Droid Bionic won't support FLAC until they release ICS for it.

My Sony BDP-S560 also does not support FLAC (if I ever decided to use it to play a DVD with music on it).
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post #21 of 27 Old 08-29-2012, 05:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goros View Post

...Also, when you rip in iTunes it adds copy protection information to the file, making it hard to move from device to device, and if you want TRUE lossless and accurate rips without all the junk iTunes drops into it, pay for dbpoweramp and rip everything securely with accurate rip to a lossless codec....
Apple does't add any DMR copy protection. You can freely move and play any iTunes ripped song. Even music bought off iTunes has no DMR. On iTunes purchased (not CD ripped) music the only thing added is a metadata tag to the account that bought it but you can still freely move/use it. The only limits are the number of devices and computers that can be synced to each iTunes account (5 and 5) and this can be reset.


Another thing to keep in mind that ALAC is also (Apache) open source.
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post #22 of 27 Old 08-29-2012, 06:39 AM
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You are correct, I was mistaken.

My point stands about ripping cd's securely and verifying them with accuraterip. Why even bother ripping to a lossless file if you're ripping inaccurate or damaged files?
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post #23 of 27 Old 08-29-2012, 07:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goros View Post

Ah...if that were only true.

My trucks head unit will only read WMA & MP3 from USB or CD,, and the head unit before that (factory) read MP3 only from CD.

My Xbox 360 as an extender won't handle lossless in any form, and my Droid Bionic won't support FLAC until they release ICS for it.

My Sony BDP-S560 also does not support FLAC (if I ever decided to use it to play a DVD with music on it).

These were all your choices of devices. Your phone will play flac if you install third party player. All network media players support it too. You could also easily get car stereo with ALL formats support, just choose wisely. Major vendors like Apple, Microsoft or Sony want to lock you in their own ecosystem. It is up to you to get into their net.
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post #24 of 27 Old 08-29-2012, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ap1 View Post

You could also easily get car stereo with ALL formats support, just choose wisely.

Can you recommend a car stereo that will play FLAC? I haven't been able to find any.

Thanks,
Mike
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post #25 of 27 Old 08-29-2012, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ap1 View Post

These were all your choices of devices. Your phone will play flac if you install third party player.
which is buggy and barely works at times.
Quote:
All network media players support it too.
"ALL" is probably an exaggeration, since the Xbox as an extender is a network media player and it doesn't support FLAC, neither does Apple TV (you have to stream decoded flac to them from an outside source). Yes I realize they are both "evil empires" and only those designing freeware based support around the Linux platform are worth the money.
Quote:
, You could also easily get car stereo with ALL formats support, just choose wisely.
One brand exists with FLAC support natively, and only on select models. On the flac website, one brand is out of business and the other is from Mother Russia, clearly neither are options.
Quote:
Major vendors like Apple, Microsoft or Sony want to lock you in their own ecosystem. It is up to you to get into their net.

Or I can use 130gb of space and do it the way I want. My computer has over 10tb of storage...so I'm not really concerned about using that amount of space for what I do.

I have devices from Apple, Sony, Microsoft, Creative, Denon, Emotiva, Motorola, Kenwood, LG, RIM, and probably others I'm forgetting. Maybe instead of limiting my choices of products I can use to devices that support FLAC, maybe the people that own the patent should do a better job of making their codec attractive to the majority of companies producing products that could support FLAC?

I chose the devices I chose at the time because of the features they offer, not the audio codecs that they support, nor would I base my selection of hardware (audio, video or otherwise) around a limitation as minor as not supporting FLAC. I'd be more concerned with price, warranty, customer service, performance, and longevity of the product (not in any order).

Currently JVC offers the only head unit that supports FLAC. Also, IMO listening to lossless files in a giant metal box which acts as a resonator and rolls down the highway at 75mph is sorta pointless in and of itself, just like listening to lossless files on earphones. You'll never be able to attenuate outside noise in a moving vehicle to the point where differences are audible, and no earphones made can accurately reproduce the depth of sound from a real system of speakers. Don't even try to make the case that car speaker placement is ideal for listening to accurate reproductions of sound either....it's an argument that can't be won.

Seems to me like limiting yourself to devices that support FLAC natively drastically reduces your purchasing options, and puts you in a similar "ecosystem" to buying only Microsoft, Apple, Sony, or other products. The only difference is they aren't all owned by the same company as you allude to on your statement above (pretty sure all the devices supporting WMA and Apple codecs aren't owned by either company - the companies just pay licensing for codecs with enough demand to justify the cost)

Seems like the marketplace is working as intended. No further discussion is required.
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post #26 of 27 Old 08-30-2012, 03:08 PM
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I do not know why I keep reading about issues with WMP- Windows Media Player and WAV files.
I have over 1760 artists, over 33 thousand songs on a hard drive using WMP and I have meta data for all of them but some obscure stuff.
It finds and collects the data most times before the third song is even ripped. And it constantly updates stuff as needed.
It even finds data for files I make from LP's.
90 percent of the files I ripped WAV.
When I want to put some new songs on my walkman it shuffle syncs and converts about 190 songs to MP3 on the players ( I have 2 Sony) in about 20 minutes, including the meta data. . I can do a search under artists, title, genre, playlists etc and it finds what I want in seconds. I mostly use shuffle play. WMP has so many features and even a remote control for use. I have tried a few other players/programs and went back to WMP in Windows 7.
i have been using it for over a year now, actually longer.
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post #27 of 27 Old 08-30-2012, 09:14 PM
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In most cases you do not need your car stereo playing FLAC or other formats for that matter. Get one that supports bluetooth audio and remote control. Your smartphone will be a player controlled via car system. Bluetooth audio is not lossless, but it almost does not matter when driving. Phone will still play FLAC file though, and send audio via bluetooth.
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