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Should I convert my ALAC collection to AAC or Ogg?
AlphaWire
post Jun 25 2010, 17:13
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I recently converted my Apple Lossless albums to MP3 -V0 with dBpoweramp Pro, which slashed my original obese 33GB to an anorexic 9.9GB. Perfect! since saving HD space on my low rent laptop was my prime intention.

Then I listened to them on my iPhone. Whole different story, I thought it was awful. The quality was no where to be found. My albums started to sound like someone was pounding them through a gritty filter. Just awful.

So I remember a friend telling me all about this new advance codec: AAC. The supposed successor to MP3.
Then I remember my other friend bragging about Ogg Vorbis. He said it was the highest quality codec ever in lossy.

Now I'm not an idiot, I don't plan on enjoying artifacts in my albums because I convert lossy (MP3 -V0) to lossy (AAC).
I planned ahead and had my original Apple Lossless collection stored in storage.


I love having my albums in my iTunes. Call me crazy but iTunes seems alot more uniformed and organized than any other software (reason why I ripped my CD's to ALAC instead of FLAC).

To my point, should I convert my ALAC albums to AAC or Ogg (In terms of quality to space consumed ratio)? Is there a better codec?


Thanks.
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Heliologue
post Jun 25 2010, 17:16
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If you originally ripped to ALAC solely so that you could use iTunes, the easy compatibility of AAC with iTunes far and away trumps any (minute) differences in quality that may exist between Ogg Vorbis and AAC.

In other words, if you want a lossy format that iTunes will handle with little to no effort, use AAC.

On the subject of the "awful" quality of the files on your iPhone, I would suggest that the problem isn't with the MP3 files, since -V0 already indistinguishable from a lossless source in most cases. Do your files sound fine on your computer?

This post has been edited by Heliologue: Jun 25 2010, 17:20
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[JAZ]
post Jun 25 2010, 22:38
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iTunes: Use what you are confortable with, and if you choose "their" software/hardware, then only what "they" let you.

dbPoweramp & LAME : Definitely should do the work. Many users use that tandem and many more use at least the LAME encoder.

Ogg : "they" don't let you use it on your iPhone with "their" software so no matter what quality does it have.

Aac: It is accepted that "their"'s AAC encoder is one of the best AAC encoders, and that the best aac encoders are around or better than the best MP3 encoders.

MP3 : Either Iphone's MP3 playback is very defective (it would have been reported already, and it is not), or you managed to do something wrong when encoding or adding the files into the iPhone, or you were a victim of the placebo effect, or you were comparing apples (no pun intended) to oranges (like comparing the sound of your Hifi's speakers to the sound of the iphone's earphones).

If i was not clear enough. MP3 V0 quality is nowhere near awful in any meaningful sense. If you felt like it, either show proof or don't even think on saying it here (Terms of Service 8 )
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DonP
post Jun 25 2010, 23:03
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QUOTE ([JAZ] @ Jun 25 2010, 17:38) *


Ogg : "they" don't let you use it on your iPhone with "their" software so no matter what quality does it have.


There are certainly options for ogg on iphone, like Pocket Tunes.

But if you want Itunes, you should probably not stray from the path.
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Billytheonion
post Jun 26 2010, 00:25
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Your claims Lame Vo sound bad are absurd Lame V0 produces a quality file most people cannot tell the difference from the origina land the people who can it's only minor.

Do some ABX tests i think like mentioned above you were fooled by the placebo effect.
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MichaelW
post Jun 26 2010, 07:17
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If you like iTunes, and want a smaller file size for playing, by all means go ALAC to AAC; it ought to be the easiest way to do it, and for practical purposes, most of the time, the reasons for choosing between MP3, AAC and Ogg Vorbis are not primarily sound quality. I use a Mac, on which platform iTunes is convenient (many people think it a pig on Windows), and purely for convenience rip to ALAC and transcode to AAC for portable devices. Works fine. Some people now object on principle to everything Apple does, but if you follow this route you will be able to transcode from ALAC to another lossless format, if you need to, later. Apple runs a walled garden, not a prison.

Certainly, whatever made your MP3s sound bad it wasn't the choice of MP3 format: the first thing to do is to work out what is wrong there. Be aware that what is called the placebo affect, the way in which human senses are tricked by what they are expecting, is very powerful, even when you know about the placebo affect. Which is why HA insists on double-blind tests for all claims about sound quality. An example of the power of placebo even when you know it's placebo: I recently upgraded the RAM in my iMac; as it booted up, I found myself thinking that the desktop looked cleaner and less cluttered on the screen, and the mouse was running smoother. Truly, I had to consciously tell myself that was garbage. And we all know cars run much better just after they have been washed.
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Billytheonion
post Jun 26 2010, 08:16
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A little off topic but why people call iTunes a hog on WIndows i don't know i run iTunes on both Windows 7 and OS X Snow Leopard and find they both perform pretty much the same. Ever since the last upgrade 2 weeks ago iTunes is fast as lightning.
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kunjar
post Jun 26 2010, 11:15
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Well i've never tried converting to ogg so cant help you there. I have about 50 albums in FLAC and wanted to free up some space on my drive. Recently i've been tinkering with AAC vbr @ 400k. I must say the quality is beautiful. Trying to detect any differences is very difficult indeed, with a full spectrum of frequencies only an audiophile would be able to do so.

I use the create "audio cd" option in nero and select the album files (FLAC) without the .bin or .cue sheets and burn to an image (default .nrg), then mount this with daemon tools. I use dbpoweramp (CD Ripper) as my choice of app, and have downloaded the nero aac encoder. Best bit is the support for multi core cpu's. It does 4 files at a time with full ID tags using the perfectmeta. I've installed the "m4a & mp4 & Apple Lossless" codecs from dbpoweramp site.

Id say try an album, aac @ 400k vbr. Sounds great!

And btw i use iTunes in Win7 x64, the switchless installer found here, without all the junk:

http://www.ajuaonline.com/custom-installers/ --- scroll down to iTunes

And with it i have installed QT Lite, the required quicktime components without all the apple bloatware crap, found here:

http://www.free-codecs.com/download/QT_Lite.htm

iTunes runs perfectly fine although i haven't tested EVERYTHING. Encoding works as normal though.

This post has been edited by kunjar: Jun 26 2010, 11:22
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twostar
post Jun 26 2010, 13:05
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Mounting FLACs as an image is completely unnecessary. If you want to convert, you can do so on the fly using foobar2000.

I have no doubt VBR AACs averaging 400kbps sound great. Majority of people for majority of samples would say the same thing for MP3s at around 128kbps.
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kunjar
post Jun 26 2010, 14:05
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My apologies for not being clear. Some of the FLAC files i have do not contain ID tag info therefore i create an audio cd and mount the image so that dbpoweramp reads it as an audio cd album. When converting, the application looks up the correct meta data and updates the album info accordingly. Its handy so i can just drop each album into iTunes with tags and album art.
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rohangc
post Jun 26 2010, 15:36
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QUOTE (AlphaWire @ Jun 25 2010, 11:13) *
Then I listened to them on my iPhone. Whole different story, I thought it was awful. The quality was no where to be found. My albums started to sound like someone was pounding them through a gritty filter. Just awful.


Try this test:
  • Load a song encoded in the ALAC format and the same song in the V0 MP3 format into your iPhone.
  • Ask a friend to play the ALAC song first and then the MP3 at V0.
  • Ask the friend to now play one of the two tracks randomly. The point here is to prevent you from knowing what file is being played.
  • Now try to identify the audio format - whether it is ALAC or MP3.


Don't be surprised if you can't tell the difference between the two. If you do, then please post the details of what you did to obtain the V0 MP3s from your ALAC files like the software you used to transcode the tracks, the settings, etc.

If you cannot provide the results of this test and the required information, your post should be considered as a violation of TOS #8.
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