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Help converting FLAC/APE files to ALAC on a Mac, Split from Topic ID: 104638
nastea
post Mar 6 2014, 07:22
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For cd's I own that were accurately ripped using EAC I always add a bmp picture with filename, filesize and CRC32.

example:


This gives me the possibility to check at a later time, even after transcodes to other lossless formats, if a decode to wav is still bitperfect / accurate.
I create these images with WinRAR (to calculate the CRC32 checksum) printscreen and Paint.


This post has been edited by nastea: Mar 6 2014, 07:38
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mjb2006
post Mar 6 2014, 08:44
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rolleyes.gif The main thing he is saying he needs is a program that will run on Mac OS and that will show him the MD5 checksums ("fingerprints" they are sometimes called) that the encoders embedded in his FLAC and ALAC files, so he can compare them to make sure they are the same. Or something that will compute new checksums and compare them for him.

Telling him about WinRAR, BMPs, Paint and CRC32 checksums that he has to somehow obtain is not going to fly. He needs a step-by-step guide with as few steps as possible. Surely someone out there has some Mac software to recommend?

This post has been edited by mjb2006: Mar 6 2014, 08:45
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John 31415926
post Mar 6 2014, 09:05
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Thanks MJB. Good to know somebody understands and is watching my back here. biggrin.gif

I'm starting to think I've asked for too much ... at least for Mac OS. Windows seems to have ready solutions. I starting to think I should lower my standards and just settle for encodes without verification and let the chips fall where they may ... or take pdq's expensive advice and keep all my FLACs in addition to my ALACs in addition to lossy portable files. Ouch, but I don't see any options as of this moment. Still waiting though for prince charming to ride in and slap down a step by step process on software that's fairly easy to work with.

For what it's worth, here is as far as I've gotten with xACT. The encode screen looks pretty straightforward. I assume I just pick my desired outcome format, drop my FLACs onto the window, and click encode.

It's the checksum screen that could use a tutorial. (How can there be software in this world without a tutorial?) Does this screen look like it's made to have two lossless albums analyzed for similarity? It seems as though it's just for analyzing the original file against its own MD5 ... if I understand the concept right. An MD5 is a short summary of an album that would tell me if I'm missing sectors or have errors? I see where I can compare a file to its MD5, but not for comparing two distinct folders of music.

I don't see anything that looks like a place for putting in two folders and clicking "compare".






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Porcus
post Mar 6 2014, 10:16
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Actually ... there is https://github.com/xeoron/foobar2000-mac too. Can you get Wine and fb2k working? Then you will have lots of help at hydrogenaudio :-)

I do not know whether ALAC is checksummed. If it is, then a tool to check integrity should likely substitute for bitcomparing. But I would never trust a conversion without verification - I've had disk writes failing and that sort of stuff, unrelated to overclocking, and I have had to resort to ancient backups on a couple of occations. Windows though ...

(I would not use a non-checksummed lossless format at all, at least not without checksum files ... which I hope checksum the audio only.)

This post has been edited by Porcus: Mar 6 2014, 10:17


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John 31415926
post Mar 6 2014, 20:18
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Thanks for that link, Porcus. I have never experienced Wine (don't even know what you're referring to there) and FB2K (have heard of that) before, so I don't know what you mean by getting them "working".

I will install FB2K this weekend and see what I come up with.

This might be my last shot at getting verified ALACs. If I can't make this work by this weekend, I'll probably just buy yet another two drives, make my ALACs, back them up, and still save the original FLACs - and their backups. Not to mention a stash of portable lossies. (Sheesh. Getting ridiculous here.)

All this just to have ALAC at home and AAC on the road.

I seem to be investing a lot of time into something no other Mac people are doing, so the added drives are starting to look less expensive than the too many hours I'm investing learning something that just doesn't seem to want to happen.

Still, I'm going to open FB2K this weekend and see what's going on there.

-John

ps. Does anyone know anything about Porcus' question about whether ALAC is checksummed? I don't understand much about this, but I'm assuming that if it's not, then there is no way to compare it to another lossless file without time consuming extra steps. (?)


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Porcus
post Mar 6 2014, 22:59
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QUOTE (John 31415926 @ Mar 6 2014, 20:18) *
Thanks for that link, Porcus. I have never experienced Wine (don't even know what you're referring to there) and FB2K (have heard of that) before, so I don't know what you mean by getting them "working".


Wine is a compatibility layer to run Windows applications on unix-alike operating systems. Might not be easy, as it isn't fully supported: http://wiki.winehq.org/MacOSX


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detmek
post Mar 7 2014, 16:08
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dbPoweramp has option to verify conversion to ALAC. But for now it is only Windows application. However, I see that there are planes to port dbPoweramp to MacOS. You can contact Spoon (developer of dbPoweramp) and ask him about this project. If it happens soon, it might be good idea to wait a month or two for this software.
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Porcus
post Mar 7 2014, 17:50
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QUOTE (detmek @ Mar 7 2014, 16:08) *
dbPoweramp has option to verify conversion to ALAC. But for now it is only Windows application. However, I see that there are planes to port dbPoweramp to MacOS. You can contact Spoon (developer of dbPoweramp) and ask him about this project. If it happens soon, it might be good idea to wait a month or two for this software.


dBpoweramp is definitely an application that may be handy for the less tech-savvy yes.


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John 31415926
post Mar 8 2014, 00:08
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Agreed. dBpoweramp would definitely be worth the wait. I just posted the question on their forum. Thanks, detmek.

http://forum.dbpoweramp.com/showthread.php...3862#post143862

---

Asking those of you that use dBpoweramp on Windows ... this ability to confirm the transcode of one lossless format to another ... is it easy and quick to do? (I'm not talking about secure-ripping a CD. I'm talking about transcoding from FLAC to ALAC.) Is it as easy as the experience I have with burning DVDs on Toast where you just click 'burn' and it takes the file off the hard drive, burns the DVD, then rereads the new DVD and compares it to the original file for errors ... without me having to do or understand anything?

Or does confirming a transcode on dBpoweramp require a number of extra steps that involve an understanding of more new terminology?

I'm asking because I assume dBpoweramp for Mac would work the same way as the Windows version.

-J

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detmek
post Mar 8 2014, 10:20
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As easy as this on Windows:

Just a simple checkbox when you select destination format and location for new files.

@Porcus Yes, very easy to use. Although I use foobar for my conversions.

This post has been edited by detmek: Mar 8 2014, 10:30
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smok3
post Mar 8 2014, 13:13
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John; and dropping files to an icon was to hard or it didn't really work for you for some reason? (Just wondering really)

This post has been edited by smok3: Mar 8 2014, 13:13


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John 31415926
post Mar 9 2014, 02:42
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Detmek ... that screenshot pretty much ends the conversation. That's everything and exactly what I'm looking for. Now I wish to heck I had a Windows computer within reach so I could do this thing. But, supposedly the beta of dBpoweramp for Mac is due very shortly.

I also noticed on the same screenshot the ability to very easily generate a new folder from the artist and album title tags. Very very cool.

Thanks for posting that. VERY helpful and authoritative. No more questions from my end. None. Must ... own ... dBpoweramp.


Smok3 ... I really appreciate the effort you put forth to get me up to speed, but I think I was lost in a lot of terminology that I didn't understand. It's one of those things where I read one or two words or acronyms I'm not familiar with (and which don't google easily) and all the good stuff immediately after, regardless of how easy, is lost on me. I suspect that if I spent another couple of weeks with this stuff, then I would know not to get confused at some terminology you used - and more importantly, I could use your help and get my outcomes. Please don't be offended and give me a little longer to understand what I'm doing with this stuff, please.

ps. You can see the graphic on detmek's last post ... that's about the level of understanding I'm at. "Click here to automatically verify the transcode." That, I understand.

This post has been edited by John 31415926: Mar 9 2014, 02:48
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John 31415926
post Mar 10 2014, 11:39
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Interesting comment the author of dBpoweramp made on my question about when the software will be available for Mac.

http://forum.dbpoweramp.com/showthread.php...3862#post143862

He wrote, "There are no errors from FLAC to ALAC, never once in 10 years has a single error been found (there must have been 10's if not 100's of millions of conversions done in that time), that checkbox is there for piece of mind."

I understand that errors are rare, but my desire to verify my conversions came about because I've read posts on hydrogenaudio, even here in this thread, about verifying encodes because errors do in fact occur.

To say errors NEVER occur - that not even one has ever occurred - seems a bit of a stretch, doesn't it?

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Engelsstaub
post Mar 10 2014, 11:59
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I don't claim to understand that much of how lossless codecs work, but this has never concerned me at all. I've been of the impression that XLD would crap out an error message if the conversion wasn't error-free.

IMO you should really just keep your FLAC and APE files, transcoding them to ALAC for iTunes per album/as needed, until you feel more confident in lossless-to-lossless conversions. (I mean, if dBpA for Mac is right around the corner with its checkbox then I don't think it's too big of a deal to put your whole batch-conversion plans off for a bit until you find all the answers you need.) FWIW I have a Mac and rarely use Windows for anything anymore. Still I rip CDs to FLAC for archival purposes and generate AAC or ALAC files for my iTunes library as needed from those.


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Porcus
post Mar 10 2014, 13:12
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I've had issues, but they have not been related to the conversion itself but to writing to disk. When I leave the thing unattended for a couple of days with an application that does not write a detailed (grep'able) log file, then I verify afterwards.

Also I've had every sort of user error, of course headbang.gif

Re the checksum issue: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=65895


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John 31415926
post Mar 10 2014, 19:28
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QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Mar 10 2014, 03:59) *
I mean, if dBpA for Mac is right around the corner with its checkbox then I don't think it's too big of a deal to put your whole batch-conversion plans off for a bit until you find all the answers you need.


Agreed. Completely.

I expect to be first in line, dollars in hand.

Two weeks is the projected release.



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DJJazzyFred
post Mar 25 2014, 15:43
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Hi Smok3,

I would really like to try your script, but the download link is dead... is it possible to "repost" it ??

Thanks !
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smok3
post Mar 25 2014, 19:49
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@DJJazzyFred; Tomorrow, have it on another machine as it seems ....
edit: here https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/7953236...ALACcheckV2.zip

This post has been edited by smok3: Mar 27 2014, 10:43


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DJJazzyFred
post Mar 31 2014, 19:21
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Good job smok3 on the script and drag&drop interface.

I played with it over the weekend and compared with results that I obtained with a script that I had been working on following this discussion and hints from you and greynol and came with a few questions. (I am using the terminal to call my script and installed ffmpeg and flac with homebrew.)

1.
I converted a bunch of flac files with your script and in terminal using the basic
CODE
ffmpeg -i file.flac -acodec alac out.m4a
call and noticed that your script produced significantly larger files, i.e. flacFile=54.7M, your script ALAC=74.7M and basic ffmpeg call ALAC=52.2M. After looking at your script, I noticed that you use the
CODE
-compression_level 0
option which seems to be the reason of the larger size.

Is there a reason why you use it other than for speed of conversion ?? My understanding is that the compression level would only speed up the process, but has no effect on quality. As a matter of fact, after computing the md5 for each of the 3 files, they had the same crc, so we can assume the audio was exactly the same.... right ???

2.
You also use
CODE
-loglevel warning
sorry for my ignorance, but why exactly ??? (I am not challenging you, just curious since I don't know what it does)

3.
In my script, I am using metaflac to read the md5 from the flac metadata
CODE
flacOrigCrc=$(metaflac --show-md5sum "$file.flac")
and then compare it with the calculated flac as an additional security to make sure that the flac file is in good shape, and believe it or not, in my 150 test flacs, I found 3 that were corrupted (probably because of moving from a HD to another of HD faults), so I think that this is an important feature !!!

Like you, I looked around to find a flac binary but couldn't find one. I guess we will have to figure a way to compile it !!!

4.
It is sad that unlike FLAC, the ALAC container doesn't have a metadata tag for the audio md5, so for now, in my script, I write the audio_md5sum in the comment tag, but if somebody knows a way to add custom tags to a m4a file, it would be great to add the checksum under it's own tag. So a very simple check utility could be written to check if the audio part of an ALAC file is corrupted after moving it...

I still have some cleanup to do but I will post my script when it is clean !!!

(and quite honestly smok3, I am taking some parts of yours that are very well thought !!!)

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smok3
post Mar 31 2014, 19:46
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Oh well, somehow i didn't notice the file-bloat, the "-compression_level 0" should fix highbit flac sources in current ffmpeg version (at the time of my writing), but that goes under ffmpeg bugs, so just an ugly workaround and and it seems like it bloats the "normal" ones ..... (to test: try a high bitdepth flac source and see if it breaks with your version of ffmpeg and without "-compression_level 0")

- loglevel warning < I belive it makes ffmpeg a bit less verbose

- The reason I have avoided metaflac is allready noted if you read the thread.

Of course you are free to take whatever you need.

This post has been edited by smok3: Mar 31 2014, 19:55


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Porcus
post Apr 1 2014, 07:14
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QUOTE (DJJazzyFred @ Mar 31 2014, 19:21) *
and believe it or not, in my 150 test flacs, I found 3 that were corrupted (probably because of moving from a HD to another of HD faults), so I think that this is an important feature !!!


3 of 150 is a big percentage of a small sample. I think I've had 3 of 50k or something.


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DJJazzyFred
post Apr 2 2014, 17:14
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QUOTE (Porcus @ Apr 1 2014, 02:14) *
QUOTE (DJJazzyFred @ Mar 31 2014, 19:21) *
and believe it or not, in my 150 test flacs, I found 3 that were corrupted (probably because of moving from a HD to another of HD faults), so I think that this is an important feature !!!


3 of 150 is a big percentage of a small sample. I think I've had 3 of 50k or something.



I know.... i've had some issues with the HD that has my FLACs, so that is why I want to check them before converting to ALAC and moving to a new HD
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