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A Couple Questions About Apple Lossless & Disc Images
Hectic
post Oct 20 2010, 20:56
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I wanted to defer to people who are more of experts on these subjects than I.

BACKGROUND:

I'm starting to look into lossless formats, just as a way of preparing for the future. I use a 64GB iPod Touch (3rd Gen) as my only PMP device to listen to my music on the go (via earbuds or plugged in my car radio; usually the latter). This limits the number of different codecs I can use for my music library (my computer w/ winamp can play pretty much any codec, but it needs to be compatible w/ the ipod), so at first I use to use the standard .mp3 (even before I started using ipods), then switched over to AAC (.m4a) and recently re-ripped everything at a higher bitrate in the same format (300kbps VBR). This of course sounds better than the previous bitrate I was using (half that), but I want to go lossless (eventually). About the only thing that is holding me back is the ipod's disk space. As it stands now, my music library is at 33GB. I don't have quite all of my library on my iTouch, but I'd say somewhere in the neighborhood of 70% of it. Of course, that's not all I have on there (videos & apps too). If I were to re-rip everything to say, Apple Lossless, it would pretty much triple the size of my library. Not a problem for storage on my computer, but definitely a problem for the ipod. So until they double the memory for the iTouch (hopefully next year), I will have to wait.

QUESTIONS:

You pretty much only have 3 choices in lossless when using an ipod: AIFF, WAV or Apple Lossless. WAV has poor ID tag info, so that's out. AIFF is uncompressed but takes up as much space as the CD/WAV does and I would like to save some space, so I'm dropping that one as a possibility as well. Apple Lossless seems to be the only viable option. (I would like to use FLAC, but again, ipods don't play that...unless Apple will change that in the future) Now as I understand it, Apple Lossless (or FLAC for that matter) IS lossless, i.e., none of the audio data is missing, it is just compressed like a zip file which accounts for its smaller size in comparison to AIFF or WAV. When being played it has to be "unzipped" so to speak, either by the software or hardware that is playing it and this (for some players) takes up more processing power/battery life. I know for the ipod classic this is true (since it uses a spinning hard drive and has to buffer to memory), but what about for an iTouch which uses solid state memory? Does playing the Apple Lossless format use up more power than playing a lossy AAC or uncompressed lossless AIFF?

Also, I've read an argument as to the quality of Apple Lossless VS AIFF. Some people state that when Apple Lossless is being read, the uncompressing of the music can cause it to sound flat or something to be lost or delayed in the listening experience of the music? Is there actually something to this or is it a load of BS, people hearing what they want to hear? I can say that I just ripped one of my albums into Apple Lossless and am listening to it right now on my computer (good sound setup on my rig!) and it definitely sounds a bit better to its AAC lossy equivalent.

Another question that I am pondering is ripping music files directly from image files I made of my music CD's. I had an extra portable hard drive that I didn't use, so I decided to backup (most) of my music CD's as disk image files, namely Nero disk images, .nrg. I chose to use .nrg since it leaves only 1 file (not any of that .mds crap) and these can be read by most image mounting software. (At least by any of the ones I use) So I guess my question is, would it be OK (safe) to mount the disc image, rip music files from them and not get any errors or degradation, etc. or should I rip straight from the CD?

P.S.- I use dBpoweramp to rip everything.

This post has been edited by Hectic: Oct 20 2010, 21:00
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greynol
post Oct 20 2010, 21:21
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QUOTE (Hectic @ Oct 20 2010, 12:56) *
at first I use to use the standard .mp3 (even before I started using ipods), then switched over to AAC (.m4a) and recently re-ripped everything at a higher bitrate in the same format (300kbps VBR). This of course sounds better than the previous bitrate I was using (half that), but I want to go lossless (eventually).
Not "of course" possibly not at all. This statement is not compliant with rule number eight in our Terms of Service. If you haven't already, please refer to it here.

QUOTE (Hectic @ Oct 20 2010, 12:56) *
AIFF is uncompressed but takes up as much space as the CD/WAV does
I'm not sure why you've made this distinction. In the context of this discussion WAV and AIFF are both uncompressed and lossless (they are more precisely containers, but raw linear PCM data is what they typically contain).

QUOTE (Hectic @ Oct 20 2010, 12:56) *
Does playing the Apple Lossless format use up more power than playing a lossy AAC or uncompressed lossless AIFF?
I'm pretty sure AAC requires more power to decompress. AIFF doesn't require any because it is already decompressed. I don't think the increase in power required to read extra data from flash is substantial like it is from drive-based players.

QUOTE (Hectic @ Oct 20 2010, 12:56) *
Also, I've read an argument as to the quality of Apple Lossless VS AIFF. Some people state that when Apple Lossless is being read, the uncompressing of the music can cause it to sound flat or something to be lost or delayed in the listening experience of the music? Is there actually something to this or is it a load of BS, people hearing what they want to hear?
It's people hearing what they want to hear.

QUOTE (Hectic @ Oct 20 2010, 12:56) *
I can say that I just ripped one of my albums into Apple Lossless and am listening to it right now on my computer (good sound setup on my rig!) and it definitely sounds a bit better to its AAC lossy equivalent.
Without conducting a double-blind test and providing the results, the conclusion from your comment is that you're also simply hearing what you want to hear; as far as this forum is concerned. Again, read TOS #8.

QUOTE (Hectic @ Oct 20 2010, 12:56) *
So I guess my question is, would it be OK (safe) to mount the disc image, rip music files from them and not get any errors or degradation, etc. or should I rip straight from the CD?
Nero is not a secure ripper, so while ripping from the image might be "safe" the integrity of that image certainly is not "safe".

This post has been edited by greynol: Oct 20 2010, 21:23


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Kohlrabi
post Oct 20 2010, 23:55
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Also you might consider one of the available free lossless codecs in favour of inefficient and broken ones. Also, you will be hard pressed to hear any differences between AAC at medium bitrates and lossless audio on your mobile equipment, so I'd advise to just stick to lossy audio for portable usage.


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Hectic
post Oct 21 2010, 01:09
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QUOTE (greynol @ Oct 20 2010, 15:21) *
Nero is not a secure ripper, so while ripping from the image might be "safe" the integrity of that image certainly is not "safe".



Why is the Nero disk image "not safe"? What do you mean by this?
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greynol
post Oct 21 2010, 04:30
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If the .nrg files were created by nero then they are not "safe" because...
QUOTE (greynol @ Oct 20 2010, 15:21) *
Nero is not a secure ripper

If you don't know what a secure ripper is then check our wiki.

By "safe" I mean you have no reasonable assurance that they are error-free.

Are you going to retract your statements regarding sound quality or are you prepared to present a log demonstrating that you have performed an ABX test on at least one lossy-encoded file demonstrating that it is not transparent to you?

This post has been edited by greynol: Oct 21 2010, 04:33


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Hectic
post Oct 22 2010, 18:28
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QUOTE (greynol @ Oct 20 2010, 22:30) *
If the .nrg files were created by nero then they are not "safe" because...
QUOTE (greynol @ Oct 20 2010, 15:21) *
Nero is not a secure ripper

If you don't know what a secure ripper is then check our wiki.

By "safe" I mean you have no reasonable assurance that they are error-free.

Are you going to retract your statements regarding sound quality or are you prepared to present a log demonstrating that you have performed an ABX test on at least one lossy-encoded file demonstrating that it is not transparent to you?



If it's that big a deal I would, but I don't see an "edit" button or other edit option anywhere on my posts or in my control panel. Can I not edit the my posts anymore?

Also, if Nero can't verifying disc images against the original, could you suggest some other software that will? I know there is EAC, but I was hoping to use something that left only ONE image file. (Less clutter, less subfolders)
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greynol
post Oct 22 2010, 18:56
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QUOTE (Hectic @ Oct 22 2010, 10:28) *
If it's that big a deal I would, but I don't see an "edit" button or other edit option anywhere on my posts or in my control panel.
This statement is enough; so long as you understand why I've asked you to retract your statements and so long as you've read and understood our Terms of Service and know what an ABX test is.

QUOTE (Hectic @ Oct 22 2010, 10:28) *
Can I not edit the my posts anymore?
Not after a certain amount of time unless you're a member of the staff or a developer.

QUOTE (Hectic @ Oct 22 2010, 10:28) *
Also, if Nero can't verifying disc images against the original, could you suggest some other software that will? I know there is EAC, but I was hoping to use something that left only ONE image file. (Less clutter, less subfolders)
You can rip to a single-file compressed image (such as flac) and embed a cue sheet if you like.


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Hectic
post Oct 25 2010, 21:54
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QUOTE (greynol @ Oct 22 2010, 12:56) *
QUOTE (Hectic @ Oct 22 2010, 10:28) *
Also, if Nero can't verifying disc images against the original, could you suggest some other software that will? I know there is EAC, but I was hoping to use something that left only ONE image file. (Less clutter, less subfolders)
You can rip to a single-file compressed image (such as flac) and embed a cue sheet if you like.



Well, there are 2 problems with that: 1. It STILL leaves 2 files; e.i. the .FLAC (I used .WAV) AND the .CUE metadata file, which still leaves 2 files. I would like to have JUST 1 FILE (metadata & container in 1). 2. When I did rip a disc using EAC and made the single image file & the .CUE file; when I tried mounting it using either Daemon or Alcohol 120%, neither would open it saying the .CUE file wasn't valid. So, not a good experience with EAC right off the bat!

Is there anything else I could try? Does dBpoweramp allow for ripping audio CD's to image files? I've never tried, but when I did look for the option I don't see it anywhere. I also looked at other image-making software and Magic ISO says it uses MD5 checksum for its .UIF images, but I'm not familiar with what that really is or if it uses this to check the image against the original or just to verify the image when mounting or burning it?

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db1989
post Oct 25 2010, 21:59
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1. It isn’t hard to embed the cue sheet into the audio file and then delete the former.
2. That’s due to either EAC creating a noncompliant cue sheet, and/or the cue sheet’s FILE line referencing the uncompressed WAV file rather than the losslessly compressed one.

This post has been edited by dv1989: Oct 25 2010, 22:00
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greynol
post Oct 26 2010, 09:28
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AFAIR, Alcohol 120% and Daemon tools cannot decode flac or any other compressed format.


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greynol
post Oct 26 2010, 09:29
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QUOTE (Hectic @ Oct 25 2010, 13:54) *
So, not a good experience with EAC right off the bat!

Then don't use it.

QUOTE (Hectic @ Oct 25 2010, 13:54) *
Magic ISO [...] uses this to check the image against the original [...]?

Highly doubtful.

Did you try CUETools? I'm not sure if it works with embedded CUE sheets, though. Foobar2000 will, though I haven't tested if it will check a single-file flac image with an embedded CUE sheet against the AccurateRip database. Maybe someone else will say with certainty if it can.

This post has been edited by greynol: Oct 26 2010, 09:37


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