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Converting ALAC Archive for portability...
netdog
post May 28 2006, 17:19
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Hi,

Newbie here with a newbie question. I look through the forum and didn't find a recent post to address this.

I have some 1100 CDs archived as Apple Lossless (and my CDs are now, thankfully, gone!). I use an Intel Core Duo Macintosh though I also have a PC if need be to achieve the best solution. The task I need advice on is this...

I have a 60GB iPod. Sure, I would love to have my whole collection on it, but that isn't really necessary. I do, however, want to create a second library (under a different account called on my Mac) to manage my iPod. As I have all the files in lossless format, I am not too worried about AAC becoming a deadend, though it would be nice (though not absolutely necessary) to be able to burn the occasional MP3 CD (though I can always do conversions for that separately from my lossless library as I rarely burn such CDs). I am also an iTunes user as I pipe my music around the house via AirTunes through an Airport (hence deciding upon Apple Lossless as my archive format).

For my portable collection do I use AAC or MP3 for excellent results?

VBR? LAME MP3?

Appropriate bit rates? I would rather err on the side of quality than space-saving.

Use iTunes to encode or another app?

Is it still true that a Shuffle won't play high bitrate VBR AACs?

I am grateful to have found such a resource as this. Thanks in advance for any and all advice.
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Fuchal
post May 28 2006, 17:31
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QUOTE (netdog @ May 28 2006, 11:19) *
Hi,

Newbie here with a newbie question. I look through the forum and didn't find a recent post to address this.

I have some 1100 CDs archived as Apple Lossless (and my CDs are now, thankfully, gone!). I use an Intel Core Duo Macintosh though I also have a PC if need be to achieve the best solution. The task I need advice on is this...

I have a 60GB iPod. Sure, I would love to have my whole collection on it, but that isn't really necessary. I do, however, want to create a second library (under a different account called on my Mac) to manage my iPod. As I have all the files in lossless format, I am not too worried about AAC becoming a deadend, though it would be nice (though not absolutely necessary) to be able to burn the occasional MP3 CD (though I can always do conversions for that separately from my lossless library as I rarely burn such CDs). I am also an iTunes user as I pipe my music around the house via AirTunes through an Airport (hence deciding upon Apple Lossless as my archive format).

For my portable collection do I use AAC or MP3 for excellent results?

VBR? LAME MP3?

Appropriate bit rates? I would rather err on the side of quality than space-saving.

Use iTunes to encode or another app?

Is it still true that a Shuffle won't play high bitrate VBR AACs?

I am grateful to have found such a resource as this. Thanks in advance for any and all advice.



I would recommend using Max ( http://sbooth.org/Max/ ) to convert your ALAC files to LAME MP3 at APS.
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Remedial Sound
post May 28 2006, 18:10
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That Max program looks pretty good for your transcoding purposes. iTunes AAC @160kbps VBR (really ABR) would also be a good option to consider, as it achieves transparency for most people / most music (roughly on par with Lame preset standard). The benefits to this would be (a) being able to transcode within iTunes and (b) getting more music on your iPod (Lame preset standard encodes at around 170 - 210 kbps). You can read up on AAC here and Lame here. Good luck.

edit: spelling

This post has been edited by Remedial Sound: May 28 2006, 18:11
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Busemann
post May 28 2006, 18:26
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Yup, 160kbps VBR in iTunes will be a whole lot faster too
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netdog
post May 28 2006, 18:40
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QUOTE (Busemann @ May 28 2006, 18:26) *
Yup, 160kbps VBR in iTunes will be a whole lot faster too


So everyone agrees that 192 VBR in iTunes wouldn't really be any better?

Everyone agrees that iTunes VBR does a good job?

Max blows up everytime I get to convert. sad.gif Guess that knocks Max out of the running.

On a related note, I ripped my CDs (now boxed up) in ALAC with iTunes 6.?. For my favorite CDs, would their be any real advantage to re-ripping them with Max? This is my archive. The CDs are going to be recycled soon, so I want to make the best archive that I can.
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sidewalking
post May 30 2006, 20:13
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QUOTE (netdog @ May 28 2006, 11:40) *
QUOTE (Busemann @ May 28 2006, 18:26) *

Yup, 160kbps VBR in iTunes will be a whole lot faster too


So everyone agrees that 192 VBR in iTunes wouldn't really be any better?

Everyone agrees that iTunes VBR does a good job?


I am getting an iPod soon and am preparing for it by using AAC 192 with the VBR switch on. I used to go 256 CBR, but my ears can't tell the difference. I think 192 VBR is a killer setting and the file sizes are just fine. Much faster, too, because you can do a massive library batch encode in iTunes and album art, lyrics, whatever will transfer over to the new files.
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netdog
post May 30 2006, 21:34
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QUOTE (sidewalking @ May 30 2006, 20:13) *
QUOTE (netdog @ May 28 2006, 11:40) *

QUOTE (Busemann @ May 28 2006, 18:26) *

Yup, 160kbps VBR in iTunes will be a whole lot faster too


So everyone agrees that 192 VBR in iTunes wouldn't really be any better?

Everyone agrees that iTunes VBR does a good job?


I am getting an iPod soon and am preparing for it by using AAC 192 with the VBR switch on. I used to go 256 CBR, but my ears can't tell the difference. I think 192 VBR is a killer setting and the file sizes are just fine. Much faster, too, because you can do a massive library batch encode in iTunes and album art, lyrics, whatever will transfer over to the new files.


Yes, after all these posts, I borrowed a pair of really good headphones, and I agree that 192VBR is the sweet spot (though I will still vigilantly guard my lossless archives).
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sidewalking
post Jun 1 2006, 04:07
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QUOTE (netdog @ May 30 2006, 14:34) *
(though I will still vigilantly guard my lossless archives).


Amen, brotha. wink.gif
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saratoga
post Jun 4 2006, 05:01
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This is just for the ipod right? Use 128k VBR AAC or LAME. Maybe lower. Theres not going to be a difference, its a portable. In the last listening test, people had trouble with 128k with an ABX program and under controlled circumstances. You're going to use it while you're out and about in noisy environments while concentrating on other things.

You'll get better life, and fit more music, which WILL make a noticable difference. Conversely, at 192k you'll have worse battery life and fit less music, and I suspect that if you put a sample song encoded in each format on the ipod in a playlist, and set it to shuffle and repeat without looking at the screen, you'd never notice the difference. I sure as hell couldn't on mine.
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ShowsOn
post Jun 4 2006, 08:27
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I started using iTunes AAC 160 Kbps CBR. Then the new encoder with the quasi-VBR mode was released, so I used 160 VBR. Now I am running out of space on my 60 GB iPod Photo, so I am starting to replace my files with iTunes AAC 128 Kbps VBR. I think the quality is astonishingly good. That setting still allows for good bitrate flexibility, some music from mastered CDs will go up to 140+ Kbps on some samples, but still sound very good.


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