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music format compatibility suggestions

music format compatibility

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#1 wvcaudill2

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 17:07

Hello all, I have recently decided to move my iTunes library to a new computer, and rerip all my old CD's into a better format. Many years ago, I ripped them into iTunes as 128 kb/s MP3 files, before I knew there was anything better out there.

Now, here is the problem. I am using iTunes on a Windows computer, which syncs to a variety of Apple phones/tablets and Android phones/tablets. Basically, my household is firmly entrenched in the middle of the two ecosystems.

I am looking for a file format that would allow me to rip CD's losslessly into iTunes, and that would be compatible with all my devices.

What suggestions do you guys have?

Also, I would like a final solution. I.e. I dont want to have to do this again in 10 years.


#2 Guth

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 17:11

This is a problem with itunes,
Apple lossles is ALAC (m4a) but hardly anything but apple devices read it. FLAC is more common but not compatible with itunes.

MP3 320kbs is the way to go, its compatible with almost anything and the human ear cant hear anything above 20khz anyway and that is most of what you are losing between lossless and lossy. (aslong as you stick with a high bitrate)

I have all my music in FLAC. When i want something on my iphone I have to convert to M4a or MP3.

Its a total PITA as I have 3 different copies of some music (mp3, flac and alac)

So now I've just started using MP3 320. Its high enough quality for general use (higher than needed) and is the most compatible. Also saves a lot on file size by cutting out a lot of the stuff us humans cant hear xD

#3 Deactivated.

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 17:18

You'll probably see more devices supporting ALAC now that it's free and open source. It's already supported by a bunch of audio players on Android. Plus, thankfully it's not too much of a hassle to reconvert your files at a later point without degrading the audio quality of your files or losing any metadata, so that's always an option. I wouldn't worry too much about finding a "final solution" at this point. The important part is opting to go with a lossless format in the first place.

#4 OP wvcaudill2

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 19:15

So now I've just started using MP3 320. Its high enough quality for general use (higher than needed) and is the most compatible. Also saves a lot on file size by cutting out a lot of the stuff us humans cant hear xD

This is a great solution, and one that I also considered. My main concern is when a new standard comes along. Quality would suffer if I were to convert my 320 MP3 to another lossy format for whatever next generation devices that come along.

You'll probably see more devices supporting ALAC now that it's free and open source. It's already supported by a bunch of audio players on Android. Plus, thankfully it's not too much of a hassle to reconvert your files at a later point without degrading the audio quality of your files or losing any metadata, so that's always an option. I wouldn't worry too much about finding a "final solution" at this point. The important part is opting to go with a lossless format in the first place.


This is what I was thinking. I want to go with ALAC, but then I have to figure out how to easily get my 1000+ ALAC files onto my android phones/tablets.

#5 +Brando212

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 19:22

This is what I was thinking. I want to go with ALAC, but then I have to figure out how to easily get my 1000+ ALAC files onto my android phones/tablets.

looks like Poweramp is the best app for playing ALAC files (actually a lot of people say it's the best media player for android period)

#6 Guth

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 19:35

Sorry guys I didnt know ALAC was now open source seems thats the best option

however, Im sticking with MP3 for devices and FLAC for pc. I cant see it going anywhere for the foreseeable future (mp3 that is)

#7 +d5aqoëp

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 19:37

I use VBR 256 MP3. I am satisfied with quality and can accommodate more files on iPhone. MP3 format is not going anywhere atleast for 10 more years.

#8 Jason Stillion

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 19:39

As much as I love loss-less opensource formats (FLAC) for compatibility I agree with Guth about MP3 / 320kps encoding if compatibility is a concern.
I've not seen much uptake on Apple's ALAC support (outside apple products).

I personally love FLAC source (and listen two on computer) but when moving to portable devices, use MP3.

#9 OP wvcaudill2

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 20:24

Is there a way to rip CDs into Apple as lossless, and then auto convert to a format such as MP3 for transfer to my phone? I would rather not have to store two copies of every song.

#10 Deactivated.

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 07:09

Is there a way to rip CDs into Apple as lossless, and then auto convert to a format such as MP3 for transfer to my phone? I would rather not have to store two copies of every song.

For your iDevices, in iTunes on the summary page there's an option to automatically have any higher quality files you're synching be converted to the AAC format at either 128kbps or 256kbps (iirc).

#11 The_Decryptor

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 10:02

I'd only use MP3 is you have really old devices, any good device will support AAC (And you'll get better sound quality to boot)

ALAC/FLAC is only really good for archival purposes, for normal listening it's massively overkill.