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Thread: Create FLAC for Sonos & AAC for iPhone4

  1. #1

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    Create FLAC for Sonos & AAC for iPhone4

    I'd like to know what settings to use to create the highest quality FLAC and the standard lossy AAC.

    I'd like to know if it is possible to only burn the original cd once, as a quality FLAC, and then create the AAC for import to iTunes from the FLAC.

  2. #2
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    Re: Create FLAC for Sonos & AAC for iPhone4

    Quote Originally Posted by jonniebag View Post
    I'd like to know what settings to use to create the highest quality FLAC and the standard lossy AAC.

    I'd like to know if it is possible to only burn the original cd once, as a quality FLAC, and then create the AAC for import to iTunes from the FLAC.
    Well FLAC is lossless so I'm not sure what you mean by highest quality. Just rip the CD to FLAC and don't add any DSP effects that might change the actual audio content. I've ripped thousands of disks to FLAC, with the only DSP being the replaygain (which just adds tags, doesn't alter audio). I use "5" compression (the default). Keep in mind that this simply speaks to the SIZE of the file. It is still lossless. I prefer to rip to FLAC, make sure my tags, etc. are perfect, then I simply use dbpa to create a mirror directory of mp3 files from the FLAC files for use in my portable devices (iphone, ipad, ipods). Very easy to do in a batch way with a couple of mouse clicks.....

  3. #3

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    Re: Create FLAC for Sonos & AAC for iPhone4

    Would an m4a file be a "better" (higher) quality than an MP3?? If so, wondering why you would not batch convert to m4a? (Just trying to learn)

    Thank you!!

  4. #4
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    Re: Create FLAC for Sonos & AAC for iPhone4

    Quote Originally Posted by youngr69 View Post
    Would an m4a file be a "better" (higher) quality than an MP3?? If so, wondering why you would not batch convert to m4a? (Just trying to learn)

    Thank you!!
    well there are all sorts of listening tests, etc. regarding the transparency of m4a vs mp3 (see hydrogenaudio.org). A gross summary of these tests is that once you reach about 192kbs it is virtually impossible for normal people to detect any difference on normal music on m4a vs mp3 (or even back to lossless!). m4a is likely much better at lower bitrates (128 or lower). I like mp3 files because they are just much more universally dealt with by most players, converters, etc. m4a/AAC can sometimes be a pain. And I convert my FLACs to mp3 using LAME -v2 (which is about a target bit rate of 192kbs). And keep in mind that all my portables are apple (ipods, iphones, ipads) AND I STILL PREFER mp3 for ease of use.

    Keep in mind for my home stereo where I really, really want the best quality, I'm using lossless files (FLAC). Using mp3 files (or m4a) in my car, or on my ipod headphones is not an environment where I could possibly tell the difference. Heck, I really should be using LAME -V4 or -V5 on my portables.

  5. #5

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    Re: Create FLAC for Sonos & AAC for iPhone4

    Sorry not been back sooner, so thanks for the information.

    My query on the FLAC setting is kind of what you are illuding to. If there is no difference, why are there 10 different levels of encoding, and wouldn't lossless (highest) or lossless uncompressed be the obvious choice for the best quality?

  6. #6
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    Re: Create FLAC for Sonos & AAC for iPhone4

    Quote Originally Posted by jonniebag View Post
    nd wouldn't lossless (highest) or lossless uncompressed be the obvious choice for the best quality?
    because NONE of these settings for FLAC relate to audio/sound quality. Lossless is lossless is lossless. Compression for a FLAC files is NOT at all related to lossy codecs and the decision to go 320 vs 256 vs 128....it is an entirely different thing. These settings relate to file size/compression. This is rarely an issue now, but in the old days some PLAYERS had trouble decoding highly compressed FLAC files (8) because it took a little more work by the processor to decode. Thus, the ability to create "less compressed" FLAC files that were easier to decode was there. But again, this compression just relates to the decoding effort AND NOT TO THE SOUND QUALITY...ONCE DECODED, A FLAC FILE IS LOSSLESS AND IDENTICAL TO ANY OTHER FLAC FILE OF ANY COMPRESSION. These days, this is rarely an issue. Out of habit, I use FLAC compression level 5, but could easily use 8 with all my players.

    ***and do note that there is a minority of audiofools out there who actually believe that a bit perfect FLAC file sounds different from a WAV file, or even that a bit perfect COPY of a FLAC file sounds different than the original FLAC file. This is pure insanity. But audiophiles(audiophools) have a hard time not trying to bring their analog tweaks over to digital music... I can sympathize....it is sad that I have $299 plastic parts that sound better than my old $20,000 turntable..... But hey, my newish cheap honda is actually leaps and bounds in terms of engineering over a much more expensive, state of the art 1960s ferrarri....
    Last edited by garym; 03-21-2012 at 03:14 PM.

  7. #7

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    Re: Create FLAC for Sonos & AAC for iPhone4

    Great info. Thanks very much.

    One last stupid question! Do you have to convert to mp3 before importing into iTunes, or can iTunes cope with a FLAC?

    I also notice that you are suggesting mp3 and not the native Apple format for import into iTunes, mainly for portability to other devices, but I assume this also means that you conside mp3 to be at least equal to Apple's own format in terms of audio quality?

  8. #8
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    Re: Create FLAC for Sonos & AAC for iPhone4

    Quote Originally Posted by jonniebag View Post
    Great info. Thanks very much.

    One last stupid question! Do you have to convert to mp3 before importing into iTunes, or can iTunes cope with a FLAC?

    I also notice that you are suggesting mp3 and not the native Apple format for import into iTunes, mainly for portability to other devices, but I assume this also means that you conside mp3 to be at least equal to Apple's own format in terms of audio quality?
    Unfortunately itunes can not deal with FLAC files. They have their own lossless format (ALAC). And yes, I convert to mp3 before importing into itunes. I have a main library of FLAC files, and I use these in my SqueezeBox home stereo setup. Then I create a mirror directory of mp3 files (LAME -V2, which is an average bit rate of about 192). I use the mp3 files in itunes to feed my iphones, ipods, ipads, etc. I think that 192 and above mp3 files are transparent (i.e., equal quality to m4a/aac files). If I wanted to drop my bitrate to much lower (to pack more files on ipods), and wanted to use something like 128 or 96k files, there I'd likely choose m4a instead as these are likely better at the lower bit rates. But at high enough bit rates (say 192), all these lossy files are likely not distinguishable from the original CD (lossless) for almost all sorts of music to almost all listeners (particularly if one is over, say , 30 years old, as age related high frequency hearing loss is a given for 99.9% of humans).

    and make no mistake here. I'm biased toward mp3 files just because they are typically much easier to deal with across EVERY possible player I might deal with. Given that the sound quality is equal to m4a (at my bitrates), I prefer the universal nature of mp3 for lossy. This said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using m4a. Bottom line, create a LOSSLESS version from your rips (whether FLAC or ALAC) and then from this you can easily create lossless mp3 or m4a files with a few mouse clicks. If I decided tomorrow to use m4a for my lossy library, I could load up my files, select them in dbpa, click the mouse a couple of times, and come back a day later and my 70,000 files would now have m4a versions, with artwork and all metadata automatically.

    Load up a FLAC and a 128k mp3 file in foobar2000 and use the ABX component to do an ABX double-blind listening test. You will most likely surprise yourself at your inability to identify the lossless version as compared to a relatively low bitrate mp3 file.

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