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Thread: Struggling to match Apple lossless

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2022
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    Struggling to match Apple lossless

    Hi all,

    I'm new to the forum and new to ripping in the pursuit of cd/high res quality.

    I will shortly have an Astell and Kern SR25 mk2 with Meze Classics but until then until I've been experimenting with ripping/file formats on an old MacBook Pro (mid 2012 dual core i7 running 10.15) and Music (1.0.6).

    The problem I have is that if I rip Wave, or AIFF, using db (17.7), then import into Music and save to my iPhone (15.5) the files do not quite sound as good as streaming the same tracks apple lossless.

    I don't tweak db, merely change to Wave or AIFF, and keep the sample rate/bit depth the same as original. The file version sounds slightly more compressed, with less definition, less warmth and a lower output volume.

    Am I missing something here?

    Cheers,
    James.

  2. #2
    dBpoweramp Guru
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    Nov 2007
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    Re: Struggling to match Apple lossless

    something is not right as these are all lossless and should sound identical. Are you sure that Apple Music or your phone is not adding soundcheck (volume adjustment) values to the files. Do the files contain ReplayGain tags? I Don't use apple music, but are you sure in the uploading to your phone that there is not some conversion being done (transcoding to m4a).

    As a test, can you listen to these files on your Mac via headphones and compare. This will take the phone out of the equation for testing.

    p.s. I assume you realize that Apple Lossless, AIFF, WAV, FLAC are all lossless codecs, and there is no reason that on any relatively modern playback system (certainly including any iPhone newer than 10 years old), they shouldn't sound exactly the same. Other than creating larger size files and not having metadata (tagging) support as well recognized for WAV and AIFF, that there is no impact of making these changes. WAV or AIFF doesn't sound any better. These are not "hi-res" as compared to Apple Lossless. Apple Lossess, WAV, AIFF are all decoded to the exact same PCM file by your player for playback.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2022
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    8

    Re: Struggling to match Apple lossless

    Hi Gary,

    Thanks for the advice.

    Taking the phone out of the equation worked and the Wav/AIFF now sound the same as an apple lossless stream but there are some gain differences.

    How do you check for ReplayGain tags?

    What would your advice be for a ripping format, in order to preserve album metadata, if file size is not a consideration?

    Thanks,
    James.

  4. #4
    dBpoweramp Guru
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    Re: Struggling to match Apple lossless

    Look at the tags of the file using dbpoweramp or any tagging program. if there are replaygain tags, they will show up (just like ARTIST, GENRE, etc.). There could be 4 tags, ALBUM GAIN, TRACK GAIN, and two peak tags. But unlikely they are there unless you added the DSP when ripped or converted. Also make sure there is no apple "soundcheck" value (which may show up in tags as iTunNORM or something similar (and this may be embedded in any COMMENT tag).

    iphones/ipads as far as I know cannot play FLAC files (which is what I use). If I wanted something that iphone could play, I'd stick with Apple Lossless (ALAC) . This is a better option than either WAV or AIFF. Both ALAC and FLAC are well supported with tagging and are bit perfect lossless formats. There are a few advantages to FLAC (as it has an embedded checksum at the time of creation, and one can then check one's library for any corrupted files after the fact with a simple batch procedure (e.g., using TEST CONVERSION in dbpoweramp converter).

    I use an iphone for music on the go as well. For my archive and home system, I use FLAC files. I then use TuneFusion (also made by illustrate) to do automatic batch conversions of portions of my FLAC library to m4a or mp3 for use on my iphone. This software also transfers these files to the iphone for playback. So I don't have to use iTunes to get my files on my iphone.

  5. #5
    dBpoweramp Guru
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    Re: Struggling to match Apple lossless

    to add to this, my use of FLAC is not at all based on file size savings. It is based on wanting a lossless codec, with widespread support, that has standard support of metadata (tagging) and built in checksums (for the ability to batch check corruption of my library at any time in the future). The file size savings is nice, but no longer needed in modern times with cheap/small storage.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2022
    Posts
    8

    Re: Struggling to match Apple lossless

    Thanks Gary.
    I&*8217;m moving away from using an iPhone and will shortly have an Astell and Kern SR25 mk2 with Meze Classics. I&*8217;ll start from scratch at that point ripping again my CD&*8217;s so flac comparability with Apple won&*8217;t be an issue. Do you use flac lossless and do you have any advice re tickboxes/options using db for flac and keeping all metadata?

    Cheers,
    James.

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