apple lossless or itunes plus? which is the better sound quality?

gooner26

Active Member
i know that itunes plus comes in at 256kpbs. so could someone tell me which one has better sound quality as ive ordered the new 80 gb ipod. cheers
 

swisspolo

Standard Member
Sorry cwick but itunes plus offers higher quality music,

If you open the itunes store home and click "iTunes Plus"(right hand column of the home page)>"FAQ" then the first question explains the difference

cheers
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
Sorry cwick but itunes plus offers higher quality music

No, Sorry, but thats not true - cwick is (technically) quite right.

Apple.com said:
California—May 30, 2007—Apple® today launched iTunes® Plus—DRM-free music tracks featuring high quality 256 kbps AAC encoding for audio quality virtually indistinguishable from the original recordings

They might sound good, but they are technically inferior in sound quality to Apple lossless. While most people wont be able to tell any difference on their iPod, played through a good HiFi you would notice a small difference as it's still compressed and lossy, no mater what the spin Apple put on it. Lossless is just that - none of the original sound information from the original CD is lost.

While it's nice that Apple are providing better quality downloads (previous bites were pathetic IMO), 256 is still pretty middle of the road. Lossless will take up more space, but if you have the room on your HDD or iPod I would recommend archiving your CD collection in lossless.
 

swisspolo

Standard Member
I downloaded a Kate Bush song covered by Placebo called "Running up that hill". The iTunes plus song is 256kbps at a sizable 9.2MB. The copy I just downloaded is the original 128kbps and is only 4.7MB in size.

I have a NAD C 340 connected via a good Thor interconnect to my iMac with a pair of Mordaunt-Short Avant 902i's connected with decent cables. Granted it's not a £3000 system but it's not bad at all and I have to say that I can hear sod all different between them any way.

So I can't understand why lossless would be half the size of the lossy, especially seeing as my flac collection is still even bigger than that.
 

cwick

Active Member
I think you're getting confused fella. Sounds like you are comparing iTunes plus songs (AAC, 256kbps) with the older iTunes songs (128kpbs). Of course, giving the same encoding scheme, 256kbps is better that 128kbps.

The original poster, however, was asking about Apple Lossless (ALAC), which isn't a format sold though iTunes, but it's the lossless format used by iTunes (i.e. if you rip your CDs, you can choose ALAC, but you can't buy stuff in ALAC).

An ALAC encoded song should be, size-wise, in the same ballpark as a FLAC song. And in theory, both being lossless, they should both sound the same too ;).

Cheers, Carl.
 

unklepepper

Standard Member
That track in lossless would be about 30MB. Ripping CDs in lossless I cant tell the difference between them and the CD on a good hifi setup, listening on my ipod with nice headphones I cant tell the difference between lossless and 320kbps. I really cant listen to downloads on my home system, makes my ears feel abused! Not tried itunes plus tho, I would say if you plan on listening on a good home system either thru ipod or pc rip cds to lossless, if you mainly listen on the move higher bitrate downloads or rip at 320kbps.
 

swisspolo

Standard Member
ah ha, ok sorry about that, thanks for the correction:oops:. I miss understood the first post. Had my brain been in gear I would have indeed agreed cwick and never opened my mouth in the first place. Sorry about that guys, will read posts more carefully in future!
 

gooner26

Active Member
i'm not an expert on this but ive chosen to use apple lossless, but then when i buy songs from itunes, what quality will i be downloading them at? its set at automatic! for the record i plan to use my 80gb ipod with a denon idock , connected to my denon micro system.
 

jont

Well-known Member
Tracks will be 128kbps AAC unless it offers/you choose the iTunes plus tracks which will be at 256kbps AAC ... when you rip from your own cd's using Apple Lossless the rate will vary but probably be around 650-750kbps ...

HTH

Jon
 

gooner26

Active Member
thanks for the reply. i always thought you could choose which quality you wanted when purchasing from itunes ie: you could choose to buy a song in 192kbps 0r 320kbps. but it seems this applys only for burning your cd tracks am i correct? so all songs i buy from itunes will be in 128kbps format unless it states that it is available in itunes plus which will then be 256kbps?
 

swisspolo

Standard Member
thanks for the reply. i always thought you could choose which quality you wanted when purchasing from itunes ie: you could choose to buy a song in 192kbps 0r 320kbps. but it seems this applys only for burning your cd tracks am i correct? so all songs i buy from itunes will be in 128kbps format unless it states that it is available in itunes plus which will then be 256kbps?

Yep, however the other bonus to the plus songs is that they are DRM free. So you can copy them onto more than one iPod (so long as you own it of course)

But they are 99p a song rather than ...79p i think
 

jont

Well-known Member
If you assume each track to be around 4.30 mins and 30mb - then you can probably fit around 3,000 songs on an 80Gb ipod ...

Jon
 

gooner26

Active Member
christ is that all. the reason i ask is because my aim is to rip my cd collection onto my ipod then play through my denon micro system via denon idock.would there be a massive gap in sound quality between 320 kbps and apple lossless, because now im edging towards 320 kbps to save storage.
 

jont

Well-known Member
Well I guess the only way is to test a few tracks ripped both ways and play them back to back and see if you can tell ...

Jon
 

p9ul

Distinguished Member
Just about to do the same. Currently I have around 1500 tracks, most at 320 AAC, seeing as my iPod has a lot of room to spare I wondered if it was worthwhile going lossless and whether I'd notice the difference.

Started replacing some albums with Apple Lossless last night just to see if I notice the difference.

FYI I use the iPod mostly in the car, but it'll be getting serious use from next weekend on a beach in Lanzarote...:cool:

I did notice the tracks seemed to cover a wide "band" of bitrate, ranging anywhere between 800 & 1200kbps.
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
Even if you don't notice a difference in quality, it's a much better way to archive all your music.

Say for example you sell your iPod and/or buy another model from another manufacturer for which you would like to use a different format - you can use your lossless archive base to convert from without the need to rip all your CD's again. Of course you can convert non-lossless too, but this lossy->lossy 'transcoding' damages sound quality because you are compressing already highly compressed data.
 

norderney

Active Member
christ is that all. the reason i ask is because my aim is to rip my cd collection onto my ipod then play through my denon micro system via denon idock.would there be a massive gap in sound quality between 320 kbps and apple lossless, because now im edging towards 320 kbps to save storage.

If you have a Wireless Router already, then an alternative option would be to buy a Squeeze Box - look at http://www.slimdevices.com/pi_squeezebox.html?
and
http://www.multitask-computing.co.uk/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=3&products_id=520

You connect the squeeze Box to your Hi-Fi amplifier via standard RCA connectors.
You store your music on your computer in various formats incl MP3, Apple Lossless and FLAC. Your only limit then is dependent on the size of your hard drive. I have got all my music stored on a separate hard drive in a USB Enclosure.
Using the software supplied by Slim Devices you then then play all your music stored on your computer through your Hi-Fi. The squeeze Box can connect either using Wireless or Ethernet connection. I use a Wireless connection and it works perfectly.
 

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