Should I re-rip to ALAC?

Discussion in 'Apple Forum' started by Flashy, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. Flashy

    Flashy
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    Just got a 500GB portable drive to move my iTunes library to, as my laptop's hard drive is nearly full. Currently, pretty much all my music, some 300-odd CDs, is ripped as 192k mp3 files.

    So, now space is on my side, should I take the time and effort to re-rip it all, this time as ALAC files?

    Common sense tells me yes for countless reasons. Among them is the fact that I have an iPod nano, iPod Shuffle and iPhone 4, plus an AirPort Express hooked up to my hi-fi, so being locked into an Apple format for rips is no problem.

    Only things putting me off are whether it's worth it, considering the time it will take, and whether I'll ever end up listening to my CDs again - strange as it might sound, I like the physical act of listening to a CD, taking it out the box, putting it in the CDP, and listening to an album.

    But even as I type, I'm thinking re-ripping makes sense more and more, despite my reservations. I'd be stupid not to, wouldn't I?
     
  2. Peridot

    Peridot
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    I did this with a similar sized library a few years back.

    I assume you're looking to have the best quality playback through your home HiFi as you won't notice a huge difference on the iPods and will suffer the capacity constraints of the larger file size. I maintain an ALAC library for home listening (and as a backup of the physical media) and a duplicate 320k library for the iPod.

    I recall that it did take a long time but I just kept a pile of CDs by the computer and popped one in as I was passing or while I was doing something else on the machine, and got there eventually. Make sure you keep a backup - you wouldn't want to have to do it all again from scratch.

    I too have no problem with the Apple format but if you want to allow for any future 'falling out' with the brand another option would be to rip to FLAC. You can easily transfer FLAC into iTunes ALAC using Max software.
     
  3. Flashy

    Flashy
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    Thanks. Certainly, the long-term plan would be to have all CDs ripped lossless for iTunes, complete with a full back-up because, like you say, it's not a procedure you want to have to repeat.

    Is there any advantage to ripping as FLAC over ALAC at this stage? FLAC now would mean immediate conversion to ALAC, whereas ALAC now would be usable immediately and only require conversion if necessary in the future.

    I've been doing some reading-up and a popular view seems to be that i probably won't notice the difference between large ALAC files and much smaller 320kbps AAC ones. Others say you can tell the difference. I'm not sure I would, my hi-fi's not high-end, but think my view is that I've got the space so may as well use it and rip as close to 1:1 copies.
     
  4. Peridot

    Peridot
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    Indeed, it's always possible to convert from ALAC to FLAC in the future if you wanted to so no real advantage in doing so now.

    I do notice a quality difference with the lossless files when listening on hi-fi (not high end either) or on quality headphones. It's not massive though and is only really noticeable on certain musical pieces.

    I am of the same view that it's best to have a lossless rip as the 'master' copy, as it's easy to down convert it to a smaller lossy file, but impossible to go the other way. My CDs are now only 'played' once to rip that master copy.
     
  5. Flashy

    Flashy
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    ALAC it is, then. Thanks for the pointers. Only query now is the best way to do it.

    Ideally, I don't want to delete my current library before the other one's fully ready, but not sure there's a way round doing so and starting from scratch.
     
  6. Peridot

    Peridot
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    I'd suggest moving your existing library onto the external HD (there are plenty of 'how to' guides around if you're not familiar with the process).

    Then change your import settings in iTunes to ALAC and generally when you re-rip an existing CD it will ask you to confirm that you want to overwrite the existing files.

    Ocassionally the re-rip will pick up an updated track listing record from the Gracenote database and treat the CD as a new addition to your library. In this case you'll have to manually select the original MP3 files and delete them.

    If you want to keep your existing compressed library to use on iPods you could create a new user account on your laptop with a copy of iTunes that uses the external HD and use this account to rip the ALAC files.
     
  7. instigator

    instigator
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    No need to hassle with that... iTunes can automatically make smaller version for syncing to devices... It's magical.... Ahem...
     
  8. Peridot

    Peridot
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    Can you select the quality setting for the smaller version instigator? I recall it used to be restricted to 128k, but i'v never checked if that's changed in more recent versions of iTunes.
     
  9. instigator

    instigator
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    I can't recall either... I just manned up and sync everything at 320 or wav file...
     
  10. Liam O

    Liam O
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    Still is the same. In the sync options for iPhone in iTunes the option is to convert higher bitrate songs to 128kbps AAC.
     
  11. instigator

    instigator
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    This makes me sad... We really need an option for 320mp3 or 256 AAC format for mobile devices... So we can keep our lossless files on home system and home playback...

    Are people starting to consider the 256 AAC format as normal or cd equivalent?

    I guess using iCloud and match is a way to generate 256 AAC files of apple lossless collection at home?
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  12. Scrutney2

    Scrutney2
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  13. Flashy

    Flashy
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    Yet to update iTunes as updated my iPhone OTA with no problems. Will power it up later and take a look, but that's promising.

    About half-way through re-ripping my CDs. Turns out I have more than I thought. Found 128kbps was a bit lacking on iPhone and iPod, so this news is very promising.
     
  14. instigator

    instigator
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    Yep, noticed this too... Brilliant update that is actually useful...

    Now all they gotta do is switch the appletv ui back to previous design...
     
  15. bpsmith

    bpsmith
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    Bored of the GUI moaning already...at least find something new to complain about... ;-)
     
  16. Bl4ckGryph0n

    Bl4ckGryph0n
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    I agree with instigator, go for the iTunes/iCloud/Match option. It will safe you a lot of time. And I can't find it anymore, but I read yesterday that Apple is planning a back end upgrade which effectively will turn all your iTunes Match data instantly into the lossless version :)

    If you don't mind the ecosystem, just go with it lots of time saving advantages...
     
  17. JDCFH

    JDCFH
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    If you are going to spend the time re-ripping do it properly.

    Buy DBpower amp. This will then give you perfect rips. It will point out if any of your CD's have faults our errors as it checks rips against a database of other peoples rips.

    ITunes doesn't and just blends these errors into the rips. They appear in audio as either silence or pops.

    Do it once and do it right.

    ALAC is as good as any other lossless format especially for using with iTunes.

    The airport streams them bit perfect as well.
     
  18. Flashy

    Flashy
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    ^^^I'm about two-thirds of the way through, and now you tell me. :)

    I used dBpoweramp years and years ago, but haven't touched it since. Would it allow me to do ALAC rips? I know there's some loss of quality and iTunes won't do it as a straight rip, but I don't have the storage space (or the time, or particularly the inclination) to have 400 CDs ripped as bit-perfect copies. Unless, that is, there would be a clear benefit to make it all worthwhile.

    I know I've gone for something of a compromise, quality-wise, but it's the best compromise there is, I think. Or is it?
     
  19. JDCFH

    JDCFH
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    Yeah it does ALAC. Files will be same size from iTunes and DBpower amp just the power amp ones are certified as being perfect and error free that's all. I even have two drives for ripping as some CDs give errors in one drive but rip fine in the other.

    I'm in the same boat as you for CD collection size and mine grows regularly. I don't download music ever. Just buy second hand CDs this way I know I have the best rip made by myself. Too much trash online.

    ALAC files are still smaller than .wav or .aiff files.

    What are you ripping them as? ALAC through iTunes?

    I'm sure they will be fine. If you are using the airport express to feed your hi fi can I suggest you also get your hands on a DAC of some kind to really make the lossless ripping worthwhile?
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  20. Flashy

    Flashy
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    Thanks. I've been using iTunes so far and no complaints. Using a four-year-old laptop for rips, which I'm sure isn't ideal, but I've yet to find any tracks with pauses or pops, however brief.

    AirPort Express is feeding the hi-fi (which is certainly towards the budget end) and the digital files are there for convenience and as a sort of back-up.

    If I'm going to listen to an album, I'll put the CD in. Like you, I still buy them and have only ever gone digital for anything that's either no longer available in a "hard" format new, or is prohibitively expensive second-hand. I like CDs, I like having boxes, sleeves and the trophyism of owning something tangible. Old-fashioned? Maybe. But that's the way I am and I'm sticking with it. :)
     
  21. JDCFH

    JDCFH
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    The only reason I went with rips is to make room. All my CDs after boxed up out if sight. I've also got rid of all my hifi gear when my daughter arrived so it is much easier to just have everything on my computer that I can stream to my posh iPod dock.

    Make sure when you have done your ripping you keep backed up.

    I have lost all my rips before I now have 1 internal backup drive and an external one.
     

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