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  1. #1

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    Default Apple Lossless Encoder

    I've been shuffling through different ripping options on my iTunes and I came across the Apple Lossless Encoder. It claims to retain most of the original sound quality without taking up the space of a WAV file. I've put a few lossless, WAV and Mp3 versions of the same song on my iPod and compared them and I can't tell too much a difference. Of course this is on my $20 headphones because I can't wake up the whole house comparing sound files (it will get the system test tomorrow). Can anyone tell me about the lossless format and if it is actually legit?

  2. #2

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    It's not surprising that you can't hear much of a difference through the iPod and $20 phones, as that combo is probably just not resolving enough.

    Personally, I think that for "typical" portable use, a high bitrate mp3 is plenty good enough. By "typical", I mean that you are using a portable player with non-high-end phones or connected to a car's aux port. I use the Lame mp3 encoder at the highest quality VBR setting, which produces around 240 kbps bitrate.

    Now, if you're using a nice dedicated headphone rig or using a nice DAC connected to a resolving audio system, the benefits of lossless or wav will become more apparent. Personally, I use flac lossless for these scenarios.
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  3. #3

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    It's lossless. If you go from wav to ALAC and back to wav you end up with the same bits. If there's any loss from just sticking a CD in and letting iTunes do its thing in ALAC, it will be from the CD extraction. Shouldn't be a problem if you have a decent drive and an undamaged disc, but some people get anal about that step of the ripping process.

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    Gotcha, I've given it a go on my home rig and I'm noticing a slight difference in highs and a notable difference in the sub 100hz region. It's good for some songs but I'm not going to change my whole library over or anything.

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    SEH is correct. There should be NO difference from the source file because it keeps all the information intact. MP3 on the other hand, throws out information forever. FLAC is another lossless format.
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