AAC or AppleLossless

I am beginning to import all my CD's to my Apple laptop and want to know which is the best format to use for highest possible sound quality. I have heard recommendations for both AppleLossless and AAC. Anyone know from experience if one is better than the other? Thank you,
there are other issues with lossless

I have started a few threads on high quality files which you can check out

Anybody who thinks MP3 is acceptable shouldnt bother with this forum in my opinion.

And I also don't get the widespread obsession with storing 80 billion songs -- isn't disc space very cheap and getting cheaper by the day?

It also seems to me that these applications are particularly useful for portable audio, travel, working out etc where, say, 30 CDs or so should probably get you through your morning jog or commute?

So my vote would be genuinely lossless, bit for bit WAV files, subject to solving the problems mentioned in my other threads.

I guess I still don't get it.

If you want maximum quality - that is to say to use a hard drive as a source for a reference quality redbook system, you need to rip in Apple Lossless, .wav or .aiff.

Let me try to give you some insights into the pros and cons

Because it is not a proprietary format, .wav is the most "portable" in that you can do the most with it. That is to say, it is happy in the PC world and there are a lot of third party utilities that work with it

However .wav and .aiff are both about twice as big as Apple Lossless files with no apparent - or should I say audible difference.

When you have 200Gb of material like I do - about 750 cds, nearly 10,000 songs!!! the cost of the first drive isn't an issue - but then there is the second one to back it up to think about too. Trust me when you see how long it takes to rip that much music, you will want to back it up...

I am now keeping the master library on a 400Gb Seagate and splitting the backup across two 250Gb Hitachis which I had. You may not know that you should not use the last 20% of your drive capacity... The good news is that the bandwidth requirments are so small that you can use slower drives if need be - you will however notice a difference on the time it takes to do a backup so do it while you sleep =)

I chose Apple Lossless because I am a hardcore Mac guy, always have been, always will be - yes even with Intel inside - and so I didn't mind the fact that I was locked into a proprietary format. BTW when I burn a CD via iTunes it automatically makes .aiff files out of the Apple Lossless. Point being that there are a number of ways to convert should you want to in the future

One thing is for sure - once you get this sorted out you will really enjoy the music =)
As I understand it, the startup disc is the HD you should leave 20% free for VM, paging, etc. That overhead HD use is fluid, and you want to make sure it's available if it's called upon. A second HD isn't used in this way and should be safe. But it's true, hard drive space is so cheap these days, easily less than $1/GB, that it just makes sense to buy lots of storage.
Question for all you PC and iTunes users:

Do you have bit perfect playback? Or are you listening through kmixer, which upsamples everything to 48 kHz, then usually back down to 44.1 kHz again in the output device.

I have a fairly hi res 2 channel rig (Benchmark DAC-1/MC 2200/MC2102/Vienna Acoustics Beethovens) and can definitely hear kmixer. It is NOT subtle. It is bad.

I understand iTunes is soley a DirectSound/Waveout device, meaning (I think) that ASIO and KS output options are not possible with iTunes. Which means kmixer, baby. I have heard that some soundcards/USB adapotors {RME/M-Audio Transit} work, but no one has verified.

Anybody have a DEFINITIVE answer?

To test, you should be able to play a DTS encoded .wav file via iTunes to an HT Pre/Pro and have it decode properly. If it decodes, it is bit perfect. HDCD would be another way.

I have been unable to do this.

Which means that Apple Lossless, and iTunes are, for me, a non-starter. Big problem as I have multiple iPods, use iTunes, and would like to use apple lossless to rip my collection.


Anybody have a workaround?
(Buying a MAC is not an option!)


I have 1,500 CD's ripped with Apple Lossless. They are stored on three external firewire drives hooked up to an Apple iBook, which runs over USB to an M-Audio Audiophile USB and then an Audio Research DAC5 w/jitter correction. I have an Airport Express for the bedroom system upstairs, and through iTunes sharing I'm also able to play them on any of the other three computers in our home. Digital bliss :)

Before transferring all my files, I did a lot of listening tests with friends over to try and tell the difference between wav, aiff, direct from cd, Apple Lossless, and other various jitter correcting and upconverting DAC's. Apple Lossless was a no-brainer storage format as none of us could hear a difference between any of these bit-accurate formats. Jitter correction seemed to have a massive effect on "pace, rhythm and timing", and the upsampling affected the soundstage and imaging.

W9tr, why should ASIO matter to you? There's going to be no additional sound quality vs. DirectSound and you're only doing two-channel (not multichannel) so what's the big deal?