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HELP! Brand new to mac

Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 8:20 pm
by jeff0628
Ok, I just setup my mac over the weekend and trying to get used to the forbidden fruits way of computing. So far, It's been great.

My current windows music setup is all of my cd's ripped in flac to an external harddrive for storage with a LAME mp3 copy on my internal machine all done with dbpoweramp and using Winamp to manage it all and to send mp3's over to my ipod. So far that has worked out pretty well.

My question is what do you guys recommend as far as a lossless / lossy (for the ipod and internal HD) setup. Would you keep my flac library or convert it over to ALAC, and use aac for my lossy format? I'm wanting to use itunes for the player and syncing to my ipod and thought the ALAC / aac setup would be best since it's native to itunes.

If I were to convert my current FLAC's to ALAC, what's the best way to do that and how do I tell itunes where my library is at?

Sorry for all the questions, but my mac life is less than 48 hours old... THANKS in advance.

Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 10:17 pm
by Maurits
First of all, MP3 is handled just as well as AAC in both iTunes and iPod. AAC has some benefits but I certainly wouldn't go and re-encode it all. I'd stick with MP3, at least for the existing collection.

As for FLAC. Transcoding from FLAC to ALAC is a harmless operation and will just cost you some time, not quality.

However, there is one thing you should know. An Apple developers has stated months ago that FLAC will be a native format in the coming OS X Leopard. Whether this means iTunes will be able to handle FLAC natively from day one is another question and remains to be seen. It is something you should know because you might want to wait just a few months before doing a large-scale FLAC->ALAC operation.

Also, you may want to have a look at third party plug-ins that could make iTunes read FLAC. Not sure whether they exist but they do for other formats so I wouldn't be surprised.

Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:57 pm
by jeff0628
wow, thanks for the info. I didnt realize Leopard would natively support FLAC, I guess it's about time. So if this is the case, then which lossless format would you suggest I stick with. Like you said, if I do switch to ALAC its just processing time. My collection is only 200+ cd's so I could do that overnight while I slept. The same would be true with creating aac's from the lossless if I decided to dump the mp3's.

So I guess the decision would be which lossless / lossy format would you go with? If I do decide to go with ALAC, is Max the best way to handle that?


Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 12:14 am
by Maurits
jeff0628 wrote: So I guess the decision would be which lossless / lossy format would you go with?
I'd say:
Lossy, stick with MP3 for the existing collection. iTunes and iPod handle them perfectly. New encodings is difficult. AAC has benefits but no format is so widely compatible as MP3. Using LAME as an MP3 encoder gives you excellent quality as well. AAC does not have all these tagging versions/issues MP3 has and theoretically has higher quality.

Lossless, try to find a FLAC plugin for iTunes and wait for Leopard. If you can't find a plugin (This plugin might work) or Leopard's iTunes doesn't support FLAC you could transcode to ALAC. However, personally I wouldn't be surprised if Apple slowly moves from ALAC to FLAC as their designated lossless format.
If I do decide to go with ALAC, is Max the best way to handle that?
Yes. I wouldn't know a serious alternative.

Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 12:24 am
by jeff0628
excellent. I guess flac / mp3 it is. I'll check out the flac plugin. All of my mp3's are currently from LAME 3.97 -alt preset extreme. I might play with aac just for listening comparisons against my current mp3's.

Again, thanks for your input.

Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 12:32 am
by Maurits
Just had a quick look at that plugin. I'm not sure it's going to work. It plays OggFLAC but not native FLAC apparently. OggFLAC is the same FLAC but then placed in an Ogg container if I understand well.

Do some googling on FLAC, OggFlac and iTunes because you are certainly not the only one with a lot of FLAC's and a wish to use them in iTunes.

Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:53 am
by jeff0628
Thanks for the follow up. I'll check Google for a FLAC/iTunes plugin. I might wait until Leopard comes out to see how the new version of iTunes handles FLAC. I might convert to ALAC at that time if its not supported.

Is there a better audio player than iTunes for the MAC. I would like to use iTunes if at all possible since it's native to Tiger, but I'm always open for better software.


Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:14 am
by sbooth
Try my player Play - It supports MP3, AAC, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, and many more formats. Another alternative would be Cog.