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What is the best file format/bit rate to rip tracks from a CD into iTunes? [closed]

What is the best file format/bit rate to rip tracks from a CD into iTunes? [closed]

I know it sounds subjective but its not meant to be. I am very new to ripping CD's using iTunes, and I'm confused over the different formats available. I have read Wikipedia regarding the AAC and Apple Lossless Formats (ALAC).

Asked by: Guest | Views: 50
Total answers/comments: 5
Guest [Entry]

"As you say, this is subjective. Technically you almost always loose quality if you rip to AAC/MP3 (it is called 'lossy' compression for a reason). The question is whether it is audible and whether you care. So ultimately it is up to you.

I have ripped all of my CDs as lossless to play them over my fancy home stereo. I would never want to listen to lossy files on it as they all tend to sound 'harsher' than CDs. For my iPod, however, I often do use compressed files (the iPod audio is actually that bad ;-). AAC is considered to be a better algorithm than MP3, meaning that it is supposed to achieve better compression at the same quality level. I have not tested it extensively and it is likely subtle. There is extensive debate around all kinds of other formats, but to be honest I doubt you should care.

The bigger choice to make is the bit rate. On my iPod I carry around AAC 192/256 kbit/s files which is perfectly fine for casual on the go listening. I thought 128 kbit/s and below is really compromising quality, but I haven't bothered looking for the 'perfect' cut-off, something which will depend on the song anyway. There is enough heated debate going around on the Internet on this topic as well which you can dip into if you like."
Guest [Entry]

"Given a choice between AAC and MP3, I'd go with MP3 simply because of the broader hardware/software support.

On the subject of quality, LAME is likely the premier MP3 encoder these days, and while I don't actually know how it compares to whatever MP3 encoder is built into iTunes, I trust LAME to do a good job with whatever music I throw at it. Using it will involve some extra steps though, compared to just letting iTunes do everything."
Guest [Entry]

"""What is the Best iTunes Audio Format to use during ripping from CD?""

If you're talking about the best in terms of quality, it's not subjective.

ALAC is the best - by definition, it's lossless.

Why people bother with mp3 these days I'll never know. It's not 1998 anymore people!"
Guest [Entry]

Variable Bit Rate MP3s are your best bet. They will play on all hardware (unlike AAC/M4A) and they are small enough. Hard disks are cheap, re-ripping your CDs takes time. At high enough quality, most people can't tell the difference between MP3s, AACs or CDs.
Guest [Entry]

I have had discussions with the engineers who worked on iTunes and AAC. These are people I know, who say that people shouldn't be able to hear the difference between a bit rate of 224 and anything higher (including CDs). At least one of these guys has incredible hearing. (MP3 is a different matter.) (They actually said 208 would likely be indistinguishable from CDs, but allow for certain passages in some very high quality recordings of pianos, hence 224.)