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23

Yes, given that both are mathematically lossless, conversion is lossless too. The reason for this is that the signal can always be reconstructed to its original form when a FLAC/ALAC file is decoded. Thus, they are equivalent and you should experience no loss when transcoding — even when transcoding multiple times. The only error I could imagine would be ...


12

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 ...


7

You can use the md5 muxer in ffmpeg to compute and print the MD5 hash of all input audio (and video) frames without the need for intermediate files. In this example the flac was created from the mp3 (lossy to lossless usually not a recommended procedure, but this is just a demonstration). $ ffmpeg -i left_right.mp3 -map 0:a -f md5 - 2>/dev/null ...


4

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 ...


4

There are scientific studies that prove that MP3s above 256 kbit/s and AACs above 192 kbit/s are not distinguishable from the originals even with good audio equipment. If a human ear can't distinguish the original from the compressed file, I don't care for the parts that were left out, so I don't deem lossless compression particularly useful except for ...


4

Install K-Lite Codec pack. Supported formats include: AVI (.avi .divx) MPEG-PS (.mpeg .mpg .m1v .m2v .mp2v .mpv2 .evo .m2p) MPEG-TS (.ts .m2ts .m2t .mts) Matroska (.mkv .mka) MP4 (.mp4 .m4v .mp4v .mpv4 .k3g .mqv) Ogg (.ogm .ogv .ogg .oga) DVD/VCD/XVCD (.ifo .vob .dat) Flash Video (.flv) QuickTime (.mov .hdmov) RealMedia (.rm .rmvb .ra .ram) 3GP (.3gp ...


3

I'd try converting them both to WAV and comparing their checksums. ffmpeg -i file1.m4a file1.wav ffmpeg -i file2.flac file2.wav md5sum file1.wav md5sum file2.wav rm file?.wav Compare the md5s produced. If they match, congratulations! Your files contain the same data. If they don't match, post the output of those commands here, and I'll look. ...


2

Regarding the ALAC lossless files being huge, the half-size claim is probably relative to either uncompressed files or other lossless formats. Any lossless format is still going to be very large compared to a lossy compression scheme like MP3, Ogg, AAC, etc.


2

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.


2

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 ...


1

For OS X you have XLD. X Lossless Decoder(XLD) is a tool for Mac OS X that is able to decode/convert/play various 'lossless' audio files. The supported audio files can be split into some tracks with cue sheet when decoding. It works on Mac OS X 10.4 and later. XLD is Universal Binary, so it runs natively on both Intel Macs and PPC Macs. XLD can decode ...


1

According to the Wikipedia article, any media player based on libavcodec should be able to encode ALAC. Such players include VLC and MPlayer, both of which have Windows GUIs available. I'm not sure the Windows GUI for MPlayer exposes any transcoding functionality, but I'm almost certain that VLC's GUI can be used for transcoding.


1

The advice on the answers.microsoft.com page: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-sound/apple-lossless-m4a-in-wmp12/d68a4dc0-224a-43b6-adfb-52402106b53b Basically they say install the DC-Bass Source Filter and you should be able to play the files. Unfortunately, if the files have an "m4a" extension they appear in the Other Media ...


1

Have you considered using Ogg Vorbis or FLAC? Why use proprietary codecs, if better (!) open alternatives are available?


1

If you have a Mac (since you have ALAC files), you could also use the open source software Max as nice frontend to do the conversion from and to ALAC/FLAC or many other formats..


1

The easier way is probably to bite the bullet and convert them to a supported format. First, download ffmpeg -- on Windows, get the ZIP package and unpack it. Next, open a command prompt window: cd /d %USERPROFILE%\Music (or change to whatever directory your music is at) mkdir %USERPROFILE%\Desktop\blah This will create a blah folder on your desktop. ...



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