New ‘Apple Lossless’ encoder in iTunes 4.5 gives CD-quality audio in half the space

iTunes 4.5 users can choose to use different audio formats for any track that you import from CD. iTunes lets you convert your music to MP3s at high bit-rate (320 kbps) for no additional charge. Using AAC or MP3, you can store more than 100 songs in the same amount of space as a single CD.

However, discerning customers and audiophiles want true CD audio, and now iTunes 4.5 can give you that quality with the new Apple Lossless encoder. You

16 Comments

  1. iTunes = HQ Audio….

    A neat idea but the great provider has told me that Apple uses a closed, non-compliant, limited, over-priced, and just an all around bad… format…

    so…

    I will stick with WalMart and MyGreatProvider�
    and be so much better off…

  2. OK, I must be tired, or perhaps my humor/ sarcasm detector needs to be recalibrated. Sure hope Sputnik was only joking…..

    Great news from the iTMS today, maybe uncle Steve will share the exact “over 70,000,000” number, along with pepsi numbers during the call in a couple of hours.

  3. Can you store create mp3 or aac files from these lossless files? If not, then Steve still doesn’t get it. The lossless format allows me to store all my cd’s on a hard drive in its true cd quality sound. Once they are on the hard drive, I should be able to create an mp3 or aac file from them to use in my iPod. Anyone tested this yet to see if you can create an aac file from the lossless file?

    One other thing, is this a proprietary format Apple has created? Or is it flac? If its flac, then I could create ogg vorbis files from it to play on my linux machine.

  4. You can encode or transcode any file in any format to any other format that iTunes supports, provided that the song you want to convert is not protected. This is how it has always been.

    Also, the iPod update adds support for the new lossless format, although the files still take up quite a bit of space compared to AAC. And as far as the claim of files being half the size of AIFF, it may be theoretically possibly, but I just ripped some songs into AIFF and Lossless to compare, and the Lossless only shaved about 5 mb off of each song. My guess is that different types of music may get better results.

  5. “Also, the iPod update adds support for the new lossless format, although the files still take up quite a bit of space compared to AAC. And as far as the claim of files being half the size of AIFF, it may be theoretically possibly, but I just ripped some songs into AIFF and Lossless to compare, and the Lossless only shaved about 5 mb off of each song. My guess is that different types of music may get better results.”

    It looks like Apple is using MPEG-4 ALS for their lossless format. Apparently this lossless format isn’t as capable of compressing the file size down like FLAC is. It would be nice for Apple to get behind some of these open-source projects (ie. Ogg Vorbis, FLAC) instead of dealing with these overly expensive consortiums like Dolby and the MPEG Group.

  6. I’ve read that iTunes will play (but not create) Ogg. Is that right?

    It’s not true that AIFF can be recorded only uncompressed. Wire Tap offers the option of recording in various degrees of compressed AIFF.

  7. Why am I NOT surprised?

    Because I was selling high end hi-fi when CD’s were introduced. I remember all the lies, distortions etc that were claimed for this new medium (not too dissimilar from the M$ sales pitch).

    Anyhow, I also remember how they said that tons of other things besides the music – liner notes, music annotation etc – could also be incuded. Well, if you remove all the unnecessary garbage and record only the music, voil�, and there you have it.

    One thing I never understood about CD’s pathetic encoding standard – that is besides it’s miserably low 48K sampling rate – is why they chose to encode it linearly instead of logarithmically?

    Doing it linearly means that you run out of bits very fast, so they keep the levels down in order not to “overload” (run out of bits) the encoder. That’s the reason that most bands today do analogue recordings and not digital. Analogue, esecially those old huge tube reel to reels, overload gracefully ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  8. absolut_mac: I agree, the encoding is quite low. However, back in ’83, it was probably all that could be handled by silicon without costing a planet or two. “They” probably also figured that 20Khz or so is at the upper limits of human hearing, so why bother going any higher? Harmonics hadn’t been invented ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    Btw, it’s even worse than you think – CD’s are 44.1Khz, not 48Khz. (Whilst current CD’s are 16 bit/44.1Khz, Phillips originally wanted to use 14bit/44.1Khz, but Sony talked them out of it, thank-fully).

  9. Minidisc is everything CD’s should have been – small (and protected), contains text and song info, 10 second buffer, re-recordable, etc. etc. Only thing which sucks – compression.

  10. notatotal sucker,

    Thanks for the correction. I meant to say that generally digital recording is done at 48K, but it is then reduced to 44.1K when it is transcribed to CD’s.

    Besides the low encoding rate, any trascription only increases losses, not unlike changing a TIFF or RAW file format pic to any other format.

    The real sad part is that CD standards, not withstanding huge strides in digital media – audio and otherwise – have remained static and unchanged since its introduction 🙁

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