Does Apple Lossless + iTunes + Windows = Perfect

Hi... I was about to start the process of converting all of my CD's to Apple Lossless in iTunes. I was planning on loading a 60gb iPod with the music as well as purchasing a Squeezebox for home listening, both in Lossless. I am running a Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop with Windows XP.

After doing research on this forum and adioasylum it looks like my project has come to a hault. Apparently, there is something called Kmixer in Windows that upsamples the music when it is recorded. According to users this has a negative effect on the music. Currently, iTunes can't circumvent it. Therefore, it's my understanding that the Apple Lossless copy on my hard drive would be of inferior quality than the CD.

So many questions... Don't know where to begin... I was hoping those with experience in PC audio could address my concerns: (1) The people at Apple say that iTunes with sound better over Mac? (2) I was really wanting to start on this project, should I put it off and let the format wars go on for another year or so? (3) Is all of this not really going to make an audible sound difference?

Please help me clear all of this up...Thanks!
Additonally, (4) is iTunes the only way to get music on an iPod that will retain song informatin (ie. cover art, titlte, etc)? (5) This one is non-audio but video related. I have Mpegs/Divx videos that I have downloaded from the internet over the years (old saturday night live skits, funny commercials, etc.). Would I be able to watch those on the latest iPod video? Would there be some conversion that is required?

Thanks again!
Why not just play the lossless songs from the iPod directly into your stereo? No Kmixer!
A helpful tutorial can be found here:

Here's my understanding to help get you started:

If you're going to burn CDs onto your hard drive and you're using a PC the best software is EAC (exact audio copy) and it's free. The Kmixer in windows has nothing to do with burning your CD, only with playing it back. So if you burn your cds uncompressed with EAC (and you burn using 'test and copy') you're will have secured the music on your computer in the best way possible and don't have to worry about needing to redo it. the files on your hard drive will be exact copies of the tracks on the cd. A tutorial can be found here:

Playing the CDs with a PC: Apparently the way to get around listening through the Kmixer is to download an ASIO driver. It's free. Go to Empirical Audio for info on how to install this and info on all aspects of hard drive audio here: (find the link for computer audio)

Playing the CDs using itunes and or foobar (among others.) Steve at empirical audio (see above link) explains his preferences using these programs. Apparently if you're using a PC, foobar is the way to go for the best sound but i think the difference might be very slight so if using foobar (free on the internet) is a problem for you, just go with itunes. You can always change later and music on your hard drive is never affected.

Ipod. Once you have your music uncompressed on your hard drive you'll probably want to convert it to to lossless for your ipod to save space. in itunes you just drag the music files into the open itunes window and it will do this automatically i think. you might need to alter your settings in the program. the music on your hard drive is uneffected. from itunes you then just drag the music you want onto your ipod.

Im not an expert so use the links above to make sure i'm not giving you incorrect info. the bottom line is that you just want to make sure to burn your music properly the first time and fortunately that's the easiest part. playing back can get more difficult if you're concerned about getting the best performance with a PC but even if you miss a step, it's only a matter of changing settings later when you become more familiar with the process.
I don't know why the empirical audio links didn't work in my above post, but the link is:

Word of warning.

Here's something I'm currently trying to figure out. First of all, when you burn a cd using EAC, make sure to first select 'get information from' under the database tab so the song tracks and artist are listed. itunes seems to do this automatically. If you burn in EAC without doing this, the only remedy i know of is to manually type the information in or burn the cd over again. Maybe there's another way?

When I do burn cds in EAC (making sure I had EAC look up the info for track listing, etc first) and drag the folder into itunes, itunes doesn't recognize the artist so the tracks aren't put in alphabetical order by artist. I must be doing something wrong, but what? Any help?

Also, when I do burn using itunes (as opposed to EAC) if it's a store bought compilation cd, the songs get scattered and are listed alphabetically by artist so it's impossible to play the album as a whole. Any help here?

Thank you for taking the time to lay out this information so eloquently. I appreciate it big time! Those links are very informative.

Just to recap, I'll have to have uncompressed EAC files and the same files in Apple Lossless on the external hardrive. Then, I can put them into the iPod whichever way I like... Being that I'm going to use the iPod I believe that I have to move the files into it via iTunes, right? If so, I'd probably just stick with that rather than Foobar. Additionally, I think that I would have to use SlimServer with the SqueezeBox anyway.

Any progress in getting your questions resolved? I wish that I could help.

Thanks again.
I'm supposed to be working so i'm happy to spend the time writing here instead of writing my script. got a dog to walk? i'm there.

Ok, first when you burn a cd uncompressed the files aren't EAC files, they're wav files. EAC is simply the program that burns the cds as wav files. Wav files are said to be the most perfect copies. Steve at Empirical Audio seems to validate this based on his listening experience. (He's got a chart on his website that shows what he found regarding listening with mac vs pc, lossless v. wav, etc.) Apple will no doubt tell you there is no difference between a track burned as a wav file and one burned as an apple lossless file except that the latter is of smaller size so you can store more songs on your ipod and computer. Being so concerned with sound and not wanting to ever have to discover apple was wrong and thereby having to reburn my music, i'm going to stick with burning wav files only. The reason I suggested burning in Wav and also lossless was to have the 'best' copies on your computer for computer playback (wav) and get copies of them as lossless files to be able to put more songs on the limited ipod space as possible. However, it requires careful cataloging (you could burn every cd in wav and then create a playlist called, let's say "Lossless" in itunes, drag the wav files into that list and convert those to lossless (you simply highlight the tracks and using the advanced tab click 'convert to apple lossless' and it's done automatically for you. Then use that playlist to drag onto your ipod (again, only to save space.) I just tried this and a song that was 36.2 mb as a wav file became 24.2 as a lossless file so you can do the math and determine if the extra work is worth the space you save.

Of course, if getting as many songs on your ipod isn't that important and you want to be sure to have the absolute best copy of your tracks on your computer, i would just burn everything in wav and if you use itunes that's fine. you can load up your ipod with wav reason to convert (other than to save some space.) if you decide to use foobar (which is said to sound better when using a pc than using itunes with a pc) that's fine too. the music is on your hard drive and doesn't care what program you use to listen to it...change as often as you like and experiment with no harm to your original music files.

One big consideration would be this: If you were to burn your cds as lossless files, can you ever go back to wav files if suddenly everyone starts saying these are indeed better? I don't think you can but i'm not sure. Therefore, the safest bet is to just go wav. that answers your original question #2. don't wait, burn to wav and you can always convert automatically to lossless if you want down the road.

to answer your original quesion #1: steve at empirical audio claims that apple is correct: lossless files heard through a mac sound better than through a pc. again, check the chart at (click on computer audio and scroll down) to see what steve's ears told him during his a/b testing.
From reading related threads on AgoN, I gather that many of us are happy storing our music as Apple Lossless files, because we can't hear any difference between AL and WAV or AIFF. Also, John Atkinson in Stereophile examined files that were converted into AL and then converted back to lossless format and found that the result was a bit perfect copy of the original (article can be found by searching So, there is analytical reassurance, if that helps.

BTW, Apple Lossless files can be converted to WAV files, but there's not much point to it. If one is persuaded that AL is truly lossless, there's no reason to go back to larger files. If one is not, then the reconverted WAV files wouldn't be as good as the originals, so why would you want them?

Kubla, I use iTunes on Macs, so can't address most of your questions. But with respect to compilations, check to see that the "part of a compilation" box is checked in the file's Get Info window. iTunes always stores by artist, except if this box is checked. Then it stores by album title inside a folder called "Compilations."
For more info on aspects of computer audio (including wav v. lossless, etc, you should see this thread:

The posts by Edesilva are particularly helpful, especially the last several which describe moving your audio files around on hard drives.

I think there is an iTunes for dummies book. if they had a foobar for dummies i would buy it
Hello Mdp0430,
You know what, I ask the same question back in march-06.

I found the answer in this thread

In the end, the answer is

Windows iTunes->AX->Toslink->DAC is BIT PERFECT and it does bypass k-mixer

get JRIVER MC 11.1 It plays Apple lossless and outputs ASIO to circumvent KMIXER.

Also, supports multiple databases with 100,000+ entries.

Free to try, $40 after 30 days. IMHO, well worth the money.
I woudl avoid using iTunes with a PC at all. It does not bypass Windows KMIXER. Better off to use iTunes with a MAC or Foobar2000 with a PC.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
I believe you are wrong on this. If you follow the second link, we did a little experiment.
Try the following...
"Disable the sound card. Reboot to safe mode. Delete kmixer.sys to recycle bin so you can restore the file later (need to boot to safemode to delete the file though). Reboot PC then run itunes. See if you can use itunes to play to the remote speakers. This will prove that whether or not the kmixer will do anything to the audio stream. Remember to restore kmixer and re-enable the sound card when done."

and guess what, it did play sound through Airport Express.

So, your claim "iTunes with a PC does not bypass Windows KMIXER" is wrong.