You can play FLAC files on your mac, but iTunes doesn't support it. You'll need to use a different music player.
My choice would be to get the WAV format. Once you have that, you can transcode to any other format you're interested.
Most of my ripped CDs are in AIFF, except for the special ones that get a WAV copy.
FLAC, as noted, is not supported by iTunes. I use Pure Music, which does support FLAC via iTunes by creating a pointer to the files. I believe the only caveat is that once you import the FLAC files, you can't move them without breaking the link. Not a big deal; I just keep all FLACs in a special folder.
You could go with WAV, but there goes your metadata.
I would personally go with FLAC, it is the most prevalent of the audio codecs and has very good support from all mfgrs. except Apple - big surprise there, huh?
Nonetheless, using a program like dbPowerAmp allows one to transcode from/to virtually any codec to another. And it can do so as a batch, so you can set it to begin transcoding an entire library when you go to bed and it will be done when you get up in the morning...
The advice above (although accurate and well-intentioned) doesn't take your whole situation into account.
Audirvana+ in iTunes integrated mode will allow for you to play either FLAC or WAV files from within the iTunes interface. I suggest FLAC over WAV as far as download format to reduce hassle re: metadata. However, to make these files playable you need to add them to your Audirvana+ library. This creates a small pointer file that shows in iTunes and tricks iTunes into finding the FLAC or WAV files and playing them.
If you are running A+ version 1.x, this was the common way to go. However, version 2.x is a different world, because A+ now includes full database functionality when run WITHOUT iTunes integrated mode, and the sonic benefits are substantial. Granted, your might have some hiccups making the change to running without integrated mode, but IMHO it's worth it for:
- better sound quality
- no need to convert file formats
- no need add iTunes track to A+ library as described above
Downsides: Need separate new remote app for iphone/ipad control (works great, but I am still more comfortable with Apple Remote app)
Messy to restore some missing artwork after making the changes
If you just want to stick w/what you've got now, you can convert the FLACs to AIFF before you add them to your iTunes library using MAX or something similar, but that won't take advantage of the sonic improvements recently made with A+ 2.2 etc. Cheers,
I am concerned with sound quality and so after listening and comparing wav was my choice. Many of us tend to make these choices based on the current state of our systems which at this stage may not be revealing enough to show up the differences. Even so, I'd listen and decide for myself.
I would also add too that how you rip, including what software you rip with along with how optimized your computer is, is critically important too. Believe me, it's painful to find out your errors after you have ripped over 6k cds. IME, some of these overlooked details can bring as much dividends as major component upgrades.
I started with my entire CD library ripped to wav; sounded better than FLAC for local hard drive play. However once you try to stream music WAV sucks big time for meta data tagging and no sound difference versus streaming lossless FLAC; all mys music is now FLAC. Since AIFF is an Apple only, evil empire format I'll never use it...
For myself, I download WAV because I think it sounds better than FLAC. Once I have the files on my hard drive, I transcode to FLAC and MP-3. From there, I put the WAV files on a backup HD, so if there's ever a problem, I can go back to them and start over. This way, you don't have to make any sacrifices.
Thank you all for your responses. This is very helpful since I'd like to try some downloads from sound liaison.
Hew, very true. We need bitperfect rips.
For Mac, free app XLD guarantees bitperfect ripping, and points out errors if they occur. Sometimes cleaning the CD will correct errors found during rips.
Davide, AIFF is Apple created, but not really Apple-only, since most software programs will recognize it. Although I appreciate any "empire-crushing sentiment", when ripping my library I found that AIFF was a better compromise because of having family members who are Apple enthusiasts, apple-friendly car stereo etc. AIFF let me stay with lossless sonics and less conversions to do when sharing with family on or off shared network. Cheers,
Just fyi, AIFF and WAV are universally accepted files by
recording studios. AIFF is not limited to Apple.
Use whatever suits your home system.
My understanding is that AIFF and WAV are the same when it comes to bit rate but between the two, the bits are just arranged differently. Therefore the sonic quality between WAV and AIFF is indiscernible.
I use A+ 2.0 and I have WAV, AIFF and DSD files which play through my Ayre QB9 DSD DAC and I have no complaints.
I did however purchase Yate for tagging and organizing files and that probably minimized the frequency of migraine headaches (really).
Sounds like we are doing similar using A+2.x and YATE for tagging. A+ sounds much better with V2 and without iTunes integrated mode!
Still would argue that AIFF is advantageous over WAV just for it's better compatibility with ipods, etc. I've had trouble with WAV files not keeping needed tags. Nothing like moving a bunch of tracks onto your portable or phone and then seeing no titles when you want to select your tracks. Cheers,
If anyone is using Linux, or is willing to try it, Puddletag is the best tagger I've seen so far. If you do a lot of tagging, its definitely worth the effort.
Sbank, what's V2? Yes agreed, I use A+ as a stand alone player and my settings are perfect.
Audirvana+ latest versions: 2.1 and later 2.2. When Damien introduced version 2.1, he built in major database functionality that now allows for control of your library without running in the "iTunes Integrated mode". Without iTunes running the sound quality improvement is large! Now there is a good interface so most users won't miss the iTunes navigation.
Many users still have their Audirvana running version 1.5, and I suggest they upgrade. There are a couple of discussion threads on computeraudiophile.com discussing improvement suggestions (many already implemented) etc. The A+ designer reads those threads regularly if you run into any issues or want to suggest something for the future. Cheers,
Yes Spencer, I agree but I didn't realize that V was for version. Anyhow, the new A+ (and there was just an upgrade a couple of days ago) is better than the 1.5 version however, it was possible to drop a list from iTunes into the A+ 1.5 menu and run A+ alone.
The sound of the newer A+ is slightly better than that of the 1.5 so I also recommend the upgrade but found that once I downloaded V2, that I also needed Yate.
I went with FLAC. Open source standard that can also be converted if need be. I’m not big on proprietary formats. Using something like EAC (Exact Audio Copy)
you can make bit perfect lossless compressed copies for use virtually anywyere. If you want pristine bit-for-bit duplicates that don’t take up drive space needlessly, it’s the way to go.
Apple prejudices aside, I believe that AIFF gives equally good quality to WAV but with the huge advantage of including metadata.
Having ripped around a 1000 of my own CDs in AIFF, you don’t even want to think of the mess that WAV can create in term of organizing your collection.