Going over to the Dark Side?

Oh no! So, I finally succumbed to temptation yesterday and got the new 30GB iPod. When I got it, I figured I would store all my songs in .WAV or Apple lossless. Yesterday I spent 6 hours choosing songs from a variety of disks and loading them into iTunes via Apple lossless. Sounded great. But now I'm getting greedy. I think about all the CDs I have (over 1000 easily), and the fact that the iPod would be used for listening while skiing, flying, or in the car, none of which is an excellent listening environment. I already have a reference music system, and at home I'll be listening mainly to vinyl, with the occasional foray into CDs. Now I'm thinking that I could easily triple or quadruple my storage by using the highest AAC setting (320kBS) instead of Apple lossless for my iPod and store a lot more songs.

tonight I ripped a version of a song in Apple lossless and in AAC. I keep listening back and forth through my powered studio monitors. There is a difference, but it seems slight. Then I think of the tiny earbuds, the listening environment, and I hear the siren song of the dark side of lossy compression calling. Oh no!! Run away!!!

Has anyone else faced this dilema, and what was your solution?
compress the songs. you're not listening critically or even in any environment that would allow you to do such. what's the point of storing music loselessly if you're only passively listening while concentrating on something else? it's background music. do you really want hi-rez muzak?
I listen to a Sony hard drive system in my car, which rips using a 10-1 lossy compression scheme known as ATRAC (Sony's answer to MP3). Sounds great while tooling down the road.

It sounds like you're trying to unconvince yourself of somthing you're already convinced of -- that AAC will be fun, convenient and good-enough sounding for what you need at the time.

I spoke to the immortal Henry Kloss (of KLH fame) in the 1980's. He was a non-believer in a lot of the audiophile stuff (fancy wire) etc., but never mocked those who found value in them. "it's a personal entertainment medium." I.e., if it feels right for you, it is. Words to groove by. ;<)
Hah ha ha.....
The DARK side....
You spineless slave of culture....
Good luck!
Unless you plan on using your hard drive as your main source, it makes sense to copy all your music in AAC format for all the reasons you mentioned.
I use lossless exclusively, but then again i listen using Ultimate Ears UE10 Pros and with those theres' a huge difference.
I was just thinking about this and how it relates to the Squeezebox and other such items. Not to hijack here, but if you rip using lossless, can you transfer to your ipod using a more compressed format? Or, put another way, is the compression used for ripping always going to dictate how it will be transferred to ipod?

Again, not trying to hijack, but I think it relates.
Please please please please:

Make the world a better place. Set an example.

DO NOT compress music.

If you are not deaf, there is a huge difference, even in casual applications and environments. I have been attacked in other threads for saying this, but I could very clearly hear the difference between compressed and uncompressed files, when output from my iPod INTO MY CAR STEREO. WHICH WAS A CONVERTIBLE.

Sorry for SHOUTING. But I feel very strongly about this.

I honestly dont know why anyone who thinks otherwise would bother to register on this forum. They could save a lot of time and money by just buying a mini system and/or the Bose cubes at Best Buy.

Again, please DO NOT.
One last thought - ripping as you have already discovered is something of a PITA. Why not rip Lossless - your first foray into PC based audio is unlikely to be your last - something about the sound quality, the random access etc.

Hard drive space is the cheapest commodity in the equation... as long as you are going to invest the time, you may as well think a step or two ahead - you already know you don't want to do 1,000+ CDs again.
Cwlondon, many of us think otherwise because the burden of proof is on our side. Please provide some evidence of your fantastic hearing and sound system in you convertible. Specifically, use the foobar ABX test--post the results here. Also please be sure to let us know the codec and presets used for your mp3's and the settings you're currently running in EAC. And I'll even make it easier--you can do this on your main system. Then we can discuss this issue using at least some semblence of logic and (I know these forums often run from this...) science.

Arafel, congratulations on actually listening and being honest in what you hear. I'm sorry, but you will probably be mocked for that. I picked up a set of Shure e5c's for my ipod and I have never ever been able to tell the slightest difference between APS mp3 and lossless. Even on my main system, using the method that Cwlondon's hopefully going to wow us with, I can have never been able to consistantly identify the source in a blind listening test. Hint: neither has any one else to any statistical significance--ever. Perhaps Cwlondon will be the first...

All that being said--I was in a similar situation as you. I have a few thousand albums, wanted them all ripped to my computer and was largely content with APS or APX mp3. However I still ripped to FLAC (and bought a whole bunch of hard drives). My reason was simply that this ripping process took me months and I NEVER want to do it again. If you keep them in lossless format, you can transcode to another future lossless format with no loss in quality if you current format is ever to become extinct. APS mp3 is great for now, but if you try to transcode a lossy format into something else, you will start to see some serious sound degredation.

If you're not specifically looking for equipment purchases, I would recommend you head over to hydrogenaudio, if you haven't already, and ask this same question over there. They would be better served to help you make this decision and help you pick a lossless format for archiving your collection to disc
I'm with cw in the sense that if you are going to take the time to rip, you might as well rip in a format you can use in a home system, since I think things are irreversibly headed that direction. I'll differ in that I like taking my little iPod nano, and using AAC doesn't bother me in that context--just for biking, airplanes, and skiing. My solution is maintaining a pair of libraries, one in Apple Lossless for home use, and one in AAC for iPod use. You can ask iTunes to downconvert whatever format you normally use into AAC on the fly when it syncs to the iPod, but that can take a looooong time. Easier to just maintain dual libraries in my book.
Thanks, Edesilva, for the answer of that itunes can downconvert on the fly. I will be ripping lossless from now on!
It really does take a *long* time to do it on the fly... If I load my iPod Nano with a thousand songs, I'd have to start it the night before I wanted to fly...
I decided to go with AAC at 320. I plan to keep my CDs, so I don't see the point in ripping in lossless. Although, I guess it could be nice from the point of view of storage. All the racks for my CDs and vinyl and DVDs take up a LOT of space. Of course, before going to that system I'd have to get a nice AD converter. And, having done some work with engineers in pro audio environments, I'm a little skeptical of a computer for playback, as it is such a noisy piece of gear.

Anyway, I'm in the middle of a week long project ripping all the songs I want into the computer. Even at 320 kbps, I'm at almost 20 gigs and still have about 100 more CDs to load. Damn!
For those thinking of external drives, I just ran across this URL--haven't used it, but the theory sounds good and it may quiet down your environment:

>Edsilva i recently purchased a U24 and plugged it into my stereo, right now im using its own little onboard DAC and the music is much qieter than from my cd player. it says in the instruction for the Waveterminal that the analog out is -10dB, any way to go around that? or it is supposed to be that way.

one more thing - if you use a separate DAC, lets say some Theta, than the DACs output level determines the loudness, right?
Anything single ended (RCA) is -10. Always been that way. Works fine over reasonable length cable runs such as you are likely to have in a home rig.

Balanced outputs (XLRs) run at +4 - its the format that the pro's use for all low level work (mics etc) Among other things, it makes it easier to do those 100'+ runs.

Had Waveterminal gone balanced they would not have been able to deliver the size package or the price point. That is what is so interesting about that product - it sounds so good and does so much for so little. It targets the low end/prosumer studio market - that's why it has the 1/4" phono jacks
Ckorody is spot on as far as my understanding goes...

And, to your last point, the bits going over spdif are just bits--the level is going to be determined by your DAC's output, regardless of the input. (Unless, of course, you have something fiddling with gain in the digital domain like kmixer--you don't want that).
thanks guys, it just kinda puts me off a bit when i compare my sony cd player with u24 and the cd is so much louder. i don't have a preamp with a possibility to regulate the level of individual inputs, ah well.
Pitdog -

The Waveterminal is powered by the USB bus - so not a whole lot there to run an amplifier section. What is interesting - and may make you feel a bit better - is that all the modded Squeezebox and iPods coming out of RedWine and Bolder have 1V outputs as opposed to the the 2.83+V outputs we normall expect to see. Again very little juice running around in those things. And quite a drop in level.

In my experience cables are very important in this kind of situation.

Beyond that you could go to a passive preamp to attenuate (reduce) the outputs of your other gear to match. Or an active preamp to kick the signal up. At that point it all gets very component dependent and you might do better to simply use the U24 as a bridge to a DAC