It seems to me any "down loaded" format even the so called lossless versions would still be compressed in someway and not allow for the complete frequency range, detail etc. to be carried through. Then when transfered to a C.D. you would end up with a flat lifeless sound. I know when I plug my IPOD into my main rig I can't listen to it very long at normal volumes I can only use it for low level background music.
However I have good succes when coping from C.D. to C.D. using "Record Now" and make an exact copy. To my ears you can't tell the differance between the two disc's, sound stage, timbre, space (air) all seem to be there.
Power amps - Odyssey Audio Mono Blocks Extreme SE's
Preamps - Bryston BP26 and S.F. Line2 SE++
CDP - Cary CD308 (solid state)
SACD/CDP - Sony SCD333ES
Speakers - Paradigm Reference Studio 60V2's
Sub - Paradigm Servo 15v1
Lossless really is lossless, so you won't lose any information.
I haven't used AIFF, but have FLAC and even wav with very good results. I forget what software I use and I'm away from home, so I can't pass that on, but it cost about $30 after the trial ran out.
I have been told, but not tried, that you can make CDs that playback superior to the original if you use more exotic CD stock.
Be sure that your software is not compressing and then decompressing somewhere in the process.
If you check earlier forums you will find that Apple lossless is highly recommended and has been used to make SUPERIOR copies. Perhaps 1x is better? Check the forums out.
I've burned cd's on a Mac platform for years without any of the sonic deficiencies you mention. In spite of the supposed equality to WAV, I never use any lossless format, why bother if you are just ripping a cd copy and aren't archiving the files on your hard drive (in my case.) ? I use only the WAV codec and find that anything burned at 4x or slower sounds as good if not better than the original.
I own a RealityCheck CD Duplicater. Depending on which blank discs you use you will get good to awesome results
I am not sure about Apple lossless, but what has been posted about FLAC is accurate, it is a truly lossless format.
However, major factors to consider:
First, the CD Drive you are ripping with and the mirror of the CD you are ripping from matter. In the PC world the program to use is EAC (exact audio copy) not sure if there is a MAC version of this, you can configure it to focus on quality copies and it logs the master volume level and how effective the rip was, IE what percentage of the bits were accurately captured. Some CD Drives cannot get to 100% so make sure you are using a quality drive to do your rips. Any scratches to the mirror, including small imperfections can affect the data transfer.
Second is media, what you are burning to is important, audio CDs buffer differently than data CDs and therefore what is good for one is not guaranteed to be good for the other.
Finally, to insure a true bit perfect copy you will need to make sure your ripped format preserves sample levels, DB adjustment levels and a CUE file to preserve gaps between tracks.
I have definitely noticed a loss in quality using itunes to make CD copies for my own use on a Mac G4 compared to making direct copies CD to CD using disk mastering software. Exactly as you describe, less sparkle and space in the playback of itunes generated disks compared to original factory burned copies of higher quality recordings. I have had significantly better luck using the program called "Toast" on the Apple to copy disks, and only use itunes to purchase and organize music as single songs versus full albums.
itunes does allow you to make a nice printed CD cover for your burned playlists to put in your jewel cases. Add the color album art if you purchased the music from Apple in the first place or don't mind Apple peaking through your songs lists to fetch the right art for the selected album.
In my experience "Lossless" does not equal no-loss. Better than standard MP3 though.
Rrm and Knownothing, out of curiosity, are you burning with a cd only drive or a cd/dvd superdrive? Are you using desktops or laptops?
Thanks to all for your responses.I feel like I should get an external CD burner(but which one?) and some better CD-Rs(again which ones: music.black,gold???)
Photon:My GE desktop mac has a CR-R/W DVD-ROM drive.BTW how do you burn your Cds on the Mac using WAV-I thought that was for windows?
I have a LaCie external CD-RW drive for burning. Does a great job, but sounds like a jet plane revving up on the runway when it is burning! I use my built in Panasonic Super Drive for the source - this arrangement seems to work very well, but I haven't carefully evaluated the reverse.
I use both PC laptop and Mac G4 desktop unit to burn disks from itunes playlists, desktop only for making disk to disk copies (I never loan out originals or take in the car!)
Question for all: Just downloaded several songs from Apple to my PC laptop and noticed that they are all 128kbps ACC files. I have read that Apple lossless is capable of 256kbps? Does this mean that I am not really using Apple lossless formatting? If not, how do I enable that within itunes on my machine(s)? Does format depend on the native format for the music file from the record label? Different capabilities running on Mac vs PC? Very difficult to get info from Apple on this.
Rrm, To import WAV files, pull down the iTunes menu at the top of the screen, open "preferences," then "advanced," then "burning," and choose "WAV encodeder." I've used Taiyo Yuden (pretty much any disc that is made in Japan is Taiyo Yuden, I think they are the only cd-r manufacturer left in Japan) and Mitsui gold cd-rs to good effect. Every test I've read of cd-r quality says those two are the best. I've found Ebay sellers that sell Mitsui for a good price. I usually just look for whatever "Made in Japan" disc I can find when buying locally and have never been disappointed. The black discs I've tried in the past also sounded good, don't know if they are as archivally stable as the others though. When I use an external burner, I've had very good luck with LaCie burners, both the Porsche design model and the slightly less pricey models. Can't say I've heard any difference between the internal Superdrive in my Powerbook and the Lacies though. I also haven't heard any difference between Toast and iTunes produced discs, both sound great to me. Interesting that these differences are occuring among us.
Some CD players, mostly older ones (weak lasers), have problems playing CDRs (less reflective).
Rega Apollo might be one of them. I found info about it in another Audiogon thread:
"In John Atkinson's recent testing of a Rega Apollo CD player he noted difficulties playing CD-R's. Have Rega Apollo owner's experienced similar difficulties? There are other operational difficulties noted in an earlier Audiogon posting. Is this a flawed design? Have the problems been corrected? An attempt to get an answer from the U.S. distributor went unanswered."