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Lossless format vs storage space

Question : I've read that I should copy my CDs to the computer in a lossless format instead of MP3. Wouldn't that get me the best possible audio quality ?

Answer : It would, but you might need a news hard drive first. Higher-quality lossless formats such as FLAC ( Free Lossless Audio Codec ), Apple Lossless and Windows Media Audio Lossless don't discard any sonic details. But they need a lot more disc space -- 300MB or more per CD, about three times as much space as "lossy" MP3, AAC and Windows Media Audio formats.

This may not matter on a desktop computer with hundreds of gigabytes free, but it will on laptops or portable music players ( which might not accept a lossless format in the first place). An iPod that can store 1,000 MP3s or AACs will max out at 300 or so lossless files.

On a cheap stereo, much less an iPod, non-audiophiles may not even hear a difference between lossy and a lossless file.

For more discriminating listening, try raising the "bit rate" of a lossy format from the usual 128Kbps ( kilobits per second ) to 160Kbps or 192Kbps.

To adjust the bit rate in iTunes, open its Preferences window ( via the Edit menu on Windows, the iTunes menu on a Mac), click the Advanced tab and then the Importing tab.

In Windows Media Player 11, click the "Rip" heading's drop-down menu.

Storing your music in a lossless format can make sense, however, if you want to keep a master copy of a song for archival purposes -- which you can then copy into whatever lossy format works for you.


Protected WMA file ?

Making sense of codecs

Windows media on a Mac

Lossless format vs storage space

Out of Sync

Listening with Windows Media Player

Playing with Media Player Classic instead

Smoothing out web video

Keeping time in iTunes


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