Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Lossless Audio Formats

I like to rip my CD's to a lossless format so I have:

  • a backup if they get damaged, lost or stolen

  • the freedom to decide (and change my mind) on the audio quality/size trade-offs. I can listen to the lossless version on devices that have enough space and encode into a lossy format where space is limited.
In the past I have used Apple Lossless (ALAC), because iTunes was available on all the computers I used frequently and it was convenient. However, Apple has not publicly released an encoder, so iTunes is the only choice for encoding to ALAC. I do not wish to be restricted like this (tis a bit Microsoft-ish) as managing a music collection can take a fair bit of effort and I don't know what platforms I will use in the future.

I have started to try out FLAC. It is an open source format that seems to compare well with other lossless options.

Also looking at the ripping process, managing tags and album artwork, converting between formats, etc. There are a lot of issues to solve.

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