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 Posted:   Apr 1, 2014 - 7:26 AM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

For me, what iTunes (or other library tool, I'm not religious about this) adds is:

1. An easy user interface for editing file/album attributes, such as the album title, artist, art work.

2. An easy way to automatically sync my library with my iPod.

3. An easy way to sort and list what I've got without having to traverse through directories.

Other than that, though, you're right. A tool like iTunes is really just a window on the files you have on your PC.


That's exactly the same for me. Turn on the computer, click on iTunes, rip a CD (& maybe delete some stuff) & finally plug in the ipod to update it. It couldn't be easier, even I can do it.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2014 - 7:44 AM   
 By:   AMAFilmScoreFan   (Member)

"The Apple Mac has a small (about 5% market share) but loyal following of users. I never got into using Macs but the users I talk to always marvel at how everything works together. Yes but, everything has an Apple logo on it. You buy it from Apple, and pay a 20% premium price for it.

As I've stated in earlier posts, I am not an Apple fanboy, I am an open source and scientific computing one. Apple, at least in Steve Jobs' latest incarnation, is a hardware company. To Apple, they make the software predominantly to sell the hardware. The premium that you and others mention is not entirely accurate and needs to be compared on a per-item basis (I've seen cases where Apple was by far the cheapest route for specific configuration and others where the premium was >20%). One example is that Apple typically updates a product, e.g., iMac, and it will keep that hardware fixed for 6+ months until they update it again. What many have found out is that when the products are initially released, the price is actually quite good compared to the market, but because their hardware and prices remain fixed, it loses value as a function of time, i.e., if you buy it right when it comes out, the price may be quite good. What also needs to be taken into account are Mac's depreciation (better than most "PCs") and how long they typically last and are supported by Apple with software updates.

The iPod and iTunes work the same way...it is a closed, all inclusive experience. People love the iPod but they grumble about not being able to get music from other sources.

I have plenty of music purchased through Amazonmp3 on my Apple computers and devices. I have not seen an easy way of purchasing it within iOS, which is what I think you are referring to. I am unsure if this is because of Apple or the other stores. Either way, you can take your iTMS songs onto other devices and bring music from other stores into iOS.

Apple builds closed proprietary devices. The larger marketplace wants open devices (computers, music players, phones) built on industry standards, or at least "de facto" standards. They want to be able to buy software, peripherals, and hardware upgrades from a variety of sources. This competition keeps prices low and drives innovation.

I fail to see how Apple's devices are any more closed or proprietary than its competitors. You mention computers, music players, and phones, so I will address those in that order.

== Computers ==
I will compare Apple to Microsoft here where applicable. GNU/Linux and *BSD are all more open than what Apple and Microsoft provides.
1. Apple computers ship with Unified Extensible Firmware Interface rather than traditional BIOS. This provides a consistent interface that other systems can access and is managed by the Unified EFI Forum. Traditional BIOS are proprietary and cause issues with software freedom; read more about this from the Free Software Foundation [1]. While UEFI is not as open as the FSF would like, it is more so than traditional BIOS, which is still predominantly used by standard "PCs."
2. Apple ships Boot Camp with their Macs which helps users reformat their Macs to use Windows or other operating systems in a single- or multi-boot environment. In short, they are not locking you into your operating system. Microsoft does not provide anything to assist with this and, if anything, somewhat discourages it with how Windows loads. I have had to be creative in several instances getting a Windows "PC" to dual-boot with Linux because of this.
3. The non-graphical core of Apple OS X has been open sourced and released by Apple as Darwin [2]; this also includes their XNU kernel [3]. Not only are they not locking you into their operating system, they're even giving you the source code for the foundation. Microsoft, to my knowledge, has not given anything near this level.
4. Apple provides their developer tools (Xcode) free of charge. They decided their usage of GNU's GCC for the engine wouldn't suit their needs, so they started a new open source project to build better compilers through The LLVM Compiler Infrastructure Project [4], which has led to the LLVM/Clang compilers which are being used by many open source projects. Microsoft began offering versions of Visual Studio for free somewhat recently. While their C# language is open, there are legal issues surrounding competing .NET implementations such as Mono, which Microsoft has tried to be nice with [9] but there is still a cloud of uncertainty. Apple is much more open with their APIs and the leading open source implementation of them has never had legal worries [10].
5. Apple has built the graphical layers of OS X (Quartz) based on PDF (open standard) and OpenGL (open standard). As it pertains to this, Apple has worked with the OpenCL (open standard) group/ vendors for hybrid programming model standardization. Microsoft prefers to control their graphics APIs via DirectX, which is not open and entirely controlled by Microsoft. Moreover, Microsoft stopped supporting OpenGL on Windows as a first-class citizen, i.e., when a program makes an OpenGL call, Windows will convert it to a DirectX one, which, due to translation, results in a performance penalty for using OpenGL.
6. For networking, Apple computers and peripherals can see and communicate with each other via Bonjour (mDNSResponder). Apple open sourced this for others to use as well [5]. Microsoft uses SMB, which Samba, an open source project, has spent a lot of time reverse-engineering to use. It wasn't until SMB 2.0 that Microsoft began to open it up.
7. For printing, Apple bought the rights to CUPS [6], which is the premier printing system for open source operating systems that uses the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP). They kept it open source and have been contributing to it. From my understanding, Windows' printing is still closed.
8. Apple went through a certification process for OS X making it an actual UNIX system, which means it adheres to a set of POSIX standards.
9. Apple, when it was time to build their web browser, built off of the KHTML open source web engine (used in Konquerer for example). They made their changes and have released their version of KHTML dubbed WebKit as open source [7]. Microsoft has not released IE as open source. WebKit has since gone on to become what Google used for Chrome, btw.
10. Apple has made OS X as compatible with Microsoft and open source software as possible. Microsoft has not done a similar route.

I could go on and on, but I think you, and others, should hopefully begin to see the pattern here, which is the Apple OS X is, by far, the most open commercial platform available for consumer-level computers, from the consumer’s point of view. Apple doesn’t license OS X because they make money on their hardware. Since they use compatible hardware and more-open software, this doesn’t lock-in consumers as much as Windows does. Google’s Chrome OS locks the user into cloud services and offerings, which is the least open option.

== Music Players ==
I will compare Apple to Microsoft, Google, and Amazon here where applicable.
1. I am able to play music from any non-DRM-encumbered music store on my iOS music player.
2. I am able to play music from iTMS onto other non-iOS music players.
3. Apple prefers the more-open AAC to MP3, but supports both. Microsoft preferred WMV for the longest while (their own proprietary spin on MPEG-4, Layer 3). Google and Amazon prefer MP3. I think this is because MP3 is supported by more devices than any other format and because LAME, the best MP3 encoder, is open sourced, so it would be easy to use (the Amazonmp3 songs I have were all encoded with LAME). Apple did a lot of work to get their AAC encoders working well (iTunes, according to hydrogenaudio.org, is one of the best AAC encoders for the 128 kbps quality setting they initially defaulted on because of their work doing listening tests). AAC is a more open format and better in the long-term for streaming services but MP3 is the more supported one because of age, although this extra support diminishes as time goes on since very few devices are made anymore that do not support AAC.
4. Apple open-sourced their lossless format ALAC [8]. I am unsure which lossless format Microsoft defaults to. I assume Android plays FLAC.
5. Apple supplies a jukebox for OS X and Windows that encodes and decodes AAC and MP3 and rips CDs. Microsoft supplies Windows Media that only works on Windows. Google and Amazon only, to my knowledge, support apps or web interfaces that play music from their cloud, i.e., no local support for ripping, playing local files, or encoding from WAV/AIFF/CD to a lossy format legally.
6. Apple’s technology for streaming music and videos (Darwin Streaming Server) is open source, so anybody can stream QuickTime and MPEG-4 media on alternative platforms such as Mac, Windows, Linux, and Solaris for free. I am not aware of any similar Google or Microsoft offering, especially since, if memory serves, streaming MP3 files incurs a license cost whereas AAC (MPEG-4) does not.

From this, I would say Apple’s and Google’s ecosystems, from the consumer's perspective, are comparably open. Although, Apple provides more infrastructure and tools to manage the local music (iTunes) or interact with it (Darwin Streaming Server).

== Phones ==
I will compare with Google (Android) where applicable. Everything else pales in comparison, although Mozilla's Firefox OS and Ubuntu's push into smart phones will be the most open options.
1. Apple, with their iPhone, defined what a smart phone is and how it works through a lot of R&D and interface design. This is the "de facto" standard.
2. Apps built for iOS use Objective-C (Apple's preferred language, which they've opened). Apps built with Android use Java (its openness is a topic of debate). To put things in context, Oracle, who owns Java when they bought Sun Microsystems, sued Google over its use of Java in Android. Google won, but since Google is not in control of a lot of Android's core foundation, this points to potential future issues.
3. Android's source is open, however it is not an open project. iOS is neither open nor an open project.
4. Apple's entire software stack is owned and/or influenced by Apple. Android's stack is built off of a lot of components pieced together that all independently operate. Most of them accept patches and code from Google. From this, Apple is in much better position to optimize their environment (for users or developers). This is also why I have read that many developers prefer coding for iOS than Android (I don't think anyone has any statistical irrefutable numbers to back this up), but the few I have spoken to prefer it from a technical standpoint along with a monetary one (iOS App Store generates more revenue than Android Stores).
5. iOS devices only play well with iOS devices. Android devices only play well with Android devices. Windows Mobile devices play well with Windows Mobile devices. None of them play well with each other.
6. Apple does not license iOS. Google has Android open sourced. This gives all of the freedom and openness to the vendor, who can then customize the openness and experience the user ends up with. An example of this is Amazon with their Kindle. Kindle uses Android, however, the only Android store it is allowed to access without hacking is Amazon Appstore. So, in this case, Android makes the hardware and keeps the users in their own store… how is this different than Apple? The Android experience, including openness, a user gets is dependent upon the phone manufacturer and their goals.

From the points I've generated for the phone, I am not sure what I'd say is more open from the consumer’s perspective. Android is more open from a vendor’s perspective.

Ultimately, Apple makes money on hardware (hence Apple wanting to create devices in their ecosystem), Google makes money on ads and data collection (hence Google giving Android away to any vendor with a pulse and giving them a lot of freedom to customize the experience), and Microsoft makes money on software (hence them licensing Windows Mobile OS to phone makers) and they all have structured themselves within these markets accordingly. Please keep in mind that if Android were truly open as some think it is, there would be no market whatsoever for Firefox OS and Ubuntu's push into smart phones. I am not a Google basher, but I do think everyone needs to understand how these companies make money and what their ultimate goals are. Apple licenses a lot of their own code with open source licenses and donates money and infrastructure to open source projects. Google, from what I’ve seen, doesn’t have the open source portfolio that Apple does, however I think they donate more money and resources to open source efforts than Apple. Microsoft is really the only other company that does all 3 categories (computer, music player, phone) other than Apple and Apple is a far more open (from the consumer’s POV) ecosystem than what Microsoft provides.

Apple users are loyal and dedicated. I expect to hear all sorts of defenses of Apple's approach and how they are way better than the PC and anything Microsoft does. OK, no problem. For some segment of the market (5%) Apple fulfills all their needs beautifully. It just occurred to me today that the way they do it in computers, music players, and phones, is by controlling the whole experience."

I think Microsoft does some things very well (e.g., Excel is, hands down, the best spreadsheet application). I think there are some overly loyal users in all camps. To me, there is no perfect ecosystem. I use software services that minimize lock-in (e.g., LibreOffice instead of Microsoft Office until MS supports OpenDocument formats better).

OK...maybe "evil" was overkill. But I don't want them "controlling the whole experience". I want to be able to use other people's software on whatever device I use. Another couple of examples include the inability to see Flash on websites with an iPad or the fact that apps for iPhones must be approved by Apple in a rigorous approval process. Granted, you can get around a lot of this stuff by "cracking" your devices but why should you have to?

There are pros and cons to what you describe. To me, HTML5 (open standard) >> Flash (not open). So, Apple doing that and really forcing people to question their usage of Flash is something that, to me, is better for the internet ecosystem in the long run, especially since there is so much poorly written Flash on the web. Apple did it for control reasons, though, which stem back to a previous experience they had in a similar situation. They went the other route (allowed the software) and what happened was that Apple wanted to update the OS and then when they did, the offending software didn't always keep up-to-date and it would break a lot of the other apps that decided to leverage the offending software. I haven't used Android's store enough to be able to compare to iOS. I don't think the Mac App Store has such stringent requirements FYI. However, these requirements maintain a level of software quality and consistency, which can be considered a pro, too.

If I'm wrong anywhere, or if further discussion is desired, then please reply.

[1] http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/free-bios.html
[2] http://www.puredarwin.org
[3] http://www.opensource.apple.com/source/xnu/xnu-1456.1.26/
[4] http://llvm.org
[5] https://developer.apple.com/opensource/
[6] http://cups.org
[7] http://www.webkit.org
[8] http://alac.macosforge.org
[9] http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2009/07/microsoft-issues-patent-promise-dispels-mono-concerns/
[10] http://www.gnustep.org
[11] http://dss.macosforge.org

 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2014 - 8:02 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

I really hate all things Apple. Mainly because of their evil attempts to make everything as proprietary as possible...resulting in the problems many of you have had in burning CDs from iTunes and other issues.

What examples do you have regarding this? I have my own relevant observations below and would appreciate insight into understanding what I have overlooked since this appears to be a somewhat prevalent attitude towards Apple. Anyways, I have never had a problem burning an audio CD, MP3 CD, or data CD from iTunes and I’ve used it since its inception. Apple leverages the more-open MPEG-4, Layer3 (AAC) codec instead of the older and more patent-encumbered MPEG-1, Layer 3 (MP3) codec. They also provide a free-of-charge digital jukebox that supports Mac _and_ Windows operating systems and pay for your encoding and decoding licenses for both AAC and MP3. They even had an entire “Rip. Mix. Burn.” advertising campaign that drew the ire of the RIAA and others specifically because they made it easy, legal, and free for people to convert their CDs to AAC and MP3. They also created the first successful online digital music store affording customers, in most cases, the option to buy a single track for a song they like rather than an entire album with one song they like and a bunch of filler they don't. I would like to know how this is evil for the consumers or making things proprietary.


Well now that Apple took the optical drive out of their computers it's kinda hard to import or burn CD's.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2014 - 8:13 AM   
 By:   AMAFilmScoreFan   (Member)

Well now that Apple took the optical drive out of their computers it's kinda hard to import or burn CD's.

Apple has a feature called Drive Sharing where a computer without an optical drive can use the optical drive from a computer with one within OS X. Also, Apple sells external drives which is what I use. For my laptop, I prefer this so I can have a much lighter and smaller system in most situations when I don't need an optical drive and then I can always plug one in when needed.

I received a lot of board error messages when I posted a large response a little while ago, so I apologize if it caused any issues with the board.

 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2014 - 8:33 AM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

Well now that Apple took the optical drive out of their computers it's kinda hard to import or burn CD's.

The external optical drive costs you $75. I bought one for my sons when they got laptops, figuring they'd need it. To this day (eight months later), they have never once used it.

 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2014 - 8:39 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Well now that Apple took the optical drive out of their computers it's kinda hard to import or burn CD's.

Apple has a feature called Drive Sharing where a computer without an optical drive can use the optical drive from a computer with one within OS X. Also, Apple sells external drives which is what I use. For my laptop, I prefer this so I can have a much lighter and smaller system in most situations when I don't need an optical drive and then I can always plug one in when needed.

I received a lot of board error messages when I posted a large response a little while ago, so I apologize if it caused any issues with the board.


Well yeah, now Apple wants me to spend more for an optical drive- what used to come with the main package. There stuff is high priced as is. Plus I got to make more space on my desk for an optical drive plus use up another port. Taking features and functions away is a disservice to the consumer.

I loved the stability of the iMac and older user friendly versions of iTunes. But now? They keep taking features out of iTunes (for no good reason like having more than one window open) and I updated an older Mac to Mavericks and it's buggy as hell. Never had that issue before with a Mac OS.

Still prefer their products and software, but I will be hard pressed to decide on a future OS when I need to replace the one I have. Off soap box. wink

No worries with your long post. You didn't do anything wrong. This board uses old software and is a bit buggy at times.

 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2014 - 9:19 AM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

now Apple wants me to spend more for an optical drive- what used to come with the main package. There stuff is high priced as is. Plus I got to make more space on my desk for an optical drive plus use up another port. Taking features and functions away is a disservice to the consumer.

It's not really spending more. The cheapest original iMac (with a CD drive -- it didn't do DVDs) cost the same $1299 that the lowest end iMac costs today. But the original iMac was released in 1998, so in 2014 dollars, that's close to $1900.

Of course, prices on everything change, and technology generally gets more advanced and cheaper. But I personally don't find this a rip-off.

But yes, Apple products are expensive. If you want them, buy them. If not, pay less. Your choice.

When the first iMac came out, it had no floppy drive, and there was much outrage. But Apple bet that that was a dying technology, and they were right. (Maybe they hastened its demise, but does anybody miss the floppy disc?)

 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2014 - 9:26 AM   
 By:   Other Tallguy   (Member)


When the first iMac came out, it had no floppy drive, and there was much outrage. But Apple bet that that was a dying technology, and they were right. (Maybe they hastened its demise, but does anybody miss the floppy disc?)


http://www.gocomics.com/foxtrotclassics/2009/10/21/#.UzroZ4XLJtg

This STILL makes me laugh.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2014 - 9:29 AM   
 By:   AMAFilmScoreFan   (Member)

Well yeah, now Apple wants me to spend more for an optical drive- what used to come with the main package. There stuff is high priced as is. Plus I got to make more space on my desk for an optical drive plus use up another port. Taking features and functions away is a disservice to the consumer.

I loved the stability of the iMac and older user friendly versions of iTunes. But now? They keep taking features out of iTunes (for no good reason like having more than one window open) and I updated an older Mac to Mavericks and it's buggy as hell. Never had that issue before with a Mac OS.

Still prefer their products and software, but I will be hard pressed to decide on a future OS when I need to replace the one I have. Off soap box. wink

No worries with your long post. You didn't do anything wrong. This board uses old software and is a bit buggy at times.


The only thing I use my optical drive for is ripping newly purchased music. Because of this, one external drive meets all of my optical drive needs for the whole household. However, if you use it quite often, I can see how this would not be an ideal situation.

Unfortunately, iTunes, due to its necessity as the front-end to iOS devices, is the most-used piece of Apple software and is the one that most judge Apple by. I say "unfortunately" because it is the least Apple-like. Apple bought the company that originally developed iTunes (I forgot its name or the name of their music player), which is written in C++. Then, as iPods, iPhones, and then iOS gained features, iTunes had to have a lot of things shoehorned in. This makes iTunes, in my opinion, too chaotic and all-encompassing. Since it is not just a digital jukebox, sometimes its focus is not solely on making a better music-playing, music-ripping, or music-managing experience.

So, one thing I would advocate is to look at alternative software that is cross-platform, so you are not locked onto any system and could switch to Linux/BSD or even Windows. One such example is Clementine [1], which I've used sporadically and have heard many rave about. In this scenario, iTunes would only be used as the device to configure iOS and purchase content and Clementine would be used as the primary front-end. This workflow should be achievable, even with letting Clementine organize the music. For instance, I have all of the accounts on my laptop use the same iTunes library and music, that way files aren't duplicated. I do this by creating symbolic links and syncing the iTunes database whenever an account updates it.

[1] http://www.clementine-player.org

 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2014 - 9:33 AM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)


Out of interest, what would the average album size be in lossless?


Average lossless size of a CD rip is around 250mb. When it is a completely full CD worth of data then it can get around 300mb or so. Average size of a mp3 album is 120mb so lossless is only twice as big in general.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2014 - 9:40 AM   
 By:   AMAFilmScoreFan   (Member)

...I updated an older Mac to Mavericks and it's buggy as hell. Never had that issue before with a Mac OS.

I've heard many people mention this. In my own experience, Mavericks has worked well for me, especially with their RAM compression. It was quite common for my computer to create many swapfiles (open up Terminal.app and type `ls -lh /var/vm` to see them and how big they are) and use them, which degrades performance and lessens the life of your drive. With the RAM compression, my laptop has yet to swap. Because of the reports like this, though, of people having issues with Mavericks, I wonder if this is one of the reasons why Mavericks was a free upgrade. I am curious to see if Apple keeps future OS X updates free.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2014 - 9:57 AM   
 By:   AMAFilmScoreFan   (Member)

For those of you who have music already ripped into FLAC or WAV and would like an easy way of converting it to ALAC, you can install FFmpeg and use it to easily transcode; the command to do this for a single file is given below.

ffmpeg -i "file.[flac|wav]" -map_metadata 0 -acodec alac -vn "file.m4a"

If you are on a POSIX system (OS X, Linux/BSD), you can use utilities such as `find` to do this for your _entire_ music collection with a single command (it will search recursively).

cd /path/to/base/directory/of/your/music/files
find . -iname "*.flac" -or -iname "*.wav" -type f -exec ffmpeg -i '{}' -map_metadata 0 -acodec alac -vn '{}'.m4a

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2014 - 10:04 AM   
 By:   AMAFilmScoreFan   (Member)


Out of interest, what would the average album size be in lossless?


Average lossless size of a CD rip is around 250mb. When it is a completely full CD worth of data then it can get around 300mb or so. Average size of a mp3 album is 120mb so lossless is only twice as big in general.


These sizes assume usage of FLAC or ALAC lossless codecs, which compress the data (like ZIP) without any loss of information. One can also rip lossless with WAV or AIFF, which would put a full CD at 800 MB.

 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2014 - 10:16 AM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)


Out of interest, what would the average album size be in lossless?


Average lossless size of a CD rip is around 250mb. When it is a completely full CD worth of data then it can get around 300mb or so. Average size of a mp3 album is 120mb so lossless is only twice as big in general.


These sizes assume usage of FLAC or ALAC lossless codecs, which compress the data (like ZIP) without any loss of information. One can also rip lossless with WAV or AIFF, which would put a full CD at 800 MB.


Yes exactly. Though I don't know why anyone would rip to WAV or AIFF for archiving a collection.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2014 - 10:21 AM   
 By:   AMAFilmScoreFan   (Member)


Out of interest, what would the average album size be in lossless?


Average lossless size of a CD rip is around 250mb. When it is a completely full CD worth of data then it can get around 300mb or so. Average size of a mp3 album is 120mb so lossless is only twice as big in general.


These sizes assume usage of FLAC or ALAC lossless codecs, which compress the data (like ZIP) without any loss of information. One can also rip lossless with WAV or AIFF, which would put a full CD at 800 MB.


Yes exactly. Though I don't know why anyone would rip to WAV or AIFF for archiving a collection.


The only reason I could think of is because each native format (FLAC, ALAC, MP3 via LAME, etc.) comes with an encoder that supports WAV as a source and normally not much else. To go from FLAC to one of these typically requires something more adept to transcoding (FFmpeg, some jukebox software, etc.).

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2014 - 2:52 PM   
 By:   TerraEpon   (Member)



Average lossless size of a CD rip is around 250mb. When it is a completely full CD worth of data then it can get around 300mb or so. Average size of a mp3 album is 120mb so lossless is only twice as big in general.


I've found it's about 300MB to 350MB an hour for a well mastered acoustic release. Louder and/or more electronic discs will be more -- closer to 400MB (FSM's CHiPS discs are just under 80 minutes and all over 500MB, by contrast Mutiny on the Bounty, also close to 80 minutes, are around 425).
Quieter ones, especially solo piano, guitar, or songs can be a lot shorter, and some quiter mono releases can be really small -- sometimes even less than 320kps Mp3 are.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 1, 2014 - 5:29 PM   
 By:   jonathan_little   (Member)

Regarding the whole lossless VS lossy debate: if I was only starting to rip my collection now, I might choose to go with a lossless format.

Of course you can start lossless now. Back when I began ripping about fifteen years ago, I think my computer had about 30GB in total capacity and even ~192kbps MP3s added up pretty fast. Today, the issue is backing up my collection. I have plenty of local storage to help protect against disk failure, human error, and viruses, but the only things that get offsite backups are one-time downloads (e.g. HDTracks purchases.) The remaining "backups" are the discs themselves. For backups to the cloud it takes forever given our terrible asymmetric internet connections in this country. At least cloud storage space is getting cheaper and cheaper.

Someday I will get new rips of those old discs that I encoded with the terrible early Fraunhofer MP3 encoder. Although given that I have dozens of new CDs I need to rip first, I'll probably never catch up enough to revisit the older titles.

The only reason I could think of is because each native format (FLAC, ALAC, MP3 via LAME, etc.) comes with an encoder that supports WAV as a source and normally not much else. To go from FLAC to one of these typically requires something more adept to transcoding (FFmpeg, some jukebox software, etc.).

FLAC is pretty widely supported these days. Both my Bluray player and my receiver can play them back, plus if they couldn't, I could set the DLNA server to decode them on the fly instead. Cars are even adding support, although in the car I usually encode to MP3 since it's such a noisy environment and the extra sound quality doesn't matter. I use winLAME which lets me go directly from FLAC to MP3.

 
 Posted:   Apr 10, 2014 - 2:26 PM   
 By:   Zaku   (Member)

It seems Apple might upgrade its iTunes Store music quality.
"Apple may also be planning to add high resolution audio downloads to iTunes as part of the revamp, allowing users to download lossless 24-bit audio files."

http://www.macrumors.com/2014/04/10/high-definition-itunes-music-downloads/

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 10, 2014 - 9:10 PM   
 By:   TJ   (Member)

You know who I feel most sorry for? Those liner notes writers who spend hours and hours writing informative notes about each and every classic release. And the art designers who's hard work is relegated to a yellow folder on a PC screen (theres more to the art than a 600x600 front cover). Sure they're paid for their work, but it must be frustrating.

iTunes...? Still nope! Ghastly bit of kit.






Here is the download of the new Chandos Rozsa.

Note the superior-to-CD hi-res version. Or the CD-equivalent version if you prefer.

Note the boxes to click at top right, for both hi-res cover artwork (far more than a mere 600x600) and the complete booklet. Click on them and see. They're free. No purchase necessary.

Don't worry about the art designer. That download Chandos imagery is a far better reflection of his/her work than the cheaply printed, sheet-of-toilet paper sized thing that comes with the CD.

http://www.theclassicalshop.net/Details.aspx?CatalogueNumber=CHAN%2010806

No waiting for a week for it to arrive. No shipping costs. No lost mail. No faulty pressings. No cracked jewel cases. No broken sprockets. No scratches. No buckled booklet. Readable (and printable) at any size one prefers. Better sound. Option to buy only the track or tracks one wants. Looks good to me.

Whether one plays it back through iTunes or any of the other (and better) options available is just a matter of choice, like choosing one audio system over another. One doesn't say CDs in general are no good just because a particular brand of audio system isn't to one's liking. Same with downloads.


Not only that, but it's significantly cheaper too. I downloaded that album from Amazon for $8.99. The CD cost $19.99 + shipping + tax.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 10, 2014 - 9:21 PM   
 By:   TJ   (Member)

Somebody asked what we do if something is only released on physical media...obviously you buy the CD, which is what I did with the new Intrada Rozsa recording. I like the convenience of download, but if it's only available as a CD and I am interested in hearing the music, obviously I will buy the CD.

 
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