Apple Lossless v FLAC

  • 24 January 2013
  • 41 replies
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I have been using a MacBook to create Apple Lossless on a NAS for SONOS and my PC to create MP3s for various Ipods and Car systems.

I want to start using Media Monkey to create FLAC on the NAS while continuing with ITunes for MP3

I have Ripped every CD twice and do this with each new CD producing two libraries.

Is there a more efficient way to use one PC to create two libraries one for NAS and one for Ipods?

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41 replies

If you rip to lossless the first time around you never need to rip again. Simply downconvert to lossy for portable devices.

I don't use MediaMonkey but AFAIK it should convert from FLAC to MP3 for you, and it will also sync your iDevices.

If you're desperate to keep using iTunes then import the MP3s there.
Probably too late on this occasion but to say I have had a few problems using Media Monkey to rip to FLAC. I got no error messages and only found out when playing back. Have now gone back to dbPoweramp which verifies and flags up bad rips.
Well, I did say I'm not a MM user. I've always used EAC.
Userlevel 2
I will try to down convert the next few albums.

I have listened to a large proportion of my collection with no errors. Fingers crossed I don't have to lose another week of my life!!
Apple Lossless is the Apple version of FLAC. I also have used FLAC (with Foobar2000), but haven't heard a difference. If you want to use iTunes you can easily convert from AL to MP3 for iPxxx use.

Maybe you know all this already !
Fingers crossed I don't have to lose another week of my life!!

For this, the most important thing is to have adequate and reliable back ups, and take care of them to make sure they work when you need them.
Userlevel 2
Apple Lossless is the Apple version of FLAC. I also have used FLAC (with Foobar2000), but haven't heard a difference. If you want to use iTunes you can easily convert from AL to MP3 for iPxxx use.

Maybe you know all this already !


The problem here is that to use two different settings and libraries, two PCs are needed.

I now use one PC and two applications each set up for different purposes. I have most of my library still in AL. I only started in FLAC when I decided to use one machine.

I have the library on a NAS and have set up a daily copy to a second drive on the NAS.

Think I a m fairly happy that this is the best way. Thanks for all the input here.
The problem here is that to use two different settings and libraries, two PCs are needed.

I now use one PC and two applications each set up for different purposes. I have most of my library still in AL. I only started in FLAC when I decided to use one machine.

I have the library on a NAS and have set up a daily copy to a second drive on the NAS.

Think I a m fairly happy that this is the best way. Thanks for all the input here.


Just as an experiment I set up a method to use one PC to create an AL and a MP3 copy of a file into two different folders. Seems to work OK, but is a bit tedious. Doesn't have to be done file by file but can be block selected so only one set of fiddly steps is possible.
Userlevel 2
I used Media Monkey to imprt a new obscure (but brilliant) CD - Inchfad Drive by Johny Corrigan. Media Monkey couldn't find the Tags!

Came up with my final solution. I created a separate user on the PC and setup Itunes for lossless on the NAS, while keeping my MP3 settings in my user account. It's perfect!!

FLAC on a NAS and MP3 on 1 computer!
Userlevel 1
I used Media Monkey to imprt a new obscure (but brilliant) CD - Inchfad Drive by Johny Corrigan. Media Monkey couldn't find the Tags!

Came up with my final solution. I created a separate user on the PC and setup Itunes for lossless on the NAS, while keeping my MP3 settings in my user account. It's perfect!!

FLAC on a NAS and MP3 on 1 computer!


Geezer, really? dbPowerAmp's CD ripper has the option to output to multiple formats, set output to "Multi-Encoder" then in the Encoder tab add as many formats as you want, you can even set different folder names for each format, so they don't all end up in the same place (allowing you to just point Sonos to the "FLAC" folder, for example).

Only one caveat: I've never actually tried it, I guess it'll longer for each track but must be easier than logging in and out each time...
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Only one caveat: I've never actually tried it, I guess it'll longer for each track but must be easier than logging in and out each time...I use the multi-rip feature all the time, putting FLAC into one directory tree and mp3 into another. I have not timed it to see how much the second encoding slows things down, but my encoding time is much less than my ripping time anyway...
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The thing is though. I love the way Itunes Tags. Especially the Artwork. Simply copy and paste.

It also seems to be easier to auto tag. I have a few obscure albums, which in Mediamonkey you have to tag manually!.

This is working great now.
Userlevel 1
The thing is though. I love the way Itunes Tags. Especially the Artwork. Simply copy and paste.

Trouble is it's the way iTunes tags artwork that usually causes problems in Sonos (iTunes doesn't do it in a standard way).

It also seems to be easier to auto tag. I have a few obscure albums, which in Mediamonkey you have to tag manually!.


I never mentioned MediaMonkey, the only time I've ever found dbPowerAmp not to know an album was when it was brand-new (it was delivered to me a couple of days before the official release date, I don't know why).

This is working great now.


If you say so, sounds a horribly clunky way of doing it to me.
Trouble is it's the way iTunes tags artwork that usually causes problems in Sonos (iTunes doesn't do it in a standard way).

As smcclelland indicated, he is performing a 'Copy-&-Paste' operation within iTunes (not the 'Get Album Artwork' process).

The Copy-&-Paste operation directly embedded the Artwork within the music file Tags, and bypassed the default (read: crappy) iTunes Artwork storage process.

One can still use the 'Get Album Artwork' facility within iTunes, but for Sonos to see the Artwork, one will need to drag the Artwork to the Desktop, make sure the filesize does not violate the Sonos parameters and then 'Paste' it back into the files directly.

I still find that, most times, the iTunes Artwork is quite good and fairly easy to obtain. YMMV.

This still works within iTunes up to v10.7 but I have not moved to v11 as yet, so I have no direct experience if anything has changed with the most recent iTunes version.

Best of Luck
Userlevel 2
As smcclelland indicated, he is performing a 'Copy-&-Paste' operation within iTunes (not the 'Get Album Artwork' process).

The Copy-&-Paste operation directly embedded the Artwork within the music file Tags, and bypassed the default (read: crappy) iTunes Artwork storage process.

One can still use the 'Get Album Artwork' facility within iTunes, but for Sonos to see the Artwork, one will need to drag the Artwork to the Desktop, make sure the filesize does not violate the Sonos parameters and then 'Paste' it back into the files directly.




I have tried (and paid for) various programs. My solution allows me easily create Lossless for Sonos and posterity and MP3 for all my Ipods in cars etc.

I find Itunes is the easiest way to manually choose artwork. I'm a bit fussy about the Sonos library being perfect!
I have tried (and paid for) various programs. My solution allows me easily create Lossless for Sonos and posterity and MP3 for all my Ipods in cars etc.

I find Itunes is the easiest way to manually choose artwork. I'm a bit fussy about the Sonos library being perfect!


I'm at least as fussy, if not more so, and I've not yet moved away from using iTunes. Nor am I seriously considering it as of now. I understand iTunes' 'quirks' and can avoid them, or they do not impact my needs.

Contrary to the opinions of a subset of 'iTunes Detractors' on these Forums, I have had no problems with the program over the years. It had been a bit bloated several years ago, but a DB engine re-work made it much better.

I find iTunes to be full-featured enough for my needs. Apple's deliberately 'simple' iTunes manual belies the features and functions that are 'under the hood'. If one know where to look, there is a wealth of user-tips to customize iTunes via it's options, and/or hack iTunes via user-written scripts.

As I have posted several times here, I tend to wait for a time before updating the program with the newest version. It's best to watch the Apple Forums and see if a 'fatal flaw' or program redesign has issues - and are they software induced or 'user created'.

FYI - If iTunes cannot find the proper Album Art, or it's just not decent enough for your needs, try AlbumArtExchange. They have free user-provided Artwork in 600, 800, and 1,000 sized high quality (usually) jpegs. One can find them at: http://www.albumartexchange.com/

Best of Luck
Userlevel 2
I agree. I have also been using ITunes since the first Ipod and am very familiar with it. I have NEVER been unable to find artwork using Google. I choose around 300 x 300 to 500 x 500. It all works great. Cut and Paste and away you go.

Definitely the least clunky solution for two libraries, using Ipods and Sonos.
Userlevel 1
I'm a bit fussy about the Sonos library being perfect!
I'm at least as fussy, if not more so,


How can you get more fussy than perfect?
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I have NEVER been unable to find artwork using Google.

I don't know what you're doing then but I've never failed to get artwork using Google, where required (which isn't often).
How can you get more fussy than perfect?

There is no such thing as 'perfect'. Anything can be improved. Or, better tailored to an individual's needs.

Judging by smcclelland response, my 'fussiness' extends past his 300 to 500 sized Artwork to a minimum 600x600 sized images.

They display very nicely on the larger Desktop screens and look wonderful on the iPad display.

Best of Luck
I agree. I have also been using ITunes since the first Ipod and am very familiar with it. I have NEVER been unable to find artwork using Google. I choose around 300 x 300 to 500 x 500. It all works great. Cut and Paste and away you go.

Definitely the least clunky solution for two libraries, using Ipods and Sonos.


I run two distinct iTunes Libraries as well. One as Lossless (ALAC) for Sonos, another as Lossy (256VBR AAC) for iDevices. As the initial ripping and tagging is done when creating the Lossless files, the conversion to a Lossy counterpart is simple and requires no additional Artwork or Tagging effort. I assume your conversion from ALAC to MP3 is no different.

Currently, iTunes will return a 600x600 Album Artwork with a filesize anywhere between 60kb to 600kb. It does need to be 'pulled' out of the program to be 1) evaluated for the Sonos filesize limit, and 2) pasted directly into the music file(s) of that album so that it is properly embedded into the Tags. I find this easier than searching Google for quality images. YMMV

At present, I only resort to Google when I cannot find a suitable high-quality (or any) Album Artwork pic through my two primary avenues. If you have some larger hi-res display controllers for Sonos (20"+ PC Monitors, Tablets, etc.), I find that it does make a significant difference. Enough of one that I recently replaced all my 200x200 images from 2005 and later to high-quality 600x600 pics. Not a big change on the small iPhone screen (usually), but much better on an iPad and larger screens.

If you have some free time and the inclination, give both iTunes and AlbumArtExchange a small try. You may be pleasantly surprised. ...Or you may find that you now 'need' to upgrade your current art :D

Generally, AlbunArtExchange has the best collection of HQ, user-corrected images in various sizes (600 to 1,000 pixels). They can easily be reduced down in pixel size to 500x500 if desired (as can any image).

Some of the Santana and Pink Floyd covers are truly works of art. Better than what iTunes returns and significantly better than the Google searches I have done. Although they may be found in the Google return, one is usually overwhelmed with cover choices to muddle through.

Just an alternative for one to consider.

Best of Luck
Userlevel 2
Thanks Buegie

I see what you mean on the ipad. Most of my artwork is OK at 500 x 500, which is what I aim for. I find that any larger slows down scrolling through it.

After doing the google then copy and paste 5 million times I am a dab hand. Hehe

We all have different priorities! I will try your combo though.
Apple Lossless is the Apple version of FLAC. I also have used FLAC (with Foobar2000), but haven't heard a difference. If you want to use iTunes you can easily convert from AL to MP3 for iPxxx use.

Maybe you know all this already !


What a horribly inaccurate statement. Flac open source being compared to alac closed source (or does apple claim alac as open source now thinking its worth using)?

If you owned no apple products you'd have no reason whatsoever to use alac (and shouldn't).
What a horribly inaccurate statement. Flac open source being compared to alac closed source (or does apple claim alac as open source now thinking its worth using)?

If you owned no apple products you'd have no reason whatsoever to use alac (and shouldn't).


While the last part is perhaps valid, what is inaccurate in comparing FLAC and ALAC from an audio point of view? Both deliver sound of exactly the same quality. Why would anyone interested in music care about the closed nature of ALAC?
Both deliver sound of exactly the same quality. Why would anyone interested in music care about the closed nature of ALAC?

I, personally, think it's very important. ALAC locks you into the Apple ecosystem and makes it quite difficult to convert to a different format.

Suppose, in a few years time, Apple decide to stop supporting the current ALAC format on newer systems. Unless they provide a way to migrate your music to a new format, you end up with a library that is unusable.

FLAC doesn't lock you in any way, shape, or form and the Open Source nature of it means that, whilst someone has a copy of the source code (and there could easily be millions of copies of it worldwide) it will exist.

In 100 years time it will probably still be possible to decode and play FLAC files.

Cheers,

Keith