iTunes to play FLAC?

admin_exported

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When i bought my hifi a couple of years ago, i intended to just use my ipod for the music source, but after borrowing a friends cd player to hook up i realised that there was just no fight, the ipod lost massivly in sound quality. so i bought an ARCAM CD72 and i was happy........

but i now find myself using my macbook for music more often than the cd player because its more convinient. I'm new to this so the more detail you can go into the better.

im looking to play flac files through itunes. also what is the best way to rip the discs to the mac. is itunes the best music player for OSX?

i have just dicovered BitPerfect, but im yet to try i out.
 

Lee H

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I'm pretty sure iTunes can't handle Flac. Your best bet may be ALAC (still lossless) or if you're blessed with storage, AIFF
 

Dan Turner

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You can get 3rd party plug-ins to enable FLAC payback in itunes.

If you're ripping to Apple formats like ALAC or AIFF I'm sure iTunes is as good a ripper as any (others may not agree), but Max is an excellent application which can rip to any of the above and transcode one to another. So if you didn't want to experiment with 3rd party plug-ins then you could use Max to convert your FLACs to ALAC or AIFF (no loss of quality as they are all lossless or uncompressed).
 

ID.

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At this stage, rather than worrying about which codecs and rippers will give a slight sonic edge, I think you'd be better off getting a DAC and using the optical digital out on the Mac with that. If this was already your intention, then pretend you never saw this post :silenced:
 
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Anonymous

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There is an application called Fluke that allows iTunes to play Flac, maximum 16/44. The other post mentions Max by Sbooth, Max also has a ripping function. As for Players Decibel, Audirvana, Pure Music and Amarra seem to be popular Mac playback Apps, suited to having an external Dac, Bitperfect is fairly new and has been getting good reviews, note that only Audirvana is free, of the Apps I mentioned. iTunes ripping is fine as long as you enable error correction, the downside is that it will not confirm that the rip is error free, XLD is a popular ripping App for a Mac. I have Windows loaded on my Mac so dBpoweramp is my ripper of choice.

Cheers
 

TALON1973

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There was a computer mag i read couple of week ago that stated the itunes now support hi-def msuic ... although for the life of me i cant find it in my itunes options ..... but i do think teh official stance with apple is that itunes will have hi-def conteent sooner rather than later
 

MajorFubar

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There's a difference though between supporting HD audio content and FLAC support. FLAC isn't necessarily HD, it's just a lossless compression algorithm, as is ALAC, Apple's own equivalent codec. One of the weaknesses of Apple as a whole is their slow acknowledgement of standards outside of their little Apple bubble. So unless anyone knows anything definitely different, I wouldn't expect iTunes' native FLAC support any time soon.

Mind you, even with no FLAC support, wouldn't it be great if all the titles in the iTunes store suddenly became natively available as 24/96 ALAC. Now that'd be something to finally tempt me away from my '80s technology' CD player :)
 

Dan Turner

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TALON1973 said:
There was a computer mag i read couple of week ago that stated the itunes now support hi-def msuic ... although for the life of me i cant find it in my itunes options ..... but i do think teh official stance with apple is that itunes will have hi-def conteent sooner rather than later

Where you say '...itunes now support hi-def music...' - that could mean one of 2 things. The iTunes application already supports hi-def music. If you have a high def file (up to 24bit/192khz) in a file format that iTunes will support e.g. ALAC, AIFF (or WAV if you're using a PC), then iTunes will happily play it. iTunes will not automatically change the sample rate settings of your output device, so you may need to do that manually when changing between tracks, which is a pain because you have to quit iTunes, change the settings, then re-start iTunes for it to take effect (everytime you switch between tracks with a different sample rate). 3rd party add-ons like Bitperfect will sit in the background and do this automatically for you (on a Mac) - there are many other bits of software that do the same thing.

If you mean downloads available from the iTunes store, then yes at the moment the best you can get is 16 bit 44.1khz @ 256kbps, but rumours abound that hi-def downloads will be introduced, although for now they remain rumours. Fingers crossed!
 

6th.replicant

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iTunes will play 24-bit files to a max of 96kHz, but you need to close iTunes and re-set Audio MIDI Setup, which lives in Applications, then re-open iTunes.

iTunes will also play 176-196kHz files, but the kHz will be capped at 96.

iTunes does not play FLAC because Apple's ALAC (aka Apple Lossless) is in effect the same type of file.

IMHO, best way to convert FLACs is via SBooth's Max, a free DL, which can convert FLACs to AIFF or ALAC.

For example, here's a useful YouTube clip re converting and importing FLAC High-Res To iTunes As AIFF Files (no reason why you can't select ALAC as alternative to AIFF) - clickety
 

AlmaataKZ

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6th.replicant said:
iTunes will play 24-bit files to a max of 96kHz, but you need to close iTunes and re-set Audio MIDI Setup, which lives in Applications, then re-open iTunes.

iTunes will also play 176-196kHz files, but the kHz will be capped at 96.

AFAIK this limitation does not come from itunes but from hardware (opticla spdif output implementation), in other words if the output was capable of 176/192 I think itunes would play and output these sample rates.

e.g. if there is a proprietary 176/192-capable driver with a usb DAC intalled on a mac with itunes, I understand it will output correctly. some info here

http://www.usbdacs.com/hs24192/hs24192.html
 

6th.replicant

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AlmaataKZ said:
6th.replicant said:
iTunes will play 24-bit files to a max of 96kHz, but you need to close iTunes and re-set Audio MIDI Setup, which lives in Applications, then re-open iTunes.

iTunes will also play 176-196kHz files, but the kHz will be capped at 96.

AFAIK this limitation does not come from itunes but from hardware (opticla spdif output implementation), in other words if the output was capable of 176/192 I think itunes would play and output these sample rates.

e.g. if there is a proprietary 176/192-capable driver with a usb DAC intalled on a mac with itunes, I understand it will output correctly. some info here

http://www.usbdacs.com/hs24192/hs24192.html

Correct! :)

And my comment re a 96kHz limit is all the more gormless, considering I own/use an M2Tech HiFace that, umm, enables iTunes to output at 192kHz via coax :roll:
 

steve_1979

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MajorFubar said:
Mind you, even with no FLAC support, wouldn't it be great if all the titles in the iTunes store suddenly became natively available as 24/96 ALAC.

If that ever happens I'd be an instant Apple convert and would happily spend ££££
 
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Anonymous

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Hi 6th.replicant,

How does the M2TECH hiface sound compared to the Arcam CD37 ?. And how does it compare to any sources used through the rDAC.

I also have the hiface, but used with windows via Foobar 2000, there is a component addition for foobar that allows kernel streaming with windows, which allows bit perfect playing of all formats including FLAC, so any downloads from Linn etc are played bit perfect and at correct native sample rate upto the M2TEC max capability of 192Khz. Unfortunatly the max my DAC in my TAG Maclaren AV32R can do is 96Khz, but still sounds pretty good at only CD quality sample rates, have yet to try higher resultion tracks, but hoping to do soon. Im sure there must be similar for the MAC.

Jelly
 
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Anonymous

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Hi 6th.replicant,

How does the M2TECH hiface sound compared to the Arcam CD37 ?. And how does it compare to any sources used through the rDAC.

I also have the hiface, but used with windows via Foobar 2000, there is a component addition for foobar that allows kernel streaming with windows, which allows bit perfect playing of all formats including FLAC, so any downloads from Linn etc are played bit perfect and at correct native sample rate upto the M2TEC max capability of 192Khz. Unfortunatly the max my DAC in my TAG Maclaren AV32R can do is 96Khz, but still sounds pretty good at only CD quality sample rates, have yet to try higher resultion tracks, but hoping to do soon. Im sure there must be similar for the MAC.

Jelly
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi 6th.replicant,

How does the M2TECH hiface sound compared to the Arcam CD37 ?. And how does it compare to any sources used through the rDAC.

I also have the hiface, but used with windows via Foobar 2000, there is a component addition for foobar that allows kernel streaming with windows, which allows bit perfect playing of all formats including FLAC, so any downloads from Linn etc are played bit perfect and at correct native sample rate upto the M2TEC max capability of 192Khz. Unfortunatly the max my DAC in my TAG Maclaren AV32R can do is 96Khz, but still sounds pretty good at only CD quality sample rates, have yet to try higher resultion tracks, but hoping to do soon. Im sure there must be similar for the MAC.

Jelly
 

soulsonic34

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I too have a MAC and like yourself wanted to play FLAC files.

This easily achievable by downloading the porgram called Songbird (http://getsongbird.com/) which not only plays FLAC but OGG as well. It's User Interface is reminscent of iTunes and has the ability to access your iTunes Library. The Songbird application also has bulit-in functionality to last.fm detailing artist biography and future gigs.

I use Songbird to rip CDs into FLAC and then rip the same CD again using iTunes for MP3 (320 kps) so that the song can be transferred to my IPOD for portability.

Like everyhting else, there are negatives ... it's slower that iTunes especially if like myself you have your iTunes library stored on an external hard-drive, during set-up you have to read the instructions very very carefully as Songbird will completely move your songs from iTunes into its own library leaving your iTunes library void of any songs, start-up is also slower than iTunes.

Overall it is a application definitely worthy of a download as it is clarly more flexible having the ability to manage different muisc formats as well as supporting other audio players in addition to the IPOD. For example, the application recognises SANSA music players which can be auto-synchronised with its library.

Download it now!
 

eternaloptimist

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I store all music on a NAS but keep a FLAC copy and an ALAC copy....

The rationale is that I use iTunes with Audirvana Plus as the "engine" (beautiful sound) using the ALAC files.... If something bizarre happened (would not be the first time iTunes does something weird to tracks), I have a long term FLAC archive which is not typically "touched". I use dBpoweramp to batch convert from FLAC to ALAC (easy and works well). Using Audirvana with iTunes as the controller removes all the Midi issues and just accepting ALAC on Mac (but keeping FLAC for archive) has removed the angst I had about using FLAC.

This is based on the recommendation of the Computeraudiophile.com webmaster and has worked well - can highly recommend this approach as storage is now (relatively) cheap.

Just my 2 cents...
 

Overdose

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'Fluke' is a free program that allows FLAC (not FALC :) ) files, to be imported and played in iTunes.

Converting FLAC to ALAC is one option and this is quite a simple affair if using 'XLD', but it's not the same as getting iTunes to play FLAC.
 

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