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  • Rontox
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Is it wise to encode some bands/artists in ALAC and leave some in a lo
I have about 200-300 artists/bands that I consider favourites. I am planning to get an iPod Classic, as my 16GB Sony Walkman NWZ-S639F has run out of space (with a lossy format). The stuff I have on there doesn't even come close to the amount of music on my computer, which is why I want to put ALL of it on the iPod when I get it.

One thing I've wanted to make use of is ALAC or Apple Lossless, because even if I can't hear the difference on most things, I might as well use it since the option is available. I am going to be using a pair of Sennheiser CX-300 II Precision headphones with the iPod, so headphones aren't a problem.

However, if I were to encode the thousands of songs/albums that I have in lossless, it would most definetely not fit, as I am also going to put on about 20GB of video content as well. So, if I encode some of the bands/artists in lossless (ie. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead, Queens Of The Stone Age, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath etc.) and some in lossy (320kbps AAC) (ie. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arctic Monkeys, Kanye West, OutKast, The Raconteurs, Stone Temple Pilots etc.) is that a good idea? Or should I encode all of them in lossy?

All help appreciated. All I want to know is whether encoding some in lossless and leaving the rest in high-quality lossy is a good or bad idea. It's not that I like the ones in lossless any more than the ones in lossy, it's just that the ones I'm planning to encode in lossless tend to have had longer careers and have had more albums.
  • Last Edit: 22 June, 2009, 07:53:17 AM by Rontox

  • Soap
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Is it wise to encode some bands/artists in ALAC and leave some in a lo
Reply #1
One thing I've wanted to make use of is ALAC or Apple Lossless, because even if I can't hear the difference on most things, I might as well use it since the option is available.

I couldn't agree more.  There are countless threads on here discussing the value of lossless even if you can't hear the difference.
Though there is no need to have lossless on your iPod if you can't hear the difference.
If I were you I would rip lossless, and put a transcoded AAC/MP3 copy on your iPod.  No need to maintain two libraries, transcode as needed.  No need to fill the iPod today, you'll want that space eventually.
  • Last Edit: 22 June, 2009, 08:19:25 AM by Soap
Creature of habit.

  • odigg
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Is it wise to encode some bands/artists in ALAC and leave some in a lo
Reply #2
All help appreciated. All I want to know is whether encoding some in lossless and leaving the rest in high-quality lossy is a good or bad idea. albums.


You have to answer this question for yourself.  Can you hear the difference between lossless and lossy?  Personally, I have all my favorite music encoded in lossless and lossy, and all the rest of my music just is lossy.  The lossless basically just sits on my hard drive and is rarely used except when I want to make lossy copies of it or do a blind ABX.  The lossy music ends up on my portable music player.

Lossless is great for archival.  For practical everyday usage on a portable player, I don't bother with it.
  • Last Edit: 22 June, 2009, 08:25:45 AM by odigg

  • twostar
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Is it wise to encode some bands/artists in ALAC and leave some in a lo
Reply #3
There is effort involved in deciding which artists/albums should be lossless on your iPod. You may not like an artist/album enough to keep a lossless copy on your iPod but down the road you might change your mind. More effort. My advice--transcode to the high bitrate MP3 and be done with it.

Another big plus is the battery life savings.

  • Rontox
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Is it wise to encode some bands/artists in ALAC and leave some in a lo
Reply #4
There is effort involved in deciding which artists/albums should be lossless on your iPod. You may not like an artist/album enough to keep a lossless copy on your iPod but down the road you might change your mind. More effort. My advice--transcode to the high bitrate MP3 and be done with it.

Another big plus is the battery life savings.


Hmm...I'm still unsure. Again, it is my decision at the end of the day, and I've decided to stick with my original plan- I'm only encoding a few select artists/bands in Apple Lossless, and leaving the rest in lossy. I will have the space to do it, since for a lot of artists I have just one or two albums, and the 20GB of video doesn't affect this. I'm going to encode in lossless the artists for which I have a significant amount of albums and full discographies (b-sides, live tracks, everything) and leave the most recent artists (indie bands, hip-hop artists) in 320kbps AAC.

By the way, does anyone know how much the battery life is affected by Apple Lossless? I've heard that the iPod Classic has about 32 hours of battery life for music with lossy files, so how much does it have with lossless?
  • Last Edit: 22 June, 2009, 09:49:16 AM by Rontox

  • odyssey
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Is it wise to encode some bands/artists in ALAC and leave some in a lo
Reply #5
Personally I would never use lossless on a portable device, because I really CAN'T hear any difference. I use lossless for all my music at home where diskspace are cheap and use a transcoded selection for use on work and on my portable.

To boil it all down: Use lossy and use ABX to determine which level of compression that suits you without nasty artefacts.

When I know I have a lossless copy at home, IF the rare occurence of an artefact would show, I'm not concerned, as I don't have to re-rip and everything.
Can't wait for a HD-AAC encoder :P

Is it wise to encode some bands/artists in ALAC and leave some in a lo
Reply #6
Like many others have suggested, it's best to keep everything in lossless on your computer so you always have a perfect copy to transcode from, but transcode it to HQ lossy for use on your portable device. You most certainly won't be able to hear the difference, but even if you do you always have a lossless backup on your computer!

So, for the sake of the storage space of your portable device, I think it's best for you to use lossy format of your choice for everything that goes on the portable device. There's really no point in wasting the storage space on something you really can't hear and, like I've said, even if you do end up hearing it or for any other reason whatsoever decide that you'd rather use lossless on the portable device too, you'll always have the lossless copy of it on your computer and transfering that to your device is really no trouble.

  • Rontox
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Is it wise to encode some bands/artists in ALAC and leave some in a lo
Reply #7
Personally I would never use lossless on a portable device, because I really CAN'T hear any difference. I use lossless for all my music at home where diskspace are cheap and use a transcoded selection for use on work and on my portable.

To boil it all down: Use lossy and use ABX to determine which level of compression that suits you without nasty artefacts.

When I know I have a lossless copy at home, IF the rare occurence of an artefact would show, I'm not concerned, as I don't have to re-rip and everything.


Thanks for your suggestion, but 120GB is loads, and personally, I'm going to take advantage of the space that's there and use it. Besides, at home the only other place I listen to music is on my computer, and that is LOWER QUALITY than the Classic, because I'm using cheap PC 'cans' for headphones (Sony MDR-CD280s, which have no bass whatsoever). I'm going to use ALAC for only some music, and for the majority of it, I'll use the highest quality AAC possible. I've done ABX tests, and can't tell the difference, but I may as well use it since it's there. Also, I'm using good headphones. Thanks anyway, but I'll encode my more prolific artists/bands in ALAC, and encode the rest in lossy. Thanks.

  • Rontox
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Is it wise to encode some bands/artists in ALAC and leave some in a lo
Reply #8
Like many others have suggested, it's best to keep everything in lossless on your computer so you always have a perfect copy to transcode from, but transcode it to HQ lossy for use on your portable device. You most certainly won't be able to hear the difference, but even if you do you always have a lossless backup on your computer!

So, for the sake of the storage space of your portable device, I think it's best for you to use lossy format of your choice for everything that goes on the portable device. There's really no point in wasting the storage space on something you really can't hear and, like I've said, even if you do end up hearing it or for any other reason whatsoever decide that you'd rather use lossless on the portable device too, you'll always have the lossless copy of it on your computer and transfering that to your device is really no trouble.


I get you. Upon doing some more ABX's, I can't hear a dfference, but since the Classic is what I'll be using the most to listen to music, and since I'm using good headphones, I'll do some in lossless and some in lossy. I'm only talking about the most prolific artists here, and not all of them, so that makes for about 20/30% in lossless, and the rest in high-quality lossy. I know I'm being a bit stubborn about this, but I'm no audiophile, I'm just taking advantage of what's available to me.

  • odyssey
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Is it wise to encode some bands/artists in ALAC and leave some in a lo
Reply #9
The reason to use lossless at home is not because speakers may be better, but because it's convenient and a true copy of the source. 120GB is extremely cheap these days, so that's not even an argument. How much does it cost compared to the amount you have spent on your CD's?  I have 1TB music and still think it's cheap.

Another thing: You might upgrade your listening environment someday - Maybe it's better to make the lossless copys from start instead of regretting it later.
Can't wait for a HD-AAC encoder :P

  • carpman
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Is it wise to encode some bands/artists in ALAC and leave some in a lo
Reply #10
Just to add another option. If I was in your situation:

for PC [all music]: A paranoid LossyWAV setting > FLAC or TAK or WavPack  (because with the bands you've mentioned you'll save a shitload of space and you'll have a transparent transcodeable source).

for DAP [as necessary]: Then transcode to AAC for your DAP (at whatever bitrate is good for you, probably way less than 320 kbps).

Just a thought.

C.

PC = TAK + LossyWAV  ::  Portable = Lame MP3

Is it wise to encode some bands/artists in ALAC and leave some in a lo
Reply #11
I get you. Upon doing some more ABX's, I can't hear a dfference, but since the Classic is what I'll be using the most to listen to music, and since I'm using good headphones, I'll do some in lossless and some in lossy. I'm only talking about the most prolific artists here, and not all of them, so that makes for about 20/30% in lossless, and the rest in high-quality lossy. I know I'm being a bit stubborn about this, but I'm no audiophile, I'm just taking advantage of what's available to me.

Hey I don't think you're stubborn and I'm not angry with you - we're just talking and throwing suggestions, it's your decision.

Just to add another option. If I was in your situation:

for PC [all music]: A paranoid LossyWAV setting > FLAC or TAK or WavPack  (because with the bands you've mentioned you'll save a shitload of space and you'll have a transparent transcodeable source).

for DAP [as necessary]: Then transcode to AAC for your DAP (at whatever bitrate is good for you, probably way less than 320 kbps).

I still wouldn't use anything lossy for the main backup, not even LossyWAV.

I agree, though, that transcoding the entire music library with LossyWAV and then with FLAC -8 -b 512 and using that on the portable device is way better than using pure FLAC for some and standard lossy for others.

  • carpman
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Is it wise to encode some bands/artists in ALAC and leave some in a lo
Reply #12
I still wouldn't use anything lossy for the main backup, not even LossyWAV.

I know what you mean, I used to think the same, but after a while I couldn't think of a single reason why not. I ended up choosing a very defensive setting -6. No one has got close to ABX-ing -5 (has anyone done -2.5?). The only reason a portion of my collection ended up as pure lossless (solo piano mainly) is because the gains with lossyWAV were minimal.

Perhaps one day I'll regret it - afterall, I may well be wrong. But I can't (and so far no one else can) hear the difference - and surely that's the fundemental issue.

That said, I certainly wouldn't (for one moment) consider anyone foolish for choosing a purely lossless archive - if space / money is absolutely no issue whatsoever, then why not. But the OP did say they were considering only a portion of their collection for lossless, so perhaps space is relevant.

C.
PC = TAK + LossyWAV  ::  Portable = Lame MP3

Is it wise to encode some bands/artists in ALAC and leave some in a lo
Reply #13
I know what you mean, I used to think the same, but after a while I couldn't think of a single reason why not. I ended up choosing a very defensive setting -6. No one has got close to ABX-ing -5 (has anyone done -2.5?). The only reason a portion of my collection ended up as pure lossless (solo piano mainly) is because the gains with lossyWAV were minimal.

Perhaps one day I'll regret it - afterall, I may well be wrong. But I can't (and so far no one else can) hear the difference - and surely that's the fundemental issue.

I just like being able to transcode from the pure original, be it to another lossless format or to a lossy format (because, when it comes to transcoding to lossy, I like having the smallest loss possible and preprocessing with LossyWAV can only add to the loss). Storage space is cheap enough today so I really can afford it.

That said, I certainly wouldn't (for one moment) consider anyone foolish for choosing a purely lossless archive - if space / money is absolutely no issue whatsoever, then why not. But the OP did say they were considering only a portion of their collection for lossless, so perhaps space is relevant.

He was talking about storage space on his portable device. He uses lossless for storage on his PC (or at least that's what I gathered).

  • carpman
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  • Developer
Is it wise to encode some bands/artists in ALAC and leave some in a lo
Reply #14
That said, I certainly wouldn't (for one moment) consider anyone foolish for choosing a purely lossless archive - if space / money is absolutely no issue whatsoever, then why not. But the OP did say they were considering only a portion of their collection for lossless, so perhaps space is relevant.

He was talking about storage space on his portable device. He uses lossless for storage on his PC (or at least that's what I gathered).

No, you're absolutely right, my apologies to you and the OP. I should scan less. I had assumed because this was a lossy v. lossless issue that he was pondering both HDD and DAP side of the equation. Whoops.

In that case surely 100% lossy is no problem and 320 kbps is overkill.

C.
PC = TAK + LossyWAV  ::  Portable = Lame MP3

Is it wise to encode some bands/artists in ALAC and leave some in a lo
Reply #15
In that case surely 100% lossy is no problem and 320 kbps is overkill.

I wouldn't really call that an overkill, though. Given a portable device good enough and earphones/headphones good enough, for certain kind of material anything below 320 kbps might not be enough. But I would certainly like to re-propose what you have proposed earlier: LossyWAV + FLAC -8 -b 512. That way, you can expect bit-rates of in-between 400 and 700, so all in all the average bit-rate would be the same as if you used pure lossless for some and 320 kbps for the others, but those which would have been transcoded to lossy will have much better sound quality.

  • uart
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Is it wise to encode some bands/artists in ALAC and leave some in a lo
Reply #16
In that case surely 100% lossy is no problem and 320 kbps is overkill.

I wouldn't really call that an overkill, though. Given a portable device good enough and earphones/headphones good enough, for certain kind of material anything below 320 kbps might not be enough. But I would certainly like to re-propose what you have proposed earlier: LossyWAV + FLAC -8 -b 512. That way, you can expect bit-rates of in-between 400 and 700, so all in all the average bit-rate would be the same as if you used pure lossless for some and 320 kbps for the others, but those which would have been transcoded to lossy will have much better sound quality.


Quote
So, if I encode some of the bands/artists in lossless (ie. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead, Queens Of The Stone Age, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath etc.)

OP loves classic rock (some of my favourites too), that's not dfficult to encode material.

  • Rontox
  • [*]
Is it wise to encode some bands/artists in ALAC and leave some in a lo
Reply #17
I know what you mean, I used to think the same, but after a while I couldn't think of a single reason why not. I ended up choosing a very defensive setting -6. No one has got close to ABX-ing -5 (has anyone done -2.5?). The only reason a portion of my collection ended up as pure lossless (solo piano mainly) is because the gains with lossyWAV were minimal.

Perhaps one day I'll regret it - afterall, I may well be wrong. But I can't (and so far no one else can) hear the difference - and surely that's the fundemental issue.

I just like being able to transcode from the pure original, be it to another lossless format or to a lossy format (because, when it comes to transcoding to lossy, I like having the smallest loss possible and preprocessing with LossyWAV can only add to the loss). Storage space is cheap enough today so I really can afford it.

That said, I certainly wouldn't (for one moment) consider anyone foolish for choosing a purely lossless archive - if space / money is absolutely no issue whatsoever, then why not. But the OP did say they were considering only a portion of their collection for lossless, so perhaps space is relevant.

He was talking about storage space on his portable device. He uses lossless for storage on his PC (or at least that's what I gathered).


Yup, I've got it all in lossless on my computer. It's just for the portable 

  • Rontox
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Is it wise to encode some bands/artists in ALAC and leave some in a lo
Reply #18
Well thanks for all the answers folks. I've got everything on my computer in FLAC already, and I'm going to do what I originally planned of putting some in lossless and some in lossy. Should I ever run out of space, I can quite easily transcode into lossy within a few minutes and save some space that way, but I think it'll take a long time until the full 120GB is full 

Thanks for everyone's answers, but yeah I'll do what I said I'd do. I've got everything in lossless anyway, and since the DAP is going to be my main equipment for listening to music, I think that what I'm doing is a good idea. Anyway, thanks to everyone.