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mp3, aac, lossless, compression rates

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Travelightly, Feb 17, 2007.

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  1. Travelightly

    Travelightly Thread Starter

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    I'm wanting to download my CD's to an external hard drive and have been told about various file options and compression rates. Totally uneducated on how to get these programs working with windows media player - even getting the programs is something of a mystery for me!

    I'm thinking I'd like to put my CD's on as lossless to my computer then upload them to my Archos 504 as some sort of compressed files. Music quality is very important to me.

    Is there somewhere where information would be available to walk me through the steps to do this? If I could get it, I'd have it done with pictures! When there is too much geekspeak, I become lost and utterly confused and confounded and have to run to the ole computer dictionary just to 'sort of' make sense of what is being talked about.
     
  2. telegramsam

    telegramsam

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    Well, the answer to you question would be awfully long.

    Check this out: http://flac.sourceforge.net/

    Flac is an open source (a complicated way of saying free/community supported) compression format that is completely lossless. You CAN use it with WMP or Winamp. It really was a Linux thing, but I did a little reading there and it looks like it will work with Windows. There is a long FAQ there for you to dig through. Hopefully that helps.
     
  3. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    There is a FLAC plugin for Winamp, and I suspect other players as well.
     
  4. Travelightly

    Travelightly Thread Starter

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    Thanks for pointing me in a direction... though it leaves me clacking away with one hand, trying to figure out all the different steps suggested and combining which program with which, scratching my head in near total wonderment with the other hand .

    I suppose it's called learning.
    ;-)
    ;-)
     
  5. DeLorean

    DeLorean

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    When you put your music from CD onto the computer it will (unless you go to great lengths to prevent it) compress it there and then but you can decide on a lossy codec like mp3 or lossless like flac.

    The difference between lossy and lossless means nothing compared to the end result as depending on how much compression is used when encoding the file (128kbps being the rate of choice, 196kbps being equal to CD) both lossy and lossless will sound more or less identical. If you wanted to later decode that file back into a CD or other analogue format the flac would give you back what you started with but the mp3 would only give back the same quality as it was compressed to.

    196kilobits per second of audio is argued as being the smallest you can compress to before audibly the quality drops below CD quality, so if you encode the same CD in both mp3 and flac to 196kbps you could in theory decode both back to CD and noone would know the difference. If you encoded at 56kbps however, both files would sound like the music was being heard through a telephone except that the flac file could be decoded back into full CD quality but the MP3 file could only decode to that telephone quality as that is how lossy compression works.

    In a nutshell MP3 is a better compresser because it throws away more and more data until you are sacrificing quality for size whereas FLAC is more flexible in that it will hold onto some redundant data that may be needed to later re-enhance the file.

    In truth neither are truly 'lossless' though as unlike typical zip files and similar compression techniques that use complex algorithms to find data holes - music, movies and pictures are using every ounce of their space already so any attempt to compress them WILL result in losing something. You just won't notice what ;)
     
  6. Travelightly

    Travelightly Thread Starter

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    you can decide on a lossy codec like mp3 or lossless like flac <<<

    Thanks for the input.

    I'm just starting to put the programs together to do what I'd like with a couple additional plugins. If I add flac to my computer system will it automatically integrate with winamp which is what I'd maybe like to use? I'm also looking at foobar 2000 and EAC. At this point I'm on a steep learning curve and not real sure of what I'm doing, except as I stated in my last post: learning:)
     
  7. stantley

    stantley

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    If one of your goals is to transfer music to your Archos 504, then I would just use mp3 since it doesn't support FLAC. Just to get started, use Window Media Player to rip a CD to mp3 files and try a few different bitrates and see if you can notice a difference in quality. Compare the file sizes and that will tell about how many tracks you can fit on the Archos.

    I use a bitrate of 128 kbps, but if you want a little higher quality go with 192 kbps.
     
  8. Travelightly

    Travelightly Thread Starter

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    One of the reasons I was going to use FLAC is that I heard Archos DID support it. Hmmmm.
     
  9. stantley

    stantley

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  10. Travelightly

    Travelightly Thread Starter

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  11. stantley

    stantley

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    Like I said you can use WMP to get started. Figure out what bitrate you want to use.

    If you want something a little more advanced get CDex or AudioGrabber.
     
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