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Thread: Audiophile output on Mac OSX

  1. #31
    Join Date: Jun 2008

    Location: Oakland, California, USA

    Posts: 19

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    I tried a little last night - imported some Rickie Lee Jones live material from a concert I attended - and on that material the 48K upsampled AIFF files were preferable. If I told the Mac Digital output to send 44.1 to my DAC insdtead of 48, the difference disappeared. I didn't succeed in determining if the 48K output was overall superior to the 44.1, and will leave that for later, because there is a question I find more important to address first.

    The next thing I want to know, and I'm going to contact a mate at iTunes to help connect me with an Apple engineer, is how to get a TRUE bit-for-bit copy of a CD onto the mac and into iTunes - no upsampling, and no REsampling. I also tested files imported into iTunes at 44.1KHz 16 bit (Redbook CD standard, should be {skyquotes}THE SAME{/skyquotes} as the original, right?) versus files copied from the CD through drag and drop in the finder, then played back in iTunes.

    These sounded very different. I am presuming that the drag and drop copy is the "correct" file, and that iTunes rejiggered the bits in the direct import. But that's what I want to find out. If I can make an exact copy of my CDs on the hard disk, that leaves the future open for resampling/upsampling or whatever intentional jiggering is determined to be advantageous without the prospect of losing something or the effort of going back to the original CD. But as poor as CDs are, I am loathe to change the material when I archive it on my hard disk - even if it's better some of the time, you know what I mean?

  2. #32
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: Bristol, UK

    Posts: 9,947
    I'm Nick.

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    I use xACT for for the Mac, which is considered by many to be the best CD ripper on OS X.. Exact Audio Copy does a similar job on the PC. EAC even accounts for drive offset and is considered the de-facto standard in music trading circles...

    xACT: http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/21952
    EAC: http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/

    Definitely more reliable than the bog-standard iTunes rip (which just uses the Finder functionality so I've seen elsewhere). Finder copies are not at all reliable - no error correction or 'oversampling' / retrying whatsoever, so be careful of relying on it!
    Last edited by Beechwoods; 03-06-2008 at 19:38.

  3. #33
    Join Date: Jun 2008

    Location: Oakland, California, USA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beechwoods View Post
    I use xACT for for the Mac,
    ...
    Definitely more reliable than the bog-standard iTunes rip (which just uses the Finder functionality so I've seen elsewhere). ...
    Thanks Beechwoods - I will check out xACT. FWIW I find the assertion that iTunes importing uses 'finder functionality' dubious - based on my experience so far there is a consistent difference of detail/sharpness in finder copies not present in iTunes imports...
    Last edited by barnz; 03-06-2008 at 22:21.

  4. #34
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Long Stratton, Norfolk

    Posts: 4,236
    I'm Rob.

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    I've only ever imported directly.
    .
    Evolution: One man's preposterous and non-sensical hypothesis based on the death of his daughter, now sadly taught as fact. Evidence to the contrary.

  5. #35
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: Bristol, UK

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    Quote Originally Posted by Filterlab View Post
    I've only ever imported directly and never dragged files into iTunes so I couldn't comment. What I will say though is that there is definitely an option for utilising error correction whilst importing on iTunes, it's a tick-box in fact.
    You're right - hence my reference to the 'bog-standard' iTunes import functionality (by default error correction is off). Give xACT a go and let me know what you think... it goes about doing 'secure' rips in quite a different way to iTunes, and produces a log so you have a far better indication of what it's found while it's done the rip...

  6. #36
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Long Stratton, Norfolk

    Posts: 4,236
    I'm Rob.

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    I will have a look at xACT, cheers Beechy!
    .
    Evolution: One man's preposterous and non-sensical hypothesis based on the death of his daughter, now sadly taught as fact. Evidence to the contrary.

  7. #37
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: Bristol, UK

    Posts: 9,947
    I'm Nick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barnz View Post
    Thanks Beechwoods - I will check out xACT. FWIW I find the assertion that iTunes importing uses 'finder functionality' dubious - based on my experience so far there is a consistent difference of detail/sharpness in finder copies not present in iTunes imports...
    I wonder (=conjecture on my part!) whether this is something to do with the iTunes 'sound enhancer' option, or something else going on to sweeten the sound... I remember finding some discussion on Finder versus iTunes versus CDParanoia (used by xACT) a while back but can't for the life of me find it now! Ain't that typical. Ah well, let your ears do the analysis!

  8. #38
    Join Date: Jun 2008

    Location: Oakland, California, USA

    Posts: 19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beechwoods View Post
    I wonder (=conjecture on my part!) whether this is something to do with the iTunes 'sound enhancer' option, or something else going on to sweeten the sound...
    I hope not - I have certainly done my best to turn off anything that can be turned off...

    I downloaded xAct last night when I got home (on a PC at work at the mo')

    and recognized it as an app I have tried and failed to make use of in the past. Frankly it's just too darn compli-mi-cated for my record spinning brain.

    Any English-based tips on using it to copy a CD bit-for-bit?

  9. #39
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: Bristol, UK

    Posts: 9,947
    I'm Nick.

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    Ok...

    1. Open xACT and click on the 'Util' tab (Pic 1)

    2. Click on the 'Add' button and find the CD you want to rip in the Finder window. Highlight all the tracks you want to rip and then click 'Add Files'. (Pic 2)

    3. Click 'Execute' (Pic 3)

    4. In the window that opens, find the directory you want to save the ripped files to. Or create a new folder and save them there. Click 'Choose'. (Pic 4)

    5. xACT starts working. (Pic 5)

    It will take a while. While it's running it's not responsive and there's no way to stop it. This is because it's actually running as a little Unix job in the background, and only 'reports back' to the GUI frontend when it's finished. You can see where it's got to by looking in the folder the files are saved to.
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    Last edited by Beechwoods; 04-06-2008 at 19:31.

  10. #40
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: Bristol, UK

    Posts: 9,947
    I'm Nick.

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    You get a Log back when it's finished, like this one...

    Scroll down it for all sorts of useful and interesting stuff
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