AIFF vs MP3 files
September 12, 2015 at 9:36 pm #2253921
I currently have all my mp3 audio files converted to AIFF in iTunes. I prefer to sacrifice the additional storage space required on my hard drive to achieve maximum frequency range. Are there any specific reasons I should revert back to MP3 format before importing to Tractor?
DJ TSeptember 13, 2015 at 2:51 am #2254001
Okay.. Am I correct that you have converted your MP3’s into AIFF files before adding them to iTunes? If you have, why? Converting tracks between one format and another more often than not loses data, not adding it. The “lossless” AIFF files will be lower quality than the original MP3’s..
Unless you of course bought lossless files.. Then it would be fine…
There is however no real reason why you would convert to MP3 again before playing tracks in Traktor.. You should though just play the original files you bought.. Conversions never sound as good as the file you downloaded/ripped – you cannot add data once it has been taken away just by converting a file..
bob6397September 13, 2015 at 3:52 am #2254051
I purchased and downloaded mp3s into iTunes. I then used the Convert to AIFF option to increase the file size from 256 to 1411 kbps. If uncompressing the original compressed file does not actually improve the overall sound quality/frequency spectrum, why would this option be available? Do I need to convert back to mp3 to truly retain the maximum sound quality available from the original file?September 13, 2015 at 8:55 am #2254131
Lets explain it in more detail:
To convert digital music data in actual music, you need something called a D/A Converter.
That is usually a piece of hardware in your soundcard. It takes digital data and converts it in a analog signal that can be played through loudspeakers, headphones).
The data which is the input for a D/A Converter is always in wav format. (a bit simplified)
(Some D/A Converter have the ability to decompress mp3, m4a etc. before processing).
Difference between uncompressed and lossy data compression.
Back in the day when harddrive space and internet bandwidth was limited, there was a need to shrink those big wav files to a smaller size. Mp3 does exactly that, but by doing it, it has to remove some data from the original. Its a very complicated algorithm, but in the end it removes those data, that is ‘beyond the auditory resolution ability of most people’.
1. Converting from lossy (mp3, mp4, m4a) data to uncompressed data (wav, flac, aiff):
Increase in filesize, soundquality stays the same. (Can’t get better, the data lost in compression is gone forever)
2. Converting from uncompressed data data to lossy format data:
filesize considerably decreases, you always lose data == sound quality.
3. Converting from lossy data to another lossy data format (e.g. mp3 -> m4a):
filesize changes depending on the format. You even lose more data == sound quality.
But there is a piece of software called Platinum Notes 4 which actually can enhance the quality of your files.
But don’t make the mistake most people do with this program: Input mp3 files and output mp3 files.
Because this is actually the same as my point 3. from above with an additional enhancement process in-between.
(To process the data, Platinum Notes will decompress it (see 1. above), process it, and compress it again)
If you want the best results from Platinum Notes, make sure your output is wav, or preferably Aiff, alac or flac which will preserver your tags.September 13, 2015 at 10:49 am #2254151
DJ Chris BushParticipant
Never transcode from a lossy master – never. Converting mp3 to aif does not change sound quality and uses 10x more disk space. I hope you still have the original mp3 files. Delete all the aif files and use the mp3s. If you transcode back to mp3 using the lossy aif files you degrade sound quality because you’re simply re-encoding mp3 files. You can definitely hear and see the worse quality.
If you want the best sound quality you have to buy lossless tracks. Then you have a master that can be converted to any format you like. WAV and AIFF are a waste of disk space. Use FLAC or ALAC. Same quality but smaller file size.
Personally I convert all my FLACs to ALAC because they play in iTunes and are supported by my DJ software.
Lossless —> Lossless OK, no change in sound quality
Lossless —> Lossy OK, changes in sound quality are not audible if the right codec settings are used.
Lossy —> Lossy NO, worse audible sound quality
Lossy —> Lossless NO, same quality but unecessary big file size.
P.S. Do not trust your purchases to be lossless. Publishers have been caught selling transcodes from a lossy master as lossless files many times. You pay more than for mp3s. Always run the files through a spectrum analyser to make sure you get what you pay for.September 14, 2015 at 5:18 am #2254691
Thanks so much to everyone who has responded to this thread. The detailed clarification provided has completely answered all my questions! I now know how to best move forward when importing new music into iTunes
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