Sep 06

How to import a song at high quality into iTunes using just iTunes.

1. Open iTunes, on the iTunes menu select Preferences. Then on the general tab select Import Settings.

2. On the settings window select ‘AAC Encoder’ and ‘Custom’ as follows:


3. Select 320kbps. Sample rate can be auto or 44.1 VBR doesn’t matter really. The file may be smaller if you use VBR.

Click OK and import a CD as usual.

[Note: These shots were taken in 2008, I now suggest you use Apple Lossless Encoder instead of AAC. Just select Apple Lossless instead of AAC]

If you are low on space pick out some of your least favourite CD’s and encode them at a lower quality!

Relates articles: Importing into iTunes using LAME.

I just found this fantastic article by Marc Heijligers on compression and although now very old, it would backup that LOSSLESS IS BEST, or at least 320kbps if you must use compression.

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169 Responses to “Best iTunes settings for importing songs from CD”

  1. Arthur says:

    I found the 255 error was because I was only changing the cache location, not the ultimate mp3 file destination and the last-used location was on a drive that was not connected.

  2. Chris says:

    How can I tell what bit rate any one particular song was compressed to? (I don’t think I’m wording this right.) But let’s say I ripped a bunch of CDs to iTunes. Started with 256 then changed to Lossless. Where can I find that info for a song?

    • Wayne says:

      If it’s 256 you can see the bitrate in iTunes, or click on the audio file and ‘Get Info’. But if you stared with 256 then changed to lossless there’s no way to know that it was originally 256. There’s no history information in an audio file to tell you whats been done to it in the past.

  3. Chris says:

    Thank you, Wayne. Okay, I think I’m understanding this more. All my music so far is at 256 (iTunes Plus), but I stopped midway through ripping all my Cds to research this further. I think I may start over and do them all at 320. The reason I’m not keen on the Lossless is because I want them to convert to 320 for the iPod (not to 128). I currently don’t have a serious home system, but when I do get one is it possible to have 2 files for the same song (Lossless for at home & 320 for the ipod in the car)? Am I understanding this correctly? Thanks!

  4. Claude Massicotte says:

    After encoding 500+ classical music CD I finally understand I did it all wrong. I now have all together a 100Gig library.

    Here is my question: How would you recommend I proceed to revamp my library? Can i have 2 libraries for a while and then switch?

    Also thank you so much for a wonderful article written in a way that ordinary knowledgeable people understand.

  5. Johan says:

    Presuming the DAC on your MP3 player is as good as your CD player then in blind tests no one can tell the difference above 192kbs VBR. The problem with MP3 was 128Kbs CBR was far from CD Quality as claimed. VBR came along and really helped by providing more bits for the complicated sections and simply upping to 160kbs VBR became very hard to tell the difference. To be safe 192kbs should be fine but Apple had to goto 256kbps for marketing reasons.

  6. Big Poppa says:

    Thanks for the great info. I was just wondering, I purchased a lot of songs from iTunes. And I just noticed they were mostly in 256kbps. Is there a way to have them re-downloaded at 320kbps or the best quality? Without re purchasing them again? Thanks.

  7. cheesdown says:

    You may try use Avdshare Audio Converter to convert MP3 bitrate step by step guide and also help to change other audio format bitrate or video format bitrate.

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