154 responses

  1. Adam
    July 18, 2009

    Hi, thanks letting me know about LAME. Up until today I have had no problems importing CDs but today after clicking import I get the following error:

    An error occured during import:
    LAME failed (255)
    Arguments:–alt-preset, insane, /var/folders/Y4/Y4+DPN1HFZ89+qBmeAzLsE+++TI/-Tmp-/lame_input_0001.aiff, /Users/lisajones/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers/Greatest Hits/American Girl.mp3

    Nothing appears after Data:

    Any idea what might be wrong? I am using LAME v 2.0.9 (34) and Mac OS X 10.5.7

    Thank you.

  2. Jim Freudenburg
    September 9, 2009

    Wonderful site, just stumbled across it while I was looking for ways to import my new remastered Beatles CD’s into iTunes without losing all that extra fidelity.
    I’m using iTunes 8.2.1, Mac OS 10.5.8
    All went perfectly UNTIL I selected the little extra “Import with LAME” item on the iTunes menu.
    The little iTunes-LAME window popped up just fine, but my only two choices are “–alt-preset standard” and “-h -b 160″. Nothing about “Insane”.
    Now I’m really bummed, hate to spend bucks on re-purchasing the Beatles music I already own, only to degrade the sound quality as I put the music into iTunes.
    Any help you could provide would be very welcome! Thanks!

    • admin
      September 9, 2009

      You type in the

      -alt -preset -insane

      into the window.

  3. Roman
    September 11, 2009


    Maybe anyone can help me. It all worked fine on my Mac so far too but today I got the same error message as Adam states two postings above. Unfortunately that doesn’t get me any further… tried several encoding options but nothing happens…

    Mac OS X 10.5.8
    iTunes 8.2.1
    LAME v2.0.9 (34)

    Any help would be very much appreciated…

    Regards, Roman

  4. Stephen
    September 12, 2009

    I had the same problem. I clicked on the “?” mark in the iTunes-Lame application and scrolled down to the presets, then cut and paste the insane option – including the leading double dashes – into the pop-up. It then worked, and has remembered my settings.

    My question (as I too want to import my new Beatles collection) is: Is Lame at the insane setting better than AAC at 320 (with VBR turned off)? I’ve used the latter through iTunes in the past, and recently imported some CDs using Lame/insane. I can’t really hear a difference. Searching the net seems to imply it is up to my ears. Has anyone run some tests?



    • admin
      September 12, 2009

      Probably not a great difference. LAME is better than AAC at lower bitrates but the higher you get the more debatable it is. I can’t tell any difference on my setup. From what I read (do a google search on AAC vs LAME insane) LAME has the edge. There is an article form 2003 saying AAC is better but remember LAME only just started in 1998 and has improved a lot since 2003.

  5. Daniel Brewer
    September 26, 2009

    I am getting the same lame error as the others. Any fix?

  6. Paul
    October 26, 2009

    Since I installed Snow Leopard – same error message 255 as mentioned above in Adam’s post on July 18. 2009. No longer works. Was working perfectly before Snow Leopard install.. Any answers?

  7. richsadams
    November 2, 2009

    I recently installed iTunes on two of my Mac’s (24″ aluminum iMac and Mini), both running Snow Leopard and it’s working fine.

    Excellent write-up. Thanks and much appreciated!

  8. richsadams
    November 2, 2009

    I recently installed iTunes LAME on two of my Mac’s (24″ aluminum iMac and Mini), both running Snow Leopard and it’s working fine.

    Excellent write-up. Thanks and much appreciated!

  9. Geoff
    December 12, 2009

    How do I import only selected tracks from a CD please ?

  10. Geoff
    December 12, 2009

    Doh ! Sorry just worked it out RTFM …………..

  11. Gorilla
    December 21, 2009

    I just wanna tell that I also got the error:

    Import Error

    An error occured during import:
    LAME failed (255)
    Arguments:-v, -V, 2, –vbr-new, -h, /Volumes/Songtitle/Filename.aiff, /Users/Username/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Music/ArtistName/AlbumName/Songtitle.mp3

    Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.2
    iTunes 9.0.2 (25)

    This is the only place I found were this is mentioned. If i find a solution I will come back.

  12. Chado
    December 25, 2009

    Hello, and thank you for all the info. Just wondering how LAME compares to Apple Lossless or WAV formats? Looking for the best quality of course and have noticed a lot of of downloadable music is Lossless, and those are both already available on iTunes. Would it be worth it to aquire LAME? Thanks

  13. Chado
    December 25, 2009

    Oh yeah, MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone!

  14. Mark Jaquette
    January 14, 2010

    Why can’t latest iTunes 9.0.2 convert MP3 files to AIFF
    files anymore(from the ADVANCED drop down menu)?
    OR am i missing it somewhere?

    reply to Mark at

    • admin
      January 14, 2010

      You first need to go to iTunes preferences | General | Import Settings and chose AIFF as what you want to use, then ‘create AIFF version’ will appear in the advanced menu.

  15. Jonny
    January 15, 2010

    I’m getting the same import error as others:

    An error occured during import:
    LAME failed (10)
    Arguments:–alt-preset, insane, /Volumes/Lorraine Hunt Lieberson At Wigmore Hall/1 Mahler: Rückertlieder – Blicke Mir Nicht In Die Lieder.aiff, /Volumes/MyBook/MP3/Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Roger Vignoles/Lorraine Hunt Lieberson At Wigmore Hall/01. Mahler_ Rückertlieder – Blicke Mir Nicht In Die Lieder.mp3

    Has anyone got a solution?

  16. Mark Jaquette
    January 17, 2010

    It works OR rather…appears now in the ADVANCED drop down when i change(d) it in iTunes prefs!

    You’re THE ONLY Mac Help Site that was able to help in a fast, easy to understand way!

    Your site is bookmarked!

    Take care – Mark

  17. Barbox
    January 20, 2010

    Hi! I am trying to import a music file which has the following characteristics:
    – 320 Kbps
    – 2 Channels Stereo
    – Sample rate of 44 Hz

    It’s a 5 minutes with 11 MB of size song but iTunes does not recognize it at all!

    I tried drag and drop, importing through the “Add File to Library” features and nothing…

    Has this ever happen’d to anyone?

  18. Nicole
    April 10, 2010

    I’m having a few problems, I downloaded the software and I was unable to locate it on my computer. My laptop crashed a few months back and I lost all my music in itunes. I was able to copy the music I had on my ipod but now it is too times comsuming to add it all back one by one. Can you help????

  19. Anna
    November 22, 2010

    I’ve imported the songs from the CD onto iTunes, and I’m able to play the songs from the CD but when i try to copy the songs from the CD folder and into a playlist to put on my iPod, it doesn’t copy over. I’ve tried a lot to fix it, so I really need some help over here. Any pointers?

  20. kira
    December 3, 2010

    i have recently got a netbook and was wondering how on earth i could import cd’s onto my itunes, but without a cd player? any ideas?

  21. steve
    December 8, 2010

    Will these steps work for a pc? If not, would anyone know what my best option is?


    • admin
      December 8, 2010

      Simply change the import settings to a higher setting – don’t worry about using LAME.

  22. Troy
    March 12, 2011

    I appreciate your knowledge. Thank you

  23. Glenn
    March 25, 2011

    My Itunes library is on an external drive. When i uncheck the “COPY FILES TO ITUNES MUSIC FOLDER” it creates a duplicate in the default Itunes library. I just downloaded this software and would like to convert my entire music library. Problem is, my library has 55,000 songs. How could i go about converting all with Lame without having any duplicates?

    • Glenn
      March 25, 2011

      i may have figure it out by using the following
      –alt-preset insane –delete-source

    • admin
      March 26, 2011

      This will only work if your original library was copied using Apple lossless. If your original library was ripped at a lower bitrate you can’t convert it up. Well you can, but it won’t improve the sound quality. In fact ANY RE-COMPRESSION OF A SONG WILL WORSEN THE QUALITY – EVEN IF YOU COMPRESS AT A BETTER BITRATE! You need to use the best settings WHEN YOU RIP THE SONG OFF THE CD.

  24. Jools
    April 6, 2011

    Hi Wayne,

    I’m a bit of a Luddite when it comes to this sort of thing, so many thanks for this very easy to understand explanation of importing CDs at the highest quality! An excellent article!

    I have a couple of questions:

    1) Although I use iTunes, I run WinXP (32-bit Pro version) (sorry!!!). I followed the link to the LAME encoder, but couldn’t find an easy way to install it on WinXP. If I eventually do, I’m not sure I understand how I import my CDs in a way that I can play them using iTunes. Do I simply import them into a folder and then ‘point’ the iTunes ‘default music folder’ (or whatever it’s called) to that folder?

    2) If I decide not to use the LAME encoder but stick with importing CDs using iTunes, am I better off using the AAC encoder (with the settings you describe above) or, if I want to export my iTunes library to my mobile device (an HTC Desire running Android), will I be obliged to use iTunes’ MP3 encoder (in case Android/HTC Desire doesn’t recognise the music encoded by the AAC encoder)?

    Apologies for such a long post!


    Jools (Tonbridge, Kent, UK)

  25. Charles Laquidara
    April 26, 2011

    Every time I insert a CD, iTunes asks if I want to import the songs, but it does NOT give me an option to not import duplicates. I skimmed through all these pages and don’t see a way to not import duplicates from inserted CDs. Also checked preferences in iTunes and cannot see how to keep these dupes from being imported. Is there a way? Thanks, by the way, for posting all this.

    • admin
      April 26, 2011

      Yes this is true. I think though if it’s the exact same CD with same compression settings, it will do the duplicate alert thing, otherwise it just adds them to your collection alongside the others. So if you are upgrading lower compression and want to overwrite duplicated, just delete the old album from iTunes first.
      There are apps to find and remove duplicates. eg: http://www.imdeduper.com/

      • Srab
        January 14, 2012

        If you go into the “File” menu on the newest version of iTunes (, think this is newest update), there is actually a tab that reads, “Display Duplicates”. To delete the duplicates you have to go through an arduous task of selecting the extra copy. iTunes needs to fix this so there are no longer two songs exactly the same, because it is incredibly irritating to have two, three, or sometimes four copies of one song.

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