Sep 06

itunes

Importing songs into iTunes is easy – you just INSERT the CD, SELECT it in iTunes, and press the ‘Import’ button!

But… the default setting on iTunes is not the best setting to use when importing songs. It’s far better to use the ‘Apple Lossless’ setting which will keep your music at CD quality. If you must compress the music (e.g. you want to fit it on your iPod or a laptop) then use the  bitrate of 320kbps rather than the default 128kbps of iTunes.

This article describes how to import songs into iTunes with the better quality bitrate.

Introduction

If you go to the ‘iTunes:Preferences’ menu  and click on ‘Advanced’ then ‘Importing’ you will see some options like ‘Import Using’ and ‘Setting’.

This raises a few questions.

1. Why does Apple allow me to use different formats like AAC and MP3? Which one is better?

2. How good is the default setting of 128kbps (high quality)  (See picture below – click to enlarge).

Ituens prefs

Unfortunately I assumed the defaults were the best, so I used the built in defaults in iTunes to import my entire CD collection. But if you listen carefully to your iPod through your stereo, and compare it to a CD, you will hear a significant difference in audio quality at 128kbps.

It’s not that listening at 128kbps sounds really bad, but if you compare it to the original, you will notice that it’s different. It’s not as clear and some details are missing.

Best Bit-rate for compressed audio – 320kbps.

If you want better quality music you should use a higher bitrate than 128kbps. When Apple first launched iTunes the songs on the store were encoded at 128kbps, but from 2010 even Apple now use 256kbps on the iTunes store which is an immense improvement. The difference between Apple’s upgrade of 128kbps and 256kbps is very noticeable and it is worth upgrading all your existing iTunes purchases, but 256kbps is not as good as 320kbps though, so if you have a CD I recommend importing at  320kbps if you choose to import as AAC.

Better still: Apple Lossless

Also, since iTunes was released Hard Drives have increased by 10 times the storage capacity  so I would now recommend the Apple Lossless Encoder as the best way to import your CDs for general use. (I’ve written about it here.) It compresses an audio file without any deterioration in audio quality.

So why does iTunes allow lower settings? Well, a lower  setting will give a smaller file, so in the days of small iPods and small hard drives it was necessary to have very small music files. But  if you want good quality sound it’s better to go with a higher setting.

 The best of both worlds

If you do have one particular iPod or iPhone that is a bit small and you don’t want to fill it up with Apple lossless files,  there is a setting that you can set independently for each iPod that will reduce the file size just for that iPod.   You can change the settings for a particular iPod to put lower quality files on it to save space,  but  still have the Apple lossless files on your computer . Just tick the ‘Convert higher bit rate songs’ box. You can find it under the settings tab that appears when you plug the iPod in – it is the  bottom box in the picture below.  This  can be turned on or off  independently for each device that you have.

 

What are the differences in filesize?

A 3 minute song at 128kbps will use approx 3MB. (poor quality)

A 3 minute song at 320 kbps will use approx 7MB. (excellent quality)

A 3 minute song at Apple Lossless will use approx 15MB. (perfect quality)

 

Error Correction

There is an option that says ‘Use error correction when reading audio CDs’. You  should always have this option ticked. It will improve the quality  of the resulting audio.  The way information is written to an Audio CD is different to a CD-ROM, and so it is possible to read audio from a CD imperfectly.  This setting helps avoid mistakes when reading the audio from a CD.

 

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.

These shots were taken in 2008, I now suggest you use Apple Lossless Encoder instead of AAC. It gives even better quality and Hard Drives are now large enough to cope with the size of Apple Lossless files.

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.

148 Responses to “What are the best settings to import songs into itunes?”

  1. 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 says:

      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 says:

        If you go into the “File” menu on the newest version of iTunes (10.5.2.11, 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.

  2. Chato says:

    How do you update the latest version of lame v3.98.4 in itunes?

  3. SAW says:

    What effect does optimize for voice have??

    • admin says:

      Optimise for voice will make a better quality recording for spoken word, but worse for music. Speech and music are different in terms of the frequencies involved, so if itunes knows what you are compressing, it can aim to optimise it. It defaults to music, but if you are recording spoken word click this option.

  4. Erik says:

    I’m confused. I’ve followed all your steps but am only given two importing options, – alt-preset-standard, and -h-b-160. I don’t see any other options and the Lame website is useless.

    • Joel says:

      I just got a new computer that runs Lion and noticed that I can’t rip “insane” anymore; just the two options you noted. I guess I’ll rip lossless instead.

  5. Randy says:

    Erik. You need to type it in the field just as in the example. you can also use extreme instead of insane. Click the “?” for the syntax but it is all there

  6. Cleve says:

    I want the biggest bang for the buck. meaning, i want to import my songs at great quality, but at the same time i dont want to use up a lot of memory doing it. I have my Itunes import settings currently at: AAC encoder–320 kbps, 44.100 kHz. is there a better option?

  7. Kate says:

    I have my settings in iTunes as you describe in this article — AAC / 320kbps / 44.100kHz, etc.

    I’m a big audiophile, so the idea of the best possible quality using Lame is preferable. However, there is the size issue.

    Before I decide whether to go for the Lame option — can you give some rough parameters… for a 3 minute track for example — how big will the file be a) max iTunes settings, vs b) insane Lame settings?

    Thanks for posting this info, extremely useful.

  8. Kate says:

    I have my settings in iTunes as you describe in this article — AAC / 320kbps / 44.100kHz, etc.

    I’m a big audiophile, so the idea of the best possible quality using Lame is preferable. However, there is the size issue.

    Before I decide whether to go for the Lame option — can you give some rough parameters… for a 3 minute track for example — how big will the file be a) max iTunes settings, vs b) insane Lame settings?

    Thanks for posting this info, extremely useful.

  9. Bob T says:

    Hi, Wayne; what a great source of info you’ve shared. My question regards what you said about downloading CDs into iTunes in Lossless vs the highest bit rate downloading using LAME. “Apart from copying your CD into iTunes with no compression (apple lossless encoder) which takes 650MB per CD, this is the best quality you will get in iTunes.” Hmmm. I am confused. Does the LAME / insane program offfer better, same, or less sound quality than Lossless? Could you please explain the difference including file size and sound quality comparisons (yeah, getting into the subjective region there, perhaps)? My entire library is in Lossless and I’d hate to try to redo it all unless there is a discernable difference available. I am using a Red Wine iMod and a headphone amp with Kleer Audio CT7 in ear monitors so I may be able to hear an improvement if there is one to be had. Thanks very much.

  10. Jeff D says:

    Guys, I appreciate the information you have here, but if your philosophy is great quality, with space not such an issue, why not use the Apple Lossless encoder? I find you still get 2-3x compression over a direct CD disk image. Granted, most non-Apple devices won’t play Apple Lossless format, but neither will they play 320kbps AAC… Most cap it at 256.

  11. Nick says:

    Hello, is there a way to implement this software on Mac OS Lion as this software is proving defective. I have a need for enhanced quality music as you can see.

    • Bruno Vieira says:

      I’m also looking forward to a way ti install the LAME encoder on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion… HELP!

    • Richard says:

      Here’s how I got the iTunes LAME bridge working in Mac OS X Lion:

      1) I downloaded the latest iTunes LAME (2.0.9-34) from the project page
      http://code.google.com/p/blacktree-itunes-lame/

      2) I installed the latest lame binary where iTunes LAME would find it
      and use it.

      Why this works:

      In order to allow you to upgrade the lame install you use, iTunes LAME
      will find and use the lame in /usr/local/bin/lame or /sw/bin/lame in
      place of the lame included in its own contents.

      Here’s how to get the latest lame into the right place:

      You can most easily install and keep updated with new lame versions
      using the Fink Project http://www.finkproject.org/ or MacPorts
      http://www.macports.org/.

      Both Fink and MacPorts will require that you first download and install
      Apple’s Xcode from the Mac Store (Xcode 4 is free now on Lion).

      If you install lame with Fink, it will put lame in the /sw/bin/lame
      location, where iTunes LAME will find it.

      If you install lame with MacPorts, it will put lame in
      /opt/local/bin/lame. From that point, you can just soft-link it to the
      /usr/local/bin/lame location for iTunes LAME to find. To do so run this
      command in a Terminal.app window:
      ln -s /opt/local/bin/lame /usr/local/bin/

      Final note:

      You may want to add –nohist to your lame options in the iTunes LAME
      encoding setup. LAME 3.98 added a histogram display to its output,
      which confuses iTunes LAME into displaying incorrect progress bars.
      –nohist turns this display off, and avoids confusing iTunes LAME.

  12. ben says:

    hows it bru? was wondering if there is a way for itunes to recognize that i dont have all the tracks imported on the cd and have it only import those tracks? I know you can use the tick box and import that way but i’m looking for a way to have itunes do it on its own.

    thanks
    b

  13. Sean Bailey says:

    So after reading All of your information I am still wondering which is best, the AAC at the settings described above or Apple Lossless? Just the 2011 update states that Apple Lossless is the best, so a little confused. Also how much space does the average CD take up when importing at the best settings? I have quite a big cd and mp3 collection. Great information on this website, have you told your findings to Apple?

  14. Ron says:

    “STOP PRESS 2011 – I now suggest you use Apple Lossless Encoder instead of AAC as it gives even better quality.” –

    I imported the same track twice, once as a 50.5 mb AIFF file at the automatic setting that came thru at a 1411 bit rate, and the other as a 33.3 mb Apple Lossless compressed file at a 929 bit rate.

    The top statement copied from the above article says the lossless encoder will sound better. How could this possible based on the numbers I listed?

    • admin says:

      Lossless uses a compression algorithm to compress the file in a way that when it is uncompressed it is exactly the same as the original, hence no loss of quality in the audio, but a smaller file. For example, zip is lossless compression – you can get the original file snack perfectly even though the zip file is smaller. jpg is lossy – you can never get the original photo back.

  15. Ron says:

    ooooops… disregard my late night comment as I clearly did not read the original statement clearly. I confused AAC & AIFF!

  16. Jamie Katz says:

    Helpful information, clearly explained: many thanks.

    Question: I often enter additional info into the “get info” fields—personnel, recording date, and so forth. Do you know if it’s possible, if I re-download my collection, not to lose all these entries?

  17. Misty says:

    it’s sad that only mac users can have this good quality. i have windows xp and having to switch between the volume dial for every other song has almost driven me mentally insane!!!!!! I need something to make all songs the same volume without distorting it.

  18. Moshy says:

    Great info above!!!

    I originally imported my entire CD collection using the following settings -:

    Import Using – MP3 encoder
    Setting – Custom (With the below selections) -:
    Stereo Bit Rate – 320kbps
    Sample Rate – Auto
    Channels – Stereo
    Stereo Mode – Joint Stereo
    Smart Encoding Adjustments was ticked.
    NOT ticked/selected are Variable Bit Rate Encoding (VBR) & Filter Frequencies Below 10Hz.
    Also NOT ticked was “Use error correction when reading audio CD’s’.

    From here on in i’ll be now using Apple Losless Encoder (ALE) as per your recommendations. But what I would like to know, is there likely to be a noticeable difference in sound quality over the above mentioned import settings, if I re-import all my CD’s using ALE? I also notice if I right click on a song there’s an option to ‘Create Apple Losless Version’ is this possible? If this actually works, it obviously saves having to re-import several hundred CD’s. Without knowing exactly how it’s compressed, my feeling is the info is possibly lost & can’t be retrieved by just clicking a button. Hope the above makes some kind of sense.

    Thanks in advance for any help!!!

    Cheers
    Dale

    • admin says:

      No you can’t create a lossless version from an MP3 version, well you can but the quality will not improve. Once it’s lost, you can’t get it back. You need to re-import.

  19. nikolai says:

    Got this running fine, importing all the wife’s cds at 256, BUT when imported I don’t get track numbers attched to tracks, only names. Any way to fix this?

  20. mizkat says:

    Hi,
    When I imported a music cd into itunes, it separated the tracks thus 19 albums instead of 19 tracks of one album. I tried deleting and re-installing and tried to integrate in the info without luck. Any suggestions?
    Thanks,
    Kat

  21. mellia says:

    This is so helpful; thank you!!!

  22. Just a note in support of the “Hard drives are cheap, use Lossless” plan. I’ve been ripping AAC for a few years but any new rips are going to be Apple Lossless. I resisted that change because I don’t want to fill up my iPod 4x faster than normal, but the last few versions of iTunes have a checkbox to automatically resample songs to 128MP3 when transferring to an iPod.

  23. Rich from Sydney says:

    Having read the above article and comments I can add the following to the debate:

    In the past Ive used MP3 on High Quality settings and have been generally happy with the odd disk copying over badly. More recently I have been using AAC set on iTunes Plus setting (256kbps) which is a noticeable improvement both using my iMac speakers and when feeding it through my Hi-Fi. I have tested using Apple Lossless (ALL) a few times and generally although ALL sounds SLIGHTLY better than ACC it is so minimal that it takes some concentration to detect it both through the iMac and Hi-Fi. The price you pay is file size for this nominal improvement. Here’s and example: Me & Mr Johnson by Eric Clapton in ACC format is 96.7Mb and in ALL format is 340Mb. On my iPhone and iPod I generally use the ‘Convert to…128AAC’ option as I prefer more songs to higher quality and it is not detectable through earphones (even decent Sennheiser ones).

  24. Bertan says:

    What should we choose for these four settings: Channels, Stereo Mode, Smart Encoding Adjustments, Filter Frequencies Below 10 Hz?

    • admin says:

      Stereo because you have 2 ears and everything is recorded in stereo, and unless you are compressing everything at a very low bit rate stereo sounds better.
      Smart Encoding Adjustments doesn’t really do anything. It just automatically adjusts the other settings according to the bit rate, so if you are selecting options manually it makes no difference.
      Filter frequencies below 10 Hz – you can’t hear anything below 10 Hz, no speakers reproduce sounds that low, 0Hz is DC and can mess up your amplifier. There would never be a case when you would want frequencies below 10 Hz.

  25. Bluesfan Dave says:

    Great site! I have aorund 9,000 (probably 7000 from my cd’s)songs loaded in iTunes, unfortunatley most at the 128 kbps. I have since changed to MP3 320 kbps. I saw in your string here that I cannot do a mass upgrade with existing music in iTunes to Lossless, or even the 320 kbps, and just wnated to confirm. I use my iPod mainly to distribute whole house to any/all of 47 speakers through a Control 4 dock. You seem on top of your game with this, and I wonder what you’d do

  26. Bluesfan Dave says:

    I also should mention that I have been rating the songs for about 10 years (to create playlists, etc.), and asume I’d lose those if I end up re-importing all of my cd’s? Can I also assume I can’t create a lossless or 320 mbps version from an AAC 128 mbps? Again, the old once it’s gone it’s gone?

  27. Sascha says:

    Very practical clear instruction. This music lover is very grateful! Thanks!

  28. felix says:

    first off thanks for the tips and info. great little site you got here.

    quick question: is the built-in iTunes mp3 encoder still as shabby as it used to be or have apple improved the quality in the meantime?

    the reason i ask is that i’m about to start encoding all of my CDs. i want to encode them all as mp3 (320kbps) rather than aac, simply because the mp3 format is so much more universal. and who knows what i might wanna play my files on in a couple of years time.

    The LAME encoder doesn’t seem to work properly under 10.7 and the “Max” audio ripper can’t seem to get the right metadata for the CDs. at least not with albums that comprise more than 1 disc.

    and i haven’t found any other audio rippers for osx that really conjure much confidence.

    any pointers much appreciated.

    • admin says:

      I think it’s at the lower bitrates that the different encoders make a difference. At the higher bitrates they are all pretty good. But why not go with Apple Lossless, it’s perfect quality and no loss of data, especially if you are looking forward to ‘the next couple of years’. Then just convert to lower bitrate when needed to copy to your iPod.

  29. Craig says:

    Great info. Thanks!

    My other question about importing CD’s is not about quality, but about compatibility. If I import CD’s as either AAC or Lossless, and one day I want to stop using iTunes (if some other game-changer music app/device shows up), are there any restrictions about playing AAC files in some other music player? I suppose it depends on the player itself and whether or not its compatible with AAC.

    Is that common, or rare, for other music players to support AAC or Lossless?

  30. Many says:

    Hi , i am getting a new computer with a ssd hard drive with a window 7 , and i like to burn all my favorite cds as original into itunes window to be able to use tthe remote on my iphone to select songs to play it in my hifi true a usb DAC , so for me quality is important , please what will you suggest me the import setting on itunes .?

  31. robert says:

    …and how to convert aiff to mp3 with lame in iTunes?

  32. Erik says:

    I was wondering the same thing with Craig, are there any compatibility issues concerning the AAC format?
    Also, if i create a custom music cd with songs in AAC format, will I be able to listen to it on all devices just like mp3 music cds?

    Thanks for all the info!

  33. Ronald says:

    Compatibility of AAC on non-Apple devices has increased massively over the last few years. Even Windows has native support for AAC. For me I have Androids, Windows Phones, iPods, Blackberries, etc because I love collecting gadgets and from my experience AAC is actually more supported than MP3. To illustrate what I am trying to say. Album artwork and tagging in AAC files is supported by all the devices and is the QuickTime scheme is the de facto standard for most devices because the tagging scheme is the same throughout unlike MP3 which has various ID3 tag versions supported differently which may result in wrong display of data. Another thing to consider is when you are ripping the reason why you raise the bitrate of a given file is to ensure that there is faithful reproduction of the audio as it is on the disc. For the lossy codecs note that the reason why we say that MP3, including LAME, performs worse than AAC is because for it to start being competent with AAC it has to have Joint Stereo enabled and this alters the stereo image. Joint Stereo is not Stereo because of its nature. In the age of better speakers and headsets there will be need to use Stereo for music becuase Joint Stereo will not represent true stereo. A good number of you would like to play their files on Hi Fis but do you consider the technology used for getting the most out of your hardware? Dolby Pro Logic II is a technology that builds 5.1 Channel Surround Sound from stereo. And for it to work the audio must be stereo and not joint stereo. So to avoid going over this again a few years down the line use stereo because soon enough joint stereo’s problems will be exposed the same way 128 kbps artifacts were exposed

  34. Thomas says:

    The question I want to ask has partly been answered, but I’m still not totally sure.

    Basically, like many others, I am about to import all my CDs again at a higher quality level. Anything above 320Kbps MP3 is not an option because I simply have too much music for anything higher.

    My question is this, despite the fact that I like the idea of iTunes-LAME, common sense tells me that a LAME encoder version over 4 years old can’t be as good as the current default iTunes MP3 encoder? But maybe I’m being naive about the quality of Apple “Updates”.

    I’ve tried looking into the methods of updating to the newest version of LAME (3.99.4) for iTunes-LAME to utilise, but it seems too complex and time consuming for a (Just above) average Mac user as myself. I can’t even figure out how to install or compile the LAME 3.99.4, let alone get it into iTunes-LAME. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    What I really want to know though is, LAME 3.97 (In iTunes-LAME) vs iTunes 10.5.3 (3) encoder for 320kbps MP3? Is one better or are they the same?

    Also, I know that a lot of people feel Joint Stereo can never be as good as normal “True” Stereo, but I have read that “Mathematically” Stereo wastes bits on separation while Joint Stereo does not. Therefore Joint Stereo contains more bits dedicated to sound quality than normal Stereo. Again, I’m undecided, so opinions would be welcome.

    Thanks a lot for the page and info! Hope to hear from someone soon.

  35. Jeff says:

    I just uploade in apple lossless, now my cars hard drive won’t play, it played fine in aac 128, is there anything I can do about this?

  36. Lynne says:

    Wow this is all great but way too technical for me, I am brand new to itunes n now got my 1st iphone lol!

    My iphone is only 8GB and I have lots of CDs I want on it (70+ albums), what is the best setting to use?? and can i copy them onto itunes on my pc at a higher kgb but reduce it again to put it onto my phone?

    Please keep it simple as this is all way to techincal for me, thanks x

    • Wayne says:

      Import into iTunes as lossless (best possible quality) then tick the box on your iTunes iPhone “Summary” settings that says ‘Convert higher nitrate songs to 128kbps AAC’. This will store as best quality on your computer but reduced quality on your iPhone to save space.

  37. Karl says:

    Thanks for the detailed info, but unless I’m incorrect, is LAME not suppose to or have the ability to encode my CD’s into ACC format into itunes? I have set up LAME exactly as you have stated above, but find that after LAME encodes my CD’s in itunes, the encoded tracks are encoded to MPEG-1 quality mp3, which is the lowest quality one can achieve. The only reason I know the quality has been degraded is by selecting a song in tunes and getting the info from it. (control “i”).
    Note: I have the LAME preference setting as ‘insane’.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

  38. Ron says:

    I have been importing cds using the mp3 encoder setting per an apple store instructors directions. Is this wrong, should I use the AAC setting and if so do I need to redo my recordings?

  39. bigdogmurphy says:

    A recording guy told me a better way to bring the music into iTunes was to copy the CD into a folder on the desktop, then import that folder as opposed to importing the CD. Is there any validity to this????

    • Wayne says:

      Hmmm. Good question. My understanding is that when you copy a ‘data’ CD it makes an EXACT copy, because a data CD has extra built in error correction that an ‘audio’ CD does not have. So I think the i-tunes import with the ‘Use error correction when importing Audio CD’s’ is the same as the first method IF you have an audio CD. BUT if say you are mastering and you want perfect reproduction of an audio file you are better off saving it to a data CD as an aiff, then copying it back to the computer, rather than burning it to an audio CD.

  40. Chuck58 says:

    Looking for some help from any Apple knowledgeable person.
    When I burn a music album from an iTunes Playlist to a CD as an audio file for playing in my car CD player I do not get any of the information displayed on the my car’s “enhanced radio” such as track name, album title, artist name. My car radio can display 3 lines of text. Why doesn’t this transfer? Should i be using a different setting when transferring the album tracks? I just get “no information” or “blank” on the car radio display. The music plays just fine but I would like to see the extra information as my radio has the ability to do this. Apparently using “import as audio CD” is not working for me. I am using the latest iTunes version on a MacBook Pro. Thanks for any help.

  41. BGBVCBC says:

    I have the same problem as Chuck58 – with iTunes encoder none of the ID3 tag info shows up in my car stereo, using either MP3 cd, or playing MP3′s on USB. If I use Lame encoder, they all work fine. Must be some bug in apple encoder with the ID3 tags.

    From now on, I will use Lame encoder even though apple is slightly higher quality for same bit rate.

  42. BGBVCBC says:

    On the original question in this thread, I use MP3 at 320. It is essentially cd quality to my ear (cannot tell the difference) and uses much less space than any lossless encoding. Never use anything below 192. 256 is ok but 320 is worth the extra space needed.

    • Wayne says:

      Yes 320 sounds pretty much the same as CD. BUT note that if you want to re-compress later say to 256, then you’ll need to re-import from CD, but with Apple Lossless you can re-compress to a lower mp3 bitrate later from the lossless file.

      • Mike C says:

        Wayne – I must commend you for the time and effort you have put into this thread for over a year now. You are a trooper. Anyway, I am a newbie and proud owner of an iPhone 3 (now 0.99 cents at AT&T). Aside from dropping it the first week I had it and cracking the screen, I really like it. I would consider myself an “average Joe” in terms of music storage and playback but do have an EE degree so I understand the technical aspects of the process. My current project is to copy all of my CDs into the latest version of iTunes (10.6.1) then sync with my iPhone and have the library available for the widest range of other playback media options.

        That said, I’m trying to determine the best input method for inputting songs. After reading this entire tread I think I have determined the settings for my “average Joe” application:

        Input using: AAC
        Setting: Custom
        Stereo Bit Rate: 320 kbps
        Sample Rate: 44.1 khz
        Channels: Stereo
        Use Variable Bit Rate Encoding (VBR)
        Use Error Correction when reading Audio CDs

        I picked AAC based on Ronald’s comments on Jan 25th. Also, I didn’t go the LAME route b/c it seems to add a level of complexity that I really don’t need. So, my question is – Do you think this is a fair assessment/summarization for my “average Joe” application? Any guidance/comments is appreciated.

        One other question – I have 3 kids and 5 computers with different iTunes libraries on all of them. What is the best way to consolidate all of the libraries?

        Thanks in Advance.
        Mike C

      • Wayne says:

        If you are going to sync your music with your iPhone at 320 then that’s probably the best option, but if you are going to click the option that says ‘Convert higher bitrate songs to 128kbps’ then you are better off importing your CD’s as lossless so that when they are compressed down to 128 you are going from the lossless version rather than re-compressing from the 320 files.

  43. Goze211 says:

    I have been ripping discs into iTunes with Apple Lossless and am a believer in the lossless concept. Howver many tracks ripped with this codec sound just plain bad on my iPhone 4; harsh, fizzy, distorted. Nort always, just some tracks. I am looking for a happy medium that will sound good on my iPhone (connected to a car stereo), play through my networked Xbox, and not take up huge file harddrive space. I’ve been re-importing some discs on the iTunes Plus setting. Works ok. Haven’t tested it on the Xbox but suspect it won’t play an AAC file. Still trying to find the silver bullet.

  44. scjr says:

    I’m kind of of a noob here. Firstly, I wanted thank you so much for all the excellent information! Maybe a dumb question, but can you choose Apple lossless in iTunes if installed on a PC?

    I would like to rip my CDs with lossless and then convert to 128 to save space on my iPhone like Wayne recommended. Thank you.

  45. Damien says:

    Hi, I’m trying to import CDs on a friend’s laptop but each album is taking half an hour to import. I’m using the same settings that I have on my own machine. Any ideas????

  46. Rob says:

    Have opportunity to download the new live Robert Plant concert that we attended. It has options on the format. Which one do I choose if I want to play on itunes and then burn to a disc to play on my CD player ?

  47. Jerry says:

    Wayne – thank you so much for your insights. Very helpful. Couple questions: What is the “iTunes Plus” setting all about under ACC format and what would be the reason for using the iTunes Plus setting? Also, since all of the music that you import from your CDs rest on a PC computer’s “My Music” hard drive, isn’t all the music also saved to the hard drive as WAV files? Help . . .

    • Wayne says:

      You can see in the information box below the presets, iTunes Plus is just a preset for 256kbps, the same as they use on the iTunes store. Good but not best.

  48. jb says:

    This might be a really stupid question but the thing is I’ve lost a lot of the CD’s that years ago I imported using the original settings. If I copy the albums onto a disk and then re-import them using the advanced settings is the quality likely to increase or is the high quality sound lost forever?

    • Wayne says:

      This will decrease the quality. You cannot get back quality after a file in compressed. And any re-compression makes it worse, even if you expand it first.

  49. will says:

    Why are some cd’s I have imported such poor quality that I can’t listen to them, when I imported them the same was as all the rest?

    Thanks…

  50. Christine says:

    Thank you. Very Helpful!

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