I think this is already sorted, but just to make it 100% clear-
All lossless files should decode to the same quality as the original file. BTW, the source doesnt have to be CDDA/.wav, for example, you could convert from DTS-HD Master audio, Dolby True HD, etc, to lossless and the lossless file should be the same quality as the original file. It would also work if you converted a lossy file to lossless (converting a lossy file to a different type lossy file will always decrease the quality compared to a straight rip from CDDA/.wva to that file type/size). I wouldnt even think about doing that though.
Lossy files are called that because some of the original file has been removed to make the file smaller. The information is 'lost'. For any given lossy file type and converter, sound quality always get worse as filesize/bitrate goes down. A CBR (constant bit rate) 256K MP3 ripped with LAME will always have better quality that a CBR 192K MP3 ripper with the same LAME version.
People like to say that 'x' codec is 'better quality' than 'y' codec. Its very ahrd to make assumptions like that, different codecs treat the files different ways. I know I've seen some blind test that recommended using different codecs based on what music style you played....
I could go on but then I'd be getting boring to the vast majority of people.
Originally Posted by Anisha Kaul
Thanks for the helpful link, Dugan
I have some VERY old songs which are pleasant to hear at a loud volume in a normal computer with the VLC player and Sennheizer PMX 200 headphones.
But when I put the same song in the Ipod and increase the volume, its simply painful to ears (the headphones are again the same)
I wonder if Ipod does something to the song?
Now, this is where things get interesting!
To play a digital audio file, it needs to be decoded, converted from digital to analog, and (possibly) amplified.
If you ipod isnt as good as your computer at any of those stages, then sound quality will not be as good.
Is your ipod doing anything to the song? No. You can test that by copying (opps, apple speak, 'syncing') the file back to your computer. It should sound the same. Is the ipod quality not as good as your computer at one or more of those stages? According you ear, no it is not.
I'd consider making a ALAC file or larger lossy file for that song. I wouldnt start ripping and CDs you buy/already to ALAC, or buying ALAC. Who knows, you might get a different media player in the future that doesnt support ALAC, the majority of portable media players don't. While you can play ALAC on linux, its not ideal.
By the way, I rip everything I get to .flac, as far as I'm concered its the best of the open source lossless codecs, and besides that its the only one that has got much support from portable media players. Even though my portable media player supports .flac, .ogg vorbis and .mp3, I convert my .flacs to VBR (variable bit rate) V0 .mp3 (aprox 256K) for it. The quality increase from playing .flac isnt worth it (the decoder, digital to analog converter, or amp makes it not much better than a big .mp3), and I've never got .flac or .ogg album art to display on my player. Its also only 2GB with a 4GB mircoSD card, and 6GB doesnt fit that many .flacs, I get about 3 times as many songs on it with VBR V0 .mp3s.
Originally Posted by Jeebizz
well they would have to, after all it's Apple's codec. It would be like buying a Zune player, and not having support for Windows Media Audio
Actually, for at least a while after microsoft released WMA lossless the Zunes sold had no WMA lossless support, and for a while after that they had odd limts (WMA lossless up to 384K, or some nonsense like that). I think it wasnt untill late 2008 that the zunes started having reasonable WMA lossless support.