If you have a ton of music CDs to digitize for backup, storage, and convenience, Mac users can use iTunes to convert the music tracks to the proprietary format Apple Lossless (ALAC) via the import settings. Modern Macs are strong enough to rip a full CD in just a few minutes! If you have a Windows PC, use a FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) ripper like Exact Audio Copy. Don't skimp on audio quality just to save space, disk storage is cheap and getting cheaper! So no need to convert to MP3 as the music won't sound as great and it'll lose bits.
Trip has a huge collection of CDs that were gifted to him. He wants to digitize them. Is iTunes the best way to do it? Leo says that yes, iTunes has a good digitizer and converts it to AAC. Apple Lossless is even better. It'll take more disk space, but hard drives are cheap. Don't skim with MP3. Go with Apple Lossless. He also may want to use a FLAC Ripper. It's more standard.
Charlie wants to rip his CDs to a memory stick. Should he partition it since it's 128GB? Leo says why not just get a smaller one? Or, better yet, rip the CDs into higher quality. If he's going to do it, do it once. Charlie should rip the CDs into FLAC, which is a lossless format, and preserves 100% of the CD quality. MP3 doesn't do that, neither does AAC. FLAC is identical to CD quality. Use that for archival storage and then he can convert down from there to a USB drive.
Kevin wants to know if HD audio is like HD video as far as clarity and resolution. He thinks that with cheap headphones, nobody is really going to tell the difference. So is it worth it? Leo says that David Pogue stated that HD audio is 'snake oil,' and it takes some training to hear the differences.
This week's question comes from Phil, who is an audiophile. He bought a Pono Player and he's not impressed by the high resolution tracks, which are more expensive at $8-18 a CD. He only found them marginally better than ripped CDs saved at FLAC. Leo says that's interesting. It's only slightly more expensive in his opinion and Phil can tell the difference.
Ted wants to listen to his music via Airplay, but he doesn't like that it's compressed. Leo says yes, music streamed over Wi-Fi will be compressed. So it's best to keep it all wired as a result. Since Ted has such great speakers, he'll want to get a digital to analog converter to play the music through his computer. He should rip his CDs using Apple lossless or FLAC. FIIO is a good company for DACs.
Pete is interested in hi-res music. He wants to download FLAC music and convert it to Apple lossless. Leo says you can do that, but remember that the MAC tops out at 96 Khz, but the iPod can't play it because it's not that high, nor does it have the CPU power to process and playback hi-resolution audio. You need special hardware to play back high resolution audio. Leo says that iPods were designed for mp3s, but they can play back Apple's lossless compression at 48K x 24 bit.