Burning playlists onto CDs from iTunes in true AIFF format
August 23, 2017 5:13 PM   Subscribe

Hi All, So I ripped my CD collection onto iTunes recently and strictly in the AIFF format. First question...does iTunes truly preserve the full integrity of an AIFF file or does it dumb it down in some backhanded way? So first I want to know if I have a true blue AIFF file on my hands (in iTunes) if that's how I ripped it.

Second question...If I want to burn an iTunes playset from a collection of AIFF files, will they burn onto the blank CD in its full AIFF glory? Do I need to set any preferences up in a certain way?

I have a high-end stereo system and I want to know that I'm playing legitimate AIFF files from my burned CD mixes which aren't compressed in any way. Thank you.
posted by orehek to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Apart from the non-standard ability to add tags it's an aiff like any other. Other programs should ignore any itunes tags and play the audio regardless.
posted by O9scar at 7:10 PM on August 23, 2017

AIFF is AIFF - you're fine. Apple's not secretly lying to you about the format your files are in, or somehow converting to an intermediary compressed format before burning to CD. I'd be more worried about the data loss in reading the original or burned discs, honestly.

You might want to look into FLAC or ALAC for the sake of your storage, though! Those are intermediary compressed formats that are not lossy whatsoever. iTunes handles the latter natively.
posted by destructive cactus at 11:50 PM on August 23, 2017

Hi Destructive Cactus, thanks so much. Glad to know that my burned discs can have true AIFF files back onto them. You mentioned ALAC, which I believe is iTunes 'Lossless' option, correct? If I ripped my original CDs in iTunes lossless, would those files also burn onto a blank in the same lossless (ALAC) format? Thanks again.
posted by orehek at 5:12 AM on August 24, 2017

iTunes lossless is lossless. So if you burn your CDs as AIFF or ALAC then you are getting a true lossless file (in different formats) each time. I believe that iTunes burns to CD in AIFF, so that if you burn an ALAC playlist to CD iTunes converts to AIFF as it is burning.

I would second the recommendation to use something other than iTunes for burning, if you have this level of concern about losing information in your music. The gold standards are using XLD on a Mac or EAC on Windows to create a FLAC rip with log file. The log file will register any faults in the CD or in the ripping process so you will know if there are audio errors in the data you ripped. FLAC files are much smaller than AIFF files for storage purposes. XLD can also convert FLAC files to ALAC or AIFF for loading into iTunes. All of that is more of a process than just using iTunes, but it's a process you can audit. Ripping with iTunes does not allow you access to information about anything that went wrong.
posted by OmieWise at 6:32 AM on August 24, 2017


**I would second the recommendation to use something other than iTunes for ripping, if you have this level of concern about losing information in your music.**
posted by OmieWise at 6:42 AM on August 24, 2017

make sure that whatever burning program you use isn't adding two seconds of silence between tracks (as was the moronic default for many years). it's sometimes referred to as the pre-gap.
posted by noloveforned at 9:26 AM on August 24, 2017

If you burn an ALAC file to an audio CD, you will get the same quality audio as if you had burned an AIFF file to an audio CD.
posted by destructive cactus at 7:34 PM on August 24, 2017

(and you'll have the added benefit of the metadata being stored in the files themselves, which can be handy!)
posted by destructive cactus at 7:35 PM on August 24, 2017

Thank you all very much. So helpful.
posted by orehek at 9:07 AM on August 28, 2017

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