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Finding a lossless format for itunes and windows media player
vetinry
post Jul 16 2006, 10:03
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Good morning

I am having a very frustrating time trying to find a suitable audio format that I can use in my home network and hope that someone may have a solution.

As an ipod user, I ripped my entire CD collection (500 ish) to the apple lossless (ALAC) format using EAC and itunes encode. I use my ipod in the car as a CD changer, and I purchased a couple of Slim Devices Squeezebox 2's to stream music in the house.

SQ is more important than file size and this is why I chose a lossless format.

I have now recently built myself a Home Theatre PC running Windows Media Center - its main purpose is to house all of my media files (TV, audio and pictures) in one place. It is connected to the screen in the kitchen, and I am going to buy an Xbox 360 to act as media center extender in the lounge. Since the Xbox will only be able to retrieve media files through Windows Media Center, I would like to find a format that will allow me to do this, and therefore not need a separate squeezebox.

I have read a little about the incompatability between itunes and WMP, but it seems that both can play WAV flies, which although disc space hungry, would be acceptable.

This is where the problem starts - I've tried ripping WAV files in iTunes, in WMP, and in EAC but there doesn't appear to be consistency between the folder types.

The ability to capture Album artwork etc through WMP is appealing, particularly when using media center, but although using these different methods is recognised by the different programmes, the file structures which are so important for searching disappear.

Is there a method of ripping WAV files so that they can be viewed in correct folder structures by both itunes and windows media player?

Any help as always would be gratefully received.

Best wishes

Steve
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chelgrian
post Jul 16 2006, 13:50
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QUOTE (vetinry @ Jul 16 2006, 10:03) *
This is where the problem starts - I've tried ripping WAV files in iTunes, in WMP, and in EAC but there doesn't appear to be consistency between the folder types.

The ability to capture Album artwork etc through WMP is appealing, particularly when using media center, but although using these different methods is recognised by the different programmes, the file structures which are so important for searching disappear.


Firstly there is no lossless format which is shared between WMP and iTunes. It's vaguely possible that WMP could be persuaded to play ALAC by writing a DirectShow filter based on the reversed engineered ALAC decoder however no one has any incentive to do it as there are other open formats that can be used like FLAC and it would probably get up Apples nostrils to the point of sueing people.

Secondly the folder arrangement doesn't matter much if all the files are tagged correctly, obviously this means ripping to a format which supports tagging.

Thirdly album arts is something that all libraries handle differently, for example iTunes stores the art in a metadata field inside the music file. This is horriffically inefficent as it ends up storing multiple copies of the same image.

Windows Media Player uses a scheme where all tracks from the album must be in the same directory and it looks for a file called "folder.jpg" in that directory.

There are a couple of things you could do depending on what OSes you have access to.

*** If you only have access to Windows:

1) Rip to FLAC using EAC

2) You can play FLAC in Windows Media Player/Center if you install

http://www.illiminable.com/ogg/

Which provides a FLAC directshow filter

http://wmptagext.sourceforge.net/

Which extend the tagging support in WMP so it can read metadata from FLAC (and several over formats).

The alternative is to cross code the FLAC to Windows Media Lossless. There are two ways to do this. The first is using dbPowerAMP Music Converter

http://www.dbpoweramp.com/dmc.htm

The second is using Foobar 2000 and setting up a commandline encoder using WMcmd.vbs this is a script shipped with Windows Media to enable you to encode from the commandline. Search elsewhere on the forums for infomation on the commandline options this takes.

http://www.foobar2000.org/

However you mileage may vary with preserving the tags, there are mixed reports of WMcmd.vbs correctly populating all tag fields. Unfortunately MS never seem to appreciate the need to be able to drive things via the command line :/

I'd stick with using FLAC and the extensions to WMP mentioned above.

3) There are a variety of programs availiable to grab Album Art from amazon.com based on the contents of the tags in the files and save it into folder.jpg file that you need for WMP for example:

http://www.avsoft.nl/artfixer/

4) You can now convert to ALAC using Foobar2000 and itunesEncode.exe. Again the tags get read by Foobar and added on the commandline to iTunesencode. You can specify Album Art on the commandline as well but since it requires a full qualified path (and the source code was lost so it can't be fixed) it's not much use.

http://www.rarewares.org/files/aac/iTunesEncode46.zip

Unfortunately the dbPowerAMP ALAC encoder is not ready for the primetime and extending iTunes itself to import FLAC is problematic. iTunes can be made to play most formats by writing a Quicktime component for it however the metadata support is built directly into iTunes itself so is not extendable. Therefore you lose tags.

Assuming you can get a conversion to ALAC preserving tags using Foobar2000 and iTunesencode then you then have the tedious job of dragging the album art into iTunes for each album or using a tool such as

http://www.yvg.com/itunesartimporter.shtml

to scrape it from amazon again.

*** If you have access to a Mac:

Things are much much easier you can use Max

http://sbooth.org/Max/

This will rip and encode to tagged FLAC and ALAC files concurrently and query amazon.com to grab the album art. As far as I can tell it will insert the Album art into ALAC files and save a copy of the file into the directory under a user defineable name and format. Therefore you can get it to write the folder.jpg that WMP requires.

You can then just import the ALAC files into iTunes and everything wiill Just Work™

Again you'd use the FLAC components mentioned above.

If you still wish to rip using EAC on windows then you could download the Album Art using something like

http://kempele.fi/~skyostil/projects/albumart/

Which will query based on the tags in the files. However this isn't going to help you get art into ALAC files for iTunes.

I wish you luck in getting all of this to work. I rather suspect that it might be easier to just buy a second hand PPC mac to run Max on than trying to deal with ALAC on Windows. Since Apple are going Intel there are quite a lot of people selling PPC Macs and PowerBooks and buying Intel based ones.

This post has been edited by chelgrian: Jul 16 2006, 13:51
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EuMesmo
post Nov 11 2006, 23:06
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QUOTE (chelgrian @ Jul 16 2006, 09:50) *
Firstly there is no lossless format which is shared between WMP and iTunes. It's vaguely possible that WMP could be persuaded to play ALAC by writing a DirectShow filter based on the reversed engineered ALAC decoder however no one has any incentive to do it as there are other open formats that can be used like FLAC and it would probably get up Apples nostrils to the point of sueing people.


Actually, you can play OGG-FLAC files on both iTunes an WMP. For iTunes, you'll need the Xiph Quicktime components installed, and I have been able to play ogg flac files on WMP using the Illiminable DirectShow filter.

I rarely use WMP, so don't care that much for the metadata on it. And on this thread there's an information that iTunes 7 can read OGG metadata. And

I had some problems to append the metadata to oggFLAC files, but it was solved with flac 1.1.3, which converts and copy the tags from the flac files. But the only way to add the tags to ogg-flac that I found was with foobar. And in case you want to convert again to another lossless format, well, you can use foobar again.

I believe that ogg-flac needs more attention from people. It is not so widspread used as the other, but the ability to play on both players should be useful to a lot of people.

This post has been edited by EuMesmo: Nov 11 2006, 23:09
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goodnews
post Nov 11 2006, 23:33
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I see 2 main things needed to help FLAC to better accomplish 'universal compatability' across operating systems and (even) more widespread use:

1. Support by the Xiph Quicktime components for decoding the more popular native FLAC file type.

2. The soon to arrive [b]FLAC 1.1.3[b] stable release version that will support embedded ALBUM ART and converting from FLAC to FLAC formats without losing metatags.

With this, plus the new LYRICS text tag hopefully being used, one should be able to use dBpowerAMP, VUPlayer, Max and other utility programs to easily convert from your master audios in FLAC format to WMA Lossless, Apple's ALAC, M4A (AAC), MP3 or just about any format on Macs or PCs running Windows. All album art, lyrics and tags should go along with any format you convert to from your master FLAC files.

Since the illuminable Directshow plugin also supports playback for native FLAC format files, that should take care of FLAC file playback in WMP 10 or 11. Also, now that Winamp 5.31 now natively comes with a FLAC decoder you can playback files in Winamp also.

Am anxiously awaiting Josh's new 1.1.3 release of FLAC, plus Apple's rumoured built-in FLAC support in its upcoming Leopard MAC operating system...

[dream mode]Maybe iTunes will have built-in FLAC file import (and export) support in an upcoming release [/dream mode].

This post has been edited by goodnews: Nov 11 2006, 23:36
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Posts in this topic
- vetinry   Finding a lossless format for itunes and windows media player   Jul 16 2006, 10:03
- - chelgrian   QUOTE (vetinry @ Jul 16 2006, 10:03) This...   Jul 16 2006, 13:50
|- - LANjackal   QUOTE (chelgrian @ Jul 16 2006, 08:50) 3)...   Oct 11 2006, 17:31
|- - EuMesmo   QUOTE (chelgrian @ Jul 16 2006, 09:50) Fi...   Nov 11 2006, 23:06
|- - goodnews   I see 2 main things needed to help FLAC to better ...   Nov 11 2006, 23:33
|- - John Lockwood   QUOTE (EuMesmo @ Nov 11 2006, 23:06) QUOT...   Nov 11 2006, 23:48
||- - jcoalson   QUOTE (John Lockwood @ Nov 11 2006, 17:48...   Nov 12 2006, 00:07
||- - EuMesmo   QUOTE (John Lockwood @ Nov 11 2006, 19:48...   Nov 12 2006, 00:30
||- - John Lockwood   QUOTE (EuMesmo @ Nov 12 2006, 00:30) QUOT...   Nov 28 2006, 01:40
||- - sheik124   QUOTE (John Lockwood @ Nov 27 2006, 19:40...   Dec 5 2006, 03:20
||- - sheik124   QUOTE (sheik124 @ Dec 4 2006, 21:20) QUOT...   Dec 6 2006, 12:22
|- - chelgrian   QUOTE (EuMesmo @ Nov 11 2006, 23:06) Actu...   Nov 27 2006, 13:28
- - /mnt   WMA Lossless can be transcoded to AAC or ALAC in i...   Jul 16 2006, 15:02
- - vetinry   Guys Thanks for taking the time to reply. Am I r...   Jul 16 2006, 15:57
|- - chelgrian   QUOTE (vetinry @ Jul 16 2006, 15:57) Guys...   Jul 16 2006, 17:44
- - vetinry   Thanks I think I'm getting the gist of what y...   Jul 16 2006, 19:49
|- - John Lockwood   QUOTE (vetinry @ Jul 16 2006, 19:49) Than...   Oct 11 2006, 17:19
- - beto   You should go with MP3 if lossy is an option for y...   Oct 11 2006, 17:50
|- - John Lockwood   QUOTE (beto @ Oct 11 2006, 17:50) You sho...   Oct 12 2006, 14:28
|- - beto   Just a few comments. QUOTE (John Lockwood @ ...   Oct 12 2006, 14:41
|- - soliluna   John, thanks for all the tips I finally got my A...   Jun 4 2007, 14:46
|- - John Lockwood   QUOTE (soliluna @ Jun 4 2007, 14:46) John...   Oct 16 2007, 12:24
- - Mike Giacomelli   QUOTE (vetinry @ Jul 16 2006, 02:03) I ha...   Oct 12 2006, 14:51
|- - Veej007   this is seems like an appropriate time to reiterat...   Oct 13 2006, 09:03
||- - jcoalson   don't forget to complain to apple too.   Oct 13 2006, 19:07
|||- - chelgrian   QUOTE (jcoalson @ Oct 13 2006, 19:07) don...   Oct 16 2006, 01:07
||- - Nick E   QUOTE (Veej007 @ Oct 13 2006, 02:03) this...   Oct 13 2006, 19:53
|- - John Lockwood   QUOTE (Mike Giacomelli @ Oct 12 2006, 14...   Oct 13 2006, 21:37
- - windmiller   The WMPTSE plugin is certainly worth checking out.   Nov 27 2006, 13:08
- - Gow   For iTunes there is a QT Component that allows the...   Nov 28 2006, 02:32
|- - eofor   QUOTE (Gow @ Nov 28 2006, 02:32) For iTun...   Nov 28 2006, 09:35
|- - xxx666yyy777   QUOTE (eofor @ Nov 28 2006, 03:35) Too ba...   Dec 5 2006, 02:46
- - Klyith   QUOTE (xxx666yyy777 @ Dec 4 2006, 20:46) ...   Dec 5 2006, 03:07
|- - xxx666yyy777   QUOTE (Klyith @ Dec 4 2006, 21:07) QUOTE ...   Dec 5 2006, 05:15
- - Mangix   make sure to enable ALAC in the audio configuratio...   Dec 5 2006, 07:03
|- - xxx666yyy777   QUOTE (Mangix @ Dec 5 2006, 01:03) make s...   Dec 5 2006, 16:34
- - Mangix   now that i just saw it, i can't seem to find i...   Dec 6 2006, 02:45
|- - John Lockwood   QUOTE (Mangix @ Dec 6 2006, 02:45) now th...   Dec 7 2006, 02:40
||- - sheik124   QUOTE (John Lockwood @ Dec 6 2006, 20:40)...   Dec 7 2006, 02:49
|- - xxx666yyy777   QUOTE (Mangix @ Dec 5 2006, 20:45) now th...   Dec 9 2006, 18:21
- - DCoder   QUOTE (sheik124 @ Dec 6 2006, 17:49) QUOT...   Dec 7 2006, 10:11
|- - sheik124   QUOTE (DCoder @ Dec 7 2006, 04:11) QUOTE ...   Dec 8 2006, 01:03
|- - sheik124   QUOTE (sheik124 @ Dec 7 2006, 19:03) QUOT...   Dec 9 2006, 17:24
|- - sheik124   QUOTE (sheik124 @ Dec 9 2006, 11:24) QUOT...   Dec 10 2006, 00:57
|- - John Lockwood   QUOTE (sheik124 @ Dec 10 2006, 00:57) QUO...   Dec 10 2006, 18:12
|- - sheik124   QUOTE (John Lockwood @ Dec 10 2006, 12:12...   Dec 10 2006, 18:25
- - Mangix   as an alternative, you can use foobar2000 with the...   Dec 10 2006, 02:34
|- - sheik124   QUOTE (Mangix @ Dec 9 2006, 20:34) as an ...   Dec 10 2006, 16:34
- - DCoder   QUOTE Anyone have any info on why it may be having...   Dec 10 2006, 19:37
|- - sheik124   QUOTE (DCoder @ Dec 10 2006, 13:37) QUOTE...   Dec 10 2006, 23:31
|- - sheik124   In case anyone is interested, VLC has libavcodec p...   Dec 11 2006, 01:30
- - Mangix   mov and mp4 should be generally the same thing. th...   Dec 10 2006, 21:05
- - ShinKen   Thanks to this forum and this thread, I was able t...   Dec 22 2006, 03:59
|- - Tuono   QUOTE (ShinKen @ Dec 22 2006, 03:59) Than...   Dec 18 2007, 21:32
|- - John Lockwood   QUOTE (Tuono @ Dec 18 2007, 21:32) QUOTE ...   Dec 19 2007, 23:17
|- - Andy2000   All, I have the same problem. Thanks to John...   Jan 3 2008, 17:54
|- - John Lockwood   QUOTE (Andy2000 @ Jan 3 2008, 17:54) All,...   Jan 4 2008, 00:20
|- - grommet   Extenders can stream uncompressed PCM audio. So, ...   Jan 4 2008, 00:54
- - tanner   I probably spent a few time in the last few months...   Dec 31 2006, 05:45
- - DCoder   That's a common issue with Vista. Rightclic...   Jan 2 2007, 08:39
- - Mike Carlisle   Hi, I'm trying to follow this thread to work ...   Jan 4 2007, 15:07
- - Mike Carlisle   Thought I had it working... but no I've bee...   Jan 4 2007, 16:09
- - Cartoon   But what about the other way? How to create ALAC f...   Jan 4 2007, 17:31
|- - eofor   QUOTE (Cartoon @ Jan 4 2007, 17:31) But w...   Jan 4 2007, 18:53
|- - John Lockwood   QUOTE (Cartoon @ Jan 4 2007, 17:31) But w...   Jan 4 2007, 23:59
- - vetinry   As the original author of this thread, I'm del...   Mar 18 2007, 18:32
|- - John Lockwood   QUOTE (vetinry @ Mar 18 2007, 18:32) As t...   Mar 18 2007, 20:30
|- - headcase   Sorry, can I get some noob instructions on getting...   May 21 2007, 04:04
|- - John Lockwood   If your intention is to get Apple Lossless (aka. A...   May 21 2007, 23:16
|- - headcase   Thank you for doing all that work! Couple o...   May 22 2007, 17:09
- - DrButcher   i'm still confused, im hoping you guys can hel...   Jul 3 2008, 00:37
|- - John Lockwood   QUOTE (DrButcher @ Jul 3 2008, 00:37) i...   Jul 3 2008, 06:11
- - DrButcher   thanks for the quick reply, still a little confuse...   Jul 3 2008, 17:10
|- - John Lockwood   QUOTE (DrButcher @ Jul 3 2008, 17:10) tha...   Jul 3 2008, 20:08
- - DrButcher   i tried an AAC track and it did indeed play throug...   Jul 4 2008, 02:40
|- - John Lockwood   QUOTE (DrButcher @ Jul 4 2008, 02:40) i t...   Jul 5 2008, 09:41
- - DrButcher   ok so wmp wouldn't give me any info in the pro...   Jul 7 2008, 16:27
- - DrButcher   i also just re-registered the "file source (M...   Jul 7 2008, 17:50
|- - John Lockwood   QUOTE (DrButcher @ Jul 7 2008, 17:50) i a...   Jul 8 2008, 00:49
- - ptmx2   I ended up here after an internet search to find a...   Jul 8 2008, 02:38
- - DrButcher   i ended up deleting every single filter and then r...   Jul 9 2008, 18:12
|- - John Lockwood   QUOTE (DrButcher @ Jul 9 2008, 18:12) i e...   Jul 9 2008, 22:24
- - DrButcher   to tell you the truth, I don't even have itune...   Jul 10 2008, 05:23
|- - John Lockwood   QUOTE (DrButcher @ Jul 10 2008, 05:23) to...   Jul 10 2008, 11:16
- - DrButcher   BINGO! I ripped a CD to ALAC with itunes and ...   Jul 10 2008, 15:29
- - John Lockwood   QUOTE (DrButcher @ Jul 10 2008, 15:29) BI...   Jul 11 2008, 11:01


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