Sound Advice: Lossless, AAC encoders each have pros and cons
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Question: I just bought an iPod classic and have around 200 to 225 CDs I would like to import. I am not sure what encoder to use in iTunes.
Should I use the AAC Encoder, or Apple Lossless encoder, or something else?
I like the sound quality of CDs, but the space may be too limited on the iPod so I may have to compress the music when I encode it.
I mainly want to use the iPod in my car, and sometimes on my home audio system, which is of very good quality. If I do not use the Apple Lossless encoder, what bitrate should I select if I use the AAC or MP3 encoder?
Answer: The Apple Lossless encoder will preserve 100 percent of the sound quality of your CDs, but the compression only takes size down by about half. A 700 MB CD will take up around 350 MB, and your CD collection will almost fill up your iPod. Using AAC or MP3 will give you a lot more space to work with.
AAC is most effective at lower bit rates. At higher bit rates, there is less of a difference. I would try MP3 at 320 kb/s or better. That will be a nice compromise between sound quality and space. You would not likely hear the difference in your car at all, given road and wind noise. There is a better chance of hearing the difference on your home system.
Question: What is the difference between a universal disc player and a region-free disc player? Are any players both universal and region-free? Does Blu-ray also differ by world region like DVD?
Maple Grove, Minn.
Answer: Before the advent of Blu-ray, a universal player was a player that could play DVDs, CDs, Super Audio CDs (SACD) and DVD-Audio (DVD-A).
Now that Blu-ray is here a universal player would also have to play Blu-ray to be considered a universal player. Universal players tend to be audiophile niche items. While most everyone uses CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray, SACD and DVD-A are niche formats enjoyed by audiophiles for their sound quality, which is superior to ordinary CDs and may be recorded in surround sound.
A region-free player is a player that can play discs from anywhere in the world.
DVD discs are coded by region and intended to be sold only in that region.
The players sold there are designed to only play discs with the corresponding region code.
There are six regions. North America is Region 1; Europe and Japan are Region 2; Southeast Asia is Region 3; Australia, Mexico and South America are Region 4; Eastern Europe and Africa are Region 5; and China is Region 6.
Blu-ray has only 3 regions. Region 1 is North and South America, Southeast Asia and Japan; Region 2 is Europe, Africa and Australia; and Region 3 is India, China, Russia and Eastern Europe.
I do not know of any Universal Region Free players, though they may exist.
If you want to watch discs from around the world as well as have universal player capability, it would be easiest to have both a region-free player and a universal player.
First Published August 5, 2012 12:00 am