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Convert a Lossless file to play in iTunes and iPods Apps
Every now-and-then, I'll run into a song on the internet that has an .ape, .shn, or .flac extension. Until iTunes supports these (as of the time of this posting, I haven't found any plugins for iTunes that were capable of playing lossless files), I would have to convert these files to AIFF (and then, optionally, to AAC for my iPod so that my iPod's battery lasts longer). It's nice to know that there's actually a program that can convert these files for me. This program is called xACT. At the time of this posting, it is in beta state, but it does the job well done for converting those three lossless formats. Additionally, this same program can convert AIFF or WAV to one of the three lossless formats mentioned above.

NOTE: Make sure you read the readme file in regards to 24-bit audio files as well as .aifc files.

After the file has been converted to AIFF or WAV, you can now bring them into iTunes. The downside, however, is that you'll lose the meta tag information in the process. You would have re-add the tag data after importing into iTunes. That, and they are substantially larger than the original lossless file. So it would be wise to have a really large hard drive if you expect to keep a large amount of AIFF or WAV files on your computer.

Also, if you're concerned about hard drive space and don't mind the quality loss from migrating from a lossless format to AAC or MP3, you can convert the AIFF or WAV file using your favourite AAC or MP3 encoder.

NOTE: Mileage does vary. The amount of quality lost when converting from a lossless format to AAC or MP3 depends solely on your hearing. One person may not find much of a difference between the original lossless file and a 128kbps AAC file while another person may find big differences between the same two files.

Previous hints should already tell you how to do this but personally, I use LAME for MP3, or Ovolab's AAChoo for AAC. That's, of course, you don't mind being beaned in the noggin by people who value the quality of .ape, .shn, and .flac files ... but that part is a totally different hint all together.

[daring attempt to be funny]
Next hint: How to dodge stones, knives, and bullets from people who shun those converting lossless files into AAC or MP3.
[/daring attempt to be funny]

Hope that helps.

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Convert a Lossless file to play in iTunes and iPods | 12 comments | Create New Account
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Convert a Lossless file to play in iTunes and iPods
Authored by: heissenbuttel on Mar 10, '04 11:33:43AM
I have been doing this for some time now, and the best way I have found is to use the now defunct MacAmp Lite X 1.5b. This was the latest version before Subband Software dispersed.

They have provided serials for its use on their website here, so what you end up with is a fully functional product. Make sure you also license the Add-ons as that includes all of the encoding features.

Once installed you simply choose to output to MP3 and play your files.

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Convert a Lossless file to play in iTunes and iPods
Authored by: osxpounder on Mar 11, '04 12:31:36PM

Thanks for the tip about MacAmp, but, I tried it, and neither of the two registration codes given on that page are actually accepted by the program I downloaded from the same page. MacAmpLiteX won't register for me.

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osxpounder



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another way to convert SHN
Authored by: xcgr on Mar 10, '04 12:44:52PM
Shorten for OS X is a simple graphical app that will convert SHN to WAV. Then you can use iTunes to convert the WAV file.

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another way to convert SHN
Authored by: osxpounder on Mar 11, '04 01:04:46AM

Are there any other SHN players about? I just recently discovered this format, and I'm interested in knowing about any players, for OSX or for Windows, that handle SHN files.

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osxpounder



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another way to convert SHN
Authored by: KRC on Mar 11, '04 08:14:54AM

Hello,

I don't know of any off the top of my head that would play Shorten (or SHN) files natively (I'm guessing Audion + a SHN plugin but Audion is shareware the last time I checked). For Windows, I think you can get a plugin for Winamp that would allow you to play SHN files natively. I also think foobar2000 for Windows can play it too.



[ Reply to This | # ]
another way to convert SHN
Authored by: osxpounder on Mar 11, '04 12:42:03PM

Thanks for that, KRC!

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osxpounder



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another way to convert SHN
Authored by: osxpounder on Mar 11, '04 12:54:45PM
LOL! Looks like I picked the wrong week to enjoy SHN files. Shorten isn't working for me, either, but for all I know it may be that the files are corrupt [it reports a "premature end of file" ...]. I first heard of SHN files years ago but never bothered trying them until this week, when a pal sent me a link to Live Music Archive. All the files I've tried there have been SHN files, and I haven't heard one of them yet. I'm just about to give up and slide over to the Windows box and see if my old WinAmp can't be convinced to do this.

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osxpounder

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Convert a Lossless file to play in iTunes and iPods
Authored by: badger brigade on Mar 14, '04 10:14:50AM
Not ideal for iTunes and iPods, at least not yet, but there's an easy way to convert SHN files directly to Ogg Vorbis. You need oggenc installed, which is part of the vorbistools package at http://www.vorbis.com/download.psp , and the shorten CLI tool.
for i in *.shn;
do shorten -x "$i" - | oggenc --quality 6 --album ALBUM_NAME --artist ARTIST_NAME \
--date DATE --tracknum "1-${i:0:2}" --output="${i/%shn/ogg}" -;
done;
for FLAC files install the flac CLI decoder and use
for i in *.flac;
do flac -d -o - "$i" | oggenc --quality 6 --album ALBUM_NAME --artist ARTIST_NAME \
--date DATE --tracknum "1-${i:0:2}" --output="${i/%flac/ogg}" -;
done;


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Convert a Lossless file to play in iTunes and iPods
Authored by: KRC on Mar 14, '04 10:42:34AM

That's pretty sweet! Thanks for the addition. I personally can't wait until Apple adds support for Ogg Vorbis in iTunes and their iPod ... that would really rock!

Of course, I would probably replace the

Quality 6
part of the script with a desired Quality number (I think highest is 10 or 400 kbps) ... for example, if all I'm doing is playing the track in UT2003 (eg. use UnrealEd to develop a map for community distribution and use that song exclusively for it), then it would be a setting equivilent to 128 kbps (which I forgot what Quality number that is since I haven't touched Ogg Vorbis in ages). If it's for general listening, I might go for a higher bitrate, say 192-ish.

[ Reply to This | # ]
the method i've been using
Authored by: ChrisR on Mar 17, '04 11:00:34AM

I've been using a similar method to get from flac to mp3:


for file in *.flac
do
  flac -c -d "$file" | 
  lame -h -m s -b 192 - "$(basename "$file" .flac).mp3"
done

Then I use id3tool (installed via fink) to hack up the tag before importing the files into iTunes. (It's possible to modify the id3 tag from the lame encoder command line, but I prefer to do it externally).

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while we're at it...
Authored by: ChrisR on Mar 17, '04 11:13:47AM
...here's a script I wrote for converting my CDs to flac format:

#!/bin/sh
if test "$1"
then
  for file in "$1"/*.aiff
  do
    cp -v "$file" .
    flac \
      --endian=little \
      --sign=signed \
      --channels=2 \
      --sample-rate=44100 \
      --bps=16 \
      --delete-input-file \
      "$(basename "$file")"
  done
  for file in [1-9]\ *.flac
  do
    mv -v "$file" 0"$file"
  done
else
  echo >&2 "Usage: $(basename $0) /path/to/cd"
  exit 1
fi
Enjoy! ChrisR

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Convert a Lossless file to play in iTunes and iPods
Authored by: engpjp on Aug 31, '06 09:46:26AM

The best tool for converting lossless music files on the Mac is called Max (find it on MacUpdate, for instance). It handles even certain APE files that other converters such as Xact refuse...

That said, playing FLAC directly in iTunes would be great. And they say it will be possible in Leopard....

Peter J. Pedersen



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