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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Jul 04, 2013
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    Lossless (m4a) format to AAC
    I know you posted this in 2007, but if you're still there, please tell me more. I am copying my CD collection onto an external hard drive, so I followed your suggestion and changed the location of my iTunes Media folder (temporarily) to the external HD, and imported my CDs in lossless (m4a) format. Now I'd like to transfer them to my laptop, but in AAC 250 format. Should be simple, but I can't figure out how to do this; can you help?

  2. #2


    Member Since
    Jul 04, 2013
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    Lossless (m4a) format to AAC
    I am copying my CD collection onto an external hard drive in lossless (m4a) format, so I will have a high quality digital version of all my music, but I'd like to keep a smaller version on my laptop (Macbook Pro running OS 10.7.4) in AAC 250 format. If I set iTunes preferences (I have version 11.0.4) to Import from CD using Apple Lossless Encoder, and then go to Advanced Preferences and select the external HD as my iTunes Media folder location, the CD copies onto the external drive without any problem, but how can I then import it onto my laptop in AAC format? I reset iTunes Media folder location back to my laptop, but there doesn't seem to be a way to import music from the external hard drive in a different format. Assuming this is possible, will I then have 2 different iTunes Media folders (one on the laptop and one on the external drive)? How can I let iTunes know that I don't want it to copy the lossless versions back onto my laptop, or the AAC versions back onto the external drive? Any help would be much appreciated.

  3. #3

    chscag's Avatar
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    Please do not post to a 6 year old thread. I moved your post to its own thread and to the correct forum.

  4. #4


    Member Since
    Jul 04, 2013
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    Sorry, chscag, I'm new to this -- after my first reply, I figured that out and started this thread.

  5. #5


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheeg View Post
    I am copying my CD collection onto an external hard drive in lossless (m4a) format
    M4A (MPEG-4 audio) is not lossless. It's compressed like MP3.

    If I understand your question, you want to keep a large, lossless-format iTunes Library on an external drive, and a smaller, lossy-format copy of that library on your boot drive -- and you are looking for the easiest way to add new material to both.

    Presuming that the bulk of the music you're talking about importing comes from CDs, the simplest workflow I can think of is to open each library in iTunes and import the CD in the format you want, then change the library and do it again in the alternative format.

    You could perhaps find a third-party audio converter that can read from CDs and send the results to iTunes, but you'd still have to change the iTunes library between takes so that amounts to the same amount of work.

    I would imagine that it would be possible to construct an Automator or Applescript that essentially said that when the script is run, it should launch iTunes using library A, rip the CD, close and change iTunes libraries and rip the CD again (each in the correct format of course), but how to do that is beyond me.

  6. #6

    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
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    I very highly recommend using X Lossless Decoder. For lossless encoding, use Apple Lossless or FLAC. Once done, move all those files to another folder; change your options in XLD to use MPEG-4 AAC and set your bitrate preferences accordingly; then drop that entire folder of lossless rips back into XLD. Make sure that, in XLD's "Batch" preferences, you have the subdirectory search depth set to 0 (unlimited) so it will parse everything. Also make sure you don't have the option selected to delete the original files.

    Please verify and include the exact model/year of your Mac and OS X version number (available from "About This Mac", then "More Info" on the Apple menu).
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  7. #7

    Adric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheeg View Post
    Sorry, chscag, I'm new to this -- after my first reply, I figured that out and started this thread.
    Well, in your defense, most forums prefer you contribute to an already existing thread rather than starting a new one for an existing topic so anywhere else, you would have been doing the right thing.

    Starting a new thread here helps us see which questions have yet to be answered though.

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