Boost iTunes’ automatic conversion bit rate | iLounge Tips

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Boost iTunes’ automatic conversion bit rate


Have an iTunes library full of uncompressed audio? Then you’re probably familiar with iTunes’ built-in option to automatically convert higher bit rate songs to a lower bit rate—and thus smaller file size—when filling up an iDevice. Previously, this option was not so audiophile friendly, due to its 128 kbps restriction, but with iTunes 10.6, you have some freedom to lower the file size of AIFF and Apple Lossless files while maintaining better sound quality. On the Summary page for your device, check down in the Options box, make sure you have the Convert higher bit rate songs box checked, and then take your pick from 128, 192, or 256 kbps, and enjoy the extra space on your device while also enjoying your music.

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I am wondering why every (somehow) Apple related website publishes this little tip nowadays. Here is why:

If you do not check the box, your audio files will be transferred in a very much better quality (assuming you ripped at more than 256 kbps) than if you even check for 256 kbps. Can I proof this, you will probably ask. Sure:

My audio files currently on the iPhone take 5.1 GB of storage. Checking the box for 256 kbps leads to more available storage on the device, exacty 2.3 GB more storage.

So, if you really want a good sound: do not check the box.

Posted by Sebastian Rothe on March 13, 2012 at 12:03 PM (CDT)


Of course, if this option is not checked, you will get whatever bitrate that your file is currently stored at transferred to your device.

The purpose of this was to allow those people that may want to load up files on an 8 gig Nano or even a 2 gig Shuffle (Apple should bump it up to four on the next iteration), so they can go listen to tunes while working out at the gym.  For that, the 128kbps may be just fine, especially if they are just using the stock iBuds (or other cheap ear buds) that came with their device.  Now, what about those of us that have everything mostly in lossless or at the very least high-bitrate MPE (320kbps), after all I have some 5 terabytes on my file server, so I am not to concerned about space there.  However, I will want to load up a bunch of tunes on the iPad or iPhone for listening on a long flight or train ride.  In that case, I will want to opt for the better bit rates, such as 256 kbps, since I will be listening through some pretty high-end ear phones, but still want to try to save some space (pack in more music), especially on the somewhat limited confines of a 32-gig iPhone (which is what I have).

But, if you are really anal retentive about the quality of the files going on your device, and you don’t care much about saving space, then you can safely ignore this feature.  I will have to give Apple credit for at least finally improving this feature to allow higher bitrates to be selected, thus I may actually take advantage of it the next time I need to load some music on my iPhone.  Before, I ignored it as well since 128 kbps did not suffice for me either.

Posted by SkiBumMSP on March 13, 2012 at 11:58 PM (CDT)

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