Playing (or Converting) AIFF-C or .m4a Files?

Hello All. I have ordered a K50 and am beginning to do some homework prior to receiving the server/player.

I watched the Storage and Library Guides, and I noticed that all files are FLAC format.

I am migrating from iTunes, where all files are either AIFF-C or .m4a format. Will the K50 play these files? Can I simply drag and drop them to a SSD installed on the K50, or do I have to convert them to FLAC?

If so, how?

Apologies for what is probably a very basic question.

These should play fine without you needing to convert them with my K30. All my files ripped from CD are AIFF or .mp4 and I’ve had no problem playing them. I think the reason you see FLAC files in the guide is because that’s the format they’ll end up in if you rip CDs using your K50. I continue to rip to AIFF using my Mac.

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Very helpful, @kennyb123. Thank you.

Yes, one of the reasons I asked the question was that I saw FLAC files being used primarily in the Guide videos. Your comment regarding ripping to FLAC using the K50 makes sense.

Ultimately it will come down to which software you used to play your files. Roon will have no problem with these. You may run into occasional challenges with your m4a files but you can always convert them as needed. But even better would be to re-rip your CDs using a secure ripper like dbPoweramp or the ripping software in your K50.

A secure ripper will compare your rip results to the rip results of others who have ripped the CD. If a track doesn’t match up, it will try to re-rip but do so much more exactingly. Occasionally it’s a fingerprint that mucks things up so a simple cleaning of the CD help. The problem with non-secure rippers like iTunes is that they will complete the rip without raising an error (unless the issue is really bad).

The maker of dbPoweramp has a product called PerfectTunes. This will scan your rips to let you know if any have errors in your ripped files. I believe it has a free trial so you may want to give it a spin to get a sense of the quality of your rips.

If you’re leaving the Apple ecosystem I’d recommend you convert all your music to FLAC via dbpoweramp and the batch converter option.

You can, at the same time, setup certain metadata additions, subtraction and modifications which will unify all your files to your liking and style. I did this a few years ago and have since been using the same formatting script for all new albums.

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…you convert all your much to FLAC via dbpoweramp and the batch converter option.

@cereal_killer, that’s a great tip. Thanks.

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Follow up…

Per @cereal_killer’s suggestion, I used dbpoweramp to convert my files to FLAC. Easy.

Now, I have the original files as an archive copy for use in the Apple universe, and I can compare playback quality to FLAC when I receive the K50.

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Is there a reason that people are recommending converting AIFF to FLAC? Seems to me to be of zero SQ benefit, but with a possible loss of data depending on the converter.

FLAC = Free Lossless Audio Codec - the clue’s in the title :wink:

Whether one is a macOS or iOS user might weigh into the decision to convert to FLAC. I’m a Mac user and I do my best to avoid FLAC.

Enlighten me…if you are storing as an uncompressed FLAC as suggested by Antipodes, then where is the benefit in changing from AIFF that people see?

AIFF is an Apple invention from 1988, it’s not open source software which FLAC is.

FLAC is the universal standard.

If a format is playable on just about every consumer device without the need for the consumer to pay an extra fee, whether or not it is open source matters zilch. The proof can be found in how ubiquitous AIFF is now, 23 years after its introduction.

What we should be considering here is practical usage and sound quality. Uncompressed formats like WAV and AIFF have been found to sound better than compressed formats by many audiophiles. I believe that uncompressed FLAC matches AIFF or WAV so that should be mentioned when advocating for use of this format by audiophiles.

In terms of practical usage, if one has devices running either Android or Windows, FLAC is the better choice. If macOS or iOS, then FLAC is a suboptimal choice.

The FLAC compression level apparently matters when it comes to sound quality despite it being lossless compression. Disk is so cheap that I just go with an uncompressed format.

My question was about SQ.
My understanding is that they are identical in that regard and that is true regardless of whether using Windows, OSX, etc…so if not why?
If it is true then why convert?
Why is AIFF on Android/Windows sub optimal?
IMO uncompressed is for sure the way - the least processing the better.

Do you really think decompressing a FLAC file is taxing on a processor or even the most basic streamers? …. even a smart watch would do it bit perfectly…

It’s a bit like the IT stories about the Apollo missions in the 1970s, we sent rockets to the moon with less than 1% of what a smart phone is capable of now…. Decompressing a file isn’t rocket science .

If all that matters is converting files bit perfectly, why are you here on the Antipodes forum?

Decompressing the file isn’t the issue. It’s that noise can be generated when power supplies are unable to meet instantaneous current demands. Reducing activity on servers can reduce noise and this can benefit sound quality. It’s why we use Antipodes servers instead of smart watches when sound quality matters.

It’s seems that you recommended FLAC without consideration of sound quality. That’s an okay position to take! But, questions were put to you about your recommendation. It’s okay to say that your only consideration was that FLAC is an open standard and the Apple formats are not.

Sorry but you know nothing about why I own a CX server so don’t be an obnoxious asshole about peoples decisions.

Talk about the subject instead of trying to get personal.

So please tell me how a computer with a desktop i7 knows it’s processing an audio stream rather than a 30GB MKV 4KUHD movie? Do you think it’s send messages to the PSU saying; lads best get ready for some heavy lifting …. Or do you think it’s just gets on with a task that requires processing.

I didn’t get personal. I used a rhetorical device to challenge your weak argument.

It’s amazing the lengths you went to avoid having to defend your own recommendation.

I won’t respond to you again because your evasiveness is tiring.

I have to comment on this though:

What follows is a chart of the voltage the CPU in my laptop has been drawing over the last hour. The power supply simply provides the current needed to meet this demand. It’s just the way these things work. “Getting on with a task that requires processing” doesn’t happen magically. Power has to be drawn to make that possible.

All the bouncing around that you see on this chart is detrimental to good sound quality. Antipodes separates the Player from the Server so that very little processing is performed on the CPU in the box. that’s directly connected to our DACs. These things matter when it comes to sound quality.

What this chart doesn’t show is whether the power supply was fast enough to meet the demand when it was needed. This is something that Antipodes takes very seriously as this is an important part of what makes music come to life.

LOL - what pointless waffle… Its not even got to 1V and there’s nothing showing the current required. Why do you think the CX uses 1x 50VA transformer and not a 300VA one?

Hell, even the K50 only uses 3x 80VA transformers.
Antipodes separates the Player from the Server in the software domain on my CX.
Luckily I stream via roon over ethernet to my Dutch & Dutch 8C’s so i don’t need a player.

If you think you can hear differences in lossless audio formats, I’d say you have a hardware issue somewhere further up the chain.

I regret starting this thread because of the contentious direction it has taken, but I appreciate the helpful early replies.

I was simply trying to understand why one of the Guide videos demonstrated working with FLAC files. Later, when I reviewed the Guide video more carefully, I saw other file formats in a disk directory, and I realized FLAC files were not exclusively being used on the Antipodes server/player.

I am interested in learning what file format is preferred going forward with the K50, if any, considering the purpose of purchasing an Antipodes player is removing the MacMini from the music system, which by default means I will no longer be ripping CDs to iTunes and AIFF format.

My dealer informs me has had had no problems working with or playing mp3 or AIFF files on any of his Antipodes devices.

When I converted my music files to FLAC, I kept the original files on purpose, and I intend to preserve the original files going forward.

I will compare the sound quality between AIFF and FLAC, although I’m not going to devote massive time to the task.