I've been thinking a bit more about this and now wonder how those without iTunes are going to listen to these ALAC files, other than through streamers?
.......it means that whoever wants to rip/listen to music in ALAC format is likely going to have to either install iTunes.....
It's no different to the current situation for those who use an iPod, iPhone, IPad and/or use iTunes to download tracks.
Speculation, but Apple is positioning for the streaming future. HD movies are already available on Apple TV and the soon-to-be launched iCloud Match service ($24.95 per annum) points to the future for audio. CES 2012 will give us a clue, but 24/192 lossless files are too big to be stored in bulk on most hard drives. Allegedly, record labels distributors are preparing to release Hi Res versions of their back catalogues, especially the ever popular 60s and 70s classic rock. There are battles ahead in format wars that hopefully will be resolved peacefully, rather than Betamax/VHS attrition, but I would't bet against Apple withits $84 billion in cash war chest.
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There's more likelyhood of a difference in sound quality caused by the DAC analogue output, other equipment in the audio chain, or by the source material itself.
Very important point from an earlier post. I think most forum members are dedicated to some extent in having really excellent quality of sound reproduction. One can postulate endlessly about FLAC vs ALAC vs whatever other format but in the end if the original sound recording was rubbish any resultant digital file will also be rubbish, and of course the opposite is true. I've toyed with FLAC, 24bit/96 recordings the list is endless and in the end and I came to the conclusion that a good recording is what makes the experience pleasurable. Best demo I heard at Manchester was a vinyl one. Worst was an iPad toting streaming system (by the way thats not an anti Apple slur just a comment on how it seemed).
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Resurrecting this topic, I see from todays WHF news that Linn are now making downloads available in ALAC format, in addition to FLAC.
Confirming John's earlier comment about developers buring the midnight oil working on updates to play ALAC , Foobar 1.1.10 Beta 1 out, now playing ALAC out of the box, plugin no longer needed.
Flac is slightly less cpu intensive and uses around 4-5% less space than Alac. But as both are lossless you'd expect same quality to be the same.
I would have preferred Apple to just add FLAC support - there is no need for extra (ex)proprietary formats.
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Digging up this old thread, I'm just wondering why, 1 year on, ALAC is still pretty marginal?
From the comments here - and I'd agree with a lot of those suggesting ALAC should power on having gone open source - it doesn't really seem to have come to fruition.
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From my limited knowledge and experience as a consumer, it still seems like there are comparatively few pieces of hardware out there that have native ALAC support when it comes to streaming.
Having just taken the iPlunge, I'm finding it tricky to find the hardware I want to support ALAC, which is the file type I'd like to convert my FLAC library too for uniformity.
I may be wrong, but it seems that way.
Just use FLAC. Every Apple gadget (except the Ipod Classic) can be made to play FLAC.
Well I tried FLAC when I got my iPhone and found it was a bit fiddly without the native support - file / folder structures, transferring files in the first place, all tricky because of a need for workarounds.
These days I want simple and streamlined. Pretty much everything plays ALAC too, but it seems like streamers and hardware components are slower on the uptake than PC utilities etc.
Apps like Flac Player or Golden Ear add the flac files to Itunes so you can sync them to other devices or stream them over airplay.
So the theory goes...
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