Some Questions About Media Formats

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by MikeyFingers, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. OK, I have a TON of music on my computer with a wide range of formats.
    I know that mp3's and WMA's will work if I burn them to a CD...but what about these: M4A and AAC. I didn't even know these 2 existed. Will they work if I put them on a CD? And this may be an incredibly stupid question, but.....what about an mp3 player? Are they STRICTLY mp3 players, or will they accept any audio files?
    I'm pretty much braindead when it comes to this kind of stuff, it's a miracle that I can even burn a CD without any serious injury.
    Any help is appreciated.
  2. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    yeah you can, they are types commonly created by apple stuff ie itunes. you should be able to burn them to a cd. if you can't try it with itunes.
  3. Awesome...anyone else want to corroborate (I think I'm using that word right), just so I have a little extra confirmation before wasting some CDR's? I'm on the verge of doubling my CD collection. In the past (when I first got a CD burner), I remember having a few CD's come out with certain tracks that just wouldn't work. Sometimes they would just not play at all, and sometimes the song would be replaced by ear-splitting static, all the while the CD burner gave no sign that anything was wrong with these songs. I really don't wanna go through that again.
  4. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    What burning software are you using?
  5. Maverick Blues

    Maverick Blues Being a Thumper is all about ATTITUDE!

    Apr 28, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    If you're burning an audio CD, the format you start with doesn't matter, because it gets converted to the CD standard during the burning process. As long as you have or can find a program that will burn "format x" to an audio CD -- or convert it to a format that some other program can use to burn one -- you're golden.

    As for mp3 players, "it depends." The really old ones (and some of the cheap ones, I suppose) do mp3s only -- some even have problems with VBR mp3 files. I suspect most these days will at least do mp3, non-protected WMA, and .wav. A lot handle AAC, etc. Check the specs to make sure what you're getting will do what you want it to do.

    But remember, it's all about tradeoffs. You can get a brain-dead mp3-only player for less than a cutting-edge do-it-all. .wma files may be smaller for the same quality as an .mp3, but it takes more "horsepower" to decode them, so you may burn through batteries faster. And so on. Just go with what works for you. :)

  6. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    You can burn CDs directly from iTunes. Just make sure to set iTunes preferences as you can burn either audio CDs (playable in any CD player) or mp3 CDs (require mp3 capable CD players).
  7. OK, here's a little more detail, sorry if I didn't give enough before.
    I have a few methods for burning CDs on my computer. Realplayer, something called "Sonic RecordNow!", Windows Media player, etc. Just the basic stuff that came with the computer.
    And BTW--I don't use iTunes and I know nothing about it (yeah I know, I'm the only one on Earth that doesn't use it). it free? Don't I need Apple stuff for it to work? I'm so clueless.
  8. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    those burning applications might not support the codecs so I'd get itunes, unless you have nero.
  9. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ

    iTunes is a free download. -->
  10. And you guys are sure that iTunes will let me burn both formats (m4a AND AAC) to CD's??
    I'm downloading iTunes anyway, I just wanna be sure.
  11. Great. Thank you all very VERY much, you made this a lot easier for me.
  12. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    additionally, if you have any problems getting the AAC/m4a files to play on an mp3 playing device you could use iTunes to convert the AAC and M4a files to MP3.
  13. flatwoundfender


    Feb 24, 2005
    And for an all purpose media player winamp supports or can support with plugins most media formats out there. I don't use the burning software on it though so I can't review that.
  14. ^Cool man. I don't even have and mp3 player yet, I'm still using CD players. But I have iTunes up and running, so any future problems should be easy to fix. Thanks again guys........and this thread is officially done.
  15. If you don't like proprietry formats (which I don't) then your only real choices are ogg and flac.
  16. ^I have no idea what you just said.
  17. There are two ways you can put music on a CD. You can either burn your music as CD audio, or you can burn a data cd with your mp3s or whatever it is that you have.

    If you burn an audio CD then it doesn't matter what format your files start in, because your burning software will convert it the the same format every audio CD uses. You only have to worry about whether your burning software knows how to interpret the format your music is in. After burning, no worries. Your CD is theoretically playable by all CD players. In actuality, some older CD players may not read it, but that's because old players tend to be flaky and not read some CDs, and not becase of a format problem.

    If you burn as a data CD, then no conversion takes place. Your files go onto the CD as-is. A regular CD player won't be able to read them, because they'll be just like the files on your hard drive, except sitting on a CD. Some CD players can play mp3s off a CD like this, but most can't. It's a special feature. You can play it in a computer though. This way is pretty cool if your player does it, since you can cram huge amounts of music on one CD (compared to an audio CD). I don't know if there are any CD players that can read formats other than mp3.

    If you're not sure which you're doing, check how much music your CD burner will let you put on there. If it's just over an hour, then you're making a regular audio cd, but if it's well over that then you're making a data CD by accident. More music can fit on a CD in mp3 (or anything but .wav) format than as CD audio since mp3s are compressed and CD audio isn't.

    Komakino is talking about a couple of other audio formats. Ogg Vorbis is a lot like an mp3, but with a cooler name. Both the mp3 and Ogg Vorbis formats compress music by throwing out less important parts of the sound. Some people think that Ogg files sound better. Flac is another neat format that compresses files without throwing out any of the sound. It makes bigger files than the others, but sounds just as good as the source you make it from.

    The other good thing about Ogg Vorbis and Flac is that, unlike mp3 and wma and most other formats, they are patent free. That's a big plus for those of us who care about such things. One benefit is that anyone can write a program that uses those formats, without worrying about getting in legal trouble.

    On the other hand, Ogg Vorbis and Flac aren't yet supported by most mp3 players, so if you plan on playing your music on a portable device like that, you either have to convert to a more common format like mp3 or just give up.

    Changing your music from one format to another is like photocopying a picture. If you go from flac or wav to mp3 or ogg, then you lose a little bit of quality, since ogg, wma, and mp3 don't make exact copies. It's like making a copy of an actual photograph. Changing between mp3, wma, and ogg, on the other hand, is like photocopying a copy of the original. Each new copy loses more information. It's something to avoid.
  18. I can't confirm this, I just took their word for it, but Apple has said that an AAC at 128 is comparable to a 192 mp3 file. So, better quality, smaller file size.

    I usually convert any "borrowed" :eyebrow: music to AAC to conserve file space. All formats work great on CD. Just make yourself a playlist, either manually or via 'smart playlist' and burn away.

    not sure if this was mentioned, but the 'join tracks' feature in iTunes is great... especially for those live albums where the applause gets cut off where it should just roll into the next song. I'm sure other apps feature that too. Comes in very handy.
  19. Awesome guys, I got it now. iTunes works, and best of all I found out my portable CD player also plays mp3's. I have 5 Doors albums, 2 Jaco's, 1 Drop Trio, 1 Stanley Clarke, 2 Claypool's, 1 Widespread Panic, 1 Flecktones, and 1 Stevie Ray Vaughn...all on 1 disc. AWESOME.