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I promised to get back to the Mac Mini server I built and shared with you how to do it. This'll be a bit of a start.

One thing that gets people confused is file formats. Lossless compressed, like FLAC or ALAC, vs. uncompressed, like WAV or AIFF. Which is best to choose and why?

I could perhaps write a few volumes about this but, instead, let me just share with you my take.

Disc space is cheap. Don't bother with lossless compressed. FLAC won't work on the Mac server and that leaves only ALAC (Apple Lossless). There's plenty of opinions on these two formats and here's mine. On the positive side there's no question both give bit perfect playback. On the negative side, many feel they don't sound as good as uncompressed. How could that be? IMHO I think what's perhaps going on is the increased horsepower needed to decode them accounts for a diminished sound quality. 'Nough said. Memory's cheap, why compress?

Uncompressed comes in two flavors, WAV and AIFF. WAV is a Microsoft format and AIFF a very close version from Apple. The Mac Mini server supports both but here the choice is a no-brainer: AIFF.

WAV won't support cover art and AIFF will. End of story. They sound identical.

So use AIFF for all your media and life'll be good. In an upcoming edition I'll walk you through how to easily convert WAV to AIFF.

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Paul McGowan

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