How to import songs into iTunes with no loss of quality

In this article I talked about the best import settings for iTunes. Since then with the increase in Hard Disk space I now think it’s best to import all your songs using the apple lossless encoder. This still compresses the files by about 1/3 but there is no loss of audio quality at all. With AAC and MP3 files, not matter how high you set the quality, there is ALWAYS some loss of quality. Apple Lossless audio is exactly the same quality as what’s on your CD. Here’s how to import into iTunes using the Apple lossless encoder.

1. Open iTunes and select Preferences from the iTunes menu in the menubar.




2. Press the Import Settings Button.




3. Select Apple Lossless Encoder. Also Select enable error correction when reading CD’s.


That’s it! When you import a CD it will import as lossless.







21 responses to “How to import songs into iTunes with no loss of quality”

  1. Josh

    Hey this was so simple and awesome thanks !

  2. Murat Kaynak

    Hi, is the quality of the pc is important while downloading a cd into itunes?
    I will be pleased if you share your opinion with me about it.
    Best regards,

    1. Audio on a CD is not like a CD-ROM in that the data on an audio CD can have errors on it that reduces the quality, so a clean CD and a good CD drive is what matters. Plus check the option in the import settings that says ‘use error correction when reading CD’s.’

  3. Jac

    Thank you for your help on how to get the no loss of quality import!

  4. David

    But this means we will need to create a another, separate version (a copy) in a more-compressed format, such as AAC, because even though hard drives are big, iPods and phones (etc.) are not. There still isn’t enough memory to keep such big files and carry to a broad selection of music.

    So we will need to make a converted copy to then load onto our portable media. We can do this in iTunes by first selecting the tune, then choosing Advanced in the menu, to select “Create” either iPod/iPhone or iPad or AAC version.

    Unless, of course, you *buy* into the concept of using the Cloud. And, someday, you will… (pay for it).

    1. There Is an option within iTunes to automatically do this, click the box that says convert files to128kbps for iPod.

  5. magicears

    please can you give me the instructions on where to find the option to automatically covert files.
    many thanks

    1. Ken

      1. Open Itunes and Attach your Ipod
      2. Click on your ipod under “Devices” on the left column
      3. Scroll down till you see “Options” on the right
      4. Click the check-box that says: “Convert higher bitrate songs to 128 bps…”

  6. T

    Would you recommend converting an existing library in iTune to lossless for optimal audio quality? It is presently AAC at 256 kbps. If so, how would I do it? Thank you.

  7. Dee

    You can only get exact CD quality by converting to lossless from the original CD. If you converted a 256 kbps file to lossless, you would have 256kbps quality in a much bigger file.

  8. David

    There is such a lot of chat about different encodings.
    Personally,i have found that it is not as straight forward
    as it’s made out to be!
    For example,take ”The Cars”. Their music was so well produced in the first place,
    that changing the original encoding which is AAC at 128 bit rate /44100khs,made no difference what so ever.All you would do is take up more disc space!
    It’s a good way to get you to use more disc space and consequently needing another ipod!!
    There is a lot of well produced music out there,so beware! (all at AAC 128):

    1. You can’t recompress a 128 mp3 up to 320. The quality is already lost. You need to go from the original CD to 320 to get the increase in quality.

  9. David

    Just to add a little more.
    320kbps is amazing in my car sound system,and yet
    LossLess sounds no response!
    Why is that i wonder?
    Doesn’t really matter because 320 is absolutely outstanding!
    It explains why Michael Jackson’s sounded so good. His is done in 320.

  10. Ben

    This was very helpful advice – thank you! Now I wish I hadn’t given away all my CDs…

  11. Ted

    Once I re-download the CD’s and check “replace” the existing songs that were already imported from the CD years ago, does the new Apple lossless encoding provide the higher quality to the songs in the iTunes library AND to the songs in each of the PLAYLISTS it appears in?

    Since the playlists were created in the past, I wasn’t sure if I needed to drag from the iTunes library and replace the songs within each playlist they appeared in.

  12. Rick

    But, if your still compressing audio files, your still compressing??? When you went from the album to cd you compressed. I have a nice pa that sounds very good. Why would I want to compress any more then the cd? I would want the cd copied as is! I want to hear EVERYTHING the cd has to offer. Apple is very good for music except the compression part. Who offers a program that does not compress?

    1. Apple lossless does not compress the audio at all.
      It is lossless. Lossless means even though the files take less space on the Hard Disk, but it puts them back to EXACTLY what they were when they are played, a bit like a zip file compresses files but you don’t lose any data at all.

  13. Michael

    If I import songs in the Lossless format, can I burn a CD in the regular audio format or MP3 format?

    1. Yes, If you have lossless,you can burn a CD to anything.

  14. Hector

    Why not just import CDs into iTunes using WAV files at 1411kbps? Isn’t that superior to Apple Lossless, giving the imported track CD quality? Given increases in hard drive capacity – and a 160GB iPod classic with >10,000 tracks that’s only half full, this seems like a viable option for future importing, e.g. Joni Mitchell’s exquisite 2021 remixed version of “Song to a Seagull.”

    1. Thanks for the questions Hector. WAV it not superior, if you set it like you describe, then it’s exactly the same.
      CD is 16-bit/44.1 kHz and that’s what apple lossless will use if you import form a CD. WAV, if you set to 16-bit/44.1 kHz will give you the same result.
      But, with WAV you can also compress the audio in the WAV file (like an mp3) and get less quality if you want, so you need to go adjust the settings manually to tell it what you want.
      With Apple lossless its simpler as it is automatically lossless. You can’t accidentally reduce the quality.
      If you see a WAV file it may be CD quality or it may be less quality, depending on the settings when you made it. With Apple Lossless, from a CD, it will always be CD quality.

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