• Step by Step Video WAV to AIFF With MAX

    It's show time, the first Computer Audiophile Academy video is now playing. Some of the most popular questions newbies ask here on Computer Audiophile have to do with converting WAV to AIFF or one format to another on a Mac. This video walks readers through the whole process literally from start to finish. It begins by downloading and installing MAX, the most popular conversion application for Mac. This is followed by configuring the application to convert a folder of Reference Recordings HRx tracks and auto-exporting them into iTunes. The video also shows some basic changes to songs and adding album art as well as adding the PDF liner notes to the iTunes library. PDFs are not added automatically when tracks in the same folder are added to iTunes. They must be added manually. The liner notes can then be opened from within iTunes alleviating the need for a separate filing system containing PDFs from downloaded content. This is also a must for readers who purchase physical media from RR or Kent Poon, as both delivery high quality PDF notes on DVD with each high resolution album. Anyway, on with the show.



    Note: This video shows the conversion of 24 bit / 176.4 kHz material. All other 24 bit material can be converted with this exact process. I convert 16 bit / 44.1 kHz material with this process, but I make sure to set the bit rate to 16. I prefer to match the specs of each recording.

     

     













     

    Higher resolution download (1280x800, 46.5 MB)

     

     
    Comments 30 Comments
    1. Opusover21's Avatar
      Opusover21 -
      Spot on exactly how I do it...but I dont rename the track numbers! The only Nag I have it the AIF encoder settings as there is a 32bit optio. Never been there and used 24 but just wondered. Excellent work Chris!!! I think these are worth a thousand posts and words to be honest...speed the whole academy process up?
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Thanks for the nice comments guys :~)
    1. Merlocpm's Avatar
      Merlocpm -
      Exellent informative video Chris.<br />
      <br />
      If I am just converting WAV files to AIFF, is there a benefit to using MAX vs. iTunes?
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Merlocpm - Excellent question. If you're converting 24 bit content then MAX is what you'll want to use. I believe iTunes converts 24 to 16 bit as part of the conversion WAV to AIFF. But, if you are converting 16 bit material then I recommend iTunes if that's your final destination.
    1. audiozorro's Avatar
      audiozorro -
      Nice video that shows some of the things you can do with Max and iTunes. But I hope CA readers to be aware that they do not have to convert WAV files for iTunes playback. The more common scenario is converting FLAC files to AIFF or Apple Lossless, since iTunes will not playback FLAC files (that is unless one uses a third party plug-in, like Fluke).<br />
      <br />
      Personally I’m not a fan of converting high rez audio formats from vendors such as Reference Recordings or Linn Records unless I have to. That’s one of the beauties of a player like MediaMonkey, which also automatically adjusts the sampling rate to match the source file.<br />
      <br />
      The pressure should be put on Apple to provide native support for FLAC files in iTunes. This long standing user request has been ignored by Apple for too long. In this economy and the harder times ahead, I have little sympathy for vendors that are unresponsive to customer requests or market opportunities.<br />
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi zorro - I agree I don't like to convert, but in this case I want all the album art and WAV can't do it.
    1. Poo's Avatar
      Poo -
      I must admit I spent a few minutes trying to figure out why I couldn't get sound working for the video... oops...<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      I thought this a reasonable place/time to ask about embedded artwork. I have Nine Inch Nails FLAC version of 'The Slip' at 24/96 which I have converted to AIFF. Each track has its own accompanying artwork, and there is obviously the usual album cover art as well. Is there a way to embed the artwork for album and track in such a way that you see the album cover as normal in iTunes when browsing albums/artists, but see the 'track art' when playing? <br />
      <br />
      I noticed that for their official download releases of 'The Slip' in MP3 and Apple Lossless, when playing on an iPod it does as I have described above - Album art when browsing, track art when playing each track - really nice! I was surprised and impressed to see it happen TBH - first album I have seen that plays this way.<br />
      <br />
      As an aside, what are the limitations of Apple Lossless as a format in terms of bitrate?<br />
      <br />
      EDIT: I should have added that I understand you can easily add extra artwork to a track in iTunes by going to the 'info' of a track then 'artwork' and 'add', but you never see the additional artwork within iTunes in my experience - would be a nice addition by way of making up for the artwork we have been deprived of since it became small for CD cases.
    1. StephanLJ's Avatar
      StephanLJ -
      Hi Chris,<br />
      <br />
      even old dogs like me can learn new tricks. Thank you for this great tutorial and keep up the good work.<br />
      <br />
      Greetings<br />
      <br />
      Stephan
    1. DannyboyNYC's Avatar
      DannyboyNYC -
      But what most interested me was the ripping abilities (e.g. FLAC on OS X). Never heard of CDParanoia but it describes pretty much the feeling I get when I rip a CD. Too bad the CD Database lookup didn't catch the title and track names on about 30% of the CDs I've ripped so far (admittedly only a sample of 12). There seemed to be another couple of apps available from the developer - including a metadata editor that looked quite interesting - so I'll be checking sbooth.org from time to time.<br />
      <br />
      I only use iTunes for podcasts, radio and the 2 or 3 dozen songs I keep in rotation for my iPhone so I am constantly on the prowl for alternate methods for maintaining a music library. My Squeezebox duet is set up to read a music folder which is stored in lossless FLAC on an external hard drive (.5 terabytes is just too much for my laptop). For my music player I prefer Songbird - despite the fact that it is still beta (they only <em>call</em> it version 1.0).<br />
      <br />
      Your site has earned a place in my RSS reader - keep up the good work. I'd be particularly interested hearing more about affordable DACs, powered monitors and getting a sense of what other readers use for digital hi fi.
    1. Poo's Avatar
      Poo -
      Thought I should post the following here for those concerned with the accuracy of their rips: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=61865&st=0<br />
      <br />
      Alternative (XLD): http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=XLD
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Poo - I haven't read the linked thread just yet, but want to add that I've tested my music converted with Max over and over again and it's always bit perfect.
    1. Poo's Avatar
      Poo -
      Chris, I use iTunes for all of my rips, which (amongst the 'paranoid about accuracy' crowd) is probably the worst of the bunch. What is discussed in the thread I posted makes sense to me, but what I hear from my 'substandard iTunes rips' is fine for my ears. I personally haven't found an OS X application that doesn't have potential for error, until I'm convinced, I'm happy to (ignorantly) keep using iTunes. XLD is the first application I've found that may change that.<br />
      <br />
      I'm just making the point for those especially concerned with the accuracy of their encoding, that Max is considered to have flaws, in that it cannot check the accuracy of the files it produces. This forum being what it is, I'm sure such an issue would be of the highest concern; I mean if your starting point isn't the best it can be... <br />
      <br />
      I am also curious as to the methods you have used to conclude that your music is bit perfect. Checks of file sizes, waveforms and the like are all too often considered to be bit perfect 'proof' when they are anything but.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Poo - I'm with you on sticking with iTunes and willing to check out XLD. I also appreciate that you mention possible flaws with MAX. The starting point should be as perfect as possible. It's hard to make something perfect from a flawed source. <br />
      <br />
      I use my Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC to check for bit perfection. Here is a snippet from my Alpha DAC review.<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <i>"If the HDCD indicator illuminates on the Alpha DAC, the data is uncorrupted. Theoretically, it is possible to alter HDCD data using specialized software while not touching the LSB, but all of the typical mechanisms that might alter data in a computer environment such as level shifting, dither, SRC’s, etc. will definitely affect the LSB. And, if the LSB is altered the HDCD code is lost. So, as a practical tool, presence of the HDCD light indicates no alteration of the data file."</i><br />
      <br />
    1. Poo's Avatar
      Poo -
      Chris, the method you use to check if a file is bit perfect does not seem to address the issue at all (unless I misunderstand its use). <br />
      <br />
      Your Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC is only checking that the signal between your PC and the DAC is bit perfect. That is a pretty easy thing to accomplish, and is an expectation of any decent DAC. The issue being discussed here is the accuracy of the rip/encoding itself; that the file is an exact copy of the original media. If the rip is not accurate to the original source, your DAC has no way of knowing.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Poo - I believe this is a great way to check for bit perfection. If the file is not ripped correctly the HDCD indicator will not illuminate because any alteration in the data during ripping should destroy the HDCD flag. I could be wrong though.<br />
      <br />
      Bit perfection with ripping is kind of a moot point as long as the CD is somewhat unscratched and error correction is enabled with most of the popular applications.
    1. Shamsky's Avatar
      Shamsky -
      Hi Chris:<br />
      <br />
      I have some 5.1 WAV files that I purchased from iTRAX that play back from my Mac to my home theater via Apple TV (iTunes - Airport Extreme - ATV - HomeTheater). This approach certainly is not to be considered "audiophile" quality (24/48), but it delivers the expected results.<br />
      <br />
      Your article regarding converting WAV to AIFF piqued my curiosity since the WAVs have little or no <br />
      metadata capabilities (such as album art).<br />
      <br />
      My questions to you and your audience of experts:<br />
      <br />
      -Does a 5.1 AIFF format exist?<br />
      -Is iTunes converting the 5.1 WAV files to a low quality AIFF? Then is this what I am hearing when I play back my 5.1 WAVs from iTunes to ATV to home theater? My AV Receiver displays the input as "DTS Surround".<br />
      <br />
      Finally, can MAX convert a 5.1 WAV file to 5.1 AIFF or is the software limited to 2.0 conversions?<br />
      <br />
      Thank you for this excellent source of information.<br />
      Shamsky
    1. zettelsm's Avatar
      zettelsm -
      Let me add my appreciation for your "How To" series of videos, Chris. They've been immense help as I muddle through the learning curve of hi-rez audio playback.<br />
      Thanks also for all the off-line assistance. I occurs to me that if I have a (dumb) question -- and I have lots of them! -- perhaps others can benefit by your time and expertise, as well as that of other posters. So belatedly, I'll post to the forums from now on.<br />
      Better to open one's mouth and be thought a fool, than to remain silent and foster a doubt. . . or something like that.<br />
      <br />
      Steve Z
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Thanks for the nice comments Steve!
    1. gordguide's Avatar
      gordguide -
      I've been using MAX for quite a while ... I think at least 4 years. All in all it does a remarkable job, even it it's a bit uneven in places. The data that comes out, which is what we all ultimately care about, is excellent and I've looked at it more than once.<br />
      <br />
      I didn't watch the video, so forgive me if this is already covered.<br />
      When you first add a group of files to MAX (for example, via Command-A or Edit: Select All) MAX has a tendency to sort numbered lists in what seems random order. Click the name list once (which will sort from last to first) and then again a second time (which will sort from first to last). Your group of files will now be numbered 1-to- whatever, and that's the order they will be imported into iTunes (if you have MAX's preferences to automatically send the output to iTunes).<br />
      <br />
      Where this becomes an issue is if the tags are not correct; iTunes will then number them as they arrive (eg unknown song 35; unknown song 36; etc ...). If they are out of order in the MAX list, you may have trouble entering the correct metadata (song names, year, etc).<br />
      <br />
      Secondly, and this is a little more important, MAX has problems dealing with OSX's volume mounting schemes. If you keep your iTunes songs on an external volume or partition (via iTunes: Preferences: Advanced: iTunes music folder location: [external volume] ) and use MAX to convert audio formats that then go into iTunes, you will run into this issue guaranteed.<br />
      <br />
      There is a hidden path that is part of OSX's UNIX underpinnings that helps applications deal with external volumes. An alias (might be a symlink, but it's not relevant to this discussion) will be created at /Volumes for each external volume mounted. Thus, if an application is writing to /Volumes/iTunes Music (where 'iTunes Music' is the name of an external drive) there will be an alias inside the /Volumes folder that points to 'iTunes Music' so all is right with the world.<br />
      <br />
      MAX has a problem with this. MAX will create it's own (real, not alias) folder in the /Volumes directory. Even though your music will be properly copied to your external iTunes Music folder, MAX will also populate this folder with a copy of every file you convert.<br />
      <br />
      Over time, as you can imagine, this file can get pretty big. Since it's normally hidden (and apps like MAX are not supposed to be creating folders there in the first place), you really won't be aware of it, but you may notice that your free space on your drive is progressively and relentlessly shrinking. At some point, you may try to delete files, only to find the drive seems to be in a constant state of "no free space". OSX, like all UNIX's, does not like zero free space, and it can cause instability, not to mention data corruption.<br />
      <br />
      The solution goes like this:<br />
      If you keep your iTunes Music library on an external drive, and if you use MAX do to some conversions, you need to take one more step. Because the Finder's Go menu can take you anywhere, including hidden directories, we use it.<br />
      <br />
      Finder: Go: Go To Folder: /Volumes [Hit 'Go' button]<br />
      And there you will see the folder MAX has created. It's the one that a 'Get Info' says is not zero kb in size ;-) and contains a very real copy of every file you've worked on since starting MAX.<br />
      Delete it, and don't forget to empty the Trash when you are done.<br />
      <br />
      Oh, and by "Delete it" I mean the folder MAX created. Don't delete the aliases that point to your external drives, and if you do by accident, restart immediately. Remember, this is a folder you are not supposed to be in.<br />
      <br />
      First visit here, great site it seems.<br />
      <br />
      Regards.<br />
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi gordguide - Welcome to Computer Audiophile. Thank you very much for all the detailed information about MAX. I must say I had no idea about this specific issue.<br />
      <br />
      Thanks again :~)