For most of us, iTunes has become the primary way we catalog and organize our music. It’s just a great interface.

For those of you who have a CD collection you want to rip into iTunes, I bet you did not know that iTunes is not set up initially to get you the best audio quality when you import your CD’s. Apple wants to sell iPods and many of their best selling iPods frankly do not have a large amount of storage space. To allow people to get lots of music into their small iPods, iTunes defaults to an import setting that compresses the music on your CD’s so much, even the average person on a mediocre system can hear the difference. The good news is, fixing this is a snap. The even better news is, storage has gotten extremely inexpensive, so even if you have a huge music collection to import, a couple of hundred dollars will buy you a great external hard drive that can store thousands of CD’s in an uncompressed audio format.

I’ve found that AIFF, which is Apple’s uncompressed method, is the best sounding way to rip your CD’s. Setting it up is really a piece of cake.

Here is how you do it for a Mac or Windows based system.

For the Mac

First open iTunes, click on the iTunes menu and select Preferences-

You will see a window like this:

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I suggest you select to auto import and eject first, to automatically retrieve track names, but the important part is clicking the Import Settings box.

This brings up a window with this appearance:

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Select AIFF Encoder, Automatic, then click the Use Error Correction box. Using error correction will make the import process take a big longer, but will assure you get the most data off the CD.

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Next choose Playback from the top menu.  Make sure sound enhancer and sound check are not selected. This prevents iTunes from altering the quality of your music.

Then click OK and you are done! It’s that simple.

Windows:

Windows is exactly the same except you start off under the Edit menu and choose preferences, from there it is identical to the Mac Version

Once you have all of your CD’s ripped into iTunes, the possibilities are virtually endless to play them anywhere in your home.

Below is a video that will go over in real time the whole process.

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[youtube height=”344″ width=”425″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rL7uXuJnCw&feature=plcp[/youtube]