I have a great pair of headphones from Sennheiser, and I like to enjoy my music in the best possible quality, when available. Most of my music collection is encoded in the Apple Lossless format, and to encode/convert my audio/music files on Mac OS X, I use a tool called xACT.
xACT stands for x Audio Compression Toolkit, and is nothing but a GUI wrapper (written in AppleScript Studio) for the unix applications Shorten (3.6.1), shntool (3.0.10), monkey’s audio compressor (3.99), flac (1.2.1), wavpack (4.60.1), TTA (3.4.1) and cdda2wav 3.0 (with paranoia support). It also uses sox ( 14.3.1), LAME 3.98.4, AtomicParsley 0.9.0, TagLib and mp4v2. It executes the basic commands of these applications and adds other features to speed up productivity in creation/use of etree.org standard filesets.
With xACT, it becomes incredibly easy to encode/rip audio CDs to your favorite lossless or lossy formats, check them for errors, store digital fingerprints for each track, view conversion errors and logs. xACT also makes the reverse process possible, you can save the raw audio (WAV, AIFF) from lossless formats if you want to burn them to disc.
Just click on the ‘decode’ pane in the xACT main window, and add your files that you want to decode. You can select from 2 formats to save the raw audio: WAV and AIFF.
When you’re ready, push the decode button, and a pop-up window appears, showing you the progress of your conversions. For some reason, this test conversion (from Apple Lossless to WAV) failed, and generated blank output files.
Works the same way as decoding. Just pop in an audio CD, and in the ‘encode’ pane of xACT, add the tracks to the list, and select the output format and settings. Push the ‘encode’ button when you’re done. You can also convert the files directly to lossy formats such as AAC and MP3 by doing this in the ‘lossy’ pane rather than the ‘encode’ pane.
To fingerprint your output audio files, go to the ‘checksum’ pane, add the converted files to the list, select ‘Create Checksum File’ and check FFP. Click the ‘Checksum’ button, and it will create a FLAC fingerprint file which you can store along with the converted music files, to verify the integrity of these files later on.
Overall, xACT is a great tool which every audio enthusiast/perfectionist using a Mac should have.