By Kirk McElhearn

iTunes has always been designed for “songs,” and, for the most part, classical music isn’t a song-based genre. Because of this, organizing classical music in iTunes can be a bit complicated. But with a few workarounds, it’s possible to maintain a large classical music library in iTunes. Here’s how.

Ripping CDs

To start with, if you still buy CDs—as many classical music fans do—you need to rip them. When ripping CDs, iTunes uses settings in its General preferences. You can rip in MP3, AAC, Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV. You’ve probably already decided on which format and bit rate to use, but, if not, here’s a quick primer.

MP3 and AAC files are both compressed, though AAC—part of the MP4 standard—generally sounds better at the same bit rate than MP3. However, many classical music listeners prefer using lossless formats. iTunes doesn’t support FLAC (a format that you’ll find on websites selling music for download) but uses Apple Lossless, which is similar. I don’t suggest using AIFF or WAV. Both of these formats are uncompressed, and take up a lot more space than Apple Lossless. They sound exactly the same as Apple Lossless—WAV, in particular, leads to problems with tags.

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