Author Topic: Using the latest qaac64.exe to encode in MusicBee without installing iTunes  (Read 900 times)

sveakul

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These procedures have appeared in various posts and various pieces elsewhere on the forum, but as there have been some recent changes affecting them I thought it best to compile everything into one source.

The qaac encoder uses the original Apple iTunes library files to produce AAC and ALAC(Apple Lossless) files.  However, many people (including myself) don't want to have to install the entire iTunes application on their PC just to have that capability.  This post describes a way to use qaac64 2.71 within MusicBee WITHOUT needing iTunes actually installed on your system.  Only the 64-bit versions of the relevant files are being addressed, requiring of course a 64-bit OS by the user.  While MusicBee is 32-bit, it will work just fine using the instructions below.

A.  Acquiring the tools

First you will need to download 3 files:

1. qaac_2.71.zip

https://sites.google.com/site/qaacpage/cabinet/qaac_2.71.zip?attredirects=0&d=1 (see following post)

2. Makeportable2.zip

https://sites.google.com/site/qaacpage/cabinet/makeportable2.zip?attredirects=0&d=1 (see following post)

3. The latest non-Microsoft Store version of the iTunes64Setup.exe file (do NOT install it!!)

https://www.apple.com/itunes/download/win64

(Note: due to changes in how Apple packages its libraries only versions of iTunes64 equal to or greater than 12.10.9.3 can be used with the latest version of qaac64 (2.71), which was modified by its developer to work with those changes.  Version 12.11.0.26 dated November 12, 2020, was used by me in these instructions.)

B.  Preparing the tools for use

Then:

1.  From makeportable2.zip, extract "makeportable2.cmd" to the same folder as the iTunes64Setup.exe file you downloaded.

2.  Double-click makeportable2.cmd and let it run; a command window will open and you'll see text scroll by, stopping momentarily with the message "All is OK!"--do NOT close the window, it will pause at this for about 10 seconds, then continue to run until completion, when the window will close on its own.

3.  You will then see that a folder named "QTfiles64" has been created inside the folder in which you ran step #2;  this contains all the files needed by qaac64 from iTunes64 to run portablely.

4.  Move the folder itself "QTfiles64" you just created into the MusicBee "Codec" folder.

5.  Next, open qaac_2.71.zip from where you downloaded it, and from inside the zip's "x64" subfolder extract the files qaac64.exe, libsoxr64.dll, and libsoxconvolver64.dll directly into your MusicBee "Codec" folder.  You do NOT need to extract the "refalac64.exe" file.

6.  You can now delete the three files you downloaded originally.

C.  Setting up MusicBee's encoding options for AAC and ALAC with qaac64

1.  In MusicBee, go to Preferences->File Converters

2.  Check the box "AAC enabled," and in encoder location hit the "..." button and browse to qaac64.exe in the MusicBee "Codec" folder.

3.  Under "encoding parameters", delete anything already in the 4 boxes below.

4.  For our AAC example, we will choose parameters that give results identical to what iTunes Plus uses, which is AAC CVBR at 256k variable birate.  In the box labelled "high quality" put the following parameters:

Code
--ignorelength --no-smart-padding -v 256 -q 2 -o [outputfile] -

5.  Leave the 3 other boxes for other qualities empty for now (see end of section D below).

6.  Move down the list and check "ALAC enabled," and in encoder location hit the "..." button and browse to qaac64.exe in the MusicBee "Codec" folder.

7.  Un-check the box "reduce file size using lossyWAV" and delete any pre-existing content in the 2 encoding parameter boxes.

8.  In both the "max" and "std." compression boxes put the following parameters:

Code
--alac --ignorelength -o [outputfile] -

Finally, hit the "Save" button in the lower corner.  We are ready to ROCK..

D.  Converting files to AAC or ALAC in MusicBee with qaac64.exe

Right-click the file you wish to convert from your track list and choose "Send to->Format Converter."  In the Converter window drop the "encode as" arrow and choose AAC, and in "encoding profile" choose High Quality (this was the box in the converter settings we put the options for an iTunes Plus-style encode of CVBR 256k).  Select your output location, and the other options below as you want them to be.  Finally, hit "Proceed;" the file will then be created.

For Apple Lossless (ALAC), change to "encode as ALAC" and choose either profile (we put the same options in both).  Set your other options and Proceed.

Now you can go back to the File Converters settings in Preferences and complete the 3 other profile parameters for AAC if you want to add different encoding options for qaac64.  Your choices of options is documented at the developer's site here: https://github.com/nu774/qaac/wiki/Encoder-configuration

Addendum:  if you already had a 64-bit version of iTunes fully installed on your PC, and it is equal to or greater than version 12.10.9.3, you only need to do steps A-1, B-5, and of course C and D to use qaac64 2.71.
Last Edit: April 26, 2021, 08:29:01 PM by sveakul

sveakul

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Due to changes in the qaac developer's site, a couple of the links in the post above have changed for tools:

Qaac (currently at version 2.72) is now downloadable at the page here: https://github.com/nu774/qaac/releases

The makeportable2.cmd file is no longer available as a zipped package---go here https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nu774/makeportable/master/makeportable2.cmd ;  in Firefox you would then need to go File/Save Page As which will allow you to save as the makeportable2.cmd file.

The latest iTunes64 installer is still available from https://www.apple.com/itunes/download/win64 .  The version available there (currently 12.11.3.17) is newer than the one at the support.apple.com/downloads site.