ITunes has long given users the option of scaling music down to 128kbps upon sync to their iPod or other device in order to save space. The idea being, I guess, that you could keep your master collection at a higher bit-rate on the computer’s capacious hard drive, whilst saving space on the smaller flash storage on the iPod. Bit what if you liked this idea, but hated the low quality? Well, iTunes 10.6 has your back.
It adds the option to bulk convert all audio at 192kbps and 256kbps, as well as the old-school 128kbps. This is great for people who keep lossless music on their Macs, for example, but only have an iPod Nano for their music.
I tried it out on my iPad collection. I didn’t actually do the syncing, but iTunes will update the capacity graph at the bottom of the window to predict the changes. I only have 3.9GB of audio on there, but checking the 128kbps box trimmed it down to 2.7GB, picking 192kbps gives 3.6GB and upping the setting to 256kbps increased the space needed to 4.6GB.
For bigger collections I’d expect a more dramatic difference, but it’s important to note that you could end up increasing the size of your music whilst actually making it sound worse.
I got around this problem some time ago. I have a few tracks on there for emergencies, or using in iMovie projects, but for everything else I use Spotify.