I buy a lot of music in FLAC format and i usually import it into iTunes using 'Fluke' then convert it to Apple Lossless. My friend has ripped a vinyl for me at 24Bit/96kHz and FLAC encoded it. When i try converting it into other formats it basically maximizes it by a ridiculous amount and is just a mess of distortion. Does anyone know some software or a technique of getting these files into a more manageable format while still preserving it's quality?
Have you tried pulling it in to Audacity and exporting it into a new format? The software is free, and it can handle FLAC files. I don't really understand what's going on in the conversion process you're using from iTunes, but it would be worth trying a different piece of software.
I am a fan of dBPowerAmp Batch Converter for my audio transcoding needs.
You can convert any FLAC to AIF ( for iTunes ) with the free XLD application. XLD is also an excellent ripper, slightly better-sounding than iTunes.
I use Max to convert from FLAC [I've tried up to 24bit/96 KHz] directly to Apple Lossless [which handles 24/96].
I use Foobar 2000 and have never had any issues decoding from FLAC. To be honest I end up doing most of my transcoding / compression stuff through there. It's free and reasonably powerful, though Windows-only.