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Old 24th February 2008, 10:57 PM   #1
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Cool To WAV or not to WAV?

If hard disk size was not an issue would you rip your CDs using WAV? Or does ripping to lossless WMA sound the same? I recently ripped thru my CD collection at mp3@320 and am now finding during extended listening i am not always happy with the sound - possibly a mental issue i have - but compared to the original CD a loss in sound quality is apparent. Moving towards using a PC to hold and listen to my entire music collection i want to make the right decision for best sound quality.

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Old 24th February 2008, 11:38 PM   #2
jcx is online now jcx  United States
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the fairest test of a codec is to encode/decode into a .wav and then compare the original .wav and recoverd .wav to eliminate possible player differences with the differing computing loads during dynamic decompression of the mp3 (which is a probelm with your player/software - not the codec's transparency)

of course the whole double bilnd, level matching controls should be in place as well

http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index....istening_Tests

if you can reliably detect the difference with your ordinary music between Redbook CD and 320K mp3 - without training and selecting "difficult" sounds - then you are one unusually "golden eared" human

mp3 is reputed to scale poorly with increased sample rate above 128K, you might want to look a codec that is "better" at 320K - if that would ease your mind

I think for PC audio cheap disk space makes it reasonable to rip lossless, more for the tags than the ~40% disk space savings, then use lossy compression for portable use
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Old 25th February 2008, 12:15 AM   #3
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I've ripped my CD collection (or parts of it) a couple of times for library purposes. MP3s at 256k and 320 k. I finally tried (grudgingly) iTUNES to APPLE Lossless (ALAC). In A-B comparison to the 320kbs ripped material the differences were not subtle. ALAC won hands down. I have subsequently ripped a 500 CD collection to ALAC. If I had a whopping amount of disk space it my beck and call I'd probably go WAV because it's compatible with everything.

I stayed away from WMA lossless because I've noticed MEDIA PLAYER suddenly deciding that music that I ripped needed a licence file. That made me lean away from it.

I have now purchased a SQUEEZEBOX 3 for playing music in my livingroom; although not my main system. It is ALAC compatible and sounds great.

Now that I have 200GB of music; I don;t want to have to rip it again, I will need to build a RAID server so that if I do suffer a disk crash I will have a means of recovery.

So far I'm happy with iTUNES. The downside however is that to get ablum art (not tracks, just art) you need to open an iTUNES account and supply a credit card number. Luckily you can edit your account after getting one and remove the credit card number (yes a litte bit of paranoia).
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Old 25th February 2008, 12:16 AM   #4
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Hi,
The problem might be what you ripped the music with . EAC to rip, then compress to mp3.
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Old 25th February 2008, 12:17 AM   #5
Tim__x is offline Tim__x  Canada
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.FLAC or .APE for me.
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Old 25th February 2008, 12:51 AM   #6
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I forgot to mention, I used EAC with the Franhaufer Labs CODEC at the insane (that's the code) 320kbs rate for my comparison with iTUNES. Playback was with Media Player. ITUNES was still better. For comparison material I used:

Deen Peer UCROSS Earth School

Jazz at the Pawn Shop XRCD

Ricky Lee Jones Chuck Es in Love

Badi Assad Rhythms

I compared the CD to the two ripped tracks )ALAC/MP3) and came to my conclusion.

One thing I'll say about EAC, it'll try and try to read a dodgy CD. It gave much better results than Medial Player and Create Media Source which would occasionally lose their minds on some CDs and encode garbage.
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Old 25th February 2008, 03:29 AM   #7
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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I use .Flac and a sound card (M-Audio 2496 pci) and media player (J.River or QCD) that support ASIO directly so that I can avoid the windoz kmixer. It also helps to make sure you have a sound card that can output at the original sample rate of the file you want to play.. You'd be surprised at how many onboard sound systems resample to 48kHz.. (Most realtec chipsets for example.)
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Old 25th February 2008, 04:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by soundchaser001 One thing I'll say about EAC, it'll try and try to read a dodgy CD.
iTunes will too if you set the error correction option (12 hrs to RIP a reall dodgy Eagles CD once)

Quote:
Originally posted by kevinkr
so that I can avoid the windoz kmixer.
I just use a Mac and avoid Windoz in its entirety

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Old 25th February 2008, 02:25 PM   #9
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>>> if you can reliably detect the difference with your ordinary music between Redbook CD and 320K mp3 - without training and selecting "difficult" sounds - then you are one unusually "golden eared" human

Part of the problem is that my system is very revealing of source.

http://www.zillaspeak.com/systems.asp

I can immediately hear changes in cables, cd players, etc. On my smaller system (scroll down the page) i cannot hear a difference at all.

I have an old iMac (it's blue or blueberry LOL) that i would love to use but i can't even get a current browser on it.
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Old 25th February 2008, 02:45 PM   #10
ssmith is offline ssmith  France
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I started off using Monkey's Audio (APE) at extra high compression, when HDD space was an issue, but now I use FLAC exclusively, including on my iPod (using Rockbox firmware).

I would use wav, but the lack of standard tagging is an annoyance (unless I missed something here!?).

A long while ago I did comparisons with MP3 @320 vs FLAC as mentioned above, and could hear enough of a slight difference to choose lossless. However, I recall that high bitrate MPC was excellent -- albeit not very standard. So I've gone with FLAC and never looked back.

Happily, HDD size means more and more people can go lossless and the codec war is dying down (although some say wav is better than APE/FLAC...); wish the same could be said for cables...
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