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Old 19th November 2003, 08:03 PM   #1
amo is offline amo  United States
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Default D1g1ta1 Experts - Please Help!

I was recently looking over some of my recordings, which are stored on a PC platform in WAV format, when I realized that I lack some basic and vital knowledge. These recordings were "riped" from red-book CDs using the EAC software (Exact Audio Copy), which some people claim to be the best method for getting a bit-perfect scan... At the time that these were riped, I had no idea what up-sampling meant, and in complete ignorance, set the software to rip as "1411 kbps, 16 bit, 48 kHz". I am very desperate to know weather this will effect the quality, and weather I should re-scan these CDs. I have currently about 100 discs scanned, and have another 3 or 4 hundred to go. I know that it may be difficult to answer this unless the one knows the method this software uses to "up sample", however I still would like to hear your thoughts.

Also, I would like to know if I will run into quality problems using a PC platform as a digital source (PC communicates with an external DAC via LynxTwo balanced digital output). What are the sound quality benefits of using, for example a $30,000 device that does nothing but reads the CD and relays digital data to an external DAC?

Finally, I would love to hear some expert advice as to what is the very best way to extract music from CD to a WAV file, and even weather the WAV format is the best way to go, without regard to disc space.

Thank you!!!
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Old 19th November 2003, 08:16 PM   #2
Won is offline Won
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Cambridge, Mass
From what I hear, EAC is about as good as you can get. People have gotten quite good results from the PC CD-player approach (with external DAC, as you are employing).

Upsampling by a non-integer amount (rate-conversion) is probably going to cause audible artifacts unless it is very carefuly executed. Up/oversampling DACs will generally only go 2x or 4x. Some sound cards (Sound Blasters, notably) actually force this upsampling at playback, which makes them quite bad for CD playback. There are cheap alternatives.

A good (and free) way of storing your CDs is using the FLAC lossless audio format. You can even find some portable devices that can play it. Gives about 2x compression without losing any bits. Some people claim that high bitrate (256-320kbps) MP3 or Vorbis compression is inaudibly good, and those are going to achieve better compression. Your mileage varies strongly with the quality of the encoder, though.

I would start encoding the new albums using EAC and FLAC, and only go back to the oversampled recordings when you're done, or if it really bothers you. Have a friend help you set up a double-blind test if you want to be sure.

Oh, and you mean "whether" not "weather" ;-)

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Old 20th November 2003, 10:25 AM   #3
MWP is offline MWP  Australia
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Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Default Re: D1g1ta1 Experts - Please Help!

Originally posted by amo
... I had no idea what up-sampling meant, and in complete ignorance, set the software to rip as "1411 kbps, 16 bit, 48 kHz". I am very desperate to know weather this will effect the quality, and weather I should re-scan these CDs.
Re-rip a couple at 44100 and see if you can tell the difference.

The 48000 rips you did will be of lower quality due to the resmpling, but you would only bother re-ripping all 100 if you could tell the difference.
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Old 20th November 2003, 04:33 PM   #4
amo is offline amo  United States
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Texas - USA
Thank you guys. My main concern is that as my system improves I will hear (or not hear!) artifacts that I will not notice on my current pathetic setup. I also realized that I have been using a very bad drive that does not send C1/C2 streams. I do not mean to sound anal about this, but there is a good chance that I will not have all these discs after they are properly scanned in (The booklets have been scanned also, and are combined with the WAV file using Music Match Juke Box - A wanderful program for playing and managing files!). This is why I have to make sure that I get it right. I am hoping that using EAC in combination with a good drive, such as a Plextor, which sends C1 and C2, I can extract as much data from the CD as possible, and store it in WAV. I know componets will improve with budget and time, but it is my hope that at least my extraction will be as good now as it will be 20 years down the road. It is my hope that I can scan discs today and rest assured that there will not be a technology tomorow that can scan them better. If this is far from reality, please let me know. Thanks again.
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