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Old 23rd May 2010, 02:07 PM   #1
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Default CD to FLAC

Dear All,

I would like to backup my CD collection in a loseless format,

Is FLAC the best actual choice ?

What software do you advice to use, preferably for MAC, but windows or linux are OK as well.

What setting do you advice ?


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Old 23rd May 2010, 02:11 PM   #2
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Flac is ok, FLAC web here:

FLAC - Free Lossless Audio Codec

Foobar2000, you can download for free here:

Download foobar2000 and optional components
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Old 23rd May 2010, 02:21 PM   #3
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I ripped all my CD's to FLAC on a PC even though I'm a mac guy. I did that because I could put 4 cd drives into an old PC case. That made the task of ripping ~800 CD's more bearable (it only took 200 loadings instead of 800). It's important to think about the ripping process as much or more than the final container for your data. A skip on a rip will be with you forever. To prevent or minimize data corruption on ripping I used Exact Audio Copy for the PC, and when I rip on the Mac I use Max which is a front end for lots of open source tools, and most importantly for this task; cdparanoia.

Then comes the huge task of fixing the and grooming the metadata. I wrote my own FLAC tag editor in labview, but there are lots more out now.

I encoded everything in FLAC because I had a couple squeezeboxes at the time and they would handle that format natively. But I've dumped the squeezeboxes for airport expresses running to outboard DACs. The slimserver GUI sucked, and the combination of iTunes, and remote on my phone, and mt-daapd on my server to share uncompressed files is way way nicer. However I converted my entire collection from FLAC to apple lossless using XLD.

Maybe I'm being naive, but I've always converted lossless formats without worries, the only thing to have to get right is that the tags match across the conversion.

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Old 23rd May 2010, 02:30 PM   #4
Ron E is offline Ron E  United States
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Flac cuts file size by ~40-50% for the cost of an extra step in encoding/decoding. Nowadays hard drive space is so cheap ($60/TB) that you can get away with just using wavs. The format you choose depends on what you want to do with them. Wavs might be easier to transcode than FLAC.

If the purpose is backup, make sure you make multiple copies. Think RAID. I have heard of more than one person who ripped all their CD's, then a year or so later decided to sell them since they were taking up space (not legal to own the copy without the media, by the way) then lost their hard drive.
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Last edited by Ron E; 23rd May 2010 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 23rd May 2010, 02:46 PM   #5
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I don't here any subjective difference using FLAC or WAV.

If you ripped all your CD collection do like me copy one in the laptop or PC & the other in a separate hard drive, so you can avoid the problem if the hard disk gone.
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Old 23rd May 2010, 04:38 PM   #6
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If you rip with a .cue file using flac you can remake the orignal CD so it makes sense to save disk space and use flac.
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Old 23rd May 2010, 04:58 PM   #7
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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I use dBPoweramp to rip and encode to flac. The encoding hardly slows it down much and I like the smaller files size. Don't have a big collection yet, about 10,000 tracks. So HDD space not a big problem.

I agree with Stoke. The big hassle is the metadata, tags, folder naming, etc.
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Old 23rd May 2010, 05:19 PM   #8
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Rip in FLAC, many advantages:
- CD can be remade perfectly (possibly better!) if you create cue files
- FLAC allows tagging, including album art and anything else you like
- The disk space advantage is pretty minor, but still there

Ensure that you back up OFF SITE! RAID is not a backup, it is a system for 100% uptime (most RAIDs, anyway); this is not normally required. Offsite backup renewed monthly is fine for 99% of people.

Oh and it's worth only doing once. To that end, secure ripping is advisable - EAC or DBPowerAmp on Windoze, Max on the Mac. There is unlikely to be any difference on 99% of disks, but the reassurance that you have done it properly is well worth it.
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Old 24th May 2010, 02:28 AM   #9
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Thanks for the information !!!

Two question:

1) Is the hardware you use for ripping in any way relevant for the result quality ?

2) What setting do you use for the files ? 16 bit 44.1 kHz ?


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Old 24th May 2010, 03:40 AM   #10
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flac has file error detection, which wav does not, so later when you need to transfer to a newer generation of hard drive you have a check
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