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erin 16th March 2012 02:43 AM

Ripping CD's in Safemode sounds much better...
As an experiment, I tried ripping a familiar CD whilst my computer was in safemode.

When I played it back, I found that the music had incredible detail, and tone, depth, and clarity, much more so than any rip I had done before.

I had already ripped this same CD before, with my PC running in "normal" mode, so I was able to compare the safemode rip, to the normal rip. Both rips were done using EAC. Both files had the same checksum. Both files were the same size. Both files sounded different!

Both files were ripped as .wav files. Both files played back using the same software. Both files played back at the same amplitude (no touching the volume knob)

Please try for yourself, then please discuss.

FWIW, I am aware that none of this should make any difference.
But, it does.

Instructions for starting your XP operating system in safemode here

Critiscism from those who don't try it will be counterproductive, so please refrain until you try it.

sandyK 16th March 2012 03:10 AM

Recently a few people have been doing CD rips using Fidelizer to stop non essential Windows services during extraction.The results have been reported to sound better when uploaded, by quite a few people including a co-developer of the Windows software player "jPlay", which plays music files from system memory. I have also tried using Safe Mode with Windows 7 after Erin suggested that I try it, with a further noticeable improvement over using Fidelizer.
An interesting thing when using Safe Mode with Windows 7, is that the Processor fan's speed is no longer controlled by PWM pulses from the motherboard, and runs at the same speed as at startup.
It is quite easy to try what Erin is suggesting. With Windows 7 just hold down F8 as the bios screen closes.If using EAC when ripping a complete CD, just tick the option to shut down the PC after extraction is completed.

Pano 16th March 2012 04:10 AM

Please tell me how the files are different if their checksums are the same.
If the checksums are the same, aren't the files identical?

erin 16th March 2012 04:21 AM

Hi Pano, the difference is how they sound when played back.

If possible please try my suggestion, and then report your findings.

I am not trying to sell anything. I am making a contribution to DIY audio, by reporting my findings of the experiment outlined in my original post.


godfrey 16th March 2012 04:35 AM

Perhaps the difference lies in how or where the files are stored on the hard drive. e.g. One may be fragmented and the other not.

erin 16th March 2012 04:47 AM

The files are not fragmented on my HDD.

stratus46 16th March 2012 05:16 AM

I've been ripping CD's since 1998 on a Pentium 166 and actually paid for Audiograbber. With the OLD machine I would get some errors - not often or many but some. That was usually cured by slowing the rip speed. With the Phenom PCs I can record OTA HDTV, surf the web and rip a CD at the same time (never do it except as a test) with no errors in the TV or the CD. I tried EAC a while back since the HydrogenAudio folks claim it's the best. What I found was that with a disc with some physical errors there was LOTS of junk in the audio but the same disc ripped in Audiograbber had no quirks. Does EAC defeat error correction in the pursuit of purity? It was also MUD SLOW.

More importantly, can you reliably ABX your comparisons?

Can you do an actual file comparison byte by byte rather than checksum? The odds of the same checksum on different files is incredibly tiny but byte comparisons are absolutely exact.


pixpop 16th March 2012 06:13 AM

Why don't you post both files, so others can compare them?

sandyK 16th March 2012 06:54 AM


Originally Posted by pixpop (
Why don't you post both files, so others can compare them?

The results of an investigation into this phenomenon are likely to be published in the next issue (Vol.6 No.1 ) of HiFi Critic magazine.It's editor is Martin Colloms who is a highly respected technical writer of >20 years experience. He also has a solid engineering background.(Chartered Engineer, MIEE,
MAES.Electroacoustic Consultant and Technical Reviewer, London.)


erin 16th March 2012 07:00 AM

@ pixpop - I worry that I would infringe copyright by uploading files?

@stratus46 - I use EAC, however, I'm fairly sure that you can use your chosen software for ripping, just try it in safe mode.

I'm not set up for ABX testing, but I have done AB testing where I knew which file I was playing. Remember, there is no cost in trying it apart from your time. The sonic improvement is very noticable to me, SandyK amongst others have also noticed it. Its not something you will have to strain yourself to hear. The difference should be very apparent from the first second of listening.

Another thing of interest to me, is whether a rip done on a light version of Linux would also sound as good as XP in safemode? I will have to try this at some point...

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