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.

TIA!
Godzilla
 

jcx

Member
2003-02-17 7:38 pm
..
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.php?title=Hydrogenaudio_Listening_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
 

soundchaser

Member
Paid Member
2007-10-14 10:15 pm
Kanata
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).
 

soundchaser

Member
Paid Member
2007-10-14 10:15 pm
Kanata
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.
 

kevinkr

Administrator
Paid Member
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.)
 
>>> 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.
 

ssmith

Member
2005-08-17 11:48 am
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... :devilr:
 
Godzilla said:
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.

One would assume it is running OS 9. iCab is a modern browser for OS 9 http://www.icab.de/

Is it a slot-load or a tray load. With sufficient RAM (min 192 MB) these will run OS X just fine (usually Panther 10.3.9) and makes a great internet appliance or music server. The slot load is more desirable. Note: a very 1st gen one will need a bigger HD as well. For use as a music server, you'll want a slot-load with Firewire if you plan on using an external drive (i don't trust USB drives), or you can access files on another puter via Ethernet.

dave
 
b-square said:
USB drives and FireWire drives are identical. They vary only in the controller in the case. Not sure what there is to "trust", but audio and superstition seem to go hand in hand ;)

Sure they use the same ATA or SATA drive inside. But USB is not nearly as capable at transporting the data to the computer as Firewire.

dave
 
I completed a 'ripping' project of all 400+ of my CD collection long ago and do so for each new disc that I purchase by still using EAC. It is the best program (that I know of) for obtaining a perfect copy. As for tagging the files with information, I use a bandname (years in production) -> discname (year released) -> filenames directory structure with the filenames obtained via the freedb capturing. Works great. The original discs are safely box stored, their accurate and complete audio is streamed from a server to home components, and if a disc is needed for the car, it can be very quickly burned (and abused without loss to my original). Lastly, those cheaply produced discs that suffer from disc-rot can be 'recreated' so there is no loss on investment.

I did this because I hate lossy compression and, yep, I can hear the difference between MP3 and my Redbook CD stored versions. I do have an E-MU 1820M with very high quality headphones at my disposal and my car audio is TOL Polk and JL Audio so that does make it much easier to hear any quality loss.

During past years, it was tough to RAID 80GB PATA disks for the project but now, with 500GB SATA drives ubiquitous and in-use, the current RAID5 array can easily accommodate the CD collection plus HD video! Lossless encoding 'could' be acceptable but why go through the trouble with vast amounts of disk space available?

Joe
 
soundchaser001 said:
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).

You can use a free widget like "Album Art Widget" and I know there are a few more... I use this when iTunes does not have the artwork (like for Room Eleven).

Jeroen
 
planet10 said:


Sure they use the same ATA or SATA drive inside. But USB is not nearly as capable at transporting the data to the computer as Firewire.

dave

USB 2.0 is 480Mbps and typical FireWire drives are 400Mbps (with some at 800Mbps). Perhaps you mean something other than performance when you say "not nearly as capable"? I like FireWire just fine, it just isn't as common as USB 2.0.
 

jhnmdahl

Member
2007-04-19 3:54 pm
kevinkr said:
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.)

Good advice throughout. I'm also a big fan of FLAC, in part because it's open source, and in part because it's a good, lossless yet compressed codec that's supported by most software. I play most of my music using FLAC on a Squeezebox or WinAmp, and have a 192k mp3 directory for my Ipod.

John
 
b-square said:
USB 2.0 is 480Mbps and typical FireWire drives are 400Mbps (with some at 800Mbps). Perhaps you mean something other than performance when you say "not nearly as capable"? I like FireWire just fine, it just isn't as common as USB 2.0.

As usual with a single spec, the numbers don't show you that Firewire 400 is still faster & more reliable than USB (and even more so when you talk about transporting audio or video). And in my world every computer has at least 1 FireWire 400 port (and if it doesn't have 2 then it also has a Firewire 800)

dave
 
planet10 said:


As usual with a single spec, the numbers don't show you that Firewire 400 is still faster & more reliable than USB (and even more so when you talk about transporting audio or video). And in my world every computer has at least 1 FireWire 400 port (and if it doesn't have 2 then it also has a Firewire 800)

dave

You use words like faster and more reliable, but provide no data supporting those statements. If you have it, other than of the anecdotal sort, I'd love to see it so I don't make the same mistake in the future.

Please keep in mind that not everyone has a Mac (though everyone should!), so most folks do not have FireWire ports of any description in their machines. For better or worse, USB 2.0 is the dominant technology with even many, recent Apple products using it in preference to FW (MacBook Air, Apple TV, etc).
 
b-square said:
You use words like faster and more reliable, but provide no data supporting those statements. If you have it, other than of the anecdotal sort, I'd love to see it so I don't make the same mistake in the future.

Please keep in mind that not everyone has a Mac (though everyone should!), so most folks do not have FireWire ports of any description in their machines. For better or worse, USB 2.0 is the dominant technology with even many, recent Apple products using it in preference to FW (MacBook Air, Apple TV, etc).

We have had a lot of issues with data & USB drives (i work part time at a 'puter shop, legacy of 23 years in the business) -- to the point where we aren't selling them anymore, and i read an article on some technical site last week ref the problem (no i can't find it). Non of the photograhers or videographers that are clients would ever think of using USB drives (not that some of them haven't tried)

dave

PS: with M$ continuing to implode and Apple's growth rate running at something like 5x the industry average we may well see the tide turn -- besides a new Intel Mac makes the best windoz platform :)

BTW this one is an interesting slant on the above
http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2008/02/21/lessons-from-the-death-of-hd-dvd/