Which format to rip cds?

I have been ripping my cd collection to [email protected] and the sound is very good IMO. But I thought 192 was good until I heard the grunge. Now at 320 things are better but I am hesitant to do an AB comparison to the original cd because I do not want to hear inferior sound. Without comparing I can better enjoy my music. I know I did this backwards but after ripping everything at 320 I am going to begin ripping again lossless at my convenience. To those who have been thru this already, can you recommend which lossless formats work best for you? I am using a pc and do not plan to go mac anytime soon. Would using my pc running windows media player and ripping WAV files truly provide lossless copies? Should I wait a little longer to see if some standard arrives?

TIA,
Godzilla
 
There are many lossless codecs. One of the first and most popular is FLAC (free lossless audio codec). There is also an OGG lossless format, AAC (again, a variant), among others.

I believe that FLAC is now the most popular but in the future one of the other formats may be more popular, probably AAC if Apple starts selling lossless songs. The good thing about a lossless format is that you can convert it into whatever other format you want without losing anything. Personally I'd pick FLAC.

-
M
 

Extreme_Boky

Member
2003-12-07 11:57 am
Godzilla said:
I have been ripping my cd collection to [email protected] and the sound is very good IMO. But I thought 192 was good until I heard the grunge. Now at 320 things are better but I am hesitant to do an AB comparison to the original cd because I do not want to hear inferior sound. Without comparing I can better enjoy my music. I know I did this backwards but after ripping everything at 320 I am going to begin ripping again lossless at my convenience. To those who have been thru this already, can you recommend which lossless formats work best for you? I am using a pc and do not plan to go mac anytime soon. Would using my pc running windows media player and ripping WAV files truly provide lossless copies? Should I wait a little longer to see if some standard arrives?

TIA,
Godzilla

I went thru the same exercise.... and chose WMA lossless. Tried FLAC and OGG but wasn't really happy with the end results. The WMA lossless sounded very close to the original WAV (with a bit of file compression as well). The end-result was approximately 2/3 to 1/2 the original file size. I know it’s Microsoft – but it just sounds really good.

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/forpros/codecs/audio.aspx

Boky
 
I'll put in a vote for FLAC, mostly because its still true to the original (sometimes a player's decoder sucks though. check your player, winamp's is fine, and Foobar2000 checked out about the same, but I've heard others haven't fared so well in performance).

I'd vote for .wav as well, depending on your playback system, as sometimes the processing hit from decoding can be worse than the bandwidth needed by a lossless .wav. most newer computers should fare fine with either, unless you're doing too much at once.

-Jared
 

Fast1one

Member
2006-09-25 9:23 pm
raidfibre said:
There are many lossless codecs. One of the first and most popular is FLAC (free lossless audio codec). There is also an OGG lossless format, AAC (again, a variant), among others.

I believe that FLAC is now the most popular but in the future one of the other formats may be more popular, probably AAC if Apple starts selling lossless songs. The good thing about a lossless format is that you can convert it into whatever other format you want without losing anything. Personally I'd pick FLAC.

-
M
I agree, WMA lossless and Apple Lossless isn't widely supported while FLAC is, at least currently, which is why my choice was FLAC...

A lot of hardware supports FLAC, like the Cowon D2, which will me my next portable player

:cool:

Edit: BTW I am using an extension readily available for windows media player to play FLAC, OGG, and various other formats, look for the link HERE: http://flac.sourceforge.net/download.html

Also I use EAC (exact audio copy) which now has the FLAC extension already included. Its widely regarded as one of the best free rippers you can find...

http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/en/index.php/resources/download/
 
For ease of use I went for wma. Necessity dictated I go to lossless when I upgraded my DAC to a DDDAC. Suddenly those previously good sounding mp3 sounded mudded and not right.

I use Windows media centre as my player and the wma codec is easy to set up. So much so that whenever I put in a new disc it autocopies the contents to my HD in lossless format.

I find the WMA indistinguishable from the origional, it auto tags effectively. I use it on a drastically slowed down Athlon XP processor (passive cooled) and Vista. The processing is not to intensive even for this arrangement.

This ease of use I think should not be undervalued. It makes me far more likely to pick up an old CD from the colection and enjoy it on a whim.

Lifes to short to sit ripping hundreds of CD's manually, hence WMA gets my vote. My microsoft hatred/paranoia has softened over the last few years anyhow.

JB
 
Re: Re: Re: Which format to rip cds?

Netlist said:


In what sense were you not too happy; sound wise, compression wise or ease of use?

/Hugo


wma had the same audio quality as the original wav when listened thru windows media player. flac was very close, but I was able to notice the difference. next was lame and ogg, but for the serious listening i decided not to use them. mp3 is great audio / a true compression format... and good for portable devices. it is probably integration of windows codecs and media player that make wma sound right. i have transferred a lot of tapes and records to wav files, and compressed all to wma with the memory space saving of around 1/2 which is okay for my needs.
I remember sony mini disk format.... now that was also great with even higher compression! mini disk copies were indistinguishable from the original CD's at approximately 1/5 of data rate. not very good with audio sources - I could always tell the difference between a record and a mini disk copy (but this could be related to A/D - I modified couple of sony mini disks with solid results, but they never really satisfied me as an "analog" recorder). No mini disk recorders ever came close to my old DENON 3 heads / 3 motors / dual capstan tape - deck (heavily modified and adjusted to give best results with TDK tapes).

Boky
 

Netlist

diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
2003-01-18 9:50 am
Re: Re: Re: Re: Which format to rip cds?

Extreme_Boky said:
flac was very close, but I was able to notice the difference.

Interesting.
I'm a novice to Flac myself but I know for sure that encoding/decoding a losless file -say .wav to Flac and back to .wav- gives zero difference. If it's possible to listen to Flac files without decoding them (back to original) I would like to compare with the original .wav. Are there any such platforms?

/Hugo
 
I don't know if RecordNow does rip perfectly every time, maybe not. The best ripper is Exact Audio Copy (EAC), but CDex is also good.

I would recommend FLAC as a format. To prove there is no difference you can get the original wav, convert it to FLAC then back to a wav again, then subtract this converted wav from the original wav using an audio editor. The result will be zero bits. Or you could look at the checksum for both files, they will both be the same.
 
Thanks everyone! For now i am enjoying my collection ripped to [email protected] and keeping the original cds in a box in the attic for safe keeping. I am concerned ripping lossless will take too much time and drive me and my wife crazy as i continually get out of the bed to rip cds thru the night. I would rather have it all saved in a lossless format but hope one day in the near future a compressed lossless format is ultimately accepted as the norm. For critical listening i will have to listen to the cds but for now, [email protected] is doing the job for me and allowing me to tap into Bach, Motzart and an entire Jazz collection left untouched and un listened too for years. Long live pc audio!

Peace,
Godzilla
 

jnb

Member
2006-12-30 11:55 pm
Godzilla said:
I am concerned ripping lossless will take too much time

When you rip in any format, the entire song is read from the CD (usually at greater than normal speed). The lossy format, if you use one, is then created. Your hard drive is faster than your CD drive.

Therefore, straight ripping to simple lossless doesn't take any more time.

If you are using a perfectionist ripper that reads some parts more than once when it encounters imperfections, this can take longer but it is usually still quick, depending on the quality of the physical disc.
 
I use EAC with accurate rip to rip CDs to wav files which I then convert to FLAC. Of all the formats I have tried this is certainly the most portable as FLAC will play on windows and linux boxes with commonly available opensource software.

I use JRiver media center, and the key to really good playback performance is to make sure you get a sound card that supports ASIO and use that instead of the windows sound components. Foobar, QCD, WinAmp and JRiver all support ASIO and FLAC.

IME WMP any version is an also ran (and lost) in terms of sound quality to any of the aforementioned players.

Windows sound resamples everything to 48kHz making playback of HDCD at 20 bits impossible, and by inference unadulterated 16 bit 44.1K as well - for example using ASIO and a sound card that supports differing sample rates it is possible to output a spdif (or I2S) signal with the HDCD subcoding intact with any of the above players.

Many onboard sound chipsets will resample to 48kHz by default (in hardware), some such as the realtec series have asio support in their drivers, for ones that don't use asio4all to bypass the windows kmixer, etc. (You may not be able to defeat the hardware sampling, but even so in most cases sound quality will still be drastically better.)

Search for my old media server thread - these issues are all discussed in detail there.
 
I'm going to throw in my hat for AAC (.m4a).

I encode everything in that format, let it do the variable bitrate set at 320, 48 Khz sampling, and it sounds pretty frickin good. At least equal to FLAC and OGG Vorbis.

On my iTunes, setting the VBR centered around 320 will allow the bitrates to go higher than 320 if needed. Highest so far is 330, lowest 300.