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Ripping choices for current and future compatibility

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I have about 400 CD's that I'd like to put in a hard drive. I've been a pseudo audiophile for many years and been perfectly content with buying CDs and playing them the "conventional way". I'd like to rip all of them into a storage device and later on start acquiring the hardware to play them back through my amp and speakers. I'd like to know what format I should consider: FLAC or WAV or whatever. I do not own an MP3 player and have no plans to acquire one. I'd like to have lossless compression and maximum compatibility with whatever hardware is out there so I can eventually serve the music to whatever device has the DACs to feed the preamp (or amp,I don't know). I use Linux for everything I need but would consider buying an appliance to manage the music as long as it's not Windows.

I plan to use a CD ripping service and they ask for my choice of format to rip my music into - hence this question.

Thanks in advance for your consideration.


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It sounds like you have similar requirements to what I did when I started down this road several months ago, so here's my 2 cents. I am likewise a "pseudo audiophile", was happy with CD's, don't have or plan on buying an MP3 player, have lots of CDs and vinyl. Long story short, I ripped my music onto an external hard drive in AIFF format and am using a Macbook with iTunes as the "brain". I'm a very happy camper with this. I settled on AIFF because A) it's compatible with most hardware; B) it's reputed to be bit perfect/identical to the original CD - people vastly more knowledgeable than me will immediately state that "so is Apple Lossless" and I accept that, but I figured why not start with the exact copy of the CD, with hard drive space as cheap as it is, and then I can do whatever I want with it if I want to in the future; and C) I chose it over FLAC because I've heard of issues with FLAC with artwork and such, and my own experience with a couple of FLAC downloads was likewise sort of rocky - artwork issues, missing track numbers, etc. Rarely have had any of those issues with AIFF.


I'm probably an "average" level computeraudiophile, with a hi-fi system in which no component cost more than 4 figures, and am a recent, very happy convert to Steve Jobs' kingdom. As I said before, there are lots of folks here that are light years ahead of me and can speak at great technical length about file formats, so take my comments as someone who has taken a lot of the incredibly useful advice around here and applied it to my own humble but very satisfying system.


Good luck and have fun.





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I think if I was using a service I would just go for an exact copy rather than any algorithm being applied to conserve space. Unless you need the space why compress at all? I'd try to get a fcormat that includes "portability" of the track names and CD titles, artwork if possible, etc.


Like Tim, I use AIFF on a Mac, but there are other ways to skin the cat.


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WAV is a bit of a paradox.

Support for playing it is very good.

Support for tagging is a mess.

As tagging allows you to browse, search and sort you collection is all kind of ways, I do think this is half of the fun of computer based audio.

More on tagging WAV: http://thewelltemperedcomputer.com/KB/WAV_KB.htm


In case of Linux, FLAC support is good. In case of Apple, FLAC is not supported.


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