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2000 CD Rip! Advice?

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I am about to embark on a ripfest of my 2000+ CD collection, so I am hoping to do this only once. I have read the forums which have provided plenty of useful info and food for thought, however due to the size of the task ahead I would like to make sure I do this only once!


I wish to rip to a lossless format to be played by outputing to an external DAC via SPDIF. I have a mixed computer enviroment with Windows, Mac and Linux in the house. Output will likely be via the new Western Digital HD media player, or an Asus EEE Box PC. I do also have an AppleTV, iPhone, Zune and am willing to use a Mac mini (had one in the past) if it proves more seamless than the Asus EEE Box PC. I also have two Apple Airport Expresses but the stream often breaks up even when using 802.11N.


I am familiar with iTunes and WMP and with Sound Juicer on Ubuntu, and have just played around with Foobar 2000 (for playback) and EAC/FLAC, dBpoweramp, JRiver Media Jukebox and Ripstation Micro but am far less comfortable with them vs iTunes (or WMP).


1. I do subscribe to some audiophile principles and would like a minimalist approach that would allow me a bit perfect output. No DSP and no manipulation of the files other than lossless compression. In fact if there is a way to ID3 tag WAV files I would not mind going that route. What about AIFF?


2. Most of my collection is classical with some Jazz. I will be unhappy with the tagging of a lot of the classical albums. I am currently comfortable with itunes and WMP. WMP which uses AMG gives better tags than anything that uses Gracenote though I would prefer to end up with ALAC or FLAC files.


3. Some DACs suggest setting the maximum output to 24 bit to allow transmission of HDCD data etc. Is the ripping affected e.g. Is it forcing the upsampling of 16 bit data to 24 bit, something I would tend to instinctively avoid.


4. How easy is it to convert from ALAC to FLAC? I will end up doing some conversion at some point to allow me to use all my diverse setups. I believe that Foobar will allow fairly easy conversion. Any caveats or concerns. I am leaning towards FLAC but just the fact that I can use Album Art in iTunes may make me lean towards ALAC.


5. I would like to maintain Album Art for the ripped music. I don't see a way of doing that with EAC/FLAC. Am I missing something?


6. How is Ripstation Micro? It seems blindingly fast in producing FLACs, but how is the accuracy? How is the DG3 database with regards to classical? How do I approve the ID3 tagging before this program starts ripping?


7. Any media players with coaxial digital out? I am running out of Toslink inputs on my DAC (actually it has only one optical but many coaxial digital inputs).


8. If I use the Asus EEE Box as my media player, is there any overlay/display program that will play on a TV with large fonts like Windows Media Center or Apple Front Row (and that can also handle FLAC etc)? I am tired of squinting to see the print on Foobar2000 on my TV even with the fonts set to 200%.


9. What about dBPoweramp and JRiver Media Jukebox?


10. What does JRiver's Media Center add to the free Media Jukebox purely from an audio viewpoint? I am not interested in it's photo and video capabilities.


11. Does the free JRiver Media Jukebox support WASAPI?


I will likely think of twenty other questions, but here goes for now.


Input and feed back appreciated.









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