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I'm a relative newcomer to computer audiophile so please forgive the questions. Recently bought an Aries and received good advice re: Yate (for fixing album art issues) and dBPoweramp (which I will use to slowly re-rip my library which is currently all Apple Lossless).

 

I have two other questions before I start recreating my library:

 

1. What is the preferred music library management software if I'm going to start purchasing high res music and re-ripping CDs to a different format (see question 2)? I've been using iTunes...don't think it recognizes high res files, however.

 

2. What is the preferred file format I should use? In an ideal world, I would use the same files for:

 

1. the critical listening system (Aries to NAD M51 to Bryston B135);

2. multiple room Sonos boxes, including one connected to "mid-fi" system (Paradigm Studio, Rotel processor, Rotel amp); and

3. iPod Classic 160GB which is used in my car.

 

Sonos appears to play FLAC, AIFF, and WAV but doesn't recommend AIFF:

 

"Audio Interchange File Format (AIFF) is an uncompressed and lossless audio format.

 

Sonos does not recommend choosing AIFF files for your library because of AIFF's outdated metadata support. You can acheive the same audio quality by using FLAC or Apple Lossless, both of which fully support metadata and album art."

 

Same recommendation/statements for WAF.

 

Are the statements from Sonos re: limited metadata and album art true?

 

As I said above, I would want to use iTunes simply to load up my iPod Classic (160GB), which I use in the car. Currently easy to do since my library is all Apple Lossless files and allows me to increase number of albums I can load on the iPod.

 

I've also read that sound quality is "better" using uncompressed files vs. lossless compression.

 

If the above statements are true, do I go with AIFF and "sacrifice" full support for metadata/album art and fewer albums on the iPod? Or do I stick with Apple Lossless (albeit re-ripped with dBPoweramp and tags verified using Yate)?

 

Thanks in advance for the help.

QNAP TS-251-->Netgear GS116 Switch--->Asus router--->wireless to Aurelic Aries--->USB to NAD M51--->Bryston B135--->Thiel CS 2.7 speakers

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Quite a few threads discussed this before. A few thoughts:

 

1. With disk space prices there is zero reason to keep files compressed unless for your archive/backup copies

 

2. On my setup there is a difference in noise floor when using FLAC and AIFF/WAV. This varies by user and setup

 

3. Jriver is a pain (to me), as in not user friendly, to use for library management, although many here really like it for its flexibility.

 

4. DBP is fine for ripping, tagging or extracting.

 

5. No need to re-rip to go from ALAC or FLAC to AIFF or WAV, unless the rip was bad in the first place. It is like unpacking a zip file.

 

6. iTunes is fine as well, although not for ripping.

 

7. For listening on your iPod, I would not worry about any of it. Use iTunes as it is free and simple to use. Try ALAC vs AIFF and see if it makes a big enough difference for you on the iPod.

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Hi Pacolnmass,

 

In my experience there is no reason to re-rip files that have been ripped to either AIFF or Apple Lossless using iTunes, assuming error correction was checked.

 

I have been using iTunes for nearly 10 years and have found it to be very good software. It is bit perfect when installed on a MAC and I have used it to rip all my CDs (about 500) and I also like its database and I feel it suffers from audiophile snobbery to some degree.

 

Only time you run into trouble is with hi res as iTunes will not change the sample rate from say redbook at 44.1 (CD quality) to 48, or 96 or 192 etc as the Audio-Midi app inside the MAC OS stays on what ever sample rate setting you have originally chosen. I therefore use Audirvana as the playback software "sitting" on top of iTunes as it will automatically change the sample rate.

 

Personally, I would continue to use AIFF for all systems, however, please note that you may need to "dumb down" the hi res to 256k when playing back with the iPod otherwise you will run out of space and it also I believe it will not play hi res in any case. Suggest you google how to do this but very simply connect your iPod to your computer and on the front summary page select 256k near the bottom of the screen. Your original files on your computer will stay lossless (AIFF) and those on your iPod will be at 256k. I don't believe you will hear a lot of difference in your car but you can experiment and satisfy yourself either way.

 

If Sonos struggles with AIFF, and only if, then use iTunes to convert to Apple Lossless.

 

Good luck

LOUNGE: Mac Mini - Audirvana - Devialet 200 - ATOHM GT1 Speakers

OFFICE : Mac Mini - Audirvana - Benchmark DAC1HDR - ADAM A7 Active Monitors

TRAVEL : MacBook Air - Dragonfly V1.2 DAC - Sennheiser HD 650

BEACH : iPhone 6 - HRT iStreamer DAC - Akimate Micro + powered speakers

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If you want to feel comfortable with checking that back and forth between ALAC or FLAC to WAV or AIFF works, DBPoweramp has a program called PerfectTunes. This which will check whether a rip was accurate via the AccurateRip database, even after the back and forth lossless compression. Or programs like Audio Diffmaker or Foobar bit comparison can help compare. Test it in a couple of albums and if you want to convert in bulk, DBPoweramp can do that too.

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If files are Apple Lossless why re-rip them?

 

Anyway, Jriver is pretty great library software. It or dbPoweramp can also do the lossless format conversions.

 

Two reasons to re-rip:

 

I've heard some folks mention that iTunes rippings, even with error-correction checked, is not accurate and

if I want to convert library to AIFF or WAV rather than continue with lossless files (FLAC or ALAC).

 

Appreciate the input on Jriver...may try that (recognizing that others do not like it).

 

I plan to use dbPoweramp moving forward given comments about iTunes ripping.

QNAP TS-251-->Netgear GS116 Switch--->Asus router--->wireless to Aurelic Aries--->USB to NAD M51--->Bryston B135--->Thiel CS 2.7 speakers

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Quite a few threads discussed this before. A few thoughts:

 

1. With disk space prices there is zero reason to keep files compressed unless for your archive/backup copies

 

2. On my setup there is a difference in noise floor when using FLAC and AIFF/WAV. This varies by user and setup

 

3. Jriver is a pain (to me), as in not user friendly, to use for library management, although many here really like it for its flexibility.

 

4. DBP is fine for ripping, tagging or extracting.

 

5. No need to re-rip to go from ALAC or FLAC to AIFF or WAV, unless the rip was bad in the first place. It is like unpacking a zip file.

 

6. iTunes is fine as well, although not for ripping.

 

7. For listening on your iPod, I would not worry about any of it. Use iTunes as it is free and simple to use. Try ALAC vs AIFF and see if it makes a big enough difference for you on the iPod.

 

tranz,

 

#1 - Agree...which is one reason to re-rip from original CDs to uncompressed format.

#2 - When you say there is a difference in noise floor, I assume you prefer AIFF/WAV?

#3 - Appreciate input on Jriver...will try b/c there doesn't appear to be other choices.

#4 - Thx...will be using DBP to rip moving forward (and re-rip if I decide to shift to uncompressed files)

#5 - I wasn't being clear...I would re-rip from original CDs, not from ALAC to AIFF.

#6 - This is the general consensus, however as library management software it won't let me see hi-res files, which is why I am looking for alternatives.

#7 - Thx...my simply go with AIFF so I don't have to convert and maintain two copies of my collection.

 

Thanks for the quick replies.

QNAP TS-251-->Netgear GS116 Switch--->Asus router--->wireless to Aurelic Aries--->USB to NAD M51--->Bryston B135--->Thiel CS 2.7 speakers

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Hi Pacolnmass,

 

In my experience there is no reason to re-rip files that have been ripped to either AIFF or Apple Lossless using iTunes, assuming error correction was checked.

 

I have been using iTunes for nearly 10 years and have found it to be very good software. It is bit perfect when installed on a MAC and I have used it to rip all my CDs (about 500) and I also like its database and I feel it suffers from audiophile snobbery to some degree.

 

Only time you run into trouble is with hi res as iTunes will not change the sample rate from say redbook at 44.1 (CD quality) to 48, or 96 or 192 etc as the Audio-Midi app inside the MAC OS stays on what ever sample rate setting you have originally chosen. I therefore use Audirvana as the playback software "sitting" on top of iTunes as it will automatically change the sample rate.

 

Personally, I would continue to use AIFF for all systems, however, please note that you may need to "dumb down" the hi res to 256k when playing back with the iPod otherwise you will run out of space and it also I believe it will not play hi res in any case. Suggest you google how to do this but very simply connect your iPod to your computer and on the front summary page select 256k near the bottom of the screen. Your original files on your computer will stay lossless (AIFF) and those on your iPod will be at 256k. I don't believe you will hear a lot of difference in your car but you can experiment and satisfy yourself either way.

 

If Sonos struggles with AIFF, and only if, then use iTunes to convert to Apple Lossless.

 

Good luck

 

Ajax,

 

Thx for the input and your experience with iTunes. I've used iTunes with error correction however will slowly re-rip given comments I've heard re: it's ripping capabilities [plus the fact that I sometimes get obsessive and this will be one less think I worry about that could affect sound quality!].

 

I agree re: iTunes as a database...nicely done, however it doesn't recognize hi-rez files. Another alternative is to continue using Catraxx, which I have been using to catalog LPs, CDs, SACDs, DVD-As, etc. Unfortunately the developer has stopped developing updates so I thought I would make a switch to another software that can automatically recognize hi-res files. With Catraxx I'll have to manually add hi-res albums.

 

With respect to Audirvana, it's not an issue for me...I recently purchased the Aries to serve as my streamer.

 

I agree that it's easier to stick with one format...will likely go with AIFF and then down convert hi-res files for use on the iPod.

 

Again, thanks for the input and your perspective.

QNAP TS-251-->Netgear GS116 Switch--->Asus router--->wireless to Aurelic Aries--->USB to NAD M51--->Bryston B135--->Thiel CS 2.7 speakers

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If you want to feel comfortable with checking that back and forth between ALAC or FLAC to WAV or AIFF works, DBPoweramp has a program called PerfectTunes. This which will check whether a rip was accurate via the AccurateRip database, even after the back and forth lossless compression. Or programs like Audio Diffmaker or Foobar bit comparison can help compare. Test it in a couple of albums and if you want to convert in bulk, DBPoweramp can do that too.

 

Tranz,

 

Thx. I heard about PerfectTunes but also read in the Aries threads that some folks had mixed experience with the results. Based on your earlier input as well as others, I will start re-ripping from CDs to uncompressed files. I'm not sure how DBPoweramp will convert from ALAC to AIFF accurately if the original rip had errors. That's why I thought I would simply re-rip using DBP to ensure accurate ripping.

QNAP TS-251-->Netgear GS116 Switch--->Asus router--->wireless to Aurelic Aries--->USB to NAD M51--->Bryston B135--->Thiel CS 2.7 speakers

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I wouldn't worry about re ripping your library. Yes I now use XLD and dbPoweramp for Mac and have for several years but half my library was ripped with iTunes and I have yet to listen to any file and notice audible errors from those ripped with iTunes.

 

For synching with iDevices I like using iTunes and utilize the feature to allow the synched files to be converted to AAC on the mobile device. For my listening habits this is more than satisfactory quality on my mobile device or in my car and I appreciate the fact it does it on the fly, doesn't effect my master library and I don't have to maintain a second library of AAC/MP3 files as I believe some do.

"A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open."
Frank Zappa
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I'm on a Mac, so I use XLD for ripping and transcoding. From what I've read, dBpoweramp is at least as good, if not better.

I rip and store all my files as AIFF. I believe that this is the most practical format. iTunes and Apple devices do not support FLAC. Some music players, such as Signalyst HQPlayer do not support ALAC. WAV does not store metadata properly.

If I were you, I would rip all new CD's to AIFF, transcode all FLAC downloads to AIFF, and keep the ALAC files as they are, if your music player supports that format. If you have the time, or want to keep everything in the same format, transcode your ALAC files to AIFF using XLD or dBpoweramp. The metadata and lossless SQ will be preserved. This is a very simple and relatively quick process with XLD, and I would assume the same with dBpoweramp.

 

I don't have SONOS equipment, so I don't know what its limitations are, but AIFF has no issues with metadata or album art, IME. I have 1500 albums in my library, all ripped and transcoded with XLD, then imported into iTunes for tagging and library management. I download cover art from AlbumArtExchange.com or Google Images. This method has provided me with 99.99% error-free metadata. Disclaimer: I play my files by drag-and-drop from the Mac Finder, with Audirvana, HQPlayer, or iTunes. In some cases, when loading the proprietary libary in Audirvana 2, one might encounter anomolies with AIFF tags, but I believe that this is a limitation of that software, not an inherent problem with AIFF.

 

I have an iPod 160GB in my car as well. The iPod can only output at 16/44.1 or 16/48.

Using XLD, I batch-convert my AIFF 16/44.1, 24/44.1, 24/88.2, and 24/176.4 albums to ALAC 16/44.1; My AIFF 16/48, 24/48, 24/96, and 24/192 albums to ALAC 16/48. Dithering down by powers of two is thought to result in more accurate reproduction. Again, this is very simple and relatively quick to do in XLD, and I would think, with dBpoweramp. I then load the iPod in one shot from my hard drive. You can fit 450-500 ALAC albums on a 160GB iPod, which, for me is sufficent for portable use. I think this method is preferable to asking the iPod to do format, bit and/or sample rate transcoding on the fly during playback.

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I have just started using a Sonos device and my files are AIFF. Unless I just don't know how to display or find it in the Sonos tool/app there is very little metadata beyond Artist, Album and Song. Other than sometimes loading slow on the iPad Sonos remote I don't have issues with artwork but mine is all embedded.

"A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open."
Frank Zappa
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I have just started using a Sonos device and my files are AIFF. Unless I just don't know how to display or find it in the Sonos tool/app there is very little metadata beyond Artist, Album and Song. Other than sometimes loading slow on the iPad Sonos remote I don't have issues with artwork but mine is all embedded.

 

Well, there it is. The Sonos system has limited support for metadata with AIFF, hence they try to dissuade users to choose that format over FLAC or ALAC on their system. I suppose if you are locked into using Sonos, that would be a consideration. As I am not, I prefer an uncompressed format.

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Well, there it is. The Sonos system has limited support for metadata with AIFF, hence they try to dissuade users to choose that format over FLAC or ALAC on their system. I suppose if you are locked into using Sonos, that would be a consideration. As I am not, I prefer an uncompressed format.

 

I don't believe the limitation of Sonos metadata is specific to AIFF but effects all files. However being a new user of Sonos if others are using ALAC or FLAC etc and can access more metadata within Sonos I'd like to know about it.

"A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open."
Frank Zappa
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I don't believe the limitation of Sonos metadata is specific to AIFF but effects all files. However being a new user of Sonos if others are using ALAC or FLAC etc and can access more metadata within Sonos I'd like to know about it.

 

My library is all ALAC. Sonos metadata that I can use/access are: Album, Artist, Composer, Track, Genres.

 

I have a couple of high res FLAC files and while they show up in the Sonos app, Sonos can't play them of course.

QNAP TS-251-->Netgear GS116 Switch--->Asus router--->wireless to Aurelic Aries--->USB to NAD M51--->Bryston B135--->Thiel CS 2.7 speakers

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Ajax,

 

Thx for the input and your experience with iTunes. I've used iTunes with error correction however will slowly re-rip given comments I've heard re: it's ripping capabilities [plus the fact that I sometimes get obsessive and this will be one less think I worry about that could affect sound quality!].

 

I agree re: iTunes as a database...nicely done, however it doesn't recognize hi-rez files. Another alternative is to continue using Catraxx, which I have been using to catalog LPs, CDs, SACDs, DVD-As, etc. Unfortunately the developer has stopped developing updates so I thought I would make a switch to another software that can automatically recognize hi-res files. With Catraxx I'll have to manually add hi-res albums.

 

With respect to Audirvana, it's not an issue for me...I recently purchased the Aries to serve as my streamer.

 

I agree that it's easier to stick with one format...will likely go with AIFF and then down convert hi-res files for use on the iPod.

 

Again, thanks for the input and your perspective.

 

Hi pacionmass,

 

With regard to your comment earlier in this thread:

 

"I've heard some folks mention that iTunes rippings, even with error-correction checked, is not accurate and if I want to convert library to AIFF or WAV rather than continue with lossless files (FLAC or ALAC)."

 

Please don't believe everything you read on the internet - the following is copied from the Devialet web site, who are widely regarded as being at the forefront of technological development of high end audio. Please also refer Chis C's blog after his visit to their factory in France earlier this year. Following is from their FAQs on their web site:

 

WHAT SOFTWARE SHOULD I USE TO RIP CDS

We don't recommend any particular software to rip CDs. iTunes gives excellent results as long as you rip from a clean CD. Note that you can also set the error correction on iTunes for an extra safety. Other softwares such as "Max" on Mac platforms or "Exact Audio Copy" on PC platforms give excellent results.

The main thing is to use a bit-exact ripper. I personally use iTunes. There has been a test of several ripping softwares on a French Expert site. It appeared that, as long as the CD is clean, the results are absolutely identical between iTunes and others such as Audiograbber, dBpoweramp, Foobar2000, Winamp etc...

 

https://help.devialet.com/entries/23418997-What-software-should-I-use-to-rip-CDs

 

IMO re-ripping is therefore a waste of time. If you simply want a different format than ALAC or AIFF then use simply use a program like dbPoweramp to convert in batches.

 

I think I also read somewhere earlier in the thread that stated that iTunes doesn't play hi res. That is wrong, iTunes will play 24/192 files no problem, you just have to manually change the sample rate in Audi Midi to prevent the sample rate reverting to what has been selected, or use software such as Audirvana sitting on iTunes to change it automatically for you. It is Sonos that doesn't play hi res.... it is limited to 16/44.1.

 

Life short - spend it listening not ripping - good luck

LOUNGE: Mac Mini - Audirvana - Devialet 200 - ATOHM GT1 Speakers

OFFICE : Mac Mini - Audirvana - Benchmark DAC1HDR - ADAM A7 Active Monitors

TRAVEL : MacBook Air - Dragonfly V1.2 DAC - Sennheiser HD 650

BEACH : iPhone 6 - HRT iStreamer DAC - Akimate Micro + powered speakers

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iTunes gives excellent results as long as you rip from a clean CD. Note that you can also set the error correction on iTunes for an extra safety

 

These are two caveats: it must be from a 'clean' CD (actually, not just clean, it could be perfectly clean but if scratched...), and iTunes will try to auto-correct if set up this way, but you will get no log as to whether this has been done well or not.

 

Which is why it's better to use something like XLD, that can connect to a known database and give you a log post-ripping, either confirming that the rip was totally accurate, or if not, it will tell you which tracks haven't been ripped completely accurately.

 

Used iTunes extensively before switching to XLD.

 

If very meticulous, you may want to save all the logs with the ripped media until you can source proper rips for inaccurate tracks.

Dedicated Line DSD/DXD | Audirvana+ | iFi iDSD Nano | SET Tube Amp | Totem Mites

Surround: VLC | M-Audio FastTrack Pro | Mac Opt | Panasonic SA-HE100 | Logitech Z623

DIY: SET Tube Amp | Low-Noise Linear Regulated Power Supply | USB, Power, Speaker Cables | Speaker Stands | Acoustic Panels

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Just wondering what you mean by "recognizing". Are you referring to Itunes not switching sample rates?

 

Musicophile,

 

I should have been more clear...they are FLAC files and do not show up in iTunes. I am using Aries to play so I don't have any issues listening to the sones.

QNAP TS-251-->Netgear GS116 Switch--->Asus router--->wireless to Aurelic Aries--->USB to NAD M51--->Bryston B135--->Thiel CS 2.7 speakers

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Hi pacionmass,

 

With regard to your comment earlier in this thread:

 

"I've heard some folks mention that iTunes rippings, even with error-correction checked, is not accurate and if I want to convert library to AIFF or WAV rather than continue with lossless files (FLAC or ALAC)."

 

Please don't believe everything you read on the internet - the following is copied from the Devialet web site, who are widely regarded as being at the forefront of technological development of high end audio. Please also refer Chis C's blog after his visit to their factory in France earlier this year. Following is from their FAQs on their web site:

 

WHAT SOFTWARE SHOULD I USE TO RIP CDS

We don't recommend any particular software to rip CDs. iTunes gives excellent results as long as you rip from a clean CD. Note that you can also set the error correction on iTunes for an extra safety. Other softwares such as "Max" on Mac platforms or "Exact Audio Copy" on PC platforms give excellent results.

The main thing is to use a bit-exact ripper. I personally use iTunes. There has been a test of several ripping softwares on a French Expert site. It appeared that, as long as the CD is clean, the results are absolutely identical between iTunes and others such as Audiograbber, dBpoweramp, Foobar2000, Winamp etc...

 

https://help.devialet.com/entries/23418997-What-software-should-I-use-to-rip-CDs

 

IMO re-ripping is therefore a waste of time. If you simply want a different format than ALAC or AIFF then use simply use a program like dbPoweramp to convert in batches.

 

I think I also read somewhere earlier in the thread that stated that iTunes doesn't play hi res. That is wrong, iTunes will play 24/192 files no problem, you just have to manually change the sample rate in Audi Midi to prevent the sample rate reverting to what has been selected, or use software such as Audirvana sitting on iTunes to change it automatically for you. It is Sonos that doesn't play hi res.... it is limited to 16/44.1.

 

Life short - spend it listening not ripping - good luck

 

Ajax,

 

Thx for the information. Based on input from you and others (and the fact that I have been using error correction with iTunes) I will not re-rip but will start using dbPoweramp to rip new CDs.

QNAP TS-251-->Netgear GS116 Switch--->Asus router--->wireless to Aurelic Aries--->USB to NAD M51--->Bryston B135--->Thiel CS 2.7 speakers

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