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Basics: Ripping

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I'm going to have some basic questions, the first of which is about ripping.

 

The articles in CA academy on ripping are 6yrs old. The "what format" is probably more accurate now than ever given the plunging prices of storage.

 

However, while the overall strategy is probably still relevant, the software references seem very out of date.

GD3's software still references Windows XP, Vista or 7, not exactly current and no mention of OSX.

 

I'm on a Mac so obviously I can use iTunes to rip to AIFF. Is there some other software that is a superior solution?

 

Thanks!

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dbPoweramp is a popular program for ripping CD's. It is now available on OSX.

 

https://www.dbpoweramp.com/cd-ripper.htm

 

Lots of options available including AccurateRip which automatically checks rip against a database to ensure that your rip matches what others have done. You can also review/edit meta data before ripping.

 

They also have other programs such file conversion (e.g. AIFF > FLAC).

 

As for file format, whatever works for you. I personally save everything to AIFF due to legacy of using iTunes but if I started over I would probably go with FLAC given it is a neutral format. I could "easily" convert everything to FLAC but for now AIFF works fine.


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I would have to say stay with AIFF if you think you ever MIGHT use Windows or Linux. File size is much less of an issue these days, and I can speak from experience that having multiple file types suck.

dbPoweramp is a popular program for ripping CD's. It is now available on OSX.

 

https://www.dbpoweramp.com/cd-ripper.htm

 

Lots of options available including AccurateRip which automatically checks rip against a database to ensure that your rip matches what others have done. You can also review/edit meta data before ripping.

 

They also have other programs such file conversion (e.g. AIFF > FLAC).

 

As for file format, whatever works for you. I personally save everything to AIFF due to legacy of using iTunes but if I started over I would probably go with FLAC given it is a neutral format. I could "easily" convert everything to FLAC but for now AIFF works fine.


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I wouldn't use AIFF - the tagging support exists but is patchy in much software/hardware.

Go for FLAC or Apple Lossless (ALAC, if you are tied to the Apple ecosystem).

 

Don't see the advantage of recommending a losslessly compressed format (ALAC, FLAC) over an uncompressed, lossless format (AIFF).

Hard drives are so cheap nowadays that storage space should not be the issue. AIFF is supported by all platforms and virtually all music player software, while FLAC is not supported by iTunes or any Apple device. ALAC is currently not supported by HDPlayer, one of the best, if not the best, music player program available.

 

I rip all my CD's and transcode all downloaded FLACs to AIFF with XLD or MediaHuman Audio Converter, both Mac freeware programs, and tag metadata and manage my library with iTunes. I do experience metadata anomolies with AIFF, but less than .02%, a very small percentage.

 

There are various methods to correct wonky metadata. Personally, I import the questionable AIFF files into Audacity, then re-export them to iTunes. No big deal.

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Don't see the advantage of recommending a losslessly compressed format (ALAC, FLAC) over an uncompressed, lossless format (AIFF).

Hard drives are so cheap nowadays that storage space should not be the issue. AIFF is supported by all platforms and virtually all music player software, while FLAC is not supported by iTunes or any Apple device. ALAC is currently not supported by HDPlayer, one of the best, if not the best, music player program available.

 

I rip all my CD's and transcode all downloaded FLACs to AIFF with XLD or MediaHuman Audio Converter, both Mac freeware programs, and tag metadata and manage my library with iTunes. I do experience metadata anomolies with AIFF, but less than .02%, a very small percentage.

 

There are various methods to correct wonky metadata. Personally, I import the questionable AIFF files into Audacity, then re-export them to iTunes. No big deal.

 

Disk space is still a big deal to me: I am currently at 2TB of (mostly) ALAC files, and just don't have space to store (or even less, back up!) twice that much :/


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I use iTunes, with error correction checked and use AIFF for all on my Redbook needs. I have 7k titles and have tried most everything. The Apple system works best for me and my needs.

 

Enjoy the music…


Some people are still afraid of the dark… Purveyor of Remorseless Audio

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Disk space is still a big deal to me: I am currently at 2TB of (mostly) ALAC files, and just don't have space to store (or even less, back up!) twice that much :/

 

I certainly don't know your financial situation, but Backblaze will backup an unlimited amount of data (and music) for $50/yr.

 

Last month I bought a 4TB USB 3.0 disk for $130.

 

In my opinion, storage cost is no longer a barrier. I'm ripping now with DBPoweramp as suggested by many in this thread and had to adjust to the fact that ripping to an uncompressed format (AIFF) takes no CPU effort at all and is very fast.

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Disk space is still a big deal to me: I am currently at 2TB of (mostly) ALAC files, and just don't have space to store (or even less, back up!) twice that much :/

 

I agree, after having two additional back ups it adds up.

I don't get the argument that lossless compression makes a CPU work harder converting during streaming and thus a slight loss of SQ, when folks are now over sampling to 8X DSD. Now that's making the CPU work harder.

I find far more bloat in Windows 10 to get rid of that makes the CPU work harder than converting FLAC to WAV during the streaming process. In fact it's almost negligible. I don't hear a difference between the two, thus it's FLAC for my preferred storage container.


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I don't get the argument that lossless compression makes a CPU work harder converting during streaming and thus a slight loss of SQ, when folks are now over sampling to 8X DSD. Now that's making the CPU work harder.

 

It's clearly a bogus argument. It may have been valid 15 years ago, but it's certainly not an issue now. I don't know why people cling to such old ideas. Also, why would the CPU working harder even equate to lower sound quality? Perhaps there were issues of lag with very slow processors, but other than that, as long as it's converting correctly, the sound will be fine.


I write about Macs, music, and more at Kirkville.

Author of Take Control of macOS Media Apps

Co-host of The Next Track podcast.

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Don't see the advantage of recommending a losslessly compressed format (ALAC, FLAC) over an uncompressed, lossless format (AIFF).

Hard drives are so cheap nowadays that storage space should not be the issue. AIFF is supported by all platforms and virtually all music player software, while FLAC is not supported by iTunes or any Apple device. ALAC is currently not supported by HDPlayer, one of the best, if not the best, music player program available.

 

Because there's no cost other than a little CPU in the [de]compression.

 

I agree storage space isn't really an issue, particularly for "archiving" purposes. But my point wasn't so much to laud compression as to question the use of AIFF with, as I said, 'less good' support for metadata storage.

 

It comes down to what makes sense for you, but as general advice I wouldn't use AIFF.


 

bliss - fully automated music organizer. Read the music library management blog.

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I don't get the argument that lossless compression makes a CPU work harder converting during streaming and thus a slight loss of SQ, when folks are now over sampling to 8X DSD. Now that's making the CPU work harder.

More to the point, I don't think it's relevant to discussing archiving.


 

bliss - fully automated music organizer. Read the music library management blog.

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1. Rip to any lossless format (WAV, AIFF, FLAC) in 16 bit / 44 kHz (native CD format). Better choice is FLAC due less space.

 

2. Backup these files.

 

3. Convert these files to native resolution (bit depth / sample rate / DSD/PCM) of your DAC. No difference FLAC/WAV/AIFF (PCM). FOR DSD better DSF due support meta tags (album, track namr, performer, artwork, ...).

 

Backup need due conversion algorithms improved time by time.

 

CD better store too. Though control checksum decrease error probability, it don't give 100% probability of right ripping.

It especially important for rare CDs.

 

During ripping recommended use safe modes (slow speed reading, re-reading, etc.) of rippers.


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Away from the subject of file format, my other recommendations would be...

 

Store as little metadata in the file path as possible. Just identification tags - artist/album/tracknum-trackname with the media number (disc number) in there also as required. The reason is that changing file paths is the most invasive change to a music library; it can screw up software that use file paths as identifiers, makes synchronisation harder, etc etc. The less data in the file path, the less likely you'll have to change it.

 

Ideally enforce formatting rules of tags, e.g. date fields should use the same date format, tracknumbers should all be padded or not and so on.

 

Err on the side of storing fewer classification/categorisation tags, and more identification tags. The reason is that the former are more likely to change according to your whims, while the latter are always useful for finding data later. But your CD ripper may not allow you to control that.

 

Backups are so important!


 

bliss - fully automated music organizer. Read the music library management blog.

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