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Best (reasonable) CD Ripping Practice


kilroy
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Wondering if there's any way I might improve my CD rips in any reasonable way, and with any resulting objective SQ improvements.

 

I've used an in-computer CD drive to rip CDs using EAC to flac format for years. This is the main home personal computer, not built special for any audio purposes at all. After the ripping is done I tag and add artwork, then move them to an internal drive on the same computer. This drive is routinely backed up to an external drive. The rips can be transferred to the server over a wired network connection. The server music player is JRiver.

 

Would an external CD drive with a USB connection or other hardware improvements make a difference? Would this removal from the internal computer noise (of all types) make any meaningful difference? What about the quality of the USB cable? Specific hardware recommendations if any are appreciated.

 

I've also read about the use of at least one of the current USB improvement devices installed in line and the possible improvements that can make.

 

I believe EAC is one of, or maybe the best ripper, unless someone can suggest another to try. Many people seem to use foobar but I found this a bit kludgey to use. I get tagging info through EAC's internet connection to external data bases, but usually do some manual tagging cleanup with Tag & Rename.

 

Up to now I have not ripped to wave format to keep as "master" files, only directly to flac. Would there be an advantage to ripping to wave to keep on hand, while I still use mostly flac files in the server? What would this advantage be from the viewpoint of improved SQ?

 

It's possible or even likely that I'm either omitting or just not even aware of other potential improvement scenarios, so any other suggestions are appreciated as well.

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Hi @kilroy - The short answer is no.

 

I always tell people, if their CD rips match the accurate rip database, there is nothing more to do.

 

You can go down any of the paths you'd like, but in my experience you won't find a single difference.

 

I would also keep ripping to FLAC. It supports conversion to any other lossless or lossy format and supports the best metadata.

Founder of Audiophile Style

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Hi @kilroy - The short answer is no.

 

I always tell people, if their CD rips match the accurate rip database, there is nothing more to do.

 

You can go down any of the paths you'd like, but in my experience you won't find a single difference.

 

I would also keep ripping to FLAC. It supports conversion to any other lossless or lossy format and supports the best metadata.

Which flac compression level do you prefer, Chris?

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Which flac compression level do you prefer, Chris?

Very good question, to which I don't have an answer.

 

I ripped my entire library into uncompressed FLAC. Then I had issues with some network enabled HiFi components choking on these files. I haven't re-done the compression level, but when I get new files from HDtracks or another download site, I just leave them at their existing compression rate. When I rip new CDs I believe I select one of the least compressed options, so I have maximum compatibility.

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The other issue with ripping is the hand in hand of file management. For this I use dbpoweramp, which uses Accurate rip, just as EAC does. dbpoweramp rips the CD direct to the music folder in attributes of artist, album, year, titles, disc numbers and so on. This method is necessary for players like HQPlayer, which are confused for multiple disc sets. What happens is track 01 of disc 1 is played, then track 01 of disc 2, if the disc number is not part of the filename.

Try to keep the metadata image to as small as possible, below 50k will keep compatibility with portable players.

 

As for ripping process, I use either a Samsung portable Blu-ray drive, or a set of two Pioneer Blu-ray burners in a Workstation for the larger jobs that come along. Rips are to uncompressed FLAC which play direct from disc to USB, since I don't use networking files for streamers which need a few years more to play audio files to many variants. Another topic.

 

There will be those that will repeat their own message about ripping using dedicated power supplies, a certain kind of machine, exotic cables and on and on, but I never ventured to go there, nor have the inclination to.

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I agree. I use iTunes and a Mac, so I have to convert all my ripped music to Apple Lossless - but even with that, I rip my CDs to FLAC for archival purposes (using I think compression level 5 because it's less CPU intensive than level 8, it seems to be the default for many apps and many people across the internet, and everything is compatible with it, unlike uncompressed FLAC).

 

An external, full desktop-sized drive in a USB case might rip CDs faster than a built-in one or a laptop-style one, but it won't rip discs any more accurately if your present drive already is ripping discs that check out with the AccurateRip database, and your ripping logs don't show evidence of retries and such.

 

One thing I like to do is rip my CDs to a single file with CUE sheet. This is, for all intents and purposes, a clone of the disc, and makes archiving simple because each disc has only two files (the rip itself, and the CUE file).

 

It also allows for some conveniences. For example, if for some reason you want to change the break points between tracks - for example the old Mobile Fidelity gold CD of U2's War accidentally was made so that the first fraction of a second of each track is part of the end of the track before it - you can just edit the CUE sheet to change the start-times of each track. Then you can re-split the tracks with the new, corrected starting points, without having to manually cut and paste material from one track to another, and without altering the audio at all. You can do the same thing if you have a live album and you don't like where the track breaks are.

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Kilroy

Have you tried ripping directly to your internal HDD/SSD using EAC, saving them as .wav files in their own folders, with artwork saved later to their respective folders ?

Why copy the files to another internal HDD/SSD if you don't need to do so ?

They can be used as your Master copies.

I would also recommend replacing any generic long internal SATA cables , which have 7 wires side by side, with the shortest possible SATA3 6GB/s cables which have 2 separate internal screened cables ?

This will only cost you a few dollars, and if nothing else will result in improved airflow in the P.C.

Storage is much cheaper these days, so why even use .flac at all if you can readily access artwork from the same folder ?

Why not at least try this with a few of your favourite albums ?

BTW, you can also create a Cue sheet using EAC with .wav files

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Kilroy

Have you tried ripping directly to your internal HDD/SSD using EAC, saving them as .wav files in their own folders, with artwork saved later to their respective folders ?

Why copy the files to another internal HDD/SSD if you don't need to do so ?

They can be used as your Master copies.

I would also recommend replacing any generic long internal SATA cables , which have 7 wires side by side, with the shortest possible SATA3 6GB/s cables which have 2 separate internal screened cables ?

This will only cost you a few dollars, and if nothing else will result in improved airflow in the P.C.

Storage is much cheaper these days, so why even use .flac at all if you can readily access artwork from the same folder ?

Why not at least try this with a few of your favourite albums ?

BTW, you can also create a Cue sheet using EAC with .wav files

You know there is a way to make ripping more inconvenient and difficult, but I'll have to think of how to do so.

 

Using flac has nothing to do with saving disk space. It has the best metadata support of all files and most applications support this metadata.

Founder of Audiophile Style

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You know there is a way to make ripping more inconvenient and difficult, but I'll have to think of how to do so.

 

Using flac has nothing to do with saving disk space. It has the best metadata support of all files and most applications support this metadata.

 

+1

 

However, Alex has indicated on several occasions that, unlike many (most?) of us, metadata is not important to him. :)

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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I prefer ripping to AIFF, album, track and cover info is all automatically grabbed from the Internet (CDDB or other service API), using XLD. It goes very fast, around 2.5 mins for the usual CD.

 

As for FLAC vs WAV, you need to try in your own system to see if there's any noticeable difference. There sure is in mine and that's because my DAC isn't totally isolated from the computer's noise (despite what some believe), and the effect isn't small but since it system-dependent, you have to test for yourself.

 

In the instances where the CD isn't on CDDB and other services, then I spent a couple of minutes to add the relevant data and cover.

 

After that, for critical listening in my system, I either play the AIFF as is in Aurdivana+ or I up-convert it offline to DSD128, until I build up a proper HQ Player system which will allow me to do it real-time up to DSD256.

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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You know there is a way to make ripping more inconvenient and difficult, but I'll have to think of how to do so.

 

Using flac has nothing to do with saving disk space. It has the best metadata support of all files and most applications support this metadata.

 

Chris

And to hell with the sound quality ?

There are plenty of reports , even from other members of your forum, that converting between formats causes sound quality degradation which you appear to conveniently reject.

Why is it so hard to simply let the OP try what I have suggested with a few of his favourite albums ?

 

I could send you an FYI ONLY copy of a listening report from Martin Colloms with similar material on CD-R both on a MAM-A CD-R, and a brand name supermarket CD-R sourced via an external USB powered writer to internal HDD, vs. the same material from an internal LG BR writer to an internal SSD, if you are interested, but somehow I don't think you really want to know, as you have already made your mind up ?

If you still have access to a high quality CD player, and are able to play CDs directly without digital EQ, why not ask esldude to send you a MAM Comparison CD-R that he is still sitting on ?

 

Is this Computer Audiophile where members like John Swenson are leading the way in improving audio via their USB Audio research , or simply a forum showing how to pipe music from a Computer or Server through the house ?

 

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Chris

And to hell with the sound quality ?

There are plenty of reports , even from other members of your forum, that converting between formats causes sound quality degradation which you appear to conveniently reject.

Why is it so hard to simply let the OP try what I have suggested with a few of his favourite albums ?

 

I could send you an FYI ONLY copy of a listening report from Martin Colloms with similar material on CD-R both on a MAM-A CD-R, and a brand name supermarket CD-R sourced via an external USB powered writer to internal HDD, vs. the same material from an internal LG BR writer to an internal SSD, if you are interested, but somehow I don't think you really want to know, as you have already made your mind up ?

If you still have access to a high quality CD player, and are able to play CDs directly without digital EQ, why not ask esldude to send you a MAM Comparison CD-R that he is still sitting on ?

 

Is this Computer Audiophile where members like John Swenson are leading the way in improving audio via their USB Audio research , or simply a forum showing how to pipe music from a Computer or Server through the house ?

 

Alex

 

I said "reasonable". So as not to take the fun away. If you want to take Chris to task why not do it privately. Thank you.

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I said "reasonable". So as not to take the fun away. If you want to take Chris to task why not do it privately. Thank you.

 

What I suggested was perfectly reasonable and easy to try.

You are already using EAC and an internal writer, and saving to internal HDD.

It's not as if you have to do anything very differently for a simple trial with several albums !

There would be nothing stopping you from converting the master files to flac and saving on your other internal HDD which you are already using for this purpose.

In case you didn't notice, it was Chris that took me to task, and I simply posted a robust reply.

He could have simply ignored my reply and let you try this for yourself if you wished to do so.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Hi @sandyk - I'm not stopping the OP from doing anything. Just offering my opinion.

 

Part of what makes life interesting is that we all have different opinions. Plus, as adults we can all make up our own minds about who's opinions to believe.

 

CA is definitely about getting the best sound quality. If I though for one second that your suggestions would improve the sound quality in my system, I'd try them in a heartbeat.

 

To me, your suggestions are like telling me to wear Air Jordan shoes and I'll be able to dunk a basketball. It ain't gonna happen and there would be no explanation for it to happen, if all I did was wear the shoes. I see two files with the same checksum and I believe they will sound the same 100% of the time if all else is equal.

 

That's just my take. One guy's opinion. Adults are free to listen to it or dismiss it.

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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Hi @sandyk - I'm not stopping the OP from doing anything. Just offering my opinion.

 

Part of what makes life interesting is that we all have different opinions. Plus, as adults we can all make up our own minds about who's opinions to believe.

 

CA is definitely about getting the best sound quality. If I though for one second that your suggestions would improve the sound quality in my system, I'd try them in a heartbeat.

 

To me, your suggestions are like telling me to wear Air Jordan shoes and I'll be able to dunk a basketball. It ain't gonna happen and there would be no explanation for it to happen, if all I did was wear the shoes. I see two files with the same checksum and I believe they will sound the same 100% of the time if all else is equal.

 

That's just my take. One guy's opinion. Adults are free to listen to it or dismiss it.

 

From which I gather that you have no interest whatsoever in seeing (FYI ONLY) the report from M.C. , part of which has already been confirmed via uploads by your members Peter St. , Mani Sandher, and acg ( Anthony?) or even availing yourself of the opportunity to evaluate a comparison CD-R which is already available in the USA ?

BTW, did the same 1s and 0s on both an HDD and SSD sound identical at your Symposium several years ago ?

Were they both being played from System Memory at the time ?

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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From which I gather that you have no interest whatsoever in seeing (FYI ONLY) the report from M.C. , part of which has already been confirmed via uploads by your members Peter St. , Mani Sandher, and acg ( Anthony?) or even availing yourself of the opportunity to evaluate a comparison CD-R which is already available in the USA ?

 

I view it like the shoes. I don't need to put Air Jordans on my feet and try to jump, to know I can't dunk a basketball.

 

I try many other things in this wonderful hobby of ours, but this ain't one.

 

No disrespect.

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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I would also recommend replacing any generic long internal SATA cables , which have 7 wires side by side, with the shortest possible SATA3 6GB/s cables which have 2 separate internal screened cables ?

 

Here we go again :)

 

Pray tell why on Gods green earth would someone need to do that? Have you and your buddy Swenson measured the latency differences between a short and even shorter SATA3 cable to determine the losses, noises and grunge picked up along the way by the signal needing to travel an extra few inches?

 

Your theories seem to suggest that data (1's & 0's) traveling between Point A & B within a computer is somehow acting like a sponge which absorbs any noise present along the journey ultimatly resulting in a file on the other end that is larger then the source. Surely the file must be larger on the destination if it now includes all that grunge and noise picked up along the way.

 

The OP is looking for a simple, reliable method to rip CD's. The rest of the non paranoid world simply downloads a known good ripping App like DB Power Amp for Windos or K3B for Linux and lives happily ever after.

 

Nothing more to consider or think about, end of story, game over and happy listening.

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Pray tell why on Gods green earth would someone need to do that? Have you and your buddy Swenson measured the latency differences between a short and even shorter SATA3 cable to determine the losses, noises and grunge picked up along the way by the signal needing to travel an extra few inches?

Where did I ever include John Swenson in that statement ? Many members report improvements when using Paul Pang or Pachanko SATA cables.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Since the drives have limited mechanical life and can hang and obfuscate when you really don't want them too, have a spare CD/BD Drive spare ready to jump in.

 

Agreed... I'm still waiting for my 6yr old Pioneer BluRay R/W drive to crap out but somehow it's managed to keep doing work without issue. Ripping def puts an @$$ beating on the drive. I've probably ripped 500 or so CD's thus far with mine.

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Originally Posted by One and a half View Post

 

Since the drives have limited mechanical life and can hang and obfuscate when you really don't want them too, have a spare CD/BD Drive spare ready to jump in.

 

 

Agreed... I'm still waiting for my 6yr old Pioneer BluRay R/W drive to crap out but somehow it's managed to keep doing work without issue. Ripping def puts an @$$ beating on the drive. I've probably ripped 500 or so CD's thus far with mine.

 

My own internal LG GGW H20L BR writer designed by Alfe, is of a similar age and has done at least as many rips thus far.

I also have a spare LG BR writer of a later model to slot in if the original deteriorates or fails.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Many members report improvements when using Paul Pang or Pachanko SATA cables.

 

Always confusing the audio being streamed and that being just data.

In the case of CD transport rips, it's just data. The CD being basically the hard drive.

Have you ever tried hearing a difference between an audio library being copied to another drive, and using that new drive to stream? There ain't no difference!

 

EDIT: Now imagine copying that library from one hard drive to another over 30 times!!! Guess what, there still ain't no difference!

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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Always confusing the audio being streamed and that being just data.

In the case of CD transport rips, it's just data. The CD being basically the hard drive.

Have you ever tried hearing a difference between an audio library being copied to another drive, and using that new drive to stream? There ain't no difference!

 

Why am I not surprised that you are unable to hear a difference ?

Some of you are apparently also unable to hear the differences between a paid CD streaming service and the same tracks played via a very good CD player, or a rip of the same CD !

 

BTW, I have heard the HDPlex 300W Linear PSUs that are owned by 2 Sydney members and the +5V or +9V (nominal) supplies are capable of a further marked improvement.

We have also used both the +19V rail regulated down to +9V for the Regen using a JLH PSU add-on, and the adjustable rail set to +12V , then regulated down to +9V for the Regen using a JLH PSU add-on.

There was a marked improvement over direct power from the HDPlex 300W itself.

After the effect of the original add on from the +12V rail was heard, another friend asked me to make a similar one for operation from his spare +19V rail.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Why am I not surprised that you are unable to hear a difference ?

Some of you are apparently also unable to hear the differences between a paid CD streaming service and the same tracks played via a very good CD player, or a rip of the same CD !

 

I can't make you stay away from this thread, but I'll ask you to anyway. Your posts are of no interest to me and contribute nothing to this thread. You are exactly the person I feared would make a mess out of things. Nobody wants a petulant whiner hanging around. Please respect my wishes.

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Kilroy, you doing it all right, sorry to say there isn't any possible SQ improvements to be had. As long as your verifying your data against accurate database, your golden. Everything else is just personal preference. Keeping that library organized and neat is the greatest amount of work with some thought as to how you like it.

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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