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New member - Would appreciate direction please


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Just joined this great new site!

I have been an Audiophool for almost 40 years and have very basic knowledge of computers. I would like to transfer all of my CDs onto my computer hard drive so that I will be able to stream them wirelessly to my brand new Sonos system.

I have read on the Internet that Exact Audio Copy is the best way to get a quality copy. Truth is, I really don't know what to do.

I would very much appreciate some form of tutorial as to how to accomplish this ominous task. The directions must be very easy and specific, otherwise I know I will screw it up.

My computer runs on Windows XP.

I have a Yamaha CRW-F1ux CD drive which is long discontinued but, believe it or not, has never been opened. I assume that this unit can be used to link to my computer via USB.

I know that for younger, computer savvy people that this is a very simple project, but for me it is not.

I hope I can get some direction.

Thanks in advance!




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Hi Spirit - Welcome to Computer Audiophile. I really like having readers with 40+ years of audio experience because they can add stuff to conversations that only people with such experience would know. So, those who have computer audio skills will certainly be able to jump in and help you out where you may lack the knowledge and I'm sure they will benefit from your input on many other topics.


Anyway, on to your question. There are many CD audio ripping programs out there and almost all of them will rip a perfect bit for bit copy of a CD. Exact Audio Copy is very popular with people who have the ability and desire to tweak the application. EAC also provides feedback on the success or failure of a rip. That said, I strongly encourage you to use an application like iTunes to rip your music. It doesn't get any easier than this and I have yet to see solid data that shows iTunes is not as good at ripping than EAC. The only possible area where EAC is "better" is when CDs are almost unreadable in iTunes. EAC may spend 10 to 20 hours ripping a scratched CD whereas iTunes would probably compromise between time and quality and come up with a 99% perfect rip. In my experience iTunes has had problems ripping the most scratched CDs. Maybe 5 CDs out of each 1000 I've ripped. I'd rather use iTunes and figure out I have a bad rip when I cross that bridge then use EAC to spend hours ripping a track that I will never listen to. Just a reasonable compromise in my opinion.


Check out these iTunes settings and let me know what you're thinking.






Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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I agree with Chris: itunes is great eventhough people seem to prefer esoteric rippers such as eac. I have tried both and itunes has never sounded inferior and it is a million times smoother to run and operate.

There are many discussions about aiff or lossless: you prefer aiff. I am using both, not being able to hear difference. Sometimes I think that I should do everything again in aiff, sometimes I feel that lossless is fine enough. Regarding error correction everyone in the US say it must be used, in France people say it must be avoided.

Like every passion there is a lot of subjectivism. S

Chris: what do you know about max for itunes? Does it bring something more?


Dac202/LebenXS/MagicoV2 Stealth cables www.bluedy.com

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Hi Spirit! You have found the best web site with the greatest people!


Like you I am a long time audiophool. A few years ago I even scratch built a tube based headphone amp.


I used EAC for 6 or 7 years before switching to iTunes. EAC requires quite a few changes in the software once it is installed to get the best results. There are some sites on the web that will give you step by step directions, but they are not necessarily user friendly and it does take a little bit of time.


But when I recently got a Mac mini and a 1 TB hard drive, I decided to switch to iTunes for ripping my 800+ CD collection. I am about 1/2 way through. Like Chris suggested, I also use AIFF as it is not a compressed file (like .wav) but unlike .wav files, AIFF supports metadata, album art, etc. The hassle of ripping a large collection is something that you only want to do once! Also I believe that there is less of a chance of playback errors if the file does not have to be decompressed before playback (that is just my opinion). Another plus is if one steps up to a higher resolving system then there will not be limitations in the already ripped files. I have yet to find a problem with a ripped file in AIFF.


If i were to need a backup CD (or a car copy) I would still use EAC as it is already installed on my office PC.

Enjoy the journey!





Alan B

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Wow! What a great bunch of people you are!! Being a member of some other audio forums where being nasty seems to be a prerequisite for joining, this site is a true breath of fresh air!

OK! So let's get down to buisness. My goal is to rip my CDs with the highest possible quality. Since I have never done this before (I feel like I am entering Kindergarten, or as Dennis the Menace used to say Kiddiegarter!!) can someone please give me a brief tutorial as to where to start!! As mentioned I have an older EXTERNAL Yamaha CD writer that is brand new. Can I use this device to input my CDs into my computer.

Please don't chuckle - I am trying to learn!!

Here is the info written on the outside of the box:

Yamaha CRW-F1ux

CD-R/RW Drive

USB 2.0/USB 1.1

Audiomaster Quality Recording "Create Studio-Quality Audio Recordings"

Full CAV Writing

Ultra Speed CD-RW

Mt. Rainier Support


Full CAV 44x24x44x


A couple of questions:

1: Besides iTunes - what other program is recommended as being accurate and easy?

2: If I Rip to AIFF, will this give me the highest quality possible?

3: Am I correct in understanding that AIFF will allow me to "tag" (see I getting good, eh!!) album art, but Wave will not?

4: In terms of memory - can you suggest any particular external hard drive in terms of brand/size?

5: For example - how many AIFF Cds can be saved on a 500gb drive and how many of Apple Lossless?

OK - I think that's enough for now!!!

I truly appreciate your responses.



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Try to answer some of the question.


First of all you plug in your Yamaha CD drive wait and see what happen on your screen. It suppose to pop up Found new hardware, wait a while, It should pop up new hardware is ready.


Then you put in your Cd open Itune and the CD should show up in the left column then you can import it.

The setting: http://www.computeraudiophile.com/node/255


For A couple of questions:

1: Besides iTunes - what other program is recommended as being accurate and easy?

I guess Itune is the most user friendly one.


2: If I Rip to AIFF, will this give me the highest quality possible?

There still have an apple lossless file but I didn't notice any different.


3: Am I correct in understanding that AIFF will allow me to "tag" (see I getting good, eh!!) album art, but Wave will not?

I don't know sorry


4: In terms of memory - can you suggest any particular external hard drive in terms of brand/size?

I'm in Thailand so may be the products are different. I prefer the external drive from Harddisk manufacturer company such as Seagates, Western Digital reasonable price and good quality.


5: For example - how many AIFF Cds can be saved on a 500gb drive and how many of Apple Lossless?

OK - I think that's enough for now!!!

I just rip my CD to Apple lossless, one song use around 20 mb so 500,000/20 = 25,000 songs


FYI. one song estimated at 4 minutes 25,000*4 = 100,000 minutes = 1667 hours = 70 days haha



I truly appreciate your responses. Try to response wait for other reply for more info.


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AIFF is essentially an unencoded format - It just stores the audio samples exactly as they come off the CD, then adds file data for artist, genre, etc.


Apple Lossless (ALAC) can be thought of as the audio equivalent of a Zip file. It just removes rendundancy from the data, but doesn't actually lose any information. When played back, an ALAC file will be bit-for-bit identical to a AIFF file. You typically get a 2:1 file size reduction using ALAC, so it's worth using, and there are no downsides. ALAC also includes file data.




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Hi Spirit,


I likewise was a newbie at this whole thing not too long ago and agree with you that this site and the people on it are uniquely helpful and supportive. Here's my two cents on your questions.


1. iTunes, especially on a Mac, seems to be the consensus best and easiest to use music manager out there. I was a complete rookie at it (don't even own an iPod) and I was up and running in no time. It has its quirks, but most other applications out there have even more quirks to mess with, which is OK if you like messing with that sort of thing.


2., 3., and 4. Most any compressed format that purports to be lossless probably is, and probably has all the bits and bytes that any uncompressed format does. Opinion seems to be pretty evenly split around here between those that like compressed lossless for its space-saving, versus those that use AIFF who like that there is no un-compressing going on during playback and therefore less chance for error. Given that hard drive space is getting so inexpensive these days, I'm using a 1TB external hard drive (purchased from Other World Computing or OWC) and I have all my files in uncompressed AIFF format. I don't have much experience with other formats and their ability to handle tags or metadata when ripping, importing, or moving files around, but my understanding is that AIFF is one of the best for this.


5. As far as space is concerned, if you were to use an uncompressed format such as AIFF the rule of thumb that I go by is around 10MB per minute of music. A typical CD holds about 720MB and 72 minutes or so, if it is crammed full of music. So a full CD of music would be around three-quarters of a gig. Some of your old albums originally issued on vinyl may only be 35 minutes long, so you'll just need to figure all of that out. Also figure in around 10% of the hard drive will be taken up by system stuff. Based on some advice received here I went ahead and bought the 1TB drive, thereby eliminating the chance of running short of space any time soon. Some of the others around here can give you more information about the various compressed lossless file formats. My understanding is that Apple Lossless/ALAC gets you about 50% compression.


Enjoy - I think you'll be happy with what you hear when you get things up and running. I was.





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Re :- "Opinion seems to be pretty evenly split around here between those that like compressed lossless for its space-saving, versus those that use AIFF who like that there is no un-compressing going on during playback and therefore less chance for error."


This is just unwarranted paranoia !


Encoding and decoding to ALAC format is an extremely unintensive task for the processor (orders of magnitude less intensive than MP3 or AAC for example). There is absolutely no chance of error !


Whether HDDs are getting cheap or not, it seems pointless to deliberately halve their effective capacity.




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Hi Chris - I like the fact that you are so energized about your opinion, but the way it is stated is likely to start a downward spiral in this thread. To be honest your statement about "absolutely no chance of error" is one that many experts would disagree with you. Processor utilization really isn't the major concern that many people have. I think the fact that decoding is taking place opens up the possibility for errors or anomalies. The fact that people can't all agree on whether or not ALAC is as good as AIFF is cause for at least some concern. The only way to guarantee you are free this concern is to use a format that everyone agrees on. I chose not to take a chance if I don't have to.


Again, I love the discussion but let's make sure we keep it enjoyable, constructive, and collegial.


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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The decoding process is totally deterministic. There is no more chance of an error occurring whilst decoding than there is when just passing data in and out of memory.


Actually, it is the memory which is more likely to introduce errors than the processor - and that is used whichever format you use.




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First of all let me apologize as it was more than likely that it was my comment concerning my preference for AIFF that caused the controversy. I have nothing against Apple Lossless as that is what I use on another computer elsewhere for my iPod Nano. The Nano (8GB) is extremely memory limited so I chose Apple Lossless. Listening to a Nano even using my Etymotic Research ER6I-B’s, I can’t hear a difference between AIFF and ALAC.


Once again let me reiterate the motto of this forum (Chris C.’s), “If it sounds good to you, then it's good”. That’s the bottom line.



Alan B

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Alan - Exactly, if sounds good to you then it is good. The laid back nature of CA and the members always makes it enjoyable.


Chris - I don't think this is a red herring. It's a matter of reducing risk in a couple ways. Decoding "should" not involve errors. Maybe I could have used better terminology there. Decoding may produce unwanted results due to the real time activity of listening to music. Take for example a zipped word document. The process of unzipping works fabulous and without a hitch. There is still a chance of a minor delay or something not easily explainable causing an undesirable result. If I needed a word doc instantly (real time) and needed to rule out possible issues with reading the doc I would just stick with no compression. It's one less factor to think about. Sure this example is not bullet proof, but I think it gets at the gist of my reasoning. The other reason I don't use compression is said very well from the Wikipedia article on codecs.


"There are hundreds or even thousands of codecs ranging from those downloadable for free to ones costing hundreds of dollars or more. This variety of codecs can create compatibility and obsolescence issues. By contrast, raw uncompressed PCM audio (44.1 kHz, 16 bit stereo, as represented on an audio CD or in a .wav or .aiff file) offers more of a persistent standard across multiple platforms and over time.



This certainly doesn't mean anyone is wrong or right here. We just chose different methods of storing our data. I'm guessing each of us is very happy with our individual results and that's really what matters :-)


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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Hi Spirit,


I think it's worth clarifying: either you want to do this "the best way possible theoretically" from a sonic point of view as any 40-years-of-being-an-audiphool naturally would :)


Or, you want to get up an running and enjoying your music fairly painlessly.


I think the latter approach might be a better for you as you acknowledge a relative lack of computer expertise and this is why, I think, most here have not hestitated to recommend that you use iTunes given its ease of use.


In your case I would even go a step futher and suggest that if you can afford to, buy a MacBook as everything should "just work" and iTunes will rip your CDs nicely and output a bit perfect playback stream. iTunes should work fabulously on a Mac.


You can certainly get as good a result using your PC and Windows XP, but some things (such as achieving bit perfect playback) are inherently more difficult to achieve. And iTunes will either behave on your XP system if you're lucky - or it won't. You might find it crashes or causes general instability (as it has done for me depending on the machine) and you won't know for your particular machine until you give it a go. So I agree with the others that you should use iTunes initially. See how it performs on your PC (ensure you are using error correction in iTunes before you commence your ripping) and if it works, stick with it.


Having said that, I personally use EAC to rip my CDs, just because I like to know when unresolvable errors occur so I can identify and listen to them. And, I am a geek. It is actually as easy to use as iTunes once it is propery configured in the sense that you insert your CD, it looks up the album information and rips to your hardrive automatically, so if you really want to try it (or you need to because iTunes will not work properly), I will tell you which settings to use.


There are quite a few passionate EAC users who think it can't possibly be beaten and look down their noses at anyone who uses anything else. But I can tell you even EAC is not perfect. If the disk is scratched badly enough, it will eventually give up. I have one track in particular that no CD player will play and EAC simply cannot resolve it no matter how many settings are changed (and EAC has a lot of settings) and on playback there are huge audible dropouts that make the track unlistenable. Being a geek I never give up and in the end I acheived perfect playback for this track by ripping in "burst" mode (reading the track as fast as possible without stopping, like you would walk over coals quickly to avoid buring your feet) using a completely different ripping program - they all have a slightly different way of doing things in order to arrive at the end result.


I suspect Chris is right when he suggests that no one has proved that anyone can hear the difference between using iTunes and EAC for ripping. The closest I have seen to "evidence" either way was a report I read on another forum where a tester used both and compared the output using a combination of new, used and badly scratched CDs. If I recall correctly, about 97 per cent of the tracks were 100 percent identical and of the 3 per cent of tracks where differences arose, the tracks were mostly identical and no differences were detected when listening during playback. In theory, I suppose if you had an incrediby revealing system you might be able to hear some difference in the way errors were or were not resolved, but when you consider all of the variables in the hi fi chain and all the places where information can be lost in the replay chain before in gets to your ears, I reckon it's like discussing the shade of lipstick on a pig.


hFX Classic fanless i7 SSD > Locus Nucleus / SW Diverter HR > RWA Isabella LFP-V Pro / New Sensor Genalex Gold Lion E88CC > ALO Sennheiser HD 800 balanced[br]

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Re :- "Decoding "should" not involve errors. Maybe I could have used better terminology there. Decoding may produce unwanted results due to the real time activity of listening to music."


I think you are worrying needlessly.


The processing load on a modern PC or Mac when carrying out ALAC decoding is miniscule. True, the processor may get interrupted to do other things (multi-tasking), but the decoded output samples will get re-timed by the sound card and/or SPDIF interface.


The same thing will happen with AIFF too of course. Even though no decoding is involved, the processor still has to fetch and dump samples to and from memory.


However, I will concede that the poor multi-tasking on Windows may occasionally cause a glitch. But the multi-tasking on OS X is done properly, so shouldn't ever cause a problem.




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