Spider

What is best format to rip to?

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Hi

What s best format to rip to?

My aim is to rip all my CD's and future purchases to a NAS drive and have a go at streaming.

BUT

I don't want to compromise SQ.

So is it, Flac, lossless, or what?

Also best software to do the rip with on a MAC.

Cheers

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Moderator

FLAC , for ripping dBpoweramp is usually highly recommended , its not free btw

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FLAC or ALAC are both lossless, so will be of identical quality to the original. 

iTunes is Apple's preferred ripper/player, and that produces ALAC files for lossless storage, but doesn't as yet support FLAC.

I use iTunes, and ALAC format for all my rips, although I'm not otherwise a fan of Apple products, but it is convenient.

iTunes rips using error correction (optionally), so although they don't refer to a check-sum Database to confirm an accurate rip, I've not had any problem ripping any CD that will rip at all. Using error correction slows the ripping process down somewhat, but I still get 2.5-3x rips, so can't complain.

S

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Moderator

I should have added if you are sticking with MAC then I'd use an Apple file and Apple software , see Serge's post

Edited by Bazzer

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13 minutes ago, Spider said:

Is that Apple lossless format in the preferences section?

Yes that's right. Select Apple Lossless in the CD Import Settings menu, and also select Use Error Correction.

iTunes setting.JPG

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6 minutes ago, awkwardbydesign said:

There is a body of opinion that suggests the more work the converter has to do, the more chance there is of compromising replay quality.  If that has any truth, then WAV would be the way to go.  Personally I don't know if it's true, but I thought I would throw it in.

The problem with WAV is that tagging is very difficult, so managing a WAV data-base is not trivial. Most radio stations' playout systems work on WAV files, and most instances of playout failure are to do with the data-base being corrupted and/or incorrect rather than any hardware or playback failure.

Furthermore, all that FLAC or ALAC do is to pack the data more efficiently, which is why data reduction is only about 50%, so the actual amount of work necessary to unpack that data is really trivial. In any event, any unpacking is done well before the DAC gets the stream, so as far as the DAC is concerned, it has no way of knowing whether it's being given a stream that derived from a WAV file or ALAC or FLAC.

I think that a FLAC or ALAC playback system will be considerably more reliable than a WAV-based system as the tagging lives with the audio file rather than in a separate data-base. 

S.

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Moderator

Yep WAV is no good if you want all your music files looking pretty :)

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to give the widest streaming possibilities I think I would rip to Flac, using DB poweramp. Whichever method you decide to use, back it up, if you do not have at least two copies, at some point you won't have a copy at all. Just a portable USB Drive you plug into the NAS once a week and back up to will be fine. Unplug it when not in use.

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4 minutes ago, dudywoxer said:

to give the widest streaming possibilities I think I would rip to Flac, using DB poweramp. Whichever method you decide to use, back it up, if you do not have at least two copies, at some point you won't have a copy at all. Just a portable USB Drive you plug into the NAS once a week and back up to will be fine. Unplug it when not in use.

Ditto that about backups. I have all my music on my PC's hard-drive, backed up to a separate USB drive, and every month I take a further backup I keep off-site. If I have a fire or flood at home, furniture and stuff can be replaced. Re-ripping 1800 CDs, which will have either melted or washed away isn't to be contemplated.

As to FLAC, ALAC or whatever, I think whatever you're most comfortable using, as the ripping and playback quality won't be an issue, but familiarity and ergonomics is.

S.

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Super Wammer

Whilst IMHO dBpoweramp is the best it's PC only, so unless you're moving to a PC you can forget that. The biggest problem with iTunes as a ripper is that you don't get a reference for your rip, so you are assuming it is OK. That may or may not worry you. If it does there are other rippers for Mac which do access the accurip database.

Again, I'd normally recommend FLAC, but if you stay within an Apple ecosystem then go for ALAC or AIFF (which is basically Apple's colour of WAV). AIFF can be tagged, however AIFF is not compressed, so will use double the disc space. I have found with some network players the type of file changes the sound slightly, and with others it doesn't. This is absolutely nothing to do with the data, as lossless files can 100% perfectly be uncompressed. My only conclusion for this (and it's conjecture) is that making the player perform the decompression in some way affects the SQ for reasons that are unrelated to the final uncompressed data. This might be a reason to use AIFF over ALAC, however some players (e.g. Jriver, LMS) will allow you to render the file to uncompressed PCM before sending down the network which would remove this need (if indeed it is a need).

You also need to consider what you are going to use for your playback, and which software. Jriver, which I use and is paid for software, works on both PC and MAC, and can be used for secure ripping. Other options are also available of course. LMS (Logitech Media Server) can be installed on several NAS boxes and does have DLNA available these days, but doesn't itself have a ripper.

Oh dear, I hope this long post hasn't just added confusion. The summary would be: you need to consider the whole environment you are going to use to play back the files when making a choices, and that include deciding if you're anal like me or more laisez faire.

P.S. I'm surprised Serge uses iTunes as you can't measure the result of the rip like you can with a ripper that compares the rip with the accurip database. :D

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Moderator

dB Poweramp IS available for Mac OS/X. 

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Super Wammer
2 minutes ago, meninblack said:

dB Poweramp IS available for Mac OS/X. 

Blimey, I'm out of date.

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