WMA is Windows Media Lossless compression. A CD of 700 MB gets compressed into 40-50 MB with no mathematical losses (as long as you have the error corrector turned on in Windows Media Player).
You can transfer WAV into WMA using WMP.
This is a pretty dated post... I've since gone Apple Lossless. My understanding is that you have to be careful with WMA, since it can be configured as lossy or lossless. Incidentally, CDs tend to average about 450-500MB, not the full 720MB capacity (maybe classical CDs run the full capacity). But, even so, I seriously doubt lossless WMA will give you 10:1 compression. Apple Lossless is about 2:1, and even high grade mp3 and AAC only net 10:1.
Thanks! yes, that's right forgot to say that you can choose the level of compression of WMA; and even if you choose lossless, it's quite faulty - specially during the reading part. (Even when installing ASIO4ALL.com and choosing error correction)
This is from Wavelength Audio's website: (http://www.wavelengthaudio.com/Cosecant-eac.html)
"Windows has a terrible little problem called the K-Mixed. It basically is a component of Windows that mucks with the data before it goes out the USB port. To fix that problem there is a little free program called ASIO4ALL.com that replaces the K-Mixer and sends out unaltered data to the USB Port."
About Apple Lossless, I have heard that it's rather lossy as well, and Windows Media Player (WMP) does not accept it. I think I am going to go .WAV. (Hard drive space is rather cheap these days...) The problem is that .wav seems not to like tags.
Have you found a way to rip with EAC and yet be able to manage the library through WMP or Meedio?
Apple Lossless isn't a lossy compression scheme. If you get good rips out of EAC, which should be bit-perfect, you can create m4a files out of iTunes using Apple Lossless (not AAC!) that are reversible into bit-perfect WAV files. Just smaller by a factor of 2. You can even get EAC to call iTunes as an encoder using:
The kmixer issue is a playback problem, not a ripping issue. EAC should make sure you get perfect copies of your CDs. Using ASIO to bypass kmixer ensures PCs don't muck up the datastream before it hits the USB device.
I used to keep WAV files, but the lack of tags is a serious defect. Since Apple Lossless supported tagging, was smaller, and didn't result in a loss of audio quality, it was a no-brainer for me.
thanks for the information. Can you tell me how can I get Windows Media Player AND Meedio to recognize the tags from FLAC copmression? I don't use Apple Lossless because I have a PC and use Windows Media Player.
WMP will play FLAC but it won't classify album, composer, etc.
Ideally I would rip everything using Windows Media Player, but many people have told me that it's lossy, with audiable differences. What I like about it, is that it's very simple and it keeps the library clean - but what it´s most important to me is good sound.
Meedio on the other hand allows you to rip on WAV but I don´t trust it as a ripping system.
What do you recommend?
I'm not too familiar with FLAC, other than its lossless. I thought--without investigation--that there are some issues with the tags being standardized. I've also never used WMP or Meedio. The problems you may be having may be due to the nonstandard tags.
I highly recommend EAC as a ripper. In secure mode, there is nothing I'm aware of that will provide better rips. There are FLAC encoders that can be configured with EAC to generate FLAC rips instead of WAV or MP3. Takes a bit of time to get it set up, but once you do, it will automatically create a nice clean library as well--all my rips are stored automatically in /artist/album/trackno_song.m4a format. If audio is your principal concern, take the time to learn how to set up EAC. It really isn't that hard.
As far as playback, if you are committed to Meedio, your options appear somewhat limited. I just looked at their manual, and they don't claim to support FLAC as a format, just MP3, WMA, Ogg Vorbis, APE, and AIFF files. Of those, MP3 and Ogg Vorbis are lossy compression schemes. AIFF is like WAV in that it doesn't support tags except under some kludgy nonstandard implementation. That leaves you with APE or WMA. APE (Monkey's Audio) is supposed to be good, but I don't think the decoders are broadly available other than on a PC platform. As an archival format, it leaves me nervous. WMA will ultimately succeed just because its MSoft. But, you have to make sure that you specify lossless encoding rather than lossy encoding since it will do both.
I noticed there is a Meedio foobar2000 plugin. If you are committed to Meedio, you might think about that, since foobar is a well respected player. The note on the plug in says something about mp3 playback, but foobar does FLAC natively.
Well then why don't you reccomend using Foobar as I am. You can tag the file with the FreeDB plugin after ripping to WAV format. You can rip with EAC or the foobar program. Kernel streaming with bit perfect output is no problem using Foobar. One does not have to use the ASIO plug in for bit perfect output with Foobar. Lots to choose from with Foobar for all your additional needs. It takes a bit of a learning curve, but once you understand the program it is very simple to use. Hard drive space is cheap today and I find no reason not to have the capacity to rip in whatever lossless format one chooses. If the rip is lossless it does not matter if you are a MAC fan or PC. All that I have posted is free on the net for your use from programmers like myself and others.
Sounded like Josep was committed to Meedio for whatever reason, otherwise I probably would recommend foobar, even though I actually find foobar's UI kind of a pain. The only other downside is that using foobar/WAV still leaves you with the problem that WAV doesn't natively support standardized tagging. That said, if you rip with EAC into a defined directory format, masstagger is great at recovering album/artist/track number information from the directory structure itself.
Well, I have been going back and forth and still haven't found the option that suits me best.
Actually, if I rip using EAC I do get the album/artist/track in each file but the problem is that EAC saves it in whatever folder you designated.
With WMA it was way easier because you would rip the CD and it would organize for you albums, artists, etc. So it would be easy for you to look for a particular CD, even if you don't remember the name of the album, etc. With EAC and with Foobar, to my understanding, you have to create the folders to keep them organized.
Basically, I am just looking for a way to easily rip my CDs lossless and then a way to play them that allows me to keep them organized (just like WMA). I don't really prefer Meedio. The only thing with Meedio is that it allows you to use the TV as your interface.
Edelsiva, do you recommend using Apple Lossless with PC? Does it allow you to organize your rips just as I described?
Thanks, and sorry with all these questions.
I'm a little confused, not sure whether you are talking about tagging or libraries...
EAC, as with most other rippers, use internet databases to look up song information--track, titles, genre, track number, album. If you look under "EAC Options" and click on the filename tab, you can specify a format for how EAC saves the ripped file. For example, I use:
This tells EAC to create and artist (%A) directory, unless one exists, a subdirectory for the album title (%C) and song names of the format Track Number (%N)-Track Name (%T).
If the format for the files you use supports tags, EAC will also write that information into tags in the file. What that means is that, no matter where you copy the file or move it, if the file is read by a program that understands the tags, it will know the album/artist/etc. information. If you use WMA, I believe those use standard tags. But, you would need some plug-in for EAC to write WMA Lossless. Its not good enough to, for example, write WAV files and use a standalone WMA conversion program unless that standalone program can recover tag information from the directory path of the file, because there are no tags written into WAV files.
The reason I use Apple Lossless (ALAC) is because it is a lossless format that is compatible with my range of devices, including my squeezeboxes and iPod, and supports tags. So, when EAC writes the files, the information gets embedded in the file itself.
Foobar works the same way, except that the "library" is called the "database." So, Foobar will read and create database entries for common standardized tags. This, obviously, doesn't work for WAV files. But, foobar comes standard with a plug-in called "masstagger," which is very powerful. You can use masstagger, for example, to recover tag information from the directory structure.
So, its really the library or database in a player that allows you to easily index things and find albums. But, the library/database is computer-specific. So, if I have a common library of WAV songs on a server used by more than one computers running foobar, I have to use masstagger at each computer. If the library of songs is mp3, ALAC, WMA, or someother format that supports file tags in a conventional way, on the other hand, each computer will automatically read and use the tag information associated with the files.
Hope this isn't too incoherent--I'm sitting at home with a vicious head cold, so my explanations may be a bit rambling.
I am just really impressed with all this information. First of all, I hope you feel better from your cold. In NY, temperature is just crazy. We are over 50 degrees these days. What an odd winter.
I "think" I understand what you are saying. But I feel I have to put it in place. For now, I only used two players (Windows Media Player and Meedio). None of them recognized the tags from EAC. Well, they did, they recognized the track name, artist and all in each file, but they didn't input the file in their libraries so searching would be easier. The truth is that I didn't set up EAC as you explained it. I will try these coming days.
Again, thanks for the info! I am really really impressed.
One last question, do PCs read ALAC format? I am not sure I will end up using the tagging scripts you mentioned and maybe in the future I go Mac. (Still deciding...)
Hmm... I'm suddenly wondering... Did you fire up Meedio/WMP and then "open" a song in your collection to play or double click on the song file itself and have that launch Meedio or WMP?
For most players, and this applies to both foobar and iTunes as well, you need to use some form of "add to library." For example, in iTunes I can tell it to search for new songs in a specified directory and it will run through that directory--and all subdirectories--looking for songs not already in the library. When it finds such a song, it will read the tag data, and add the song to its own library file. Then, I never need to do that again to access the song--it will automatically show up in the library when I open iTunes the next time...
I have used my ALAC files in a PC environment and in a Mac environment--they are stored on a network server and I've access those files from both a Mac Mini and several Windows XP computers. The question is usually whether the software player you are running is compatible with the format--slimserver (used in conjunction with Squeezebox devices) will understand ALAC files and play them. However, my old Turtle Beach audiotron network players (basically, dedicated player software in a network box) would not play ALAC files. There is a plug in for foobar that will allow foobar to play ALAC files, but I gather it is a bit flakey.
this is great! thanks! I have tried what you told me. And eventhough WMP or Meedio recognize the file name (with album artist in it) and add it to My Libraries, they do not add it to the internal library of the program (the one that lets you search for Album/Artist, etc.)
Now, I am curious what should I do. Whether using ALAC or FLAC. (I am about to rip my entire collection and I don't know what to do.) Eventually I might use an iPod but it's somewhat unlikely that I move to Mac. (Used PC all my life and I am very familiar with it).
How can I rip to ALAC using EAC?
Hmmm... What do your song files look like? When I rip, I specify for EAC the following format: %A\%C\%N-%T
(This examples presumes ripping to wav files)... That gives me a structure where, for example, I have:
C:\..\My Music\Cash, Johnny\American Recordings\01-Delia's Gone.wav
C:\..\My Music\Cash, Johnny\American Recordings\02-Let The Train Blow The Whistle.wav
If you set up EAC with the format %A-%C-%T, you would end up with, instead:
C:\..\My Music\Cash, Johnny-American Recordings-Delia's Gone.wav
C:\..\My Music\Cash, Johnny-American Recordings-Let The Train Blow The Whistle.wav
If I "play" the first set in foobar, it would come up with the song titles (it assumes filename = song title) identified as:
02-Let The Train Blow The Whistle.wav
But, in the second instance, it would come up with:
Cash, Johnny-American Recordings-Delia's Gone.wav
Cash, Johnny-American Recordings-Let The Train Blow The Whistle.wav
In neither case would the "Artist" or "Album" field be filled in, since WAV files don't have tags... Is the second set of files what you are seeing? I.e., no tags but artist/album?
I think I mentioned "masstagger" for foobar. If you have your files the way I do, you can select files in the library, and tell masstagger to fill in the Artist and Album fields. In the latter case, you can also tell foobar to retag from the filename itself... If you are interested, masstagger comes with the foobar installation, and I'd direct you to:http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=12302
Don't be intimidated--look for "Guess values from filename" or something like that. Its pretty easy, although I'd do some test files before running 15000 wav files.
My alternative is ripping to ALAC and using iTunes. I start EAC and set the options for compression to iTunesEncode:http://www.rarewares.org/files/aac/iTunesEncode46.zip
iTunesEncode is set up to create AAC files, but its pretty easy to change from AAC encoding to ALAC encoding--see the sixth message down here:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=1358221
Because iTunesEncode actually interfaces directly with iTunes, the net result is the ripped files are automatically written into the library and the tags are automatically passed from EAC. So, if you can use CDDB to get the Artist/Album data in EAC, it will show up in iTunes...
Hope this helps...
Actually, it shows like the first set. So, basically, I ripped on EAC and then double-clicked on the file to play on WMP (or Foobar). The name of the file is as following:
Keb'Mo' - A better man.flac
Oddly enough one file is recognized with the WMP icon. This is: Keb'Mo' - Slow Down.m3u
Regardless the name, if I play any *.flac file with either Foobar or with WMP, it will play it but it will not allow me to search for Album, Artist, etc. WMP or Foobar will only list the album within "My Libraries" folder - and when I go to the "Artists" folder, it would simply list the album under "Unknown". Odd.
One final question (sorry...) I haven't figured out how to copy/burn a CD using EAC? How do you do your copies?
Thanks so much for all this help. Really.
I haven't really used EAC to duplicate CDs. I think, if I recall correctly, you can ask EAC to create a CUE Sheet (image?), then then it to write the CUE Sheet to a blank CD, which burns the songs in order with identical between song gaps as the original (presuming you also ripped the songs)...
OK, your file "Keb'Mo' - A better man.flac" is *not* tagged. Fire up foobar2000, shift select all of the Keb'Mo' files from the main window, and then do the following:
1. Right click on the selected items; this brings up a menu.
2. Select "masstagger->edit tags" from menu that appears.
3. Immediately below the "actions to perform" window, hit the "Add" button.
4. This brings up a pop-up window with a drop down menu set to "set value..."--click on the down arrow and select "guess value from filename..." Then hit the "OK" button.
5. On my set up, this brings up another pop-up with a drop down menu, currently set to "%track%-%title%." You can see if there is something close in the drop down you can edit, or just type in, without the quotes: "%artist% - %title%". Then hit "OK."
6. You should be back at the main "masstagger" window--if you now hit the "Run" button, it will create "artist" and "title" tags for the selected songs by decoding your filename naming convention.
A little observation. I think if you look at your EAC settings (EAC->EAC Options...->Filename) you will find that you have the following string in the left text box:
%A - %T
That is what is causing your filenames to be written with the Artist, then a dash, then the title. Look at the string I referenced above--
This means when I rip, I end up with directory structure, since the "\" is for a directory (EAC will create them if they aren't already there). In other words, I have a series of folders (directories), with one folder for each artist. The next entry (%C) is the CD title, so in each artist folder, I have separate folders for each album by that artist. The %N-%T means that, in each album folder, I have a series of files that represent the tracks on that album, in a standard format with track number, then a dash, then the song title.
Soo... When I fire up foobar, I can select a bunch of songs (they *all* follow this format), go to masstagger, and instead of using that %artist%-%title% line, I can enter:
This allows me to "create" tags from the directory structure, so it fills in the artist, album, tracknumber, and title fields.
Your .m3u file isn't really a song. Files with the .m3u extension are playlists. You must have told EAC (or whatever you ripped with) to create a playlist for the album. The file extension is probably associated with WMP10 in your windows set up, so it shows up with a WMA icon. But, like I said, its not a song file, its a playlist that just lists the songs from that album in playlist order--open it with Word and you will see its just a text file. The real cue here is that the name is the *album* you ripped, not a song on the album...
Good luck, this gets confusing.
Hi, well, I tried a million combinations of what you told me and decided that the way you have it set up is probably the best one. I don't like to work around Foobar so I can use Meedio or WMP. iTunes is fine as a player. One More question: since AAC is lossy, won't these rips be lossy?
This is what I did:
(1) I finally installed the iTunes encoder for EAC from the link you sent me. Thanks!
(2) Your link (http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=1358221) to change encoding AAC to ALAC was not working. I found in some site a line to add to EAC to generate ALAC files using the iTunes encoder. (I am not sure if this allows the rip to be lossless)
(3) I use iTunes to manage my libraries and if I eventually use an iPod I won't have any problems
(4) When I want to rip a CD and still make a copy of it as a back up, what I do is deselect the option on EAC ("delete WAV file"), rip it compressed, and then I write the CD using these WAV files. After this, I simply delete the WAV files manually. (Is this the fastest way of doing this?)
I realize I am asking way too many questions. It's just that you have been extremely helpful
PS. Next step, remote controlling my PC. I have the laptop sitting 50 feet (15 meters) from my amp. Gordon from Wavelength told me that I should not be using USB extendors (which would reach 15 meters) to connect my PC to the USB DAC Wavelength Audio Brick. My interconnect is 1 meter. He adviced me building a 50 feet interconnect of Kimber cable or Accrotec cable instead of running USB extendors. The problem is that that will cost me several grand. What can I do?
(I got it! I didn't realize that I have to set it so iTunes uses ALAC encoding, plus I had to change the EAC command line to use lossless encoding.)
Anyway, can you still help me out on the question about remote controlling the PC?
"I have the laptop sitting 50 feet (15 meters) from my amp. Gordon from Wavelength told me that I should not be using USB extendors (which would reach 15 meters) to connect my PC to the USB DAC Wavelength Audio Brick. My interconnect is 1 meter. He adviced me building a 50 feet interconnect of Kimber cable or Accrotec cable instead of running USB extendors. The problem is that that will cost me several grand. What can I do?"
Hmmm... Gordon is a very smart guy, but I would be very cautious about a 50' run of coax, esp. w/a couple grand price tag. I had a set up where I ran a 30' run of toslink to a DAC and switched from that to a 30' run of USB and a short toslink run, and the difference was night and day. I would note that the max range of a standard USB cable is like 20' or so--you have to use USB repeater cables, which receive/retransmit the USB signals, for longer runs. They are still relatively cheap ($15 for a 16' run), so it might be worth trying. If you do try the coax route, make sure its returnable if there isn't a sonic difference.
If you are talking about spending a couple grand, they may be other alternatives as well. This may sound strange, but if you have a Wi-Fi equipped laptop, you might consider getting a small form factor PC and a Wi-Fi access point. I use a Serener L02, from http://www.logicsupply.com
, which sits on my stereo rack, and the USB out from the Serener goes into my USB audio device, then to my DAC, with very short runs of USB and coax. The Serener has no monitor, keyboard, or mouse, and just runs iTunes. Its fanless and with a NEC spinpoint drive, dead silent. I control the whole thing with a viewsonic airpanel--a Wi-Fi touchscreen that runs a remote desktop. But, there is no reason you couldn't use your laptop to be the remote desktop. In effect, you would have a virtual desktop for the Serener running on your laptop and be able to control the Serener with it. Seems odd, but it would probably run you only $1K, as opposed to the several $K for a 50' run of decent coax.
one more option for remote controll of a computer: Nokia 770 tablet.
and a new product from Matrox: http://www.matrox.com/mga/workstation/cre_pro/products/extio/home.cfm
another interesting way to controll the system:
anyone uses a Crestron remote controll device?
Pit, haven't tried that route. So far, the cheapest thing for me it´s been Salling Clicker for $20 it allows you to control iTunes and WMP from your bluetooth device
Ed, I was wondering whether I can ask you one more thing. I have been playing around with EAC --> iTunes (ALAC) software with so far good results. I have one last question. When I burn my CD on EAC (set up to be converted to ALAC through iTunes), then the resulting file is saved in a folder that EAC creates. IN ADDITION, iTunes generates its own mpeg4 file saved into the iTunes folder which is the one that it plays. If I delete the file created from EAC nothing happens, I still can play the file from iTunes. I wonder whether that file is really ALAC. Plus, should I delete the original file created by EAC?
Finally, do you have any idea how to modify tags within iTunes?
You are getting two .m4a files? EAC generates .wav files which iTunes converts, but seems odd that you end up with two .m4a files. iTunes might be converting and then doing a separate "add to library" for the file--if you have "copy files to iTunes library" checked under Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced that might explain it...
Modifying tags in iTunes is relatively easy. Select the song or songs you want to modify with the mouse, and then right click with your mouse and select "Get Info." That shows the tags associated with the library entry, which can be revised.
Eric, thanks (again) for the info. Following your instructions has been easy to modify tags in iTunes (thanks!), but I am still not 100% sure on the quality rips I get from EAC. This is what I get:
0) I checked under Edit/Preferences/Advanced/General that the option "Copy filesto iTunes Music Folder" is unchecked
1) Everytime I rip any CD with EAC, it creates where I designated (with EAC) a folder with the name of the Artist and the CD Title. In it, it leaves (for each song) two files .WAV (which I request in EAC not to delete so far) and .ALAC (which I request to be saved with this extension name)
2) While iTunes "translates" the wav file into iTunes, it creates an "iTunes" folder where it saves also the tracks on MPEG4 (I have no idea why and whether they are Apple Lossless) with tags and all.
3) So I am left with two files created by EAC: WAV and ALAC and another file created by iTUnes.
4) The tricky thing is that if I double click on the alac file, iTunes start but it will not play the file. Both files, MPEG4 and Alac, are the same sizewise, which makes me believe that the Mpeg4 is in fact Apple Lossless, but I am still not sure
5) Finally, if I delete the ALAC file created by EAC, the song still plays at iTunes.
As you can imagine, I just want to get it right, so I can start Phase 3 (Burning all my collection into the new Lacie 250Gb hard drive that I've bought.)
Again, I really apologize for the headache. This is tougher than I expected.
Hmm... Not sure what is happening. In iTunes, you should be able to figure out what type of compression is used for any entry using "Get Info." Select a track, right click, select "Get Info," and see, on the summary page, what it says right under where the album art would be following "Kind." It should say "Apple Lossless audio file" if the directory entry is, in fact, Apple Lossless. If its an AAC file, it will say "AAC audio file" instead.
Since iTunes labels both AAC and ALAC files with the ".m4a" extension, I am guessing that the .ALAC file is being created somehow by EAC. Are you using iTunesEncode? My iTunesEncode settings are found under EAC > Compression Options... > External Compression. I have "use external compression program" checked, parameter passing set to "user defined scheme," use file extension set to ".m4a," program for compression set to "C:\Program Files\EAC\iTunesEncode.exe," and additional command line options set to "-e "Lossless Encoder" -a "%a" -l "%g" -t "%t" -g "%m" -y %y -n %n -i %s -o %d."
What are your settings showing?
Eric, can't thank you enough for your comments - as usual.
I went to iTunes and selected Get Info. The files show as Apple Lossless. Then, went to EAC and the only difference I see is that under compression options, in external compression I had ".alac". So I changed it to ".m4a".
I am assumig that the folder where EAC creates its files has to be the same one than the iTunes folder (in iTunes, under Edit-Preferences-Advanced) right? What happens if they are different folders?
Well that explains some things. One copy--the one that used to be .alac--was being created by EAC and I suspect the other--the .m4a--was being created by iTunes. Is "copy file to iTunes directory checked" in iTunes > Preferences > Advanced?
EAC has its own directory to write too... Check EAC > EAC Options there is a "Directories" tab--the directory shown is where EAC puts things. Not sure what would happen if you made it the same directory as iT...
Eric, again, thanks. You must think I am retarded!
No, the "copy files to iTunes directory" option is not checked. However, still it's creating the files twice.
I think I know why. Under EAC Options, I have the following naming scheme: %I\%A\%C\%N-%T (which neatly organizes EAC files for Genre\Artist and so on.
However, what EAC does is it creates the .m4a file in that folder following the naming scheme AND in the folder designated in iTunes. If I delete one, I can still play the other one.
How can I prevent this from happening?
Eric, I finally figured it out! After two weeks...
I unchecked in EAC the option "Use CD Text information in CUE Sheet" under EAC Options/Tools. Also unchecked "Create m3u playlist on extraction.
These were creating a duplicate of files. Now, it works flawlessly as you said.
BTW, I got the two 16 ft USB extendors. I connected two to reach to my DAC. I did AB comparisons and it sounds way better without the extendors. I feel Gordon was right but building a long interconnect is going to be pretty overwhelming. I've been recommended to use silk insulated solid silver wire; and that's so expensive (reaching to 30 ft)
Also, I've been suffering the Kmixer problem. How do you avoid kmixer with iTunes/ALAC and USB DAC?