Best compression format for PC Jukebox

I'm getting a Brick, Wavelength Computer DAC here real soon and will be using my laptop for the server. I have already saved most of my CDs for my iPod in AAC /128. I suspect I will want to save music files in another format and better quality. Will I need to purge the lesser quality files?
Should I use anothe for iPod one for server?

I've read some about Exact Audio Copy but have heard that it's a little comlicated.
Any suggestions?
HD space not an issue. I'm willing to get external drive for my Dell PC...any suggestions there?


EAC isn't particulary difficult to use, and it does ensure bit-perfect copies of readable CDs.

No reason to use different computers for storage if you don't want to. AAC files and other formats have different extensions, they will just appear twice in whatever jukebox software you use. But, most software like that will let you filter by file type, so that isn't even a big issue.

I've ripped all my CDs in .wav format, but that format doesn't support any sort of standardized tagging. Kind of annoying, but there are iTunes applescripts to restore artist/album data from the directory structure if you rip consistently to Drive:\..\artist\album\song.wav, which you can do with EAC. Ripping as .wav files also means no compression. I gather using apple's lossless AAC, you can get 2:1 compression with no data compromise. Haven't messed with that (or iTunes as a ripper).

Good luck.

So EAC for CD that.

Any suggestions for storage and playback besides iTunes?


I'm currently encoding all of my CDs in flac format (free lossless audio codec), which usually produces files about 35% to 60% of the size of the originals for my music (your mileage may vary, but 2:1 is a safe average). Same tag support as Ogg Vorbis or MP3. A number of players will suppport flac, including winamp (if you download and install the flac codecs... can't remember the links but Google should help), foobar (natively), and the one I'm using for its organazational capabilities, wxmusik.
I hear foobar is the one for Windows boxes, but haven't tried it. Didn't like Audiostation (messed up large libraries). MusicMatch is annoying, but it seems to work. Since my mac got attached to my main stereo, haven't messed with audio and the Windows side in a bit. Keep meaning to pull down and install foobar, if merely to have something that will allow me to recover artist/album data from the directory structure.

Ben, what is wxmusik like?
Apple Lossless is not the same as AAC. Apple Lossless really is identical on playback and compresses files to somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 original size. AAC is an excellent variable bitrate compression algorithm that can compress files down to 10% (or less) of original size.

When choosing a format for our 1,500 CD's, this made Apple Lossless a pretty easy choice for us. My wife's 20GB iPod can hold 40-50 full albums at a time, which is just fine for her.
So am I correct in understanding that ripping a CD on iTunes in Apple Lossless compresses the file size but in no way effects the sound for playback? Does ripping it into a WAV file do the same thing?

Leaving something like EAC out of the equation and assuming that iTunes rips bit perfect copies, are my Apple Lossless songs the same sound from a 0's and 1's perspective, regardless of how they are compressed?

The word "compression" kinda scares me. Does file size compression have any bearing on playback?
My understanding is that .wav is as close to "native" format as you get when it comes to CDs. Compression can be lossless or lossy. Lossless compression is just that--means the original can be recovered bit-for-bit. Unless your processor sweats hard enough decompressing to mess up the timing, should sound the same, although I haven't done any iTunes comparisons. (All mine are .wav, but that is largely because I run in both Win XP/Apple environments, and .wav seems like the lowest common denominator).
Thanks Edesilva, I appreciate the advice.

Last night I did some critical listening with my latest PC audio toy, a Wavelength Brick. Doing some A-B comparisons with a Lucinda Williams redbook CD on the latest Marantz universal player (DV7600) as my other source, I found little difference between my Apple Lossless rip and the CD.

Tonight I'll try the WAV files of the same disc and see what differences that may yield.

BTW, I've read a lot of your other comments in the PC Audio forum and find your posts to be fairly helpful. Thanks again.
It is possible to make better copies on a computer - since less jitter. That is another reason why audiophiles are moving their redbook CDs to a hard-drive.

Redbook CDs are pressed, and do not sound as good as digital can be.

If you have a program that resamples to 24/192 like the program that comes with creative zen mp3, you can further improve the sound - sound becomes smoother, curing the digital edginess.

There must be other conversion program - you shouldn't have to buy the mp3 for the program, although i don't know of any at the moment. If others know of one, please post - does make a difference - all of my music files are 24/192 and sound better than redbook CD.