CD ripping


Most of my 600 CDs were ripped thorough iTunes as m4a format.

Is it worth re doing this to wav ?

my 2 Channel system is oppo 105 to rega brio r and epos 11 speakers.

If worthwhile any advise on how I should do it myself or reco on services to outsource to?

Appreciate any guidance.

steve 


Convert?fit=crop&h=128&rotate=exif&w=128steveg137
Almost certainly not worth redoing to wav.  There have been a lot of similar debates on the flac format vs the wav format.  I am on the side of those saying that there is no difference, or at least no difference that anyone can hear.  One experiment I saw was of a flac file that was inverted and then played simultaneously with the wav file.  No sound came out!  QED as far as I am concerned.  That coincided with my hearing that there is no difference.  The theory is that the compressed format must have some extra processing and therefore cannot be as good.  I suppose that may be true but in my opinion the difference, if any, (that I can't hear) is a bit like claiming you have lost weight after a haircut - theoretically true but not meaningful.
Almost certainly not worth redoing to wav.  There have been a lot of similar debates on the flac format vs the wav format.  I am on the side of those saying that there is no difference, or at least no difference that anyone can hear.  One experiment I saw was of a flac file that was inverted and then played simultaneously with the wav file.  No sound came out!  QED as far as I am concerned.  That coincided with my hearing that there is no difference.  The theory is that the compressed format must have some extra processing and therefore cannot be as good.  I suppose that may be true but in my opinion the difference, if any, (that I can't hear) is a bit like claiming you have lost weight after a haircut - theoretically true but not meaningful.
M4a is a lossy compression format and inferior to the wav format. But wav files don’t accommodate meta data. If you’re going to rip your files again, it would probably be best to use a file type that has no loss - such as flac - but that can also include meta data.
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Absolutely, in my opinion you should re-rip your music in either .wav or .aiff formats.  The foundation of your digital library should be uncompressed, or at least flac, for the best sound quality.  Once you have them ripped to uncompressed then you can play with your files and compress them for portable playback, for example. And make sure you have files backed up properly. Db poweramp or XLD are terrific programs for ripping. 
Wav or uncompressed flac.  
I agree with andrei nz.  Personally, when I compared WAV vs ALAC ripped files, I could hear no difference.  Not sure about the correctness of cleeds comments w/respect to M4a from ALAC.   ALAC compresses but is claimed to be lossless, as in "Apple LOSSLESS Audio Codec".   Regardless of any theoretical advantage for one format vs the other, let your ears be the judge.  Re-ripping would be a lot of work not to mention losing meta data with WAV.   

ghosthouse
Not sure about the correctness of cleeds comments w/respect to M4a from ALAC
Huh? I never mentioned ALAC. You must be confused.
cerrot
Wav or uncompressed flac.
Sorry, but there's no such thing as "uncompressed flac." Flac is compressed, that's why it exists. It's lossless, but compressed.
M4A is lossy compression meaning some information used to create the music is lost in the interest of smaller file size.

These may still sound fine or good enough but for best sound quality possible re-rip is needed to a lossless format.

Compression is fine as long as it is lossless as is typically the case with FLAC format. That is what I use. It provides a lossless format with smaller files that also has good ability to allow files be tagged with other relevant information that can be used to make for a richer user experience (depending on software used to stream and its ability to leverage the tags/metadata). The best of everything in essence.

I rip to flac using dbpoweramp which is a very good tool for assuring best quality results both in terms of sound quality and automatic tagging during the rip process.

WAV format is also lossless and closest to the format used on a CD. Problem is files are bigger and tagging ability limited.

I started with .wav and moved to FLAC. With good quality software used to stream either should sound similarly good in the end.  It did for me.

Good luck.


wav, flac, alac should sound identical, but flac and alac are probably smaller than wav.  With flac  you can trade compression speed for compression levels, to a point, so you can get some control over how much space and how much time you spend ripping.

There is software out there that will let you rip one CD after another, the trouble is the clean up. What do you do if it doesn't find a cover, or song list. That's kind of a PITA, not to mention changing genre's, making sure composers are listed correctly, etc.

On the other hand, if you make a prioritized list,  you could say, re-rip your top 50 or 100 quite soon.

Best,


Erik
A .m4a file can contain either ALAC (lossless compression) or AAC (lossy compression) audio data, among other formats. Many or all versions of iTunes can create .m4a files from imported music in either of those formats. The OP should check the "import settings" that were used in creating the .m4a files, and let us know which one was used.

Regards,
-- Al

Hi @cleeds - I associated the M4a extension with ALAC only. Didn’t realize, as Al points out, that M4A can also be for AAC.  Hence ASSumed you were talking about ALAC.  Still, a general statement that M4a is lossy/ compressed is not 100% accurate given the possible association with ALAC.   No offense intended.
ghosthouse
I associated the M4a extension with ALAC only. Didn’t realize, as Al points out, that M4A can also be for AAC.
I didn't know m4a could be lossless, either. Thanks to Al for the info!
 
Hence ASSumed you were talking about ALAC.  Still, a general statement that M4a is lossy/ compressed is not 100% accurate given the possible association with ALAC. No offense intended
Quite so! No offense taken!
If the user has any IOS devices that are being synced for music playback, then consideration should be given to which file formats are compatible with iTunes. FLAC still isn't iTunes compatible. 

My library is only 27K tracks. Given the cheaper cost of storage and because I desired my files be as universal compatibility as possible - including tagging, I decided to rip to AIFF. The trade off is that my IOS devices hold fewer tracks - unless I use iTunes to convert -on the fly- when syncing. 

The library still fits easily on a 2TB drive.

Treating the CD prior to ripping should improve matters, ditto better power cord, fuse, isolating the ripper, all of these things.

To lie in the meadow and hear the grass sing,
To have all these things in our memories hoard,
And to use them,
To help us,
To find...



C Dripping.
flac 0 through flac 8 (I think that is the highest) are lossless, compressed formats. dBpoweramp also provides Uncompressed flac, which is not compressed at all. It is basically a wav file with a flac header. If anyone is concerned about flac compression, uncompressed flac is a good option since it has the metadata capability that wav lacks. There are versions of wav with metadata, but they seem to be pretty nonstandard. I think most players play uncompressed flac.

If the m4a files are lossless, then I would suggest converting a couple to uncompressed flac, flac 5, wav or one of the Apple formats and comparing them to see if you hear a difference. Then re-rip the same album to your preferred format and see if you hear a difference. It is easier to do the experiment than to re-rip everything. You can also re-rip at a later time.

If your m4a are lossy, then definitely consider re-ripping.

Obviously, take your time upfront, before launching a time consuming process.
Thanks everyone, great responses!  
 
Guess I need to do some ab tests and work out what to do.

I'm minded to re rip my collection, back up and get rid of all the CDs.  But will test first.



dbpoweramp can help guarantee 100% accurate rip if possible.

Poor quality or dirty CDs will result in taking longer to rip but if accurate rip is on the results will be the same each time.

It should not matter in the end for rip quality (as opposed to possibly playing live) but you could rip before and then after treatment to see if CD rips faster or not. If treatment helps rip will occur faster. If not the same. Or possibly longer if it actually hurts.

But you would know for sure if you care.

Accurate rip can be turned on or off to enable rips of defective CDs if needed.
No need to re-rip probably if the lossless variant of the format has been used and the format works for all your devices needed.

Also if you do need other formats of existing lossless files you could look at using a batch conversion program to create the files in an alternate format. that would be much faster than re-ripping
@geoffkait ...

The Lost Chord...

Thanks for the reminder.
Update.

looks like considerable number of my files, on itunes, are AAC @ 128 and AAC @ 256.


So I used dB to rip 3 versions of the same track 

flac 5
aiff
apple losless

have to say found it hard to tell the difference and I thought my "ear" was pretty good. For example, I find poor recordings hard to listen to.

i will be re ripping as many of my older files are lossy using dB.

thanks again for the advice, really helpful. 

Steve 


Most people who can hear the difference in formats, knowingly or unknowingly, have bats for ancestors. Happens mostly for people with ancestors from Eastern Europe, around Transylvanian :)

Sounds like you have some work ahead of you, but in the end the music will be improved. Sunday football season is coming up. I find that a good time to do  mindless tasks.
Well here is a thought. I am really new to digital ripped music. First I was ripping to my music only dedicated mac book. Had to purchase an external ripper for it then figure out JRiver software. 

The one of my distributors recommended a product, the Melco N1 retail is 2K. It stores 2 terabytes and connects to the internet. He then recommended the Buffalo CD Ripper made by the same company as the Melco but sold through Best Buy and office supply store. Now all I do is plug the Ripper into the Melco, it takes about 4 minutes to rip and the Melco organizes your music and searches on line for cover photos etc. Very cool since I am digitally handicapped. 

I use an iPad and down loaded Music Life which I use as a remote for the Melco. That app is free.

Doesn't get much easier.  

Melco sounds interesting.  Had not heard of them. 
Lots more info in this review the I could post here:

http://positive-feedback.com/reviews/hardware-reviews/melco-ha-n1a-part-1/


Here's a suggestion you might not have thought of. If you can arrange it, listen to your test rips on a decent pair of headphones, preferably via a good quality headphone amplifier, not a portable device like an iPhone.

This may matter because in my experience you'll hear things in a tune, a rip, or an audio mix via headphones that are hard to hear from speakers unless the speaker system is high resolution, the listening environment well isolated, and the volume pretty high.
You should definitely rip your CDs in Apple Lossles before dumping them! Or flac, wav, whatever...I have a hard time noticing the difference and then questioning my hearing when listening thru iPod into SR-71 into Sennheisers but with Pono into balanced h/p (rewired Beyerdynamics and also Senns) the difference is obvious to me. I disagree with a previous post, once iPod or Pono are connected to my big-rig stereo (its top "olive" series Naim), the difference is much more obvious for me. So... Whatever your ABX testing results now, do save your collection in "lossless" format!
Sevs, thanks for guidance - I'm in process of doing that.

cheers
Question - ripped my CDs as FLAC using dbpoweramp and stored them thumb drives which I play thru my Bryston combo in my main system.
Now I want to load some of those music files onto an iPad Nano To listen while walking. Can I just use my laptop and drag the files off my thumb drives to my Nano or do I need to first download iTunes and convert my FLAC files to Apple Lossless before loading them onto my Nano?

@rockyboy

Apple devices don’t play FLAC, they play their own version, ALAC. You will need to have the files transcoded. DBPoweramp probably will do this automatically for you, but dragging and dropping from your PC desktop won’t work.

Best,


Erik
Thanks much!
I skimmed through this thread to find more info on CD ripping hardware. I might upgrade my Mac laptop in the next year, but all new Macs come without a disc drive so I’ll have to rip CDs using some external hardware. I actually haven’t heard much talk about this sort of product in audiophile circles and I’m looking for some affordable products to get the job done well. Soundsrealaudio mentioned the "Buffalo CD Ripper", but I’m still not exactly sure what product that would be based on a quick google search. Does anyone have any recommendations?
Not a Mac guy, but I would assume all you need is an external CD/DVD drive, probably connected with USB. Your player may have the ripping software or you can get dBpoweramp or some other ripping software.
Correct, no special hardware needed, just a standard external disk drive. 
Cheers,
Spencer
blang11

The model of the Buffalo burner is the BDXL Blu-ray Burner.

The BRXL- 16U3. I already had a CD burner for my new mac book air but purchased this one from Office Depot on line. Seems much faster then my separate mac burner that I had already purchased. The Buffalo seems much faster. In addition if you do buy a Melco N 1 ( hopefully from me ) which stores 2 tera bytes, the Buffalo ripper is made by the same company and plug and play. I had to give up on using my Air Book to play music. J River is to complex for someone old like me. Plus when I demo music in my shop I really don't want to open my lap top. It just feels wrong, on so many levels. Long and short is I would do the BRXL. 

A little confusing regarding the model number here but I think you  can sort it out on Office Depot website. 
Give me a call if you would like.

Jim
soundsrealaudio