Do I need to re-rip?

I do NOT want to resurrect the question of which is the better format - Apple Lossless or WAV. My question is about the need to re-rip my music if I want to change formats. My cd library was saved as Apple Lossless. Appears that I can go into the iTunes "preferences" menu and change my files from lossless to WAV, after-the-fact. Are these new WAV files every bit as good as a new cd that I rip as WAV? In other words, do I need to re-rip every one of my cds to obtain a quality WAV file or can I just let iTunes make that conversion?
If it were my choice I would re rip everything. The reason is that iTunes is probably not the best ripping software you can use. You would be converting files that were ripped under less than ideal circumstances. I would do new rips directly to WAV with EAC or dbPoweramp. Why take a chance?

As far as converting from one format to another goes, I'm not sure if that will degrade SQ. I'll venture to say that, as with ripping, you'll definitely want to use the best software for the job and have it set up properly. But I really don't know for sure.
Zd is right. If you ripped everything with iTunes, then you should re-rip everything regardless of the format it was ripped to. If you are on Mac, use XLD. If PC, then use dbpoweramp.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
From my experience, comparing sound quality from CD's ripped in WAV versus these ripped in FLAC and then converted into WAV - I would stongly advise you to re-rip your CD collection in WAV. Don;t forget to use quality ripping software and...and then optimize it as well.

All The Best

Musica Pristina
Thanks for the advice. Guess I need to set aside some time to re-rip. Will use dbpoweramp and save as WAV. Is dbpoweramp free? And will dbpoweramp automatically download album art and tags or will I have to type in info?
dBpoweramp is $38, but there is a free 21-day trial. It supports AIFF and ALAC as well as WAV, FLAC, and mp3. It does automatically download album art and tags, but I find that a certain amount of tag editing is still often necessary. All in all, dBpoweramp is a great program. EAC is a freebie that gets good reviews. I've not used it, but I don't think it supports AIFF or ALAC.
I would suggest re-ripping some CDs that you know well and compare them to files that are converted. If you cannot tell any difference, then re-ripping may not be necessary.

There is a free version of dBpoweramp.It will find the tags, but you have to be careful. WAV files do not normally have tags, so unless you use WAV extensions, the tags will not be saved in the file. What player are you going to use?

The dBpoweramp batch converter can be set up to convert all the files automatically.

Next step would be to get dBpoweramp and do some experimenting.
Thanks Steve. Honestly, I give the credit for me being right to you and a couple of other posters who have been very helpful.
If I understand correctly, AIFF is basically just WAV with metadata added. The audio data is the same.

If you are using iTunes and like to have all of the composer, artist, dates, etc., then you probably don't want to use WAV.
AIFF has the L and R data fields reversed. It also has different offset and control info fields. This makes it sound worse than .wav somehow. Like listening through a tunnel. I think even ALAC might be better....

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
So...isn't ALAC apple lossless? If so, then I don't need to go thru the bother of re-ripping - right!
In my experience, there are improvements converting from ALAC to WAV. I am quite sure ripping directly to WAV is best as Simon puts it, although I have not done so simply because I started ripping to ALAC many years ago, and my CD library is too big to re-do ripping all over again. Total file size becomes a concern also for large libraries. When using computer audio, I convert ALAC to WAV files those I listen to for the day and delete them after - both steps are just a matter of seconds to implement. Furthermore, computer audio is not my primary source. I use it for background music only.

You should consider DTC's comment by first listening to familiar songs of various computer audio formats. I see that you have a turntable. If computer audio is not your primary source, and if you find there is not much improvement between formats in your set up, I would not bother to redo all the ripping.
Some people report hearing a difference depending on format and even on ripping software. They report that a WAV file ripped with dBpoweramp sounds different than a WAV file converted from Apple Lossless (for example), even if the files are the same. My suggestion is to do a few new rips yourself directly to WAV and compare that to your Apple Lossless file converted to WAV. If you hear a difference, then you may want to re-rip a portion or all of your library. If you hear no difference, then just converting your existing files is probably OK.
If you ripped ALAC with iTunes, I would try ripping one track with XLD and see if sounds better on your system.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio