Downloading & Converting Music

Tell me if I understand this correctly. MP3's have information that cannot be retrieved if converted to WAV or FLAC format. So, it is better to rip the songs off CD than download the music since most downloads are in MP3 format (except the high quality sites like hdtrack)I use a PC. Do any sites allow download in lossless format?
Max, You're correct except that, with MP3s, information is actually discarded during the creation of the MP3. So, it's not that it just can't be retrieved, it's no longer there. Conversion to WAV or FLAC format will only contain the information that remains in the MP3. As you say, the high quality sites do have lossless downloads available but most of the mainstream sites like iTunes and Amazon (currently) only offer lossy formats. There may be other non-audiophile sites that offer lossless downloads but I have not heard of them. Maybe someone else will jump in with more information. Dick
I googled 'lossless downloads' and found the following link to a list of such sites:

I know nothing about the sites listed.
you can convert back but with lost information during MP3 conversion. portable iplayers now have a capability of playing lossless formats for small purchase price of an application. there are many sites that have lossless downloads
MP3 eliminates some data, so it cannot be recovered to make a "clean" .wav file. I recommend ripping CDs with dbpoweramp on PC or XLD on Mac to .wav format and ALWAYS use Accurate Rip to verify it (option on dbpoweramp).

Some popular download sites are:


Most of these have FLAC, so you can convert it back to .wav using dbpoweramp or XLD. .wav sounds better.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
In most cases, it would be cheaper to buy the original CD from Amazon and then rip your own MP3s if that is what you need for a portable or such. You then have the benefit of both the MP3 and the original disc.,,

the cheapest way is a-bit politically incorrect, but there are tons of even hard to find choices in for free.
I tend to purchase all my cds used from Amazon then rip them to FLAC using EAC. As mentioned by rlwainwright above, buying a CD used is still cheaper in most cases than buying the digital only copy from Amazon.

By the way, I have about 6000 cds that are mostly ripped to MP3 (VBR). I know I know...when I started to rip them years ago, I didnt know any better. Now I only rip to FLAC and have been slowing re-ripping all my cds.
Thanks for all your help. I recently purchased some CDs from Amazon and they put all the songs (including past purchases) in MP3 format in your cloud.
I agree .wav sounds better, but what can you do about metadata..mainly album cover and tracks in order
Steve - I'm surprised about It sounds like they are just ripping commercial reel to reel recordings to digital - one step farther away from the masters. Why would someone buy that rather than getting closer to the masters?
Can anybody help with my metadata ?
Peter - because the masters of most of these older tracks are not available. Besides, these 7.5ips tracks are very close to the master tape anyway.

Some of these are quite excellent.

As for metadata, there is currently no way to maintain it and get the best possible audio quality. You either get the data at lower quality or minimum data at the best quality.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Abruce what kind of problem are you having with metadata? What file format do you use for your music?
Thanks Steve
If your file format doesn't maintain metadata are you setting yourself up for a potential disaster? Under what circumstances will your audio player just show "track 01", "track 02" etc.?