File format compatible with iTunes and J.River

Anyone have any suggestions for a file format that is lossless and compatible with iTunes and J.River?

I am trying to set up a server based on a PC running WinXp and using an Echo Gina sound card/breakout box. Maybe a standalone DAC will be added later.

I plan to use J.River on the PC but I forsee buying a Mac laptop or Mini in the future. So I want to rip my CD library into a format useful in JRiver but that will work in the future in iTunes.

Another question is what software package to rip the CDs. I've read about Exact Audio Copy and plan to probably use that. Is it possible to rip a cd into two file formats at one, one lossless and one compressed for iPod use?

Thanks in advance.
No need to use Exact Audio Copy. Jriver Media Center does bit-perfect ripping. Just select secure mode in the rip options. This will read and reread until every bit is captured. Hard drive copy is exactly the same as CD original. Can rip to several formats, such as uncompressed WAV, WMA, OGG, APE, MP3, FLAC, etc. Some of these can be used by itunes. Just make sure ahead of time that your tags will import between Jriver and iTunes.
Check out[Chris},he's as good as it gets,good luck,Bob
I am afraid WAV is the only format compatible with both iTunes and J. River.

Just curious, why J. River? Why don't you just use iTunes on PC?
I planned to use J.River because it is my understanding that you can not bypass the KMixer with iTunes on WinXP. If there is a way to bypass the KMixer I would probably just use iTunes. Does someone know how to do that?
I use dbpoweramp to rip to APE for archival storage. dbpoweramp can also do lossless conversion to any format. I play APE directly using J River as my player with AISO drivers to a variety of USB to DAC devices including HAG, offramp and Trends. I think this combo gives terrific sound and is future-proof.

Proving your rip is "bit perfect" at more than 99% of your tracks is harder than most folks realize (Google Digital Audio Extraction if you care). J River is a ripper is fine but not the best for compulsive types.

> Anyone have any suggestions for a file format that is
> lossless and compatible with iTunes and J.River?

Don't worry about changing to a mac in the future. Once you have your files in one lossless file format, it is an easy mechanical operation to convert them to ALAC. Plenty of time to locate the right utility. Go with Flac for niow and you'll be fine.

> J River is a ripper is fine but not the best for
> compulsive types.

Check your compulsion to be sure it is rational. I'm familiar with the theoretical problems with DAE. In practice, they have not mattered much for me.

I carefully compared the audio data for files ripped with J.River and EAC for CDs in three categories:

- CDs that J.River ripped without having to re-read any blocks for which the first 2 reads didn't agree. EAC and J.River created files matched in every case I tried.

- CDs with some blocks that J.River had to re-read to get a consistent result. EAC and J.River created files matched in every case I tried.

I compared results for dozens of CDs in these categories before ending my tests.

- CDs that J.River couldn't read with confidence in the result. I continued to try to read every such CD until I hasd ripped about 1500 CDs. EAC was unable to rip any of these CDs. NOT ONE!

I have always taken good care of my CDs. Most were read by J.River without any extra re-reads (1st category.) About 3-5% required some reads but were ripped with high confidence. About 1% could not be read with confidence. (In 2000 CDs, that's about 20 CDs.) A few were afflicted with visible holes from a known problem at a pressing plant in Europe in the 80s. Others had small spots. None had giant scratches.

If you have lots of CDs with scratches, dirt and other visible problems, your experience might vary. Do your own comparisons. There is way too much armchair theory on the net and too little actual results from careful tests.

EAC using Test&Copy secure mode and J.River secure mode are roughly equal in speed. dBpoweramp can be much faster if your driver provides accurate C2 error info or if your disks are in the AccurateRip database. Most of my collection is A) not in an online tag database or B) tagged wrong because it is classical music. With J.River I get the tags right when I rip the CD. Much less wear and tear on me than EAC or dBpoweramp.
test was 2000 discs ripped.
10 consistent errors split between visually perfect and visibly damaged CDs using Plextor drives with C2 detection

Therefore 99.5% accuracy on a per cd basis and about 99% on a per track basis

Today "compulsive" industrial processes are considered imperfect at 99.999%. As I said "compulsive". supply your own confidence levels.
dbpoweramp uses the EAC engine and Accurip and compares with a database. It definitely can rip ones EAC doesn't like to, and when I had problems I just washed the cd with liquid soap and dried it with a microfiber cloth pulling from the center out (not round and round). These cd's then ripped even when there were no visible scratches. I used two Plextor drives and ran 2 instances of dbpoweramp so I could rip faster, I'm at 590 cd's out of 1200.. what I find amazing is how many cd's have manufacturing defects (out of round, laser rot, etc), and I know my backups will sound way better than the originals....

With the huge time investment it takes to rip, I wanted it done right the first time and lossless so I'm ripping into FLAC at compression ratio of 6 with verify on... I can right click convert FLAC to any other format.

You are correct Itunes for the PC sounds really bad, no where near the MAC so stay away from it.

MediaMonkey Gold allows you to sync your ipod with your collection and it can convert from Flac (or any format and bitrate) to any format and bitrate on the fly so you don't have to store 2 copies when it syncs with your ipod. It requires a faster machine and is a totally cool feature plus you can put stuff on your Ipod as well as pull it off and it doesn't have to be married to one single computer...
Actually, dbpoweramp does not use the EAC engine. If you care, you can see the dbpoweramp site for details. "Spoons", the developer of dbpoweramp acknowledges the technical foundation/contributions of Plextools Pro XL and EAC but the engine and error correction approach is quite different.

These are not "theoretical" issues. The Hydrogen Audio site contains many technical threads on the differences in ripping software technology as well as the participants discovery of manufacturing defects, consistent errors due to drive firmware anomalies and software ripping errors due to an interaction of the defects on the discs, the firmware in the drive and the error correction software on the discs. These anomalies also impact the AccurateRip database. "Spoons" is also the developer of AccurateRip.

AccurateRip 2 is under re-development to address these issues because these anomalies impact AccurateRip also.

There is no need to panic, the good (JRiver) to excellent (dbpoweramp) rippers combined with a drive that outputs C2 error detection will give 99.5 to 99.9% accuracy (depending on your CD collection). Without taking extra precautions it's tough even to detect these errors. Again see Hydrogen Audio Forums if you care.

Sample sizes of a few 1000 CDs do not provide statistically significant confidence levels to prove a difference between 99.5% and "perfect"