J River and choosing encoder.

about to embark on a 1200++?? ripping session. expecting to spend a month on this so want to get it right the first time. not sure what encoder to use for ripping cd's. have tried APE and WAV so far and could not tell a difference sonically. however, the APE file is almost half the size?. from what little i understand regarding this topic, the lossless file types are suppose to sound/be the same somehow?. is there something i'm "not getting" here?.

uncompressed file size is not a real concern. would be happy to use extra space if there is some type of plus to it. storage is dirt cheap. am more concerned about the long term storage and functionality aspects of lossless vs uncompressed. also a bit confused about encoding in general. is one lossless type "better" then another?. is uncompressed FLAC "better" then WAV?. what's with all the choices?? or is that more then this computer illiterate old fart needs to know =)

current set-up and gear doesn't play into this for me. doubt i'll have the same equipment 5-10 years from now, but know i'll have the same music long after that. don't want equipment optimized files for today that could lead to a dead end down the road..

Then use db Poweramp or Exact Audio Copy for ripping, and do it into FLAC or WAV. I am not sure what APE is, but FLAC and WAV are the accepted standards. There really is not much of a diff between the two formats, and they can be cross converted.
My personal pref is loss-less flac encoding using Exact Audio Copy. EAC does verification on your rips to make sure your getting the best possible from your CD's. Flac is supported via many players (mediamonkey, winamp, J Rivers, Foobar2000, and some portable players). I am currently playing all of my flacs using J Rivers with a M2Tech EVO and must say it sounds very good.

My EAC settings: -6 -V -T "ARTIST=%a" -T "TITLE=%t" -T "ALBUM=%g" -T "DATE=%y" -T "TRACKNUMBER=%n" -T "GENRE=%m" -T "Album Artist=%a" -T "AlbumArtist=%a" -T "BAND=%a" %j--picture="%i"%j %s -o %d

Yes, I know some of the meta tags are redundant, but it makes the flacs compatible with more players. Also be sure to uncheck the add ID3 tag option if you EAC. There is tons more information on the setup at http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/

Good luck!
Here's what you're not getting. .WAV is a wrapper file for PCM, or uncompressed digital. All other formats are compressed, but a lossless compression scheme will preserve all detail once they are decoded. Therefore, all lossless formats will sound the same.

The difference is in their encoding/decoding time, the system resources they use, the amount of support they have between various products, how much compression (i.e. the file size), their longetivity in use (e.g. are they open source? are they proprietary? will they be compatible with future file systems?), etc...

Taking all these factors into account, it would be easy to see why .FLAC is so popular. But it isn't even close to the only option. If you want universal compatibility, then .WAV is obvious. .FLAC is a close second, but isn't the best in terms of compression or encoding time. .FLAC is also open source, which allows commercial products to use it without an expensive license, increasing compatibility.
"....have tried APE and WAV so far and could not tell a difference"

Using J River I compared the same CD ripped by WAVE and APE method and I could clearly hear the difference: WAVE has more texture and sound richer....for my ears..
Hi Lev,
I have not closely compared the different formats. It has been interesting reading everyone's opinions. This is what I chose for the time being. dbPoweramp for CD ripping. It does many of the same things (if not all) that EAC does and seems easier to use. I rip to FLAC, as it seems to insure all the metadata is better preserved than WAV files. I've heard many arguments both ways, so I figured if I did Flac, I could always convert them to WAV if needed. dbPoweramp also will do some DSP processing and I have set it up so it will decode HDCDs and preserve the extra bits they provide and when you look at the files with eLyric you can see those extra bits as compared to a normal Redbook CD file. I don't believe that EAC will do this so if you have many HDCDs in your collections, (I did!) then this might be worthwhile. Someday soon I'll try FLAC vs Wav to see if I hear a difference.
I do use JRiver at times to tag the files, etc. and use it for playback over the latest version of eLyric. I think it has a more analog sound especially vs. the 2.10 version of elyric. I liked eLyric 2.8 the best and am hoping that sound comes back in the next version.
Hope this helps,
thanks guys, this is plenty to make me go uncompressed. as cheap as storage is today....any benefit (or potential benefit) makes it worth while imho.

Steve: i've been using WAV instead of FLAC out of habit(from burning WAV only hi-res dvd's). keep forgetting i can now use FLAC as well. need to do a comparison of the two to see if there is a difference to my ears. have not tried dbPoweramp. seems it's pretty populare to rip with. will look into it. thanks for the heads up.