Ripping to Mac OSX

I have good ears, but no real computer knowledge. I've just purchased a Mac Mini with Snow Leopard, running it via USB (for now) into a PS Audio PWD.

I don't have a huge collection, so at this point, I've just decided to save into WAV format using Itunes.


Is there a sonic reason to use another program other than Itunes to rip normal redbook CDs?

On non hirez, is there a reason to use a player other than Itunes for sound quality reasons?

I very much enjoy reading the posts on this thread. I've learned much, though quite a bit of the info shared is over my head!

I have a MAC Mini and I really like it, but I haven't really dived into using it as a music server yet. However, I have several friends who use a MAC Mini as a music server using iTunes and a high-end USB DAC. These are some of the absolute best sounding digital rigs I've heard, however they all are using expensive DACs, Cables, etc. and their other components are top notch.

The MAC Mini running iTunes and using AIFF file format with error correction turned on seems to be the ripping choice for all of my friend. They have very highly resolving systems and don't see any need to use anything other than AIFF (and always turn on error correction regardless of format you choose).

I would suggest you try ripping a familiar recording to AIFF, then WAV to see if you hear a difference. If no difference, pick whichever you want.


Don't use WAV - you will lose album info...

I'd use AIFF or Apple Lossless.

Check Benchmark DAC1 wiki guide for iTunes setup (settings for bit transparent playback) and keep checking regularly in case a big crops up with a new iTunes version (you'll get automatic updates every month or so but sometimes a new version introduces an error)

If you turn error correction on then iTunes is apparently bit transparent when it burns your lossless files.
For ripping, take a look at Max:
For may years I have read of the Flac format but never given it a try until recently. The programs I use are freeware and very easy to use. The ripping program is “MAX” and the playback program is Cog.

The Flac ripped music is not as easy to access but to me and my ears it sounds better.

Itunes is easy to learn and use. MAX and Cog are not as easy but through trial and error I was able to dial them in quick. I have another challenge now, ripping vinyl to flac to mac.
AIFF with error correction via itunes gets the job done easily and doesn't lose metadata(art, etc.). Apple lossless will use less space, but AIFF doesn't lose anything. Stick with AIFF. Cheers,
All good replies.You also can try great site for this question and all others your bound to have,good luck,Bob
I have a MAC Book Pro (4 MB RAM) and use iTunes with AIFF with error correction to transfer my CD's to a Seagate Free Agent Go Pro 500 GB external hard drive connected to the MAC via Firewire. It takes around 4-5+ minutes per CD. AIFF takes more disk space and produces the best sound quality. My MAC is connected to an Ayre USB DAC connected (balanced cables) to my Ayre AX-7e Integrated amplifier.
So I'm guessing that some folks would say - if you've already ripped your library to Apple Lossless and are looking to improve the sound, it's better to re-rip everything to AIFF than to simply convert the existing Apple Lossless files to AIFF by pushing a button? Or does it not make a difference?
Now that I have my audio collection ripped to a hard drive connected to mac mini for streaming via usb dac, how do I create a file with mp3 files of my AIFF files for ipod use?
Ricky, as long as you are using WAV as a file format, I don't think the ripping part will make a huge diff.

Audio card will def. make a dif.

Other comments:

1. as your music collection grows, you may quickly get beyond the typical artist, album type file structure. With a few cds this is ok, but quickly becomes unmanagable with more

2. I have a server running with 6 TB of HD space, and 6000+ CDs ripped all as WAV. As other posters have noted, storing the files as WAV, you loose the ability to track the file Meta data. The way I structured my file tree, its not too important.

since the folks who wrote the playback software were not typically into classical music, there is no search function for composer, so I structured my classical WAV files by composer first, then type, then artist, makes for much quicker searches.

For Jazz, rock and Pop, they each ahve their own main folder, with artist broken down under that.

HD space is pretty cheap these days, so why squish the file size down just to save on HD space?

3. Make sure you make a back up copy of your music files since the question to ask is not IF an HD crashes but WHEN.

My system is similar to hgeitsman's - I always use AIFF with good results. The external HD is a 2 TB mirror by Cavlary connected to the Mac Pro with firewire. The iTunes music leaves the computer via a 1 foot long Toslink to a signal converter that, in turn sends the signal to the pre/pro via SPDIF digital cable. I tried USB out of the Mac but if you go to Utilities (Midi set-up) you will find that the USB "out" gives far worse specs than the "built-in Output" of the Toslink connection. The USB option gives you only one default setting of 44,100 hz 2 Ch 16 bit whereas the "built-in Output" (using the headphone jack with a Toslink adapter) gives you at least three options to choose from up to 96,000 hz 2 Ch 24 bit. For me the best sound results are at the 48,000 hz 2 Ch 24 bit choice.

iTunes and their AIFF format has been remarkably good both for importing and playback.
"Is there a sonic reason to use another program other than Itunes to rip normal redbook CDs?"

Yes. I tunes will rip CDs with errors (even with error correction option set). I use MAX set to CDParanoia algorithm with option "do not allow to skip" and found CDs that cannot be ripped while I tunes still rips them (accepts errors). Max is better IMHO than EAC that I used when I had PC.

Use AIFF or ALAC - it should not make any difference (I use ALAC). Format conversion you can do with MAX (any format to any format).