If you have a sound card that has a co-ax or toslink digital in there is no reason why you could not do it. Whether there is an advantage is another question, that I cannot answer.
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I'm no authority, but I'm not sure that you will get a higher quality copy and think there may be reason to believe that you will get a lower quality burn.
Some of the better quality programs that rip cd's from your internal computer drive to your hard drive can be programmed to get a very accurate read. For example the one I use "Exact Audio Copy" allows the user to slow down the drive and automatically rereads the disk multiple times to ensure a clean burn. It also reports any errors and an overall statistic on the accuracy of the burn. Free program as well.
Hey - another Macy :-) 20 screen, too?
I did what you mentioned in the old Quadra days using a cinch to mini input adaptor. Couldn't hear much of a difference. Maybe the Mac's drive is inferior to a real good drive but what about all those "mini" connectors, flimsy cables and all? I sometimes play back Mac recorded CDs on my Wadia 270/27ix gear and it is just fine, really.
You can't do it digitally anyway from an outboard drive.
Using EAC with a high speed CD-ROM in secured mode will insure 100% accuracy. Any error encounter during the read is verified many times and errored corrected before continuing. I have encountered about 2 out 500 discs that had excessive error that EAC can not correct. It was because the surface was damaged.
Remeber a CD-ROM can easily read up to 40-50x. EAC can do about 6-9X in secured mode using the same CD-ROM.
Reading digital output from CD Player is a single path solution that will result in jitter and many errors. Error correction will help but never elimnated completely. This situation is very different than reading information from an analog source that dictates better mechanism results in better accuracy.
So if we use EAC, the data from the computer should be as good or better than the best transport can provide. This would mean that running a file (processed by EAC) from the computer to a DAC rather than using a transport would result in the best possible reproduction (limited only by the DAC and downstream equipment). If this is the case, why is everyone still using transports?
The data stored on the HD would be identical to the data on a music CD, but transporting this data to the DAC would result in the same problem as transporting the data from a standard CD transport to a DAC. It's also a one-time process that results in jitter, RF interference and etc. In a computer environment, it would be quite bad.
Also getting an exact copy of the digital output is not quite easy. For example, in a Windows XP environement, XP's sound mixer SW will resample 44.1kHz to 48kHz and back again at the sound card. This will result in errors. For bit perfect, need to bypass the sound SW with Kernel streaming or ASIO SW and make sure that the sound card used does not resample as well. (Most SoundBlaster resamples) This problem is a legacy problem. Early cheap sound card only process everything at 48kHz to save money. So all sound data are re-sampled to 48kHz to save time.
Theoretically, computer should be a much better transport by a long shot, but it's not quite as easy to use IMHO.
There is no version of EAC for the Mac OS. Surprised no one's created their own, but I sure haven't found it if it's out there. Easy way to check accuracy is to rip a WAV/AIFF track and create an MD5 checksum. Re-rip the same track, create another checksum. If they don't match, the data isn't identical. Oh the ennui.
Whether or not the CDP would yield a better result, it sounds like a nightmarish way to import audio. Either you're babysitting each track as it's imported, or you're taking one long track and splitting it up at the end. That's gonna add up to a lot of time in software, even if it's software you're really comfortable with. And unless that software yields bit-perfect results (and how would you even know?) it's hard to see much benefit.
That's right Ejliu. In the iTunes prefs, go to the Importing pane. At the bottom is a checkbox, "Use error correction when reading Audio CDs". I leave it checked on my Mac, very little slowdown. On the PC I use, though, it slows ripping to an absolute crawl. Maybe this is actually a good sign. But EAC corrects *all* errors unless the disc has unreadable sectors. Everybody has their acceptable margin of error for rips, I reckon. Ripping a live show to share on easytree.org, though, if your rip doesn't match the original checksum, it's very bad protocol to send it on. Generational degradation and all that.