Lossless CD archiving

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sbooth
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Lossless CD archiving

Post by sbooth » Sat Nov 10, 2007 6:10 pm

I just purchased a 1 TB external drive and I plan on re-ripping all my CDs to FLAC so I can have a lossless archive of all my discs. I'm on the fence as far as whether I will rip each disc to a single file with a cue sheet, or rip each track to a separate file. I can see pros and cons of each approach.

If you rip to lossless, how do you do it?

chux
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Re: Lossless CD archiving

Post by chux » Sun Nov 11, 2007 10:31 am

I generally use iTunes (error correction on) and rip into 'ALAC'.

Why?

Good sounding results. Glitchy tracks/cds can be attacked with Max Comparison ripper (seems to work best for me).
edit: I now use Max for all non-pristine discs (and that means any visible surface anomalies whatsoever)

I like iTunes' tagging and playlists, etc. because I prefer not to have this info myself.

I tunes is fairly quick, and has fairly low overheads + is well supported by Apple, and I can use to share music across the network.

No problems with playing albums gaplessly, so albums can be 'reconstructed' if required.

Don't care if others want FLAC. They can take my ALAC and reconvert, just I do with occassional FLAC that comes my way.

chx
Last edited by chux on Mon Nov 12, 2007 1:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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krmathis
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Re: Lossless CD archiving

Post by krmathis » Sun Nov 11, 2007 10:45 am

I rip my CD's to separate Apple Lossless files, using Max.
WIth an output file naming like this:

Code: Select all

{albumArtist}/{albumTitle}/{trackNumber}. {trackTitle}
Then import the tracks to iTunes, where I embed album art (from iTunes Store) and edit tags if needed.
At last I use 'rsyns' to sync my iTunes library to an external disk, for backup.

RonaldPR
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Re: Lossless CD archiving

Post by RonaldPR » Sun Nov 11, 2007 12:37 pm

I use Max to rip my CDs to FLAC, separate files for tracks. The obtained tags usually need extensive editing to meet my needs. I copy the files to my music server. I keep the original files locally for archival purposes, but I sometimes play them using Play. I do not use iTunes at all (I thoroughly hate iTunes) and I do not use album art, nor intend to use it in the future.

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Fuga
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Re: Lossless CD archiving

Post by Fuga » Sun Nov 11, 2007 2:48 pm

I haven't started but have tried some schemes. I did just buy a 750 GB Seagate with Firewire for $200 and am very pleased with it. I aim to semi-retire soon and am converting my life from CD use (home, car, big office where I supply music) to StorageUse (home, small office where music is from computer). Also, then my kids can come over and pilfer what they want without my wife and I then having to hound them to bring "that one CD we really wanted to hear yesterday" back immediately.

So, even though I have harped on Max not being the exact equal to EAC (I have always used it for my personal encodes), I will gladly use Max to rip to ALAC and AAC at the same time (so damn sweet). I will do both formats for only CDs I know I'll want the lossy for iPod or storage on smaller drive at work. I imagine I'll eventually quit the double encode and do AAC just when I know I want it (and/or when the drive gets too full). I just like the convenience. I know I'll never even get half done what I have but there is only so much time and so much drive space. I do ALAC because I do like iTunes and artwork and will eventually have either an AppleTV or something like the SlingCatcher. I also plan to convert many of the FLACs and APEs I have from trading.

maxlover
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Re: Lossless CD archiving

Post by maxlover » Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:13 pm

sbooth wrote:I just purchased a 1 TB external drive and I plan on re-ripping all my CDs to FLAC so I can have a lossless archive of all my discs. I'm on the fence as far as whether I will rip each disc to a single file with a cue sheet, or rip each track to a separate file. I can see pros and cons of each approach.
If you rip to lossless, how do you do it?
Welcome to the club. I purchased two 500 MB drives this summer (backup...), and ripped more than 900 CDs. I choose single file FLAC with cue. A CD is not a collection of tracks, but a single audio file with track and index marks, so I felt that a single file is a somehow a better represensation. It also gives less files to manage, and it is quite easy to decode the FLAC to get a .bin, which toghether with the cue allows one to reburn the CD if need arises.

One drawback is that the metadata of each track does not stay attached. The CUESHEET metadata block is not meant to contain them. But maybe the author of Max and Play could register an official Application ID. This would allow the use of an APPLICATION metadata block to contain what Max and Play need to store about the tracks. It could also be an answer to the questions raised recently (in 'Expected behavior for FLAC embedded cue sheets').

chux
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Re: Lossless CD archiving

Post by chux » Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:58 am

maxlover wrote:A CD is not a collection of tracks, but a single audio file with track and index marks, so I felt that a single file is a somehow a better represensation..
I suppose that is one way of looking at it, and yet I don't think that there's any doubt that we experience a CD as a collection of tracks (with certain exceptions)

I am quite happy with that idea that my music is now 'track based' rather than 'CD based'. Indeed, that was part of the reason why I bothered to rip my CD collection at all. I am now able to enjoy my 'collection' in its ecletic 'whole', rather than as individual CDs. Smash the CD! Long live the new flesh!

Regards,

chx

maxlover
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Re: Lossless CD archiving

Post by maxlover » Sat Nov 17, 2007 12:56 pm

chux wrote:I suppose that is one way of looking at it, and yet I don't think that there's any doubt that we experience a CD as a collection of tracks (with certain exceptions). I am quite happy with that idea that my music is now 'track based' rather than 'CD based'. Indeed, that was part of the reason why I bothered to rip my CD collection at all. I am now able to enjoy my 'collection' in its ecletic 'whole', rather than as individual CDs. Smash the CD! Long live the new flesh!
Well, the original question was about making a 'lossless archive of all my discs'. For such an archive, something that's a faithfull representaion of the discs seems the best answer.

Now, this has nothing to do with the way the music is then used. At home, on audio gear desserving getting fed with lossless, or riding on a bus where 130k MP3 is more than enough to cover the noise. By the track, or, if you are loving classical music, by the complete work, and this also applies to non-classical 'concept' albums. Anyway, given the latest and greatest developments in Play and Max, FLAC CD images can be listened to by the track, and can also be easily converted to any other format. So I don't regret my choice of taking the FLAC+cue album image route.

chux
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Re: Lossless CD archiving

Post by chux » Sun Nov 18, 2007 9:32 am

maxlover wrote:
Well, the original question was about making a 'lossless archive of all my discs'. For such an archive, something that's a faithfull representaion of the discs seems the best answer.[/quote]

I would suggest that you've been led astray by your own pedantry (and selective quoting).

Or perhaps you're indicating that that Mr Booth has unconsciously provided the answer to his own question? ;-)

Seriously, tho'. It seems that what will decide the matter is just how one 'feels' about iTunes, and its need to be fed ALAC. It seems to me that if you're not going to use iTunes then you might as well go FLAC+cue...

Regards,

chx

barnz
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Re: Lossless CD archiving

Post by barnz » Wed Jun 25, 2008 4:04 am

I know this is a dormant thread, but I wanted to add my two cents, now that I've been taking my CD archiving seriously for a couple of months, and specifically using MAX for several weeks.

In my system I have simply not found FLAC or Apple Lossless to be an acceptable substitute for the real thing. This is strictly based on listening, and if you want to sneer and call me an audiophile, by all means go ahead.

I have started archiving my CDs using MAX as AIFF Linear PCM 32bit big endian signed integer.

It just sounds a lot better.

FWIW I playback mostly in iTunes 7.6.2 (sometimes COG) on a Mac Mini running 10.5.3.
I output digital to a Linn 5103 that I use for DAC and preamp to a Thule power amp and Sonus faber speakers. This system is a hodge-podge, but it's pretty good. :D

RonaldPR
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Re: Lossless CD archiving

Post by RonaldPR » Wed Jun 25, 2008 12:37 pm

barnz wrote:In my system I have simply not found FLAC or Apple Lossless to be an acceptable substitute for the real thing. This is strictly based on listening, and if you want to sneer and call me an audiophile, by all means go ahead.
Well, there must be a psychological effect involved, because the output of playback from lossless compressed or uncompressed audio files is bit-by-bit identical, completely indistinguishable. The result of converting a lossless compressed track back to the original uncompressed format will result in the identical original, even if you compress and convert back a thousand times, it is still the original.

barnz
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Re: Lossless CD archiving

Post by barnz » Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:21 pm

RonaldPR wrote: Well, there must be a psychological effect involved, because the output of playback from lossless compressed or uncompressed audio files is bit-by-bit identical, completely indistinguishable. The result of converting a lossless compressed track back to the original uncompressed format will result in the identical original, even if you compress and convert back a thousand times, it is still the original.
I certainly understand the concept - I just haven't heard it work out the way it's supposed to. Now, it could be entirely psychological - I don't have a method of determining that, and I'm not enough of a number-crunching type to bother trying. All I can go on is my empirical data - which is my subjective listening. Perhaps none of the systems I have listened to have been able to handle the processing of uncompressing fast enough, and playback has suffered. Perhaps a much better computer would do the trick. I don't know, and it's frankly a moot point for me - in the system I have and all of the systems I have heard up until now, uncompressed has given superior results to compressed. The price I pay is in storage, but I'm willing to make that trade in order to have easy access to music that I can enjoy listening to. :D

RonaldPR
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Re: Lossless CD archiving

Post by RonaldPR » Thu Jun 26, 2008 8:43 am

barnz wrote:All I can go on is my empirical data - which is my subjective listening.
Exactly. In a properly set up double-blind test you would not be able to identify different lossless formats (compressed or not) because the output is identical.

doplay
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Re: Lossless CD archiving

Post by doplay » Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:53 am

Hello barnz,

Interesting observations. I, too, found that uncompressed sounds better than losslessly compressed. I am not going so far as to use 32 bit (as the original data on the cd is 16 bit), but I use 16 bit wav, as in my listening 16 bit aiff doesn't sound as good.

I think you're right when you say the processing power of the computer may play a role in this. I'v read somewhere the reason for the degradation in sound quality could be increased jitter introduced by the additional processing, so a more powerful computer may be better. Have you set processor performance to 'highest' in the system preferences? that may help, too.

Another thing one can do, is to plug in the dac and the amplifier as far away as possible from the computer. With the dac I can't do that because my dac (an Apogee duet) is bus-powered, but the amplifier is very thankful when it is not disturbed by the high frequency noise introduced by the computer into the powerline.

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Fuga
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Re: Lossless CD archiving

Post by Fuga » Thu Jun 26, 2008 12:31 pm

Surely y'all have friends. Take a bunch of files - say 10. Have 2 versions of each - lossless & uncompressed. Load them into Play. Set on Shuffle. Let your friend control. Forget your mind. Analyze results. Good luck. Hell, for shits and grins, choose two versions of lossless as some have sworn there's a difference among those.

Come on. This would take maybe an hour and a couple of beers for each of you. Until you have done such you can't be honest even with yourself.

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