Making Quality CD Rips

Lucky CynicLucky Cynic Registered User regular
Call me old fashioned, but I still like buying CDs. I've bought MP3s from web stores before and its only lead to frustration so now I am all about the discs. No DRM. No misplaced files. No disappearing album art.

Just curious, but as opposed to opening up Zune and clicking start rip, are there better ways to get higher quality versions off the discs? I don't quite yet boast a massive collection, but I am a bit of an audiophile in the making. What programs would you guys recommend? Are there special considerations with encoding or decoding?

I have about 50 CDs. Something like 600 songs. I have a Windows 7 64bit PC, an HTC HD7 Windows Phone, a Zune HD 32GB, and a car with a CD player. If it helps, I listen to the music with headphones with each; save for the car. Thoughts?

Oh and uh, what formats should I keep an eye out. FLACs seem nice but I doubt they are very friendly for the devices listed above. Maybe wav files would be the way to go?

Lucky Cynic on


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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    WAV files are completely uncompressed, so expect each CD to take up about 400MB-600MB. FLAC is compressed, but lossless...so you get the same sound quality, at significantly decreased file size. Still, like you said, playback on many/most mobile devices is a pain.

    Honestly, I'd be surprised if you'd ever notice the difference between a decent 192kbps or so rip, whether in MP3 or AAC, and the original source. Most online stores are rocking something like 128kbps MP3 (or AAC in the case of iTunes), and that's pretty degraded to my ears...but I've never had a problem with 192kbps.

    AAC sounds better than MP3 at the same bitrate, though again you run into playback issues (not sure if Zune plays them).

    I just rip my stuff in iTunes, personally. I don't know if the Zune software has built-in ripping...I assume it does, and as long as you can get it to output 192kbps or higher MP3/AAC, I'd just use that.

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    SeeksSeeks Registered User regular
    With CDs, what I typically do is rip it to FLAC for archival purposes, and then just convert the resultant files to a lossy format (mp3, ogg, aac, etc.). Obviously, mp3 has the best support when it comes to lossy formats, so that's probably your safest bet. 256kbps is the way to go if you want 'high-quality' lossy files, but I honestly can't tell the difference between 192 and 256, so I personally just stick with 192. Actually, I stick with Variable Bitrate (vbr) that's 'shooting for' 192kbps quality, which often enough nets you even smaller file sizes with no appreciable difference in quality.

    If you're looking into becoming a full-fledged audiophile, you'll probably want to pick up something that can play FLAC anyway, as well as something with a decent DAC. Me, I can hardly tell the difference between a 256kbps file and a 128kbps, so I can't personally recommend anything. As mentioned, I keep the FLAC files around merely for archival purposes because hey... storage is cheap and it's always good to have a 'master' file that you can downconvert from whenever you want.

    If you're really particular about your FLAC files and you use Windows, you might also want to download EAC (http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/). Again, I can't tell the difference between a FLAC ripped with EAC or a more typical ripper, but there you go.

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    Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    I use Audiograbber. With the MP3 rip quality set to 320kbps 44kHz sampling rate and 16 bit stereo, I got 5 cds into a gigabyte of DVD space. Sound quality isn't quite as god as straight off the CD, but I have to strain to hear the difference over standard grade audio gear.

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    corky842corky842 Registered User regular
    I use EAC to rip it to FLAC, then foobar2000 to clean up the tags and then convert to V0 MP3. I chose V0 over 320kbps because of the lower filesize for essentially the same quality.

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    Monkey Ball WarriorMonkey Ball Warrior A collection of mediocre hats Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    The loss from 256 VBR is basically imperceptible unless you have really good hearing and nice speakers, especially if it's AAC. And any respectable device supports AAC these days. I use iTunes now because I have an ipod, but I used to use CDex.

    Yes and make an archival FLAC or Apple Lossless copy just in case.

    "I resent the entire notion of a body as an ante and then raise you a generalized dissatisfaction with physicality itself" -- Tycho
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    QuantuxQuantux Registered User regular
    The Zune software actually does a good job of ripping mp3, I hear no difference between the 320k files from eMusic and the 320k rips I did w/Zune. There's only been a few obscure CDs that I had to tag myself, the rest of the time it just works. There's also an option for Windows Media Lossless, but who knows what device actually supports it (and more importantly, will continue to support it for the foreseeable future)... If you want the best quality w/portability, use EAC to rip FLAC and be prepared to wait. A lot.

    PSN/Steam - Quantux

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    UselesswarriorUselesswarrior Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    I recommend using EAC to rip to FLAC for archiving. If you need to put it on a portable device transcode a copy to MP3 from the FLAC file, I find that Foobar is great for transcoding / any batch job you want to run on your music collection.

    The time sink of ripping your whole cd collection is huge, might as well get it right the first time and put it in a lossless format. Storage is so ridiculously cheap now that there is very little reason not to use a lossless format.

    Also Hydrogen Audio Forums are your best bet for getting knowledgable advice on anything audio codec related. They have a wiki with guides also, here is the EAC one.

    It's you're interested in this stuff the first thing to understand is the difference between lossless and lossey codecs.

    Uselesswarrior on
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