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MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4

Ripping CD's - Mac vs. Windows

A friend of mine is blind. He wants me to get his 600+ CD collection onto some sort of easy-to-use device (Apple iPod/iPad or some other similar sort of device). Since he's an audiophile as well, I want to ensure that whatever I do to rip the music results in the best quality for the playback device we choose.

Since I've not done a lot of CD ripping in the past, I'm not fully conversant with the best options open to me on both Mac & Windows platforms.

Apple
-----
1. My understanding is that if I rip on a Mac, the output will be AAC at whatever the default bit-rate is set somewhere in iTunes. Is this correct?
2. Is there an option when ripping on the Mac to output into a different format (ie. .wav or some other format)?
3. If the only format I can output into is AAC, can I transcode to other formats, and if so what can I expect the audio to sound like when transcoded - ie. will it be at least as good as AAC?

Windows
---------
1. The default rip format in Windows is .wav - correct?
2. Is there an option when ripping on the PC to output into a different format (ie. AAC or some other format)?
3. If the only format I can output into is WAV, can I transcode to other formats, and if so what can I expect the audio to sound like when transcoded - ie. will it be at least as good as WAV?

Recommended Software
----------------------
Are there specific software applications you'd recommend getting for ripping/transcoding for both Mac and Windows platforms?

Portable Playback Devices
-------------------------
Are there specific playback devices you'd recommend that are:
a) easy to use for someone without sight (ie. respond to voice control)?
b) Offer better output sound quality (lower distortion)?

Ripping Considerations
---------------------
1) My friend has a large collection of classical titles. When ripping these, is the ripping software smart enough to NOT break a symphony with multiple movements into multiple files? It would be a real pain if the symphony was broken up into multiple files which would play out-of-order if shuffle-play were selected.
2) Would you choose to rip on a Mac or a PC if both were available for use, and why choose one platform vs. the other?

Thanks for all opinions & assistance.



Stacy
FotoDogue
Premium
join:2001-11-02
New York, NY

said by MaynardKrebs:

Apple
-----
1. My understanding is that if I rip on a Mac, the output will be AAC at whatever the default bit-rate is set somewhere in iTunes. Is this correct?
2. Is there an option when ripping on the Mac to output into a different format (ie. .wav or some other format)?
3. If the only format I can output into is AAC, can I transcode to other formats, and if so what can I expect the audio to sound like when transcoded - ie. will it be at least as good as AAC?

I don't remember what the defaults are but, If you decide to rip using iTunes, you can set the import preferences to MP3, which is pretty much universal, and rip at various bit rates from 128 to near CD quality. iTunes is available for both Mac and Windows.

I'm sure there are various Windows programs that offer more formats than WAV.


cvrefugee
Premium
join:2003-09-15
Riverside, CA
kudos:7
reply to MaynardKrebs

»www.exactaudiocopy.de/


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

1 edit
reply to MaynardKrebs

I'll just reply to one small part. Personally I have ripped all of my collection on a Windows machine into Flac files which are lossless. You can also rip lossless with Apple Lossless. I would rip into one or the other and then as these files are still fairly large for a mobile device convert them to a lossy, compressed format for use on a mobile device. Ripped into either one of the the lossless formats first means that he now has his entire collection archived on a hard drive. I like the open format of Flac versus Apple having any control over my collection.

[edit] +1 on ExactAudioCopy -- that's what I use also.



Zero Gravity
Next to Arch Stanton
Premium
join:2002-04-30
Top Floor

1 edit
reply to MaynardKrebs

Another user of EAC here. I rip in flac to keep everything lossless.


MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4
reply to robbin

So if I rip to FLAC using ExactAudioCopy as the 'archival format' because it isn't controlled by Apple, but I make the decision to us an Apple device as the playback device for my blind friend, what tools do I use to convert from FLAC to AAC or to MP3 (I assume those are the formats a iDevice understands)?


knarf829

join:2007-06-02
kudos:1

Foobar2000 can do direct conversions from FLAC to MP3 (don't know about AAC, but I assume so).

Disclaimer: I have had very bad luck converting to MP3 using Foobar2000. I'm sure it's something I'm doing wrong, but I'm pretty up on these things and if I can't set it up properly without outside research it's not very intuitive.

What I normally do is use FLAC Frontend to convert from FLAC to WAV and then EAC to convert from WAV to MP3. Of course, this way you lose your tags. I normally go to WinAMP's "Auto-Tag" to put them back.



e_dub
franknbeans
Premium,VIP
join:2001-08-12
kickin ass
kudos:2

Another EAC user here. No need to convert FLAC files to play on iPod, iPhone, etc. Just download an app that plays the FLAC files. I use "Golden Ear" on my iPad to play FLAC files. Another app is "FLAC Player"



aurgathor

join:2002-12-01
Lynnwood, WA
kudos:1
reply to MaynardKrebs

I actually use CDEX most of the time, even though I do have EAC.

Obviously, anything uncompressed or losslessly compressed should be the best w.r.t. audio quality, but I have personally found 320k mp3 or even 256k VBR mp3 just as good while taking up significantly less space.

CDEX can do the conversion to mp3 automatically. (LAME is included in the package)
--
Wacky Races 2012!



NotTheMama
What Would Earl Do?

join:2012-12-06
reply to MaynardKrebs

Back when I was ripping my library to flac, I tried a few different programs--all of those mentioned here. The one I found the most helpful for the actual ripping was Easy CD-DA Extractor @ »www.poikosoft.com. I think the name has changed a bit since then but the program is basically the same (with enhancements since then I presume). There was/is a 30-day trial period, mostly unrestricted as far as features were concerned (don't know if that's the same now); so you can use it for a couple/few weeks and only pay to keep it if you like it. I only had about 400 CDs -- took a couple weeks or thereabouts to do them all (minus the few I didn't bother with).
--
"Face piles of trials with smiles; it riles them to believe that you perceive the web they weave."


MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4
reply to e_dub

The problem I have is that my friend is virtually totally blind - he can just distinguish light from dark. So I'm leaning towards using Siri on an iDevice to let him voice-select his music, but I don't want to preclude using some other device/os if it can get him the accessibility to the music - hence ripping to FLAC and then transcoding for the playback device seems like the best route to take. So I'm not sure if using a non-integrated music player is feasible.

Being blind sure sucks. and what makes it harder for my friend is that he's a true audiophile - having had the best audio equipment ($25k speakers & fabulous tube amps) when he could see.



ArthurS
Watch Those Blinking Lights
Premium
join:2000-10-28
Hamilton, ON
reply to MaynardKrebs

If your friend is a true audiophile, I recommend keeping the CD in uncompressed wav format, and yes, there is a difference that those with a keen sense of hearing can perceive (me included). You can easily do this in iTunes, just that it will take up lots of disk space. AAC is "acceptable," as long as you use a high bit rate.



Stacy
FotoDogue
Premium
join:2001-11-02
New York, NY
reply to MaynardKrebs

600 CDs in uncompressed format will eat up a lot of storage space. Your friend will need a very big iDevice.


knarf829

join:2007-06-02
kudos:1

2 edits

Something like 400 Gb large, I think.

Almost no one on earth can tell the difference between MP3s ripped using lame's -V0 preset and the original uncompressed WAV files *when played through a portable device.* You can even go down to -V1 or -V2 with relative transparency.

If you're going to send it digitally to a dedicated DAC and then out to an audiophile system, then, yes, you'll want to keep it as lossless as possible. But for space and for interoperability with other devices, MP3 is the way to go.

What I do with my collection is rip to FLAC for archival purposes (hard drive storage) and rip to MP3 for everyday usage. I put CDs in and rip them twice right then. That way I have lossless copies stored in case some new mind-blowing compression technique comes down the pike in 10 years and a universally playable transparently compressed version that works across all my devices to use now.

EDITED TO ADD: No one on earth - no one - can tell the difference between FLAC and WAV because there is no difference between the two. You can convert a WAV to FLAC and then convert that FLAC back to WAV and your result will be a bit-identical version of the original WAV. Lossless.


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to MaynardKrebs

said by MaynardKrebs:

A friend of mine is blind. He wants me to get his 600+ CD collection onto some sort of easy-to-use device (Apple iPod/iPad or some other similar sort of device). Since he's an audiophile as well, I want to ensure that whatever I do to rip the music results in the best quality for the playback device we choose.

said by MaynardKrebs:

Portable Playback Devices
-------------------------
Are there specific playback devices you'd recommend that are:
a) easy to use for someone without sight (ie. respond to voice control)?
b) Offer better output sound quality (lower distortion)?

I'm a little confused. Is the goal to have your friend have access to his collection at home in near audiophile quality or to have his whole collection available to him on a portable device when traveling?

MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4

1 edit
reply to knarf829

said by knarf829:

Something like 400 Gb large, I think.

Almost no one on earth can tell the difference between MP3s ripped using lame's -V0 preset and the original uncompressed WAV files *when played through a portable device.* You can even go down to -V1 or -V2 with relative transparency.

If you're going to send it digitally to a dedicated DAC and then out to an audiophile system, then, yes, you'll want to keep it as lossless as possible. But for space and for interoperability with other devices, MP3 is the way to go.

What I do with my collection is rip to FLAC for archival purposes (hard drive storage) and rip to MP3 for everyday usage. I put CDs in and rip them twice right then. That way I have lossless copies stored in case some new mind-blowing compression technique comes down the pike in 10 years and a universally playable transparently compressed version that works across all my devices to use now.

EDITED TO ADD: No one on earth - no one - can tell the difference between FLAC and WAV because there is no difference between the two. You can convert a WAV to FLAC and then convert that FLAC back to WAV and your result will be a bit-identical version of the original WAV. Lossless.

We're looking at using an Arcam rDAC.
»www.arcam.co.uk/products,rseries···rDAC.htm

MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4
reply to robbin

said by robbin:

said by MaynardKrebs:

A friend of mine is blind. He wants me to get his 600+ CD collection onto some sort of easy-to-use device (Apple iPod/iPad or some other similar sort of device). Since he's an audiophile as well, I want to ensure that whatever I do to rip the music results in the best quality for the playback device we choose.

said by MaynardKrebs:

Portable Playback Devices
-------------------------
Are there specific playback devices you'd recommend that are:
a) easy to use for someone without sight (ie. respond to voice control)?
b) Offer better output sound quality (lower distortion)?

I'm a little confused. Is the goal to have your friend have access to his collection at home in near audiophile quality or to have his whole collection available to him on a portable device when traveling?

At both his summer & winter homes, but he needs non-visual access to the collection as he's blind.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

1 recommendation

OK -- the reason I was asking is that the iPad can stream high-resolution audio from iTunes to an external DAC using the camera kit. Evidently it can do this to any external powered USB DAC but here is an in-depth article regarding the DAC1 ($1000 Audiophile DAC). Note that to get highest resolution, the device must stream. So it seems like a laptop computer with all audio ripped to ALAC (Apple Lossless) with an iPad and your friend has high end audio with the user friendliness of Siri and iTunes.

"Using this adaptor, the iPad can transparently stream high-resolution digital audio to the USB input of DAC1 converters. Even more remarkable, the iPad is able to wirelessly stream a 96-kHz, 24-bit audio file via Wi-Fi without losing sonic quality. (Wireless streaming is achieved using iTunes 'Home Sharing' - a mechanism that enables media to be streamed between multiple devices on a common Wi-Fi network...)

This revelation is very exciting for many reasons. This setup has no sonic degradation or tradeoffs. Setup is instantaneous, and requires no drivers. It is a low-cost alternative to buying another computer to act as a music server. And now, with the recent announcement of Apple’s iCloud, the capabilities of this setup will expand to encompass more of your media experience.

Sonically speaking, this setup will stand up to even the most discerning audiophile scrutiny...
"

»www.benchmarkmedia.com/discuss/f···dio-dac1

Basically this eliminates the need to convert to a lossy format and should allow playback as your friend has experienced with his CD collection previously. Note that it is capable of streaming up to 96 kHz, 24 bits which is much higher than CD quality!

If you want something more portable, then Studio Six Digital makes a portable, battery powered DAC for $399 which uses the 30 pin connector. This would be great for a headphone setup I think.

»www.studiosixdigital.com/iaudiointerface2/



ArthurS
Watch Those Blinking Lights
Premium
join:2000-10-28
Hamilton, ON

said by robbin:

»www.benchmarkmedia.com/discuss/f···dio-dac1

If you want something more portable, then Studio Six Digital makes a portable, battery powered DAC for $399 which uses the 30 pin connector. This would be great for a headphone setup I think.

»www.studiosixdigital.com/iaudiointerface2/

I have and use both of these, and can attest to the high quality of both. The Benchmark is in a league of it's own for DAC's, however you need to plug it into the wall for power. The headphone amps are absolutely stellar, plus it hooks into a stereo via balanced or unbalanced analog connections. The iAudioInterface2 is battery powered, and the headphone amp they put inside it is excellent in quality.

MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4

This is great information - thanks guys.