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WMcD

Recommended File Format for Archiving Music CDs

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I am planning on archiving my collection of music CDs.  It seems that a lossless file format like FLAC is often recommended.  It does discard redundant data, though.

 

OTOH, I see that WAV and AIFF file formats maintain all data.

 

What are anyone's recommendations?

 

  I'd like to do this once, the best way.  It seems to me the most time intensive process is reading the data off the optical CD and that once on a hard drive it would be easy to transcode to some other format if some compressed format or format specific to a player is needed.

 

Thanks for suggestions.

 

WMcD

 

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I am planning on archiving my collection of music CDs.  It seems that a lossless file format like FLAC is often recommended.  It does discard redundant data, though.
 
OTOH, I see that WAV and AIFF file formats maintain all data.
 
What are anyone's recommendations?
 
  I'd like to do this once, the best way.  It seems to me the most time intensive process is reading the data off the optical CD and that once on a hard drive it would be easy to transcode to some other format if some compressed format or format specific to a player is needed.
 
Thanks for suggestions.
 
WMcD
 

FLAC doesn’t discard redundant data in the way you’re thinking. To put it in simpler terms, let’s say you have a 2 second part of the song that’s silent, that silence at 16bits/sample and 44100 samples a second wastes almost half a MB, an FLAC encoder can reduce this wasted space by replacing the silence with a small amount of data marking it as silence vs encoding 88 thousand strings of 0000000000000000. Often times stereo content has identical data in the left and right channels like a vocalist, an FLAC encoder can cut this in half and mark it as a shared channel, so instead of 1.5mbps of data, it now only takes up 750kbps.

All of this is reversed upon decoding leaving an exact copy of the original PCM file. Think of it like this, when you ZIP a file, does it somehow destroy parts of that file? Of course not, if it did, those files would be corrupt. Flac is pretty much the winzip for pcm.
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FLAC and use dbPoweramp as the ripper (https://www.dbpoweramp.com/ ) . I would not recommend iTunes.

 

Plan this project carefully so that the CDs are retrievable easily. Depending on the number of CDs you may want to add a drive to your computer. You may even end up using a media player and stream your own music.

 

I have noticed that there are a few fellow Squeezebox users in the Klipsch community and recommend that you have a read of a couple of wiki entries from the Squeezebox beginners guide -

http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.php/Beginners_Guide#Where_to_go_next.3F

where there are explanations of file formats, library organization and tags.

 

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You know what's the worst... when you rip a CD, or a dual CD set, and the computer creates multiple file folders for some song files. And no matter I do, including copy paste, I can not combine  them to the same folder again.

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17 minutes ago, Schu said:

You know what's the worst... when you rip a CD, or a dual CD set, and the computer creates multiple file folders for some song files. And no matter I do, including copy paste, I can not combine  them to the same folder again.

When you rip a CD with multiple artists, oh say like Kiki Dee and Elton John, the file is attributed to both artists. This can happen on CD's that are compilations too. So, what to do? In the app mentioned above you can change the recording artist to whomever you wish and the whole CD will be placed in a single folder. Works for me. YMMV.

 

Mark

 

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You would think the album title would take presidents... 

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I used FLAC.

 

Trying to play directly off of my PC is a PITA without a good player (like JRiver or similar). But typically I access the files from something like Yamaha Music cast which sorts by artists/album name etc quite nicely, or from Play-FI app, which is also good at sorting music automagically.

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Thank you everyone.  Yap, thanks for the technical information.

 

But it looks to me that we're expanding the topic. Adding what software to use to rip, and what to use to play back.  All well and good.

 

After some more research it seems that WAV is a good format with minimal manipulation of information.

 

Maybe I should ask, is there any reason not to use that WAV format? I don't mind learning new software to rip or play back.  I'd like to avoid investing the time to rip and then find that XYZ file format is somehow superior at data preservation.

 

Best,

 

WMcD

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How many CDs are you talking about? Drive space is cheap ... I only have approx. 150 CDs at this point, and have about ten that I've ripped/extracted to wav.  I'll probably never listen through them all again... Right now I'm not getting two hrs a week for listening.

 

Bruce

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8 hours ago, WMcD said:

Thank you everyone.  Yap, thanks for the technical information.

 

But it looks to me that we're expanding the topic. Adding what software to use to rip, and what to use to play back.  All well and good.

 

After some more research it seems that WAV is a good format with minimal manipulation of information.

 

Maybe I should ask, is there any reason not to use that WAV format? I don't mind learning new software to rip or play back.  I'd like to avoid investing the time to rip and then find that XYZ file format is somehow superior at data preservation.

 

Best,

 

WMcD

FLAC, compresses and decompresses to theoretically the same data, just as zip.  We know if zip, 7z, and formats like gz didn't work, we would have no data since almost all our information is compressed and extracted at some point in the process, particularly if we are using cloud or other storage mechanisms.

Being insane and external drives cheap, I'd save music as flacs and image the disks separately.

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16 hours ago, WMcD said:

 

Maybe I should ask, is there any reason not to use that WAV format?

 

Yes! Or AIFF.   Neither stores metadata, so if your files are migrated or shuffled around, you will have no artist/album/etc info at all.  

 

FLAC or apple lossless (essentially same thing) retain metadata.  I use those for CD storage.  Both convert back to a WAV/etc that is bit for bit identical to the original WAV, nulls completely if you pair up a polarity reversed copy with a normal copy.  

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ALAC for me, although just for the convenience of adding "pretty good" and "simple" for the process of ripping.   Sure is nice to see some new folks here that obviously know this area front to back. 

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You can save some metadata to wav files these days... didn't use to be true though.  I prefer FLAC... any player I care about using works great with it.  

 

EAC (Exact Audio Copy) has proven to me to be the most accurate CD ripper.  I've had CD's result with pops and clicks from other apps that were perfect from EAC.  Sometimes the CD is just too far gone and EAC can't recover it but I know from the results shown on screen not just later when I listen.  To compress to FLAC requires that you use the external compression program (FLAC encoder). There is a lot of instruction out there for EAC setup and use!  It took a while for me to sort through it all.  I'll try to post some links.

 

In EAC, I save  "CD Artist" as the root folder name and "CD Title" as folder under the first.  It gives you complete control to change the artist and title however you like.   That way you don't wind up with multiple folders when doing other albums by the same artist like "Simon and Garfunkel" and "Simon & Garfunkel."  Also, it is helpful to have it number each track with 2 digits (01, 02...) so that they will always show up in the right order no matter how you are viewing the album.  Once I have ripped the CD I will use other methods to copy additional metadata (Additional artists, publisher info, album art, and notes) to the files.  You can do the whole album at once with MediaMonkey for example but I know there are probably better applications for that.    If you do it this way, when you add additional artists to the metadata you will have your entire album in one folder but when searching by artist it will find the tracks by any included artist name.  

 

IMHO the only valid argument (audio quality related) for using WAV instead of FLAC is that it might take a little more processing power with FLAC files when they are played which could potentially affect the resulting sound.  This is going to vary by player and system though.  In my setup I could not discern a  difference.  

 

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16 hours ago, muel said:

 

IMHO the only valid argument (audio quality related) for using WAV instead of FLAC is that it might take a little more processing power with FLAC files when they are played which could potentially affect the resulting sound.  This is going to vary by player and system though.  In my setup I could not discern a  difference.  

 

Yes, everyone that has a 10 yr old single or dual core relegated to a music player, or worse yet, a ripped dvd player, should probably heed this.

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On 12/13/2017 at 3:55 AM, pzannucci said:

, I'd save music as flacs and image the disks separately.

^this for me...

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The worst it taking the time to rip them and a year later when you find one that is bad. Don't skimp on the software used to rip. I started and stopped the process a few times in the early 2000s. Found the best solution for me was FLAC ripped with EAC. Once you have them in FLAC you can easily make other smaller formats like any size .MP3.

 

EAC is a very accurate ripper. If you have a suspect bad CD you can have it test it and rip it. It also has the ability to compare rips to a central DB if you allow it.

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 I used wav lossless and stored on a Western Digital 2TB external drive. I've used about 1TB so far. Approx.1200 CD's. TO ME, the wav files sound much better than any compressed file. It's really easy to change formats and still have a good backup copy. Took me about a year(off and on)to complete them all. Good thing about my town, we have lots of thrift stores,flee markets and pawn shops. Most of them sell used cd"s(and vinyl) for 50 cents to a Dollar. On a good day I will come with 15 to 20 new(to me)CD's. Some in excellent condition and some not. Luckily I've had no trouble ripping,so far.

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Any more processors g power is too much imho. Uncompressed should be the first choic.  AIFF is chief among them. Wav and AIFF do the same re Sonics but AIFF maintains metadata. 

If archiving the only choice should be AIFF. Use iTunes to do the ripping with iTunes keeping itself organized.  Once ripped, copy the folder, then convert the copied folder to FLAC for the other purposes.  Music is becoming something we rent, if you own your music.  Converting it to digital files should be done in a format that provides the greatest bandwidth.  Compressed music uses algorithms to save space.  It’s never a bit for bit copy.  Absolute sound has done many articles showing that a ripped file in flac is not bit for bit.

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Wav - no question - a few times I compared flac and wav versions of the same track - and each time wav sounded better.

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