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Old 07-11-2012, 14:44   #1
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Ripping audio CD's. MP3, FLAC and WAV.

I got a nice little Creative XFi-2 with 32Gb of memory for a Christmas present and ripped all of my audio CD's to MP3 (a few weeks worth) and loaded them on. All looked good but I found I never wanted to use it.

Eventually I decided to try ripping a few CD's as WAV files and these would load but not play.

A bit more research and it appears FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) could be the way to go.

So a few more weeks sorting out those CD's that I really wanted to listen to again and ripping them into FLAC (I'm about half way through) and I'm finding that the FLAC is much more pleasant to listen to.

It's not been a simple process. I've had been using Windows Media Player but it does not support FLAC, and none of the other Audio software that I tried was as good so I reloaded Creative Central which does the trick with the occasional missed beat.

However it has been a lengthy and frustrating process and I've been wondering if any other members have had better luck?
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Old 07-11-2012, 14:48   #2
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Re: Ripping audio CD's. MP3, FLAC and WAV.

Winamp supports ripping and playing FLAC format out of the box and has been a go-to audio program for a great many years. I'd give it a try.
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Old 07-11-2012, 16:03   #3
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Re: Ripping audio CD's. MP3, FLAC and WAV.

Apple lossless (supported by I-tunes) is the same quality as flac - dead easy to use. Maybe you'll have better luck with that.
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Old 07-11-2012, 17:38   #4
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Re: Ripping audio CD's. MP3, FLAC and WAV.

Try NCH Switch, which is usually "on sale" if you don't go to buy it after the 14 day trial times out.

While any lossless format should give you comparable sound quality, there are plenty of subtle issues. FLAC isn't widely supported. WAV doesn't allow tag editing in the vast majority of applications. And most apps that rip to MP3 also manage to lose or mangle track information. Switch seems to preserve it better than most.

All MP3s aren't created the same though. There's a "newish" form called MP3 VBR, variable bit rate, where you can select the quality-vs-compression (except in Windows Media Player, crude old POS) and other options. If you select MP3 VBR, and a quality of -2 (from 0 to -10, 0 being no compression and no quality loss) you will be hard pressed to hear any degradation in any real situation with background noise and under $200 earphones. You may be able to go to -4 without hearing any difference, I can barely hear what might be a difference but again in the real world--that may be good enough.
A good VBR MP3 rip tool offers you choices like "joint stereo" vs real stereo (better & larger) and "old" vs "fast" conversion algorithms (old being more accurate) so the options can make a big difference but they are not hard to understand.
Having spent a lot of time and effort looking into this and doing it, I can only say MP3 VBR -2 using the old slow algorithm and real stereo is a hands-down flat winner for anyone unless they have outstanding young ears and a reference grade audio system. In a portable player, with any kind of ambient noise? Winner!
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Old 07-11-2012, 19:15   #5
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Re: Ripping audio CD's. MP3, FLAC and WAV.

MediaMonkey » Free Media Jukebox, Music Manager, CD Ripper & Converter will handle pretty much any format.
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Old 07-11-2012, 19:26   #6
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Re: Ripping audio CD's. MP3, FLAC and WAV.

I'm with dan360. MediaMonkey is really the best bet for the money.
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Old 07-11-2012, 20:26   #7
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Re: Ripping audio CD's. MP3, FLAC and WAV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Target9000 View Post
Winamp supports ripping and playing FLAC format out of the box and has been a go-to audio program for a great many years. I'd give it a try.
I've used Winamp for years and it has never failed me when ripping or listening to music but I have over 100gb of music and it doesn't always like that. I'll have to look into that MediaMonkey.
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Old 07-11-2012, 21:37   #8
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Re: Ripping audio CD's. MP3, FLAC and WAV.

I've used Exact Audio Copy and I like it. Does the basic ripping job to FLAC without any hassles. No matter which ripper I've used, I still have to massage the collection's tags and album art, especially for my classical and jazz CDs which are often European or Japanese imports.
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