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Fiveos22
Jul 10, 2006, 08:43 PM
I just hooked up my new external harddrive (which has a very cushy amount of space) and I gots to thinkin'...

Should I re-rip my cd collection as Apple lossless files?

Reason: Currently, almost all of my music has been encoded at 192 kbps AAC and it sounds nice...however, I am looking towards the future, when I finally have a job and money and will be able to purchase an appropriate stereo system for listening to classical music (for those of you who may not know, classical music is one of the most finicky genres as far as digital playback is concerned...in my opinion). With Apple Lossless I will be able to have my music at cd quality and have the option to play it well through a high quality system.

Problem: Should I? Am I wasting my time (and or space)? Will this unnecessarily strain my laptop?

I would appreciate any comments or testimonials from the congregation, especially from peoples who have done (or contemplated) such things. I would like to consider myself an audiophile (I am quite picky about my music, especially my classical music) but would love to be chewed out by the audiophile crowd. For reference, here are some links to my music tastes:

My Audioscrobbler Statistics (http://www.last.fm/user/Fiveos22/)
My DailyTunes Recommendations (http://www.dailytunes.com/user.php?action=viewuser&userid=24798)



EvilBeans
Jul 10, 2006, 09:04 PM
As a non-iPod/non-iTunes using music lover, I prefer FLAC since it's not proprietary. Though, as I understand it, iTunes doesn't recognize FLAC.

In general, I'm a huge believer in ripping all my CD's to some lossless format to facilitate re-conversion to other lossy formats as they evolve and mature. If space becomes an issue, you can always burn your lossless files to DVD's. I typically convert from FLAC to Ogg Vorbis. This is tons faster and easier than flipping discs and re-ripping.

As far as strain on your laptop, actually playing lossless tunes require more hard drive activity and by extension more battery drain, but that's about the only "strain" you'd experience.

Just my $.02.

Yvan256
Jul 10, 2006, 09:46 PM
Except if you have an iPod shuffle, that is. There is a setting to compress files to 128kbps when uploading to the iPod shuffle.

What we need is a user setting to allow us to choose the format/bitrate for all iPods. So people like you could use Lossless on the desktop/laptop and (as an example) AAC/192kbps for their iPod. Or even separate settings for each iPod (ex: AAC/256kbps for my old G3/10GB iPod and AAC/96kbps for my 4GB iPod nano).

EricNau
Jul 10, 2006, 09:49 PM
I can't tell the difference, so I wouldn't, but if you can, I suppose it might be worth the extra time and space.

theBB
Jul 10, 2006, 10:12 PM
Even at 128kbps AAC is supposed to be almost lossless quality. If I were you, I would wait until I actually get that high end audio system and see if I can notice the difference between AAC and lossless. Lossless for the CDs that you will be ripping for the first time from now on (maybe), but why spend all that time for the tracks that you already have ripped if you may not even notice the difference.

ham_man
Jul 10, 2006, 10:28 PM
Wait until you get your stereo system, then do some blind tests with files of varying bit rates (Lossless, FLAC, 192 AAC, 256 AAC, 320 AAC, LAME APS, LAME APX, etc.) to determine what you should rip at. However, if your CD collection is not all that large, I would recommend just getting a nice stereo and a nice reciever with a nice CD player and just play your music using the original CD.

But that's just me...

TheAnswer
Jul 10, 2006, 10:39 PM
Depends what you goals are...I wouldn't personally do it unless I was going to put the physical CDs into storage or give them to charity or something. If the disks are going to be close, then might as well stick with the status quo for now.

Then like a couple posters have said, once you get the fancy system, see if you notice the difference. Even then, it's an issue of how much your time is worth...if I noticed a problem at that point I'd probably re-rip only the classical music.

unfaded
Jul 10, 2006, 10:44 PM
I've re-ripped everything in Lossless. I don't want to lose quality forever (and don't want to pay for a new copy...) if I lose a CD. End of story.

Counterfit
Jul 10, 2006, 10:54 PM
Save some money, and go to concerts. Support your local musicians and music students! :D

Fiveos22
Jul 10, 2006, 10:58 PM
Wait until you get your stereo system, then do some blind tests with files of varying bit rates (Lossless, FLAC, 192 AAC, 256 AAC, 320 AAC, LAME APS, LAME APX, etc.) to determine what you should rip at. However, if your CD collection is not all that large, I would recommend just getting a nice stereo and a nice reciever with a nice CD player and just play your music using the original CD.

But that's just me...

I just passed the 11111 track mark, and while not all of those are cd rippings (iTMS purchases, recorded lectures, stuff I found on the internets) the cd ripped tracks are definately the most listened to items in my library.

I've re-ripped everything in Lossless. I don't want to lose quality forever (and don't want to pay for a new copy...) if I lose a CD. End of story.

That is more along my line of thinking. But I have to get up early tomorrow, so I'll have all day tomorrow at work to mull this over some more. Thanks for your input.

rick6502
Jul 10, 2006, 11:03 PM
I have gone through the daunting task of re-ripping over 600 cd's from various formats to Apple Lossless. I also did it because I wanted the best quality, and I can tell the difference. It's a subtle improvement, but I feel notice it. The only bad thing was that Apple Lossless still takes a lot of space. I ran out of space way before I thought I would. My advice is to RIP new cd's in as you go in Apple Lossless and any CD's that you feel warrant the higher fidelity. I found that Apple Lossless did nothing for old analog 50's recordings, but really improved nice digital classical recordings.

ham_man
Jul 10, 2006, 11:30 PM
I just passed the 11111 track mark
Oh snap...guess my advice won't work any more... :o

Here's my secondary plan - get a big external drive (like 500 GB big). Rip all your music to that external drive in Lossless. Continue ripping at 192 AAC for the collection on your computer. Enjoy. :)

Fiveos22
Jul 11, 2006, 12:15 AM
Save some money, and go to concerts. Support your local musicians and music students! :D

If only I could take the musicians with me while I'm running...strangely enough, most musical folk I know are not terribly athletic.

Sesshi
Jul 11, 2006, 03:30 PM
Long reply. Sorry.

On moving to the Mac, I bit the bullet and transcoded all my FLACs so far ripped to Apple Lossless (ALAC) and started to exclusively use iTunes. Result: Seamless sync and playback on a unified audio platform capable of outputting high-quality audio that people using - oh let's pick a totally random example for the benefit of the alien in this thread, (The non-Mac owning / non-iPod owning EvilBeans) say the super-reliable Rio Music Manager for Windows ;) - can only dream of. ALAC may be partially proprietary but it is well supported for third-party decoding and now even for encoding, not secured, and can be readily transcoded into other formats. The benefits it provides in iTunes/iPod combination made it a no-brainer for me.

I still have a large amount of music stored in MP3, and this was being slowly replaced by FLAC (and now ALAC). I've also become far more selective about ripping my CD's as previously I've been ripping everything left, right and centre regardless of whether I might ever be listening to it or not. This has resulted in my collection growing at a manageable pace.

The major theoretical (and if I was honest, still practical ones) bugbears of total ALAC use was the issue of iPod battery life with lossless, and the consequent possible heed to host dual lossy/lossless libraries. It's a fact that on any portable player which supports it, lossless cripples battery life. The iPod in general is better at it than some, but the 30Gb 5G is a bit too much of a compromise for everyday use for lossless. I don't really have leeway in terms of forgetting to shut off albums / OTG playlists at different times in the day because the battery runs flat. I might trade my iPod in for a 60Gb if only for that. Up til recently I assembled a hugely expensive PC-based system to administer a dual music library but the geeking / testing involved (and the flashing blue lights :p ) proved untenable in the end. I'd much rather take the ALAC 'workflow' offered through iTunes, enjoy the decent quality be it at home or outside, live with the battery hit for ALAC and spend less time worrying over how it gets done.

For portable use of course from a practical point of view ALAC is a complete waste of time. At home, there is a difference. Honestly speaking not a huge difference if I'm listening casually, but I argue what's the point of deliberately holding back the last 5% from your high-end system with compressed audio, no matter how high a bitrate? Considering how often I have music coming out of mostly fixed sources I figured it was a compromise I could live with as far the downside with the iPod was concerned. And perhaps in a deviation from other people's experiences, I regard my CD's as my archive and not the other way around. To that end I'm extremely careful with my discs. In my 'home office' my Macbook Pro is fitted with a pro audio card and that goes to my integrated amp and a pair of decent speakers. In my living room, there's another pro audio card fitted to the Mac Mini which goes to a DAC, then a pre/power combo and another decent set of speakers. My bedroom system is a Macbook hooked up to a small set of powered monitors although that'll change sooner or later (a Mini in a cabinet going out to a midsized LCD TV is planned).

All of my existing Macs currently share the ALAC/MP3/AAC mixed library hosted by a Windows 2003 server (with only the Mini allowed to rip). In a bid to simplify (and totally silence) my storage the Windows server is being tossed out shortly, to be replaced with a single-drive silent NAS with a 400Gb HDD. The NAS I've ordered (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822107001) (and others too) allow the storage to be expanded by additional USB/eSATA HDD's, as well as being able to act in a multi-NAS scenario. This is my eventual plan, to have silent NAS's dotted around the place hosting different media. And eventually, I expect my entire library to be ALAC.

dancormier
Jul 11, 2006, 04:15 PM
I just hooked up my new external harddrive (which has a very cushy amount of space) and I gots to thinkin'...

Should I re-rip my cd collection as Apple lossless files?

Reason: Currently, almost all of my music has been encoded at 192 kbps AAC and it sounds nice...however, I am looking towards the future, when I finally have a job and money and will be able to purchase an appropriate stereo system for listening to classical music (for those of you who may not know, classical music is one of the most finicky genres as far as digital playback is concerned...in my opinion). With Apple Lossless I will be able to have my music at cd quality and have the option to play it well through a high quality system.

Problem: Should I? Am I wasting my time (and or space)? Will this unnecessarily strain my laptop?




Well I know where you are coming from. I tried to replace my vinyl with CDs years ago. It is just fine with rock, but there is something very cold about listening to Puccini on compact disc. Compressing it further is just an unpleasant experience. If you are listening on an airplane or in your car, 192 is OK, otherwise it is terrible. Have you considered SACD for your classical? It is well worth the money with classical or opera.

EvilBeans
Jul 11, 2006, 04:25 PM
Well said, Sesshi.

And for the record, Rio Music Manager does a good job of transferring songs while avoiding duplicates and a fair job of ripping to FLAC, but that's about it. It is pretty useless for much of anything else. I do have to use seperate software for building custom auto-updating playlists, but it works for me.

As far as choice of codec, can't fault you there. Even dbpoweramp supports ALAC. So, for all the reasons you mentioned, ALAC sure seems a no-brainer in your situation.

ps. Thanks for helping me feel so welcome. :D

Squareball
Jul 11, 2006, 04:35 PM
EvilBeans: Why would you rip a CD to lossless and then if you are worried about space, then burn those to DVD? I don't get it. Why not just keep the CD around and convert to lossy formats from that?

EvilBeans
Jul 11, 2006, 04:50 PM
EvilBeans: Why would you rip a CD to lossless and then if you are worried about space, then burn those to DVD? I don't get it. Why not just keep the CD around and convert to lossy formats from that?

I'm not worried about space at all right now. My music collection is practically microscopic compared to some. I do it for easy re-compressing to other codecs later on. I just prefer it to using the source CDs.

I will say this, it makes for a good alternative for scratched up CDs. I have a couple in really bad shape that took EAC hours to rip. Now that I have working tracks stored lossless, I should never have to go through that again.

The other scenario that happens a lot less often: I'll buy a CD, rip it to FLAC then convert to mp3, only to find that it has some gapless transitions that sound much better in Ogg Vorbis. It takes me less than half as long to reconvert the FLAC to Ogg as it does to re-rip from the CD to Ogg.

netdog
Jul 11, 2006, 04:58 PM
First rule of archiving digital media: always archive at the highest resolution possible, in this case 44.1

I ripped my entire CD collection into Apple Lossless so that I could use iTunes, easily convert from that to an AAC 192VBR library for my iPod, and have the Lossless files as an archive. I have three drives, each of which holds a copy of my collection, and keep one drive off-site. 1200 CDs took a bit over 400GB.

The good news is that I have gotten rid of all my CDs. I play the ALAC files across AirTunes to my stereo, and my iPod is all setup now. I also keep a limited library of the AAC files on my MB.

I have had this setup for about 4 months, and I don't regret anything about the way that I did it. Just be sure to find a good deal on drives (I used ATA) and put them in cases yourself (I used Icy Box enclosures). The best thing is that other than when I rip a new CD, I never touch the damn things anymore, and have a lot more space in my apartment now.

Sesshi
Jul 11, 2006, 05:08 PM
Knowing what can befall even multi-backed-up copies especially if you use automated methods of syncing them (been there, done that, lost the FLACs and not realised it until too late), I would never get rid of my CD's.

oexel
Jul 11, 2006, 05:44 PM
I would rip it all to lossless and if you have an intel mac, i'd recommend you use EAC to rip rip a reference copy of your music. It's a one time deal so you might as well go all the way. Also, dont forget that with classical music your lossless bitrates will be surprisingly low. Some of my classical cds are losslessly compressed with bitrates under 320!

As far as hearing a difference, it is noticable with the right equipment. With ~$100 headphones i couldnt tell the difference. Likewise with your typical consumer stereo (remember that the cheap dac in your mac is the weakest link thereby anulling any improvements).

On my currents sytem I notice ear fatique using mp3s and just generally dont enjoy and get into the music into it as much. I cant necessarily say what's missing cuz I dont think it's consistent. After 10-20 minutes of mp3s however, I'm ready to shut off the stereo as opposed to lossless music which I usually enjoy for longer. Dare I mention that I'm using martin logans driven by nad silver series over built-in toslink...not exactly a cheap system!

Fiveos22
Jul 11, 2006, 07:09 PM
First rule of archiving digital media: always archive at the highest resolution possible, in this case 44.1

I ripped my entire CD collection into Apple Lossless so that I could use iTunes, easily convert from that to an AAC 192VBR library for my iPod, and have the Lossless files as an archive. I have three drives, each of which holds a copy of my collection, and keep one drive off-site. 1200 CDs took a bit over 400GB.

The good news is that I have gotten rid of all my CDs. I play the ALAC files across AirTunes to my stereo, and my iPod is all setup now. I also keep a limited library of the AAC files on my MB.

I have had this setup for about 4 months, and I don't regret anything about the way that I did it. Just be sure to find a good deal on drives (I used ATA) and put them in cases yourself (I used Icy Box enclosures). The best thing is that other than when I rip a new CD, I never touch the damn things anymore, and have a lot more space in my apartment now.

That's a hell of a set up. Triple redundancy, you must be a military man. I'm still in a nomadic unsettled stage of life, I can't do the triple redundancy super sweet setup just yet, but thanks for the idea.

Have you considered SACD for your classical? It is well worth the money with classical or opera.

I have eyed it longingly for a while; however, I am staring down very large student loans for med school right now...so I am trying to put it out of my mind for, say, four years until I have some non-borrowed cash to work with. The technology may be on to something else entirely in four years.

In the mean time, I think I'll just keep my cds as the archive-backup and hide them so that they do not get ruined, while continuing to rip new music at 192 AAC. You know how pipe dreams are...just smoke. Thanks for your input.

EvilBeans
Jul 11, 2006, 07:29 PM
I am staring down very large student loans for med school right now...

One of the truly noble professions. That's a heck of a lot of work and a huge time commitment. I have the utmost respect for anyone who gets through med school in one piece. Good luck with the rest of school and whatever you decide to do afterwards.

By then, we'll probably be pining away for 8 GB MRAM (http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/ptech/07/10/magnetic.memory.ap/index.html)players. :p

Sesshi
Jul 12, 2006, 03:20 AM
My previous setup has been a RAID5 notebook-drive array backed up to an offsite NAS and a locally attached hard disk. Having your backups all 'live' is a very dangerous thing I discovered because sync or library errors can cascade down through your backups and you might not realise until too late. These days I use Retrospect for true backup ability and ability to step back.

On the subject of SACD, personally I don't think it's worth it. There are some great recordings to be had, but it's the 'I think I'm being conned' aspect I don't like, especially on dual layer SACD's. Many's the time that I feel the CD layer's been deliberately held back to make SACD seem better. And many 5.1 recordings are inadequately miked so that the staging realism is barely better than regular stereo. I like the idea but finding recordings that truly justify SACD's is really hard work - harder than it should be.

netdog
Jul 12, 2006, 03:25 AM
That's a hell of a set up. Triple redundancy, you must be a military man. I'm still in a nomadic unsettled stage of life, I can't do the triple redundancy super sweet setup just yet, but thanks for the idea.


Actaully, I am just a homeopath, but I had already invested an enormous amount into my CD collection over the last 20 years, and music is very important to me. Losing that data would be an absolute disaster, hence the triple backup.

I would have done only two, but I learned as a system administrator while I was in school that keeping a backup off-site is essential if you absolutely must not lose your data. Burst pipes. Fire. There are so many ways to lose the data you keep at home.

Fiveos22
Jul 12, 2006, 01:07 PM
Actaully, I am just a homeopath, but I had already invested an enormous amount into my CD collection over the last 20 years, and music is very important to me. Losing that data would be an absolute disaster, hence the triple backup.

I would have done only two, but I learned as a system administrator while I was in school that keeping a backup off-site is essential if you absolutely must not lose your data. Burst pipes. Fire. There are so many ways to lose the data you keep at home.


Interesting, the only time I've lost data on any of the past five computers I've used, was when I did something stupid...such as breaking my backup DVD or accidentally deleting something. I suppose as far as catastrophes are concerned, I've been blessed.

Angelus520
Jul 12, 2006, 02:13 PM
Just rip them as AIFF files and be done with it. Then you won't have to worry about reripping them in the future. You can get a 500GB drive from OWC for $299 complete. Then just convert them to 128k AAC for your iPod.

CANEHDN
Jul 12, 2006, 05:34 PM
waste of time, in my opinion

bug
Jul 12, 2006, 06:38 PM
Well I know where you are coming from. I tried to replace my vinyl with CDs years ago. It is just fine with rock, but there is something very cold about listening to Puccini on compact disc. Compressing it further is just an unpleasant experience. If you are listening on an airplane or in your car, 192 is OK, otherwise it is terrible. Have you considered SACD for your classical? It is well worth the money with classical or opera.

I agree with your sentiment completely, but I think there are ways to get by with just CDs. One of the things I have against vinyl and SACDs in general is that I have to deal with a physical object - yes, basically I am saying I'm too lazy to get off my ass all the time to change the disk. I do own vinyl and think its hard to beat, so don't get me wrong.

Now, both of my following statements could get me flamed to cremation, but this is just how I feel:

Most CD players (and digital devices in general) have pretty bad DACs. This has a much larger impact on sound than you might think, IMHO. Getting a dedicated external DAC might help.

The other suggestion, which I'm sure will bring about calls of heresy, is that I actually like what tubes do to CDs. Yes, tubes add distortion - I just happen to think that the distortion they add is really nice and helps to combat the 'coldness' you talk about with CDs.

I also think that the argument against tubes is pretty valid, like I say - I know they are adding distortion and I happen to like the specific distortion they add. I'm in the minority. I use an X-10v3 as it just adds a hint of tubi-goodness.

YMMV

EDIT: The reason using CDs means you don't need a physical object is that its much easier to rip them lossless than vinyl or SACDs. ...just in case I sounded crazy.

JeffGilly
Jul 13, 2006, 08:36 AM
Save some money, and go to concerts. Support your local musicians and music students! :D
:rolleyes: Why are you on this forum?:p

Diatribe
Jul 13, 2006, 09:29 AM
Just do it. If you ever get a really nice stereo or some nice headphones you'll be glad you did. As for Aiff over ALAC, I can't hear the difference, not on Grado RS-1 headphones nor on B&W 801 speakers. Maybe I'm deaf, but for me it sounds the same. Now compressed files sounds like **** on those systems.

JonHimself
Jul 13, 2006, 07:59 PM
I just finished doing this. I then dumped the Apple Lossless ontop an external drive and ripped everything to 192 AAC to keep on my notebook (and ipod). The main reason I did this was that if I have to re-rip cds for whatever reason I don't have to worry about physically switching from cd to cd to cd to cd over and over again; keeping them on the external drive means they will all be in one place. Eventually I'll probably burn the Lossless onto DVD's just to have a back-up copy incase the external drive fails or whatever else could go wrong. I say if you have the space and the time to do it, then do it... you really won't be hurt by going through the process (other than, like I said, by using time and HD space)

Fiveos22
Jul 13, 2006, 08:55 PM
I just finished doing this. I then dumped the Apple Lossless ontop an external drive and ripped everything to 192 AAC to keep on my notebook (and ipod). The main reason I did this was that if I have to re-rip cds for whatever reason I don't have to worry about physically switching from cd to cd to cd to cd over and over again; keeping them on the external drive means they will all be in one place. Eventually I'll probably burn the Lossless onto DVD's just to have a back-up copy incase the external drive fails or whatever else could go wrong. I say if you have the space and the time to do it, then do it... you really won't be hurt by going through the process (other than, like I said, by using time and HD space)


Only about half of my digital music collection is at 192 AAC and I'm tipping the scales at 59 gigs and change. There is no way I could have my whole collection at 192 and fit it onto my laptop's harddrive.

I think I'll pick and choose.

Baron58
Jul 13, 2006, 09:00 PM
I have an iPod solely for use in my car with a DICE interface to the head unit. I wanted pure CD quality, so I ripped CDs into iTunes as AIFF (NOT Apple Lossless), and now have 30gig of AIFFs on my iPod that are completely indistinguishable from CD.

ham_man
Jul 13, 2006, 09:14 PM
I have an iPod solely for use in my car with a DICE interface to the head unit. I wanted pure CD quality, so I ripped CDs into iTunes as AIFF (NOT Apple Lossless), and now have 30gig of AIFFs on my iPod that are completely indistinguishable from CD.
They're prolly indistinguishable using LAME MP3 set at --alt-preset standard... ;)

Sesshi
Jul 14, 2006, 02:18 AM
It depends on what you're using but in most portable (and I'd say in-car situations) 192K AAC should be virtually indistinguishable from AIFF. However many self-proclaimed audiophiles declare themselves able to tell the difference, despite environmental conditions dictating otherwise. Whatever shakes your booty as it were.

AIFF = ALAC in terms of quality. Decompress ALAC and you get AIFF, and the decompression is not exactly placing the portable under stress, nor is it subject to error as long as the file is intact. I guess it's more compatible but there's not really that much sense in using it in an operational sense compared to ALAC.

garybx
Aug 9, 2006, 05:30 PM
I'm getting ready to start a massive task of ripping my CDs and am looking for some guidance so that I don't waste time having to do this more than once!

I've got over 10,000 CDs (and about 5,000 LPs that I probably won't live long enough to rip). I've already bought a 400GB external drive. That would probably be big enough to hold all my CDs if I encode to 128 kbps AAC (or maybe even 192 kbps AAC). However, since I will eventually get a high-end networking device (maybe a Slim Devices Transporter), it would be nice to have all my music in a lossless format (ALAC). I guess I could rip the CDs to ALAC and then convert all those files to AAC for the iPod. But the necessary disk space is VERY high!

Can iTunes access the songs if they are spread across multiple hard drives? If so, can you point me to a source of further info about the process.

Thanks,
Gary

IscariotJ
Aug 14, 2006, 04:47 AM
Can iTunes access the songs if they are spread across multiple hard drives? If so, can you point me to a source of further info about the process.

I'm guessing the only way this can done ( unless you don't mind multiple libraries, there's an app on Doug's Scripts that will handle that ), is to use symlinks ( ln -s ). It shouldn't be that hard to knock up a script to create the links so that you don't have to create them by hand.

ehayut
Aug 14, 2006, 08:05 PM
I consider myself to have a pretty good ear, and feel like 160kbps is as good as CD quality. I think lossless is a waste of space, and it's entirely psychological when people think higher bit rates than 160 actually have an improvement in sound quality

Xeem
Aug 14, 2006, 11:51 PM
If your collection was in 128 AAC, I'd say that re-ripping might be worth it. But at 192 kbps, I think that your songs are close enough to CD quality that you'd have to go very high-end (read: insanely expensive) with your stereo system to tell the difference.