Recommended process for CD->Lossless for play by ATV?

Dan--

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 30, 2008
237
23
I plan to rip my collection to a lossless format to eventually play through an Apple TV to digital-in on my home stereo (HT) system, and am looking for recommendations on an easy to use, reliable process for ripping, organizing, managing and playing the collection.

I have both a Macbook (Tiger) and a PC desktop (XP), and have been using EAC on the PC for nice file naming and confirmation of the ripping process, so going to FLAC should be pretty straightforward. I have up till now, generally ripped to roughly 192-256kbps VBR mp3s, but want to go full lossless at this point for the home stereo. I have been using mp3gain to balance volume amongst albums.

If I understand correctly, ATV/iTunes will not do FLAC out of the box, but there are options for playing FLAC on the ATV or for converting them to ALAC.

I have an external drive for my lossless media that will probably be attached to an AEBS, and any streaming controlled by iTunes on the PC, or perhaps I'll wind up with something like Boxee or one of the other hacks. In addition, I plan to keep the existing (compressed) libraries for use on portable media (various iPods and phones) and on the Macbook.

I guesstimate that I have roughly 400 CDs, so I figure I'll have about 120GB of data when I'm done, which should fit right on the ATV w/o needing to stream the music.

----

So what do you recommend to rip, archive, locate missing artwork, manage, and play (etc.)?

Can lossless files be balanced for volume without losing quality? What are your recommendations there? (For quality reference, I definitely don't have perfect hearing, but I do appear to be one of the few people that can hear subtle differences.)


Thank you very much!

Dan
 

Alrescha

macrumors 68020
Jan 1, 2008
2,157
315
I agree with ChrisA,

go to iTunes Preferences, General Tab, next to "When you insert a CD" choose Import and Eject.

Click Import Settings and next to "Import Using:" choose Apple Lossless Encoder.

I check the "Use error correction" box.

The process? Wash and dry a few CDs, start feeding them to iTunes. Go wash a few more. Repeat until done. You're ready for Apple TV.

A.
 

spice weasel

macrumors 65816
Jul 25, 2003
1,255
9
The process? Wash and dry a few CDs, start feeding them to iTunes. Go wash a few more. Repeat until done. You're ready for Apple TV.

A.
Are your discs so dirty that they need to be washed? I have CDs that are 25 years old that still look pristine. Touch them by the edges only and be careful not to scratch them. Pretty simple.
 

Alrescha

macrumors 68020
Jan 1, 2008
2,157
315
Are your discs so dirty that they need to be washed? I have CDs that are 25 years old that still look pristine. Touch them by the edges only and be careful not to scratch them. Pretty simple.
Let's see, we are going to spend hours ripping a set of CDs. We are choosing to rip to a lossless format in order to preserve the best possible quality we can manage. We have checked the box to slow down the process in order to let error correction have the greatest chance of reading the media accurately.

Why would you not want them to be clean as well?

A.
 

kiranmk2

macrumors 6502a
Oct 4, 2008
872
363
Don't use itunes to rip - it doesn't error check as thouroughly as secure rippers such as EAC and DBPoweramp (Windows) and XLD (Mac). If you're going to spend a large amount of time doing this you may as well get it right first time.

I've just ripped my parents' CDs to ALAC using DBPoweramp (can convert straight to ALAC but I'm not sure if EAC can).
 

GermanSuplex

macrumors 6502a
Aug 26, 2009
996
13,235
^I agree.

Make it a rip-once process so you won't ever have to wonder if you got faulty rips. Use dBpowerAMP with Accurate Rip results to rip to ALAC (make sure the verify option is ticked). Then you'll have perfect lossless rips which you can add to iTunes and tag.

You can also use EAC, though I find dBpowerAMP's interface and ALAC converting to be the better option.
 

Dan--

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 30, 2008
237
23
Thank you all,

Despite the ease of using Apple's import mechanism, I'm still leaning towards using a secure ripper, probably something with AccurateRip. I've gotten turned off by occasional pops or other artifacts when it doesn't go perfectly. Maybe if only I had washed my CDs first ;-).

I'm kind of leaning towards using EAC, as I think I located an ALAC encoder for it (ITUNESENCODE.EXE - see http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=57124). Also, I'm comfortable with the interface for EAC, and like the naming convention I was able to set up for the resultant files.

But I am interested in specifically what you guys like about dBpowerAMP (in particular versus EAC). Maybe I'll switch if it makes enough of a difference.

Has anyone used AACGain (based on mp3gain for MP4 and M4A) or iGain (see http://www.rarewares.org/aac-encoders.php). They seem like they might do the trick for normalizing the volume. But does anyone know if it does this in a lossless manner?

Any other tips or tricks for managing, artwork, etc...?

Thanks again,

Dan
 

mhdena

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2009
504
84
I've ripped over 500 cds using Apple lossless, worked fine.

Never even heard about washing cds until this thread :eek:
 

GermanSuplex

macrumors 6502a
Aug 26, 2009
996
13,235
But I am interested in specifically what you guys like about dBpowerAMP (in particular versus EAC). Maybe I'll switch if it makes enough of a difference.
I like dBpowerAMP because it's ALAC encoder is nice, and gives you an option to verify the files for integrity which takes no time at all. I also prefer the interface to EAC... its a bit easier for me, but this just comes down to preference. Both are pretty solid programs. You can also set up a file location/naming method for dBpowerAMP.

Has anyone used AACGain (based on mp3gain for MP4 and M4A) or iGain (see http://www.rarewares.org/aac-encoders.php). They seem like they might do the trick for normalizing the volume. But does anyone know if it does this in a lossless manner?
I encode my lossy files to mp3, and don't worry about gaining my lossless files, so I don't use AACGain, but if it works like mp3gain it's totally lossless and reversible. It's not re-encoding the file, just adding some information to make the song play back at a different volume.

Here's the steps I take:
I rip to ALAC, or encode my lossless audio from concert DVDs to ALAC, add to iTunes, and tag. These files are just for archiving and making lossy files. I have one library for all my lossless files. This library is just for managing my lossless files and purchased music, I don't sync anything with it or use it for listening. It's strictly for archiving and creating lossy encodes.

I convert to mp3 with the Lame encoder.

I gain the files to 89db (album volume, to retain the volume differences between tracks). I add them to iTunes. I then use iVolume to change the iTunes soundcheck volume to 95db for each track. This way, if I listen to an album, I turn soundcheck off and hear the album at an album volume of 89db. If I am just shuffling random track,s I turn soundcheck on and all tracks play back at 95db.

Any other tips or tricks for managing, artwork, etc...?
Just rip to ALAC and add the files to iTunes for tagging. That's pretty much what I do. dBpowerAMP writes the Accurate Rip results into the tag field, which is nice, or you can save the rip logs, which is what I did (though I'm thinking of just deleting them. I have the results written in the comment field and also in the tag dBpowerAMP adds).
 

kiranmk2

macrumors 6502a
Oct 4, 2008
872
363
Originally I ripped my CDs to 192 kbps VBR mp3 with EAC/LAME. I didn't have enough disk space to rip to lossless at the time so I will probably sit down and re-rip to ALAC over Christmas. I want to encode lossy files as 256 kbps VBR AAC as compatibility with this standard has improved a lot since I last ripped (2005).

My parents' collection has shown that the lossless and converting to AAC proceeds very well.
 

wywern209

macrumors 65832
Sep 7, 2008
1,503
0
do you rly want to know?
i just use itunes to rip to ALAC. i've never had a need for dbpoweramp or anything. i listen to the CDs before ripping to make sure no skipping tracks. i also rip right after buying so i can make sure to get the best rip i can.
 

GermanSuplex

macrumors 6502a
Aug 26, 2009
996
13,235
i just use itunes to rip to ALAC. i've never had a need for dbpoweramp or anything. i listen to the CDs before ripping to make sure no skipping tracks. i also rip right after buying so i can make sure to get the best rip i can.
For the most part, this is not a problem. But even on brand new CDs that look to be in pristine quality, there can still be errors on the disc. Out of about 300+ CD's, I had two that were in new condition and had errors on them. I bought them used from Amazon and they ripped fine without errors.

Other CD's I ripped with iTunes, even ones that looked good, gave me audible errors. This happened on about 20 of the discs. I buy a lot of used CDs at the local record shop, so some have scratches. With dBpowerAMP, ripping was no issue. They ripped accurately and without errors. These same discs gave me problems when ripped with iTunes.

I'd say for 90% of rips iTunes is probably fine, but if someone is going to go through the hassle of ripping directly to lossless and storing their discs, they may as well get the full benefits of their labors and rip securely/accurately with EAC/dBpowerAMP or something similar.
 

wysinawyg

macrumors member
Aug 3, 2009
67
1
I'd say for 90% of rips iTunes is probably fine, but if someone is going to go through the hassle of ripping directly to lossless and storing their discs, they may as well get the full benefits of their labors and rip securely/accurately with EAC/dBpowerAMP or something similar.
But thats 90% from someone who buys a lot of second hand stuff. For someone with a new, pristine collection you're probably looking a lot higher than that.

Seems to me to make more sense to go with the quick and easy route to get evrything on there and then worry about the <10% with issues once you are >90% in with minimum hassles.

But then I'm now converted to the "no point in ripping lossless" camp anyway.
 

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