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Best lossless ripping for Mac
Sabeque
post May 1 2012, 21:33
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Hi,

I've done a lot of searching on this topic and links keep pointing to this forum, so I believe the people here know their stuff. smile.gif

I apologize if this has been already addressed. I see similar questions and threads but not one for my specific situation. A lot of the data out there also seems to be very subjective, overwhelming and/or confusing. I also apologize for all of the info but I want to be thorough. smile.gif

Objective:
Rip CD collection in highest quality possible to lossless format (as yet undefined).

Factors:
~ I'm on a Mac and from what I've read XLD is the best option for accurate rips.
~ I want to be able to tag my files with Artist, Track name, etc. and want compatibility with iTunes without plugins or workarounds, so FLAC is not an option for me.
~ My music is mostly electronic and hip hop (not sure if this makes a difference when choosing the lossless format or conversion settings).
~ Larger file size is not a concern for me. Quality is. HD space is cheap.
~ Many of my CDs are mixed, i.e. gapless.

Purpose:
~ To have the highest quality digital backup possible. Many of my CDs are rare or irreplaceable promos. A few are also older and have begun to degrade. I want to convert everything now in the best quality I can so that I can save my music indefinitely.
~ After the CDs degrade more I need another source as close as possible to the original. Therefore I want to have lossless files that I can listen to or use whenever I need to create a lossy (MP3) version for my iPhone.

Questions:
~ When trying to convert some CDs in iTunes, some tracks were not converted at all because the CDs were degraded (no scratches, just old). I am hoping XLD can use error correction to "fix" these issues. Does XLD do this kind of correction?
~ I have heard ALAC may not be a good choice because of a theoretical "jitter" issue which compromises quality. Is this true?
~ Assuming AIFF is the best choice based on the factors above, what would be the best settings? I see a lot of tutorials for FLAC conversion but not for AIFF. When I checked the Wiki page comparing lossless formats I also did not see any AIFF reference there.
~ XLD has an option that says somethign about C2 error pointers (if your dirve supports this). How do I know if my drive supports this?
~ If you rip a gapless CD to multiple lossless tracks and then later convert those lossless files to mp3, can you join the tracks as one file when converting to mp3 so that you can remove the gaps? I've had problems playing gapless albums as multiple tracks in mp3 format on my iphone.

Thanks!
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Sabeque
post May 2 2012, 20:53
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One more question:

Let's say I rip a gapless cd to ALAC (either one file with a cue or separate tracks as individual files), then later the original CD no longer exists because it's degraded, so I want to make another.

If I convert the ALAC to AIFF (PCM) and then burn to a blank CD, will I end up with a bit perfect copy of the original CD I ripped from? I assume that if I follow this procedure (because all conversions were lossless) this would be the case, however are there factors such as drive issues, software errors etc. that can cause the burned CD to NOT be a perfect facsimile of the original? If so, how common are these issues and can I avoid them by choice of conversion and/or burning software, or other precautions?

Thanks again smile.gif
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Porcus
post May 3 2012, 08:40
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QUOTE (Sabeque @ May 2 2012, 21:53) *
Let's say I rip a gapless cd to ALAC (either one file with a cue or separate tracks as individual files), then later the original CD no longer exists because it's degraded, so I want to make another.

If I convert the ALAC to AIFF (PCM) and then burn to a blank CD, will I end up with a bit perfect copy of the original CD I ripped from? I assume that if I follow this procedure (because all conversions were lossless) this would be the case, however are there factors such as drive issues, software errors etc. that can cause the burned CD to NOT be a perfect facsimile of the original?


Of course you could get a failure in the writing process (fifteen years ago, CD burning would involve holding your breath and staring at the progress meter with fingers crossed and mentally reciting a magic formula or a prayer or a contract with the Devil on your immortal soul). It is tempting to say «choose a 'verify' option in the burning application and do not worry».

But if you want the nitpicker story, there are issues where your burned CD would be 'distinguishable from the original' (as if it weren't already by visual inspection):

- Some rippers and drives might not catch 'hidden track one' a.k.a. 'hidden track 0', that is, in track 1 index 0 -- bonus tracks which you have to rewind to catch. If they are not captured upon ripping, they are lost. I am not sure whether all burning suites support them adequately, and I am not sure if all hardware do.
- 'EnhancedCD' with data? If you copy the data session to hard drive, you would usually not get it written back the same place on the burned CD.
- Unless you generate cues sheet upon ripping, you will not store index points. That's 'subchannel', not audio. If that information is lost, then you cannot write it back to the CD.
- Same goes for pre-emphasis, if you have one of those pesky CDs. (Like, first releases of the old Black Sabbath albums or The Wall or the wrong pressing of Kind of Blue or ...) Notice that those will sound wrong on file too, with too much treble. If you generate cue sheets, the 'FLAGS PRE' line should tell you that it is that kind of disc.
- Ripping will capture all bits inside the CD's table of contents. Technically there could be bits outside, which you should normally not worry about. The reason is the so-called 'offset': different drives start the CD at different places, just like what happens when you bump down the stylus on the lead-in on an LP. But this is normally nothing to worry about, as the bits lost are usually all zeroes.
- If offset is not paid attention to upon ripping AND burning, the entire CD might be 'moved a few samples to the left or to the right' compared to the original. That is, you get the same bits, but they might be, say, some milliseconds early or late. You will never notice the difference except there is a loud transient starting precisely at a track boundary, and this happens to end up at the last split second of the previous track.



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Posts in this topic
- Sabeque   Best lossless ripping for Mac   May 1 2012, 21:33
- - db1989   QUOTE (Sabeque @ May 1 2012, 21:33) I hav...   May 1 2012, 21:50
- - Ron Jones   QUOTE (Sabeque @ May 1 2012, 13:33) I...   May 1 2012, 21:53
|- - db1989   QUOTE (Ron Jones @ May 1 2012, 21:53) QUO...   May 1 2012, 22:10
||- - Nessuno   QUOTE (db1989 @ May 1 2012, 23:10) Some m...   May 1 2012, 22:49
||- - db1989   I should have been clearer that I meant between en...   May 1 2012, 22:56
|- - ringenesherre   QUOTE (Ron Jones @ May 1 2012, 22:53) QUO...   May 1 2012, 22:16
||- - Sabeque   QUOTE (ringenesherre @ May 1 2012, 23:16)...   May 1 2012, 22:28
|- - greynol   QUOTE (Ron Jones @ May 1 2012, 13:53) QUO...   May 2 2012, 06:05
|- - Nessuno   QUOTE (greynol @ May 2 2012, 07:05) Movin...   May 2 2012, 08:36
- - Sabeque   Wow you guys are fast! Thank you for respondin...   May 1 2012, 22:27
|- - db1989   QUOTE (Sabeque @ May 1 2012, 22:27) So fr...   May 1 2012, 22:33
|- - Porcus   QUOTE (Sabeque @ May 1 2012, 23:27) ~ So ...   May 2 2012, 00:08
|- - Sabeque   QUOTE (Porcus @ May 2 2012, 01:08) QUOTE ...   May 2 2012, 15:33
|- - Porcus   QUOTE (Sabeque @ May 2 2012, 16:33) ~ Wha...   May 2 2012, 18:00
- - Nessuno   QUOTE (Sabeque @ May 1 2012, 22:33) ~ Whe...   May 1 2012, 22:38
- - Sabeque   Thank you all very much for your insights and quic...   May 2 2012, 18:36
- - Sabeque   One more question: Let's say I rip a gapless ...   May 2 2012, 20:53
|- - Porcus   QUOTE (Sabeque @ May 2 2012, 21:53) Let...   May 3 2012, 08:40
- - Sabeque   I've also just noticed on the wiki page about ...   May 2 2012, 21:14
|- - Nessuno   QUOTE (Sabeque @ May 2 2012, 22:14) I...   May 2 2012, 21:52
|- - Nessuno   By the way: speaking about backup, you can just ri...   May 2 2012, 22:06
|- - db1989   Is it really necessary to maintain two lossless ar...   May 2 2012, 22:25
|- - Nessuno   QUOTE (db1989 @ May 2 2012, 23:25) Is it ...   May 3 2012, 08:10
- - RobertoDomenico   XLD will import into iTunes automatically and iTun...   May 3 2012, 08:22
- - Sabeque   Thank you all again for your input   May 6 2012, 22:48
- - fazalmajid   I use Sbooth's Max on my Mac. For some reason ...   Jul 18 2012, 17:34


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