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iTunes CD ripping settings

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okay, i've decided to re-rip all the cd's that i own at highest quality mp3 possible. I've already decided to use 320kb but what is the difference between CBR and VBR. And if u look into the custom options of importing music in itunes you will see settings for sample rate, channels, and stereo mode. The default is set to auto. What should i do? Should i use the default, and what is VBR, is it better?
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if you are using a PC, PLEASE do yourself a HUGE favor and DON'T use itunes for ripping CDs!

The best ripper out there is called EAC (Exact Audio Copy). If you are re-ripping your CD collection, and want the best quality possible, use EAC. Plain and simple. The best encoder is LAME, so be sure to use that as well.

The main that separates EAC from others is that only EAC has error correction, to ensure a 100% accurate rip of the CD.

CBR stands for constant bitrate, VBR stands for variable bitrate. Most people think ripping at 320k CBR is the best quality possible, which isn't true. VBR is much better because as the program is encoding the file, it analyzes each individual frame of audio, and applies the proper amount of compression to provide the best quality possible. For example, one frame may be 127k, the next 296k.

EAC takes about five minutes to setup, configure, and install the LAME plugin, but it is WELL worth your time. Like I said, if you're taking the time to re-rip you're CDs, do yourself a favor and get the best quality possible. Using either 192 or 256 VBR will give you excellent results.

Best of all, we have our very own guide here on how to download, install, setup, configure and use EAC. Good luck

edited 4 typo
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 07 Mar 2005 @ 21:37

"I have no particular talent. I am merely inquisitive" - Albert Einstein

For the best quality mp3s use EAC (exact audio copy) to rip your audio CDs and LAME to encode them. Follow this guide:
Thanks for the detailed info. Gave me much knowledge. Perhaps i stressed too much on the 'highest quality mp3 possible' statement. I must say that i am a HUGE HUGE organization nut, when it comes to music; to the fact that i wont listen to a track if i havent been able to successfully tag it. I tag both id3 and filename equally so i can have an exact knowledge of where my music is. I also used to be a conversion nut until recently (all my files, about 4000 songs, are encoded to 128kbps mp3 format). I just recently decided that some of these files that i have downloaded and my cd collection isnt sounding its best. So can i use CBR 320kb? It isnt that bad, is it? I mean iTunes has all the options u talked about, even error correction. And ability to handle vbr on auto or manual mode. Since i am such an organization freak i would hate to have my mp3's be different bitrates, so thats why i wanted to do them all in 320kb. Other than that why not itunes? And i should be moving to a mac in a few months, what did u mean by ur first line.? What should i use when on mac?

P.S. I see frm ur sig that u use Pro Tools, awesome. Dont know much about it, but am seriously thinking about future in audio; currently a newbie tinkering with Reason and Acid Pro. (no laughing)
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 07 Mar 2005 @ 22:40
Reason is actually a very good audio tool for the price. I teach audio production at a college in LA, and have been using Pro Tools for about 6 years now. If you ever want to do professional audio recording, definately go with pro tools. Its the standard for audio editing/recording for the entire entertainment industry. and considering you can get a 2 channel MBOX with PT 6 for under $500, its a great deal too. Let me know whenever you are ready to get your DAW (digital audio workstation) setup and I'd be glad to help.

About itunes, I guess its a personal preference. If you like having your files orgainzed, you should check out the MEXP (music explorer plugin) for winamp. Its a fantastic catalogue utility. If you're going to switch to a mac soon (again, something that I wouldn't recommend, but to each his own) so I can understand why you want to use Itunes. Its just that the overall quality is not as good. Itunes doesn't use LAME as an encoder, and I can guarantee itunes' error correction is nowhere near as advanced as EAC. about bitrate, I highly recommend VBR. Although the bitrate changes every second, the overall bitrate is the same. You rip at 192, and all your mp3s will be labels as "192 VBR." If anything just rip your CDs with EAC than use itunes to catalogue your music. Its up to you, I'm just showing you the best way to get the highest quality sound possible. (as far as mp3s go anyways) good luck

"I have no particular talent. I am merely inquisitive" - Albert Einstein

For the best quality mp3s use EAC (exact audio copy) to rip your audio CDs and LAME to encode them. Follow this guide:
Thanks for the all the help. I will decide what i would like to do after switching over to 120GB HD.

P.S Check ur PM
I run a record label which sells MP3 downloads and we encode using iTunes/LAME on a Mac. The LAME plugin for the Mac version of iTunes is available at
Okay bringing this thread back to life. After a lot of experimenting i am now convinced that EAC is the best piece of cd-ripping software in the world. The mp3's created are flawless with VBR setting. Thats the direction i have now decided to go, and have already started re-ripping all my cds (although using EAC DOES take exactly twice the time...necessary evil i guess).

Until i get a mac i will be using EAC; and after that i'll get the LAME encoder for itunes as 'sampodog' pointed out.

Now i would like to know what exactly does iTunes use. Is it their own Apple encoder or some other encoder like Fraunhoffer. Also i see that from the settings in EAC, the VBR setting in the LAME encoder can only go upto 192kb. But the iTunes VBR setting can go upto 320kb. This may not achieve anything but only bloat file size, but I would like to know what the difference is.

Anyone got any answers?
glad you have found the power in EAC...spread the word! lol. the LAME encoder does go up to 320, you have to type it in on the command line. I haven't quite figured out why it only says 192. But you really shouldn't need to go past 192 VBR.

I'm pretty sure that iTunes uses a licenced version of Fraunhoffer. Hope you enjoy your mac, sorry to see a good PC user go to the dark side. :) j/k

"I have no particular talent. I am merely inquisitive" - Albert Einstein

For the best quality mp3s use EAC (exact audio copy) to rip your audio CDs and LAME to encode them. Follow this guide:
Its not the dark side man =) People dont realize the potential of the company, i mean if Gates never stole the code from apple..well thats that age old brawl. Anyway cant live without a PC either, prolly gonna keep my current one or get Virtual PC for mac.

Thanks for the answers. I'm sure your right too about 192VBR. Just the other day I read that LAME encoder handles the best overall with size and quality with 192VBR, not a higher bitrate. Quality probably is still the same with higher bitrate, but the size is just bloated. And LAME is considered to be the widespread standard by audiophiles so definitely gonna go and recommend 192VBR to everyone.

Good luck with the teaching btw.
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