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Your opinion on the best method to archive cd's?

Discussion in 'Audio' started by weazel200, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. weazel200

    weazel200 Regular member

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    Ok I think ripping albums to 256 VBR using EAC w/Lame is the best method to archive your cd collection as it doesn't take up too much space, the files don't really sound alot different from the original WAV or PCM and almost every media player can play mp3 files. I would like to know everyone else's opinion on this matter.
    Thanks
    -Weaz-
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2005
  2. Jizmak

    Jizmak Regular member

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    320k mp3pro format for me.
    Takes up at little extra space but the quality is better.
     
  3. Klezmorim

    Klezmorim Member

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    This question raises an important issue. Just what is the best way to [bold]archive[/bold] CDs or any other data for that matter? Hard drives wear out and are susceptible to being dropped, magnetism, etc. CD-R/DVD-R media are said to break down after a number of years. Flash memory is relatively high in cost and of limited capacity.

    Factory-pressed CDs/DVDs seem to be the most stable of all currently available media, but who wants to buy two copies so that one has an archival reserve? The alternative is to backup to recordable media and check integrity every couple of years, which is tedious.
     
  4. weazel200

    weazel200 Regular member

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    You raise a good point Klezmorim. When we think we have found the best method some bright spark will come up with an idea which will save space, time and money. At the moment I am doing what I said in my 1st post but am wary as someone is sure to argue my method which will make me think and either change my mind or i'll be back at square one. Some of my cd's are wearing out and I refuse to buy another copy or copy the cd. So digital files must be the best way. At least that way I can play an mp3 ten million times and it wont get ruined where as a cd will definately wear out by then. Please send in your opinions.
    -Weaz-
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2005
  5. diabolos

    diabolos Guest

    Yea like in a hundred years!

    Look if space isn't an issue then back them up using a lossless codec. I recommend Monkey Audio. If you really don't care about space then use the WAV format. If you really really want to do a good job then back up the images of your CDs that that when you scrach them up you can make exact duplicates! Good hardware doesn't just die. And there is noway you could play an Mp3...

    Especially if its on a harddrive cause there is a thing called, uhhm, I forget but it deals with the whole magnetisim thing. Servers need backups all the time since they are always being used. Eventually the files on a hard drive will corrupt because of use! The best option is optical media and a lossless audio format.

    Now if space is an issue then high quality Mp4 and MPC files should be enough. Mp3 is going strong but Mp4 (.m4a) should be the format of the future.

    -more later-

    Ced
     
  6. weazel200

    weazel200 Regular member

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    Lol. Ten million times was obviously an exageration on my part but you get the idea. So is it true if a digital media file gets played the same amount of times as a cd then there is a chance it will eventually corrupt. There is still the issue of what is the best way to backup your music albums. Although making cd images of the albums is a good way 2 backup it still requires the file 2 be burnt to a cd and space is an issue with this method. I also don't want the same thing to happen to the new cd because that will also eventually get worn out.
     
  7. dvap48

    dvap48 Guest

    try itunes from ipod.com
     
  8. Klezmorim

    Klezmorim Member

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    That *may* be true for factory-pressed disks. Unfortunately, it is not necessarily so for CD-R. How about data loss after only [bold]two[/bold] years? See the following article:

    http://www.cdfreaks.com/news/7751

    Scary stuff.
     
  9. ashroy01

    ashroy01 Regular member

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    I had two great cds that I loved, but I really don't have an attachment to the cd itself, just the music. So I was sitting here at my desk looking at them and thinking, "OK, I can go downstairs and find a nice place for these, or I could just burn them and toss them in the trash" - and that's what I did. Nero Digital in ultra/transcoding mode I think that's 258kb/s VBR. But...

    I couldn't agree with you more. My dad told me one time he bought a watch that was big and klunky but it kept time better than anything else on the market... then quartz came out and trumped it by 100-fold or something crazy. So what's the answer right?

    Media is cheap. I accumulated a ton of tunes from the original (unconstitutional) Napster days. I think I got all my mp3s onto 5 or 6 cds - and that was a lot of music - but I could have done the same thing with 1 dvd-r if I would have left out the crappy songs I never listened to. If I ever needed to keep that many songs archived I'd keep them on dvd-r with one or two backups in something fireproof or at a remote locations.

    I would just keep them encased indoors. I think we would kill to have the same survival rate as today's media.

    Technique - I like the MP4 stuff, OGG and HE-AAC, and 320kbps MP3 is fine, too. Your question sparked my curiosity so I encoded a song each way and couldn't tell a difference between them and the original, others will tell you different, though.

    I think I'm done banging on my keyboard now, have fun, and good luck.
     
  10. diabolos

    diabolos Guest

    What did they do to the discs? How did they store them during the two years? What burner did they use to make the discs? What type of die did the manufactures use then? I have had a couple of CD-Rs for way longer than two years and they still sound great. 2 years has to be only in the most extreme cases. With good media a CD-R should last a long time. CD-RWs are another story.

    Ced
     
  11. bennywk

    bennywk Member

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    I think the "two years" referring to the average. Some surely can use longer for that, some won't work from the start.

    By the way, answer to this threat, I generally use 192 bitrate for mp3, unless your PC is connected to a great sound output system, you won't tell the difference really.
     
  12. ashroy01

    ashroy01 Regular member

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    Even VHS tapes last 20 years, c'mon.
     
  13. Klezmorim

    Klezmorim Member

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    True enough, heck I've got playable 35 year-old cassettes of music I recorded off the air. The problem is CD-R come in varying chemistries and quality that aren't immediately apparent to the typical buyer. Hey, when I was buying blank tapes a third of a century ago I knew to stay away from the tapes that sold three-for-a-dollar in a plastic bag at the supermarket. I've seen some of them disintegrate after just a couple of years: the metal oxide layer would peel off from the mylar substrate. Nasty.

    A lot of the cheaper CD-R media today delaminate from the edge inward very quickly. I've also seen this personally. You flex the disk ever so slightly and oh... my... god... the top separates from the back. Bye-bye data.

    Point being, we still don't have a *perfect* archival solution. Librarians of all media are concerned about this. It reminds me of the brand new media that was all the rage a hundred years ago: celluloid film. Problem was, after only a couple decades the film became brittle and literally crumbled to dust, thus permanently destroying countless movies, never to be seen again. Once the problem was discovered, there was a massive effort to quickly transfer celluloid footage to the (hopefully) more permanent acetate stock.

    I would hate to see history repeating.
     
  14. weazel200

    weazel200 Regular member

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    Even so, buying spindles of blank cd-r is costly and is no different from buying the original album. Let's say you have 1,000 music albums and want to back them up. You either buy 10 packs of 100 x cd-r which could cost about £300 ($570) or a 250 GB internal or external hard drive which would hold more albums and still have a lot of room left. What I'm saying is wouldnt it be better to buy a hard drive to archive your music collection to mp3 which you can even transfer to an mp3 player and save loads of space rather than loads of blank cd-r and having to find each disc and clutter up your room. Also IMO a cd would wear out faster than a digital music file.
     
  15. Klezmorim

    Klezmorim Member

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    On balance, weighing the weaknesses of the different media, I would say the best backup strategy is archive to a hard drive in an external USB-2 enclosure. Have two drives and keep one off-site. Every so often, bring the off-site drive home, update it and use it for awhile as you take the other drive off-site. It takes a little discipline, but this is similar to how corporations protect their data.
     
  16. diabolos

    diabolos Guest

    I agree with everything Klezmorim said. People and buisneses wouldn't use RAID technology if it wasn't reliable. How long are you trying to Acrchive the files anyway weazel200? Also I think if you really want to keep your music for a long time you will have to convert them to the best possible solution avalible sometime. I don't think that you should use your back-solution for anything but backing up (that means not playing from). If you use somthing all the time it will eventually break (chaos). Break you CD's don't break your backup-solution.

    Ced
     
  17. DogBomb

    DogBomb Regular member

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    I usually don't check this forum, but I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents. ;) I burn CD image files (as Nero .nrg) onto DVD media. I have found that I can get 6 music CDs onto one single-layer DVD. Considering you can buy a 100 pack spindle of high-quality Verbatim DVDs for $30 (after rebate), that means you can save a 600 CD collection for $30. There is no loss in quality as with mp3 ("once you go mp3, you can't go back"), and you can always make an exact copy of your original should it become unplayable. (Since you own all the originals, I think the RIAA may give you a break.)

    Other benefits include being able to play the image files directly from my DVD burner. Nero has their own version of CD emulation called Nero Imagedrive, so all you do is put your DVD in the drive, open Nero ImageDrive, pick the music CD (.nrg file), and the CD will show up in a virtual drive (i.e., G:). Then you play it like any other CD you insert in your drive! (I'm sure there are ISO readers too, so you don't have to use proprietary .nrg format.)

    Don't think mp3s are an acceptable substitute for WAVs. There is a tradeoff of quality for convenience. It's like buying a DVD which is recorded from a VHS. As for DVD media shelf-life, good DVD media will most likely out-live you. Good enough for me, as I won't be concerned about the 99th or 100th year of the DVD's life....because I'll be dead! (But don't buy Princo DVDs and blame me if they fail in one year. Any name brand should do.) BTW, I create the .nrg files easily: I just pretend I'm making a CD Copy, click the 'Save Image File' as an option, and then just cancel the CD burn process after the image file is created. Then I'll burn about 6 .nrg files to a DVD.
    If you can hold off for about 2-3 years when HD-DVD and Blu-ray come out, you could potentially save 60 music CDs to one 50GB Blu-ray disc. But the cost per disc may still be steep in 2-3 years.

    P.S. If you are really cheap and have alot of time on your hands, you could convert your CDs to .flac or .shn format which is lossless, and then burn to DVD. You'd cut your space in half (maybe 60% of originals), and you could also play these directly in Winamp with a plug-in.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2005
  18. DogBomb

    DogBomb Regular member

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    If you think your hard drive is safer than a CD or DVD as storage, think again. Hard drives "may" last 10 years, but they are not guaranteed to last more than 5 years. Everyone has paid the price at one time or another from a faulty drive or even an unrecoverable virus attack. I once downloaded a virus that specifically targeted my mp3s, and before I knew it, my partitioned drive filled to the brim with mp3s suddenly had 2 gigs of free space. But even without malicious attacks, the abuse that hard drives take over the course of a few years from heat and moving drive heads will eventually take its toll. It is a ticking time bomb.
     
  19. Klezmorim

    Klezmorim Member

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    DogBomb: You bring out some good points. It's actually worse than you think. Current hard drive warranties are for ONE year. Because of increased bit density and faster drive speeds (can you say "more friction"?) hard drives just don't last as long. I used to tell folks to expect their drives to last 3-5 years (server-grade can last 10). Today, if you get two years, be happy.

    If you use TWO drives and rotate them, however, you have pretty good data protection - AND the data transfer rate to a hard drive is a lot faster than writing to any optical media (currently).
     
  20. markusk

    markusk Regular member

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    As far as archiving CDs go I believe that FLAC&HD combo is the best one.

    Why FLAC ? Very easy: Free Lossless Audio Codec. You can playback those files even after a good while since the source is there to be ported to future platforms. MP3 could be for daily use (since also a lot of portable devices support it) but I won't recommend it for archiving, the same goes for any lossy format.

    Why HD ? USB2/Firewire case with a HD inside is very easy and handy to use. I can safely say that you can pretty much archive all of your music into one place without space issues. Not enough GBs ? Get more HDs. You can also use freeware sychronization programs to keep our backups synchronized with your primary storage. Also HDs are not likely to die out as often as CDs or DVDRs (yes, they can die too). Worried about warranty ? 5 years should be enough for everybody (atm Seagate gives this warranty). Don't forget that you'll always have your primary storage in your comp meaning horrible things won't happen if your backup storage goes. With CDs/DVDRs you might have the unfortunate event of a single media dying out of many and you'll be left with a hole in your archive.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2005

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