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Which ripping format? Loss-less versus audio format

Discussion in 'Audio' started by jbrrngtn, Oct 19, 2006.

  1. jbrrngtn

    jbrrngtn Guest

    I’m trying to learn a few things here.

    I wanted to rip and burn all of my favorite CD songs to MP3, but now I’m hearing that MP3 isn’t the best for private listening (car, portable CD player, home), and I understand there are better “lossless” formats like WMA. I went back and started ripping CD songs in WMA format, but I’ve found out that each WMA song takes much more room than a MP3. I've also heard something about that it's easier to convert WMA to MP3 than the other way around?

    I guess what I’m wanting to find out is which format takes up the least amount of hard drive space, but has the least amount of audio loss short of making an actual copy of the CD?
     
  2. Dunker

    Dunker Regular member

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    You really don't have a lot of options here. If you want the best possible quality, rip to WAV format. Many devices support WAV. It's raw, uncompressed digital music.

    The other end of the spectrum are lossy formats like MP3. They throw away a lot of audible information in order to attain smaller file sizes. Depending on the bitrate you want, you may throw away more data meaning smaller file sizes. Typically downloaded MP3s are 128kbps (about 1 megabyte per minute, but crap quality though) to 320kbps (the best possible out of MP3, about 3 megabytes per minute, and reasonably good quality.)

    A medium is lossless compressed formats like Monkey's Audio (APE files) or the more-popular FLAC. But these compress so little - maybe 5-10% at best - that they're basically worthless and you need to find a stereo or player that supports them, and I don't know of any that do. You're better off with WAV format so you can have better compatibility.

    WMA is a compressed format that is mainly used because it allows the enforcement of Digital Rights Management. So, I don't see it being better than MP3 from a quality standpoint, and not all devices play WMA, and some that do require licenses so you may be actually preventing yourself from using your own music if you use this format.
     
  3. jbrrngtn

    jbrrngtn Guest

    Thanks! This was some great information.

    Okay. Now that you've got me convinced that I should perhaps start ripping in a WAV format, this has me thinking about two follow up questions (for you or anyone else to comment on).

    1. I take it that since WAV files are raw, uncompressed digital music, it makes it one of the better formats for converting downward into MP3s later?

    2. On my ripping program (Easy CD-DA Pro), I see there appear to be three different variations of the WAV format; WAV(Standard), WAV(ADPCM), and WAV(Fraunhofer MP3 Codec). Which one is the preferred way, or the best way for ripping, playing, and later converting downward)?

    Thanks again!
     
  4. malbordus

    malbordus Guest

    the way i rip & burn my songs is by using EAC & LAME mp3 with VBR and a avg bitrate of 128 it sounds fantastic
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2006
  5. Digidave

    Digidave Regular member

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    I have to take issue with this comment. I've used Monkey's Audio & I can tell you that it compresses more than 5-10%. I usually wound up with a file that was about 45-55% of the original file size. You can also revert the compressed file back to an uncompressed file without any quality loss. If you want to just make a compilation CD of your favorite songs from CD's that you own & not keep them on your computer, rip them using Audiograbber into a Wav file, then burn them to CD. If you want to keep the files on your computer & file size is an issue due to a small Harddrive, then Monkey's Audio is the way to go. You would rip them from a CD using Audiograbber, then convert them using Monkey's Audio to knock them down in size. Then when you want to burn them, you revert them back to original using Monkey's Audio & burn them using your favorite burning software. Some burning software 's have plugins that will allow you to burn the .ape(Monkey's Audio) files directly. If yoy want to listen to these files on your computer, then Winamp will play them without a problem.
     
  6. Digidave

    Digidave Regular member

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    Just go with the WAV(Standard). The WAV(Fraunhofer mp3 codec), is making an mp3 file. Some say it is substandard to the Lame codec.
     
  7. Dunker

    Dunker Regular member

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    1. Yes, WAV is a good "archival" format. You retain full quality and can convert that to whatever format you choose. This is good because today MP3 is popular, but as storage capacities go up and new compression formats are developed, you can just convert the WAVs at your leisure without losing any quality, or without the quality loss that comes from re-encoding a previously-re-encoded file. And you can use the WAV as is.

    2. As Digidave pointed out, standard WAV is the way to go.
     
  8. TreoBenny

    TreoBenny Member

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    I'm starting on a project to not only rip my retail CDs to my hard drive, but to try to remaster some of the older ones. My question is:

    Is there an absolute best program for ripping/extracting raw audio from a retail CD or are they all pretty much the same? I usually use Windows Media Player. Secondarily, is there an absolute best audio/video player (WMP, Nero Showtime, Winamp)?
     
  9. jbrrngtn

    jbrrngtn Guest

    I'm using a ripping program called' Easy CD-DA Professional'. It was recommended to me recently,and so far, I really enjoy the feasues and ease of the program. It seems to be able convert ripped music into plenty of different formats.

    I have one more follow up question to everyone here about lossless formats.

    I just learned about FLAC. A lossless format that also can compress music files to various degrees. What's the scoop on this format? I know that Monkey's .ape format was mentioned as a lossless compression, so how do the two compare as one being overall better than the other? About the same? Buggy?


     
  10. TreoBenny

    TreoBenny Member

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    .flac is good stuff! I believe Winamp has a plug-in so you can listen to .flac's directly, otherwise there's a cool little program called Fairstars Audio Converter that will extract .flac to .wav, which you can then squeeze back down to .mp3. It will make the conversion straight from .flac to .mp3 but the program works quickly and the accuracy is much better converting .wav to .mp3 than going straight from .flac

    If your goal is to take a retail disc to .flac, I'd rip to .wav, then compress to .flac with the audio converter I mentioned. I'm sure there's a better way but I have a ridiculous amount of hard drive space so holding the .wav's until I get around to compressing them is no problem for me.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2006
  11. Dunker

    Dunker Regular member

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    Exact Audio Copy is a great ripper and many of the compression systems, both lossless and lossy, will automatically configure themselves for it. I know APE does. But it normally outputs in WAV format. EAC is good with hard-to-rip and scratched discs though I've never had problems with copy-protection.

    I personally have not seen a whole lot of difference between FLAC and APE/Monkey's compression results although APE does have 5 different compression levels. Don't know about FLAC. Both have Winamp plugins. I did some of my collection in APE before I just decided to do the WAV thing for easiness, compatibility and speed reasons.
     
  12. jbrrngtn

    jbrrngtn Guest

    If I remember the FLAC compression levels that I saw earlier today while ripping in 'EASY CD-DA Professional' (I'm at work at the moment), there were about eight or nine settings with five being the default level for ripping. I haven't compared the compression levels using the same CD, but I'll give it a shot tomorrow and post the results.

    I'll rip it at the "0 setting", the "5 setting (Default)", and then at the maximum level.
     
  13. jbrrngtn

    jbrrngtn Guest

    Okay, I ripped the same CD three different times using the FLAC setting within 'Easy CD-DA Pro'.

    I ripped at the 0 level of FLAC compression, the 4 level of FLAC compression, and the 8 level of FLAC compression. I take it for granted the 0 level is no compression at all.

    Here are the results:

    Total Size = 225mb
    Compression level = 0
    Time ripping = 3:25

    Total Size = 214mb
    Compression level = 4
    Time ripping = 3:35

    Total Size = 213mb
    Compression level = 8 (max compression)
    Time ripping = 8:00

    The only thing that I wish that I had done was used a CD with larger files. Perhaps it would have shown better compression results.
     
  14. Dunker

    Dunker Regular member

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    Thanks for that. What was the overall size of the source data? In any case, I think that's about similar to what you'll get from Monkey's Audio. FLAC seems somewhat better supported as a lossless compression though obviously not as universal as uncompressed WAV.

    I dabbled with APE because I figured either I or someone else would do a Linux port (haha, silly me) but if I were to use anything besides WAV it'd probably be FLAC.
     
  15. jbrrngtn

    jbrrngtn Guest

    [bold]What was the overall size of the source data?[/bold]

    Good question in one is going to show compression! I didn't think to show something else to compare it to.

    I did a fourth rip using the same CD again. This time a rip in WAV (standard) format.

    Here are the WAV results to compare with FLAC:

    Total Size = 364mb
    Time ripping = 3:09
    Ripping speed = 11.5x (average speed)

    The approximate average for FLAC was around 3.8x for the 8th level of compression, and around 11x for 0 level of compression. I included the ripping speed information too in clase anyone wanted to know. (My total system is a little older.)
     
  16. jbrrngtn

    jbrrngtn Guest

    "Good question in one is going to show compression!"

    Should be

    "Good question if one is going to show compression!"
     
  17. Dunker

    Dunker Regular member

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    Wow, that's appreciable compression. I wish FLAC was better supported. I checked and JetAudio makes some players that support FLAC, but apparently only compression levels 0-2.
     
  18. jbrrngtn

    jbrrngtn Guest

    If you are using Windows and don't mind using 'Windows Media Player' (WMP) you can use 'Ogg Codecs for windows' which will play FLAC files.

    The site is http://www.illiminable.com/ogg/

    I installed it a day or two ago and I can play FLAC formats with no apparent problems. After I installed it, I double clicked a FLAC file and Windows ask me what program I want to open it with. I selected WMP, but I didn't make it a permanet selection until I feel comfortable. I'm only using WMP to test FLAC files, since I have no real plans to listen to music on my computer. I want the ripped music for my portable device.
     

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