Old 01-02-2009   #1
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Best format for archiving music on CDs?

I enjoy making "mixtape" CDs of my favorite cuts from my CD collection. Back when I was still able to work, and had a regular paycheck, I would often buy a whole CD, just to get a single song! Now that I have a hand-me-down CD burner I am collecting those songs onto CD-Rs, and then I plan to sell the original CDs to the used record store, because I am always so short of cash these days.

So, here's my question:

When I copy a song from the original CD to a CD-R, I first rip it to my computer's hard drive as a WAV or FLAC file. Then I burn it from that file onto the CD-R as a CDA file. Let's call this CDR #1

So, what if I delete that WAV or FLAC file from my hard drive, sell the original CD, and then one day, want to copy one of the songs from the CD-R?

Suppose I then rip the song from the CDA on CDR #1 to a WAV file on my HD. And then burn it from the WAV file on my HD to a CDA file on CD-R #2.

I'm wondering how the quality of the various CDA files will compare to each other:

1. CDA on Original factory CD

2. CDA burned to CD-R#1 from WAV file ripped from orignal CD

3. CDA burned to CD #2 from WAV file ripped from CD-R #1

I'm old enough to have spent a lot of time in my younger years copying music from LPs to 1/4" tape. And then copying from tape to tape using two tape recorders. In those days, every time you made a copy, the copy was always audibly much worse in quality.

So, what's the best way to archive music tracks on CD-Rs? For example, could I burn a WAV file to a data CD? And if so, would that be a better way to archive the song than as a CDA burned from a WAV which had been ripped from a CD?

Whew! That ended up being a complicated and tortuous post. My apologies and gratitude to anyone who goes to the trouble of reading it and replying to it. I'll try to be more concise in future posts.
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Old 01-02-2009   #2
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Re: Best format for archiving music on CDs?

As long as the ripping went as smooth as a baby's behind and you use EAC, CDEX to wav or flac (lossless), then they will be identical bit by bit to the original...Now (in terms of quality) only you will be able to make that call , by doing your own testing (ABX listening test) ..We don't have your ears...
The main reason some (including myself) archive to flac is mainly for HDD space and tagging(at least for me)..
Of course with today's HDD capacity that's hardly an issue these days...
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Old 02-02-2009   #3
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Re: Best format for archiving music on CDs?

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As long as the ripping went as smooth as a baby's behind and you use EAC, CDEX to wav or flac (lossless), then they will be identical bit by bit to the original....
Thanks t0nee1.

Let me make sure I understand what you just wrote. When you wrote that "they will be identical bit by bit to the original" do I correctly understand you to be saying that the CDAs I burn to CD-Rs from WAV or FLAC (lossless) files will be "identical bit by bit to the original"?

If so, would I be correct in assuming that I could then rip from my CDA copy to a FLAC and burn it to a 3rd CD, and have another copy that is "identical bit by bit to the original"?

Quote:
Now (in terms of quality) only you will be able to make that call , by doing your own testing (ABX listening test) ..We don't have your ears...
Hmm? I'm having trouble understanding how the copy would sound any different from the original if the copy is "identical bit by bit to the original."

As for my ears, I'm afraid they aren't what they used to be, and I never was a very discriminating listener when it came to audio quality. In fact, I still believe that the tinny, muddy, sound of early portable transistor radios actually enhanced the experience of listening to Top 40 tunes back in the 50s.

Quote:
The main reason some (including myself) archive to flac is mainly for HDD space and tagging(at least for me)..
Of course with today's HDD capacity that's hardly an issue these days...
Well, since I have to get by with hand-me-down hardware, I don't have the luxury of terabytes of disk space. Virtuall all the hardware I use it at least ten-years-old, so I'm always struggling to free up space on my drives.

What you said about tagging interests me, so I'll start a new thread about that (unless Newbies are limited to one post a day or something like that. The other messages I tried to post today seem to have gotten lost).
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Old 02-02-2009   #4
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Re: Best format for archiving music on CDs?

Clueless wrote,

"If so, would I be correct in assuming that I could then rip from my CDA copy to a FLAC and burn it to a 3rd CD, and have another copy that is "identical bit by bit to the original"?

Yes..flac(Free Lossless Audio Codec) is LOSSLESS.....

2: "Hmm? I'm having trouble understanding how the copy would sound any different from the original if the copy is "identical bit by bit to the original."

You asked about quality so listen to it and make that call....
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Old 02-02-2009   #5
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Re: Best format for archiving music on CDs?

Think of flac as you would a zip file...When compressing a word doc to zip file, do you worry about losing any letters when you unzip it? or is it identical to the original? flac is just that, a compressed file of the original wav..
When you burn the flac the burning app will de-compress back to wav to create/burn an uncompressed wav ...
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Last edited by t0nee1; 02-02-2009 at 00:41.
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Old 02-02-2009   #6
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Re: Best format for archiving music on CDs?

Personally I question the legality of keeping a copy if you sell the original...
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Old 02-02-2009   #7
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Re: Best format for archiving music on CDs?

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Originally Posted by olyteddy View Post
Personally I question the legality of keeping a copy if you sell the original...
I disagree with your thinking, what happens if you make a copy then your original gets lost or damaged or en stolen should you get rid of the copy because you no longer have the original
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Old 02-02-2009   #8
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Re: Best format for archiving music on CDs?

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I disagree with your thinking, what happens if you make a copy then your original gets lost or damaged or en stolen should you get rid of the copy because you no longer have the original
The legality issue has been discussed a lot (here and in other websites) and, at the end, most of the comments are just "opinions" not legal rulings.

I agree with OlyTeddy, because the key word here is SELL (not lose, damage...). And that is just my opinion.
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Old 03-02-2009   #9
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Re: Best format for archiving music on CDs?

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Originally Posted by olyteddy View Post
Personally I question the legality of keeping a copy if you sell the original...
That's an issue I hadn't considered.

I believe I saw a forum on this site devoted to legal issues, so I'd like to take up this, and other, questions about fair use over there.
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Old 03-02-2009   #10
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Re: Best format for archiving music on CDs?

Why not just create and burn from an image?
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Old 04-02-2009   #11
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Re: Best format for archiving music on CDs?

"Best format for archiving music on CDs?"

depends on how picky you are etc but ill say some things...

FLAC (or APE etc) seems to be a good way of keeping 1:1 sound quality (identical) of the original at about half-ish the file size. so if 'quality' if your main concerned then FLAC is pretty much the way to go.

or if you want to keep a MP3 (lossy) copy that's 'close' to original so you can fit MANY albums per CD (i recommend using a DVD since it's far cheaper to burn DVD's nowadays vs CD-R's) then i recommend using EAC + LAME codec as that will give you those MP3's with a average bit rate of around 192kbps (it might vary some (160ish kbps to 224ish kbps) range)... but has it to where it varies between 128kbps-320kbps in the song when playing it back (you will notice that on the bit rate section of Winamp) ... which is the best sounding MP3 i think you can get without file size going sky high.

so in other words...

-want perfect (i.e. 1:1) sound quality = FLAC
-want close to perfect sound quality at a reasonable file size = EAC (Exact Audio Copy) + LAME codec (output is MP3's)
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