Distortion when Ripping CD's

I have an on-going issue that I hope you guys can help with. I have been searching the internet for an answer on this and have not been able to come up with any solutions. The problem I have is that I get high frequency distortion when ripping my cd’s. To better describe the distortion it is mainly with cymbal crashes they become very distorted and not clear or clean at all, however the rest of the frequency range is very clean sounding. I use an Iomega external cd-rw that supports accurate stream, c2 and audio caching but supports the cache being flushed. I use this drive with EAC or dbpoweramp using secure mode and no faster than 4X speed. this is then ripped to wave and converted to Apple lossless and added to my iTunes libary on my Intel iMac. I can hear the distortion in my 160GB ipod using Shure headphones or when I play it back on my iMac using Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 speakers. I have about 200 cd’s ripped and this seems to occur on about 50% of them. I have also listened to the raw wave files and heard the distortion there as well and then listened to the cd directly from the drive with the distortion being somewhat present but not nearly as much as with the wav and Apple Lossless versions. Can anybody suggest what the issue might be or have even heard this problem before. My goal is to take my cd collection which is mainly made up of Metal and Hard Rock, and make the most pristine rips possible regardless of space. Please help it is driving me crazy!

Welcome to the forums. I can understand why this problem is so perplexing. I was puzzled by it when I read your post but I’ll offer some initial suggestions. I assume that if you were to listen to these CDs on a CD player and not a computer CD-ROM drive that you wouldn’t hear this distortion. You said you use a Mac, I would have to research this further but I remember hearing that you have to turn off all the audio processing done by the OS. I’m not positive how to do this as I’m primarily a PC guy. I don’t know if this will help but if I think of anything else I’ll post back.

Thanks for the reply, I appreciate your input and you might be on to something here. After writing my first post I did listen to the cd with the same drive however using the headphone jack in the drive and switching over to analog output and the sound was much cleaner then listening through the computer. As far as the mac is concerned it is just a playback device all the ripping is done on a pc since that is what the good ripping apps are mainly written for.

OK. If you feel that the distortion is no more pronounced listening directly to the drive than it would be on any other CD player, it’s probably not the drive. Is the interface between the drive and the computer USB? If so, USB 1.1 or 2.0? If the interface is USB I would try switching ports on the computer assuming there’s one available. The motherboard in a computer is rife with EM, hence the reason why dedicated sound cards sound better than integrated audio. If there’s no change, try a different USB cable. Although rare, cables do fail. I would suggest encoding to a different format than ALAC but you said you can hear the distortion in the WAV before conversion so the problem has to exist somewhere in the extraction of the bitstream. If neither of these alleviate the problem, check the EAC configuration wiki at http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=EAC_Drive_Options for suggestions as to how best configure EAC.