Guys! Would ripping audio tracks to an external hard drive make sense?

Or would it be wasting my time? I know it seems obvious, but hear me out. I have a collection of CD’s, although none of them are significantly damanged beyond unreadable, I’m beginning to ponder just how much I value my CD’s.

Most of them are burned CD’s for music I got over the internet, but now, just as I am shifting everything onto a digital format, (DVDs which was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made). I’m beginning to understand just how unreliable burned optical media is. (Skipping, unreadable / uncopyable discs etc) So how about this; how about I shuffle my CD collection onto my 250GB external hard drive? (and those that are “pressed”

  • i.e. retail bought?)
    In fairness, I don’t have a significant amount of CD’s to back up, much less those important CD’s, and I think it’s best to do it now and shuffle music files around rather than 6 months down the line the disc is unreadable and I can’t back it up, copy, etc.

Lastly, any encode ideas? Everyone is suggesting to rip your CD’s into WAV or FLAC, lossless formats, but as a total newbie, why? I know it’s lossless and MP3 is lossy, but at 320kpbs I honestly can’t tell the difference between the two files, much less at casual listening.

The age old question applies then is why bother ripping to lossless files when mp3 at 320kpbs is just as good? Ripping DVD’s is a different story (D’oh!), but for me it makes practical sense given how unreliable discs are. Any tips guys, and any tips finally on how to get the maximum out of my CD usage?

CHEERS! :bow:

Yes, it makes perfect sense to have your files/tracks backed up to external HDD, as well as discs, usb sticks, etc, etc…Most audiophiles that rip to wav or a lossless compressed format (e.g flac, Alac, WMAL etc, do so for archiving purposes, and not necessarily b/c they can’t hear a difference between a properly encoded lossy conversion and it’s original, and so rip to lossy…Of course there are exceptions, and you know who you are…:wink:
For casual listening on PC and portables I use lossy as well…For Hi-Fi listening I play lossless, and not b/c I can hear a difference from my lossy collection and the original files(s), but mainly b/c it makes my toes wiggle and I feel like dancing…Feel free to call it ‘placebo’…:bigsmile:
All my flac archives are tucked away on a couple of internals, and external HDD’s…From those lossless flac(s) I can easily decode and convert them to whatever lossy or other lossless format of my choosing…I can also burn an Audio CD from these flacs and not have to worry about losing any quality in the process…Hope that helps!
Good luck!..

Basically ditto on t0nee1 post.
Especially since you have a “small” collection to archive. Might as well do it lossless.
Then convert to lossy as needed.

AllanDeGroot has a very good cataloging method.
You might give these posts a read:

“Ripping” as a word specifically refers to the operation of extracting CDDA (Compact Disc Digital Audio)
to your computer’s hard drive and storing that data (atleast temporarily) as uncompressed “WAV” files.

If you are copying files that are already stored as a compressed codec (wma, mp3, m4a, ape, etc…)
all you are doing is “copying” not “ripping”, but it’ll still be a slow operation because optical disc
reading is by nature as slow as creeping death if you are used to copying between 7200rpm

That concludes my grammar lesson…

Burnable media, “Burn once” R media is good for several years if properly stored.
RW media OTOH will start to develop errors after 6-9months even if stored in ideal
RW media stores the data in a metal layer that by controlled cooling from it’s liquid state
is either allowed to crystalize or solidify into it’s amorphous form and there is a reflection
difference between the two states. the problem is that over time the amorphous metal
returns to it’s crystaline state and when that happens your 1’s revert back to 0’s and your
data is thereby erased…

I’ve long believed that the best storage for critical data is on a DISCONNECTED Hard drive

Not necissarily a USB drive (they cost more for a given data size) and not necissarily a new drive
(even an occasional new drive will fail) but one I’ve run for three to six months to prove it isn’t a
likely warantee return candidate.

I have nothing against USB drives, but because they are portable the temptation to use then
(and carry them around) puts them at risk. Additionally if you buy it as a USB drive you are
never sure of the quality of the physical drive inside it.

Personally I use WD HDDs inside a METAL enclosure ,made by Eagle.

Don’t only depend on ONE backup either.

I have atleast four updated copies of my entire media library at any given time.
and I have atleast one drive packed so well that I’d ship it anywhere in the world
in it’s current packaging even if I knew it was going as deck cargo on a submarine.

it’s not as much the data I’m protecting as the meta data

Currently I’m working through my library and improving the quality of the imbedded
album art images of my mp3 files


Frankly if I want “Lossless” playback I have the original (pressed) source media for 99% of my
collection I keep SOME uncompressed backups as “WAV” I maintain that HDD space is SO
cheap nowadays as to make the use of the various lossless compression codecs pointless
for the vast majority of people.

Let me put it this way… a 500gb HDD desktop drive (a WD blue) from either Newegg
or Tiger Direct is $40 (Note Free shipping from Newegg!) is $39.99 that’s almost exactly $0.08/gb

And considering further that even though a CD holds 702mb of data most audio CD’s contain an average
of about 500mb of music… (many considerably less) you can typically fit 1000 audio CD’s as WAV (not compressed at all) onto that 500gb drive. even if all those CD’s were full at 702mb you’d still get
almost 700 of them onto a 500gb drive…

Do you actually HAVE 1000 CD’s? Do you have 700?

Downloaded music I presume is already in a compressed form (most likely mp3, m4a, or m4p)

Now consider that you’ll often pay MORE (not on sale) for a 100disc spindle pack of DVD+R discs
that take MUCH longer to write to and MUCH longer to read from and only have at best, a 5 year
storage life for 100% data recovery and that only if you use good quality discs and the discs are
written on a good drive and you verify that another drive will read them…

Music that was downloaded as compressed media? ther is no point in doing anything other than saving it as what it already is, compressed audio. but backup, Backup, backup.

One of the forum moderators frequently says that files you only have one cpy of are files you are proving you don’t care about…


Some interesting stuff you have raised, Allan!

Yes, most of my albums I want to keep are from lossy sources; mp3 which are then burned onto CD for listening. I have about 220GB left on my external, so I think for the sake of argument, I might want to back up using WAVE. Flac doesnt seem to be an option in k3b… The ripping software im using, and if I want archiving, I want the best of the best - Right? No point backing up a DVD by downgrading it to a SVHS tape.

Bad analogy, I know. But quality is relatively similar; and I want exactly the same. Yes, I read that optical disks only last for a small amount of years; but then again optical media hasn’t been out for long enough to really test how long they last.

Cheers fellas anyway. Im off to back up a Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds :smiley:

Why would tere be a problem ! if drives both have dma enabled and device setting for external drive has optise for performnce set all should be good. That is i know with 720+ speed ide hard drives. Unknown for slower drives, why do the hard drive manufactures even still bother to make those slow drives (5200 etc) ?

Normaly i always use eac, a new eac i see has been released (taken a while coming). Extract to wave image with cue file, and have eac compress it to flac. Wonder if the new one now has crc compare and results for wave image. Would be nice since old one never seemed to work for that. Will try the new eac soon to find out.

Hey Chad B, just so it’s clear…When ripping a CD (yes ripping) to a lossless format like flac for instance, don’t be miss-led or buy into all the FUD…Some such don’t like they’re audio compressed, is all…They’re [I]feeling[/I] is that if it’s compressed then it no longer is identical to the original…Nonsense!!..Think of flac (lossless) as you would a .ZIP file…
Even with today’s HDD size/space it still makes sense to archive in a widely used lossless format like flac…You can easily decode/convert a flac->< to it’s original over-size wav…
Your choice, and nothing wrong with wav, but just wanted to clear up some of the misinformation and FUD that circulates around the forums from time to time…:wink:
Good luck!..

Indeed, one of the problems is so long as they SOUND the same… Than I will perfectly accept lossy files, and I realise if I rip all of my albums to WAV… It’s going to consume a mega load of room on my hard drive. I anticipate that I don’t have a lot of lee-way when it comes to wav ripping… Becuase the files are so huge!

Archiving mega files and for convience I prefer smaller files…

For example, the dilemma I have is to rip into OGG Vorbis. Even at maximum quality, it is about the third of the size it is with WAV. It still isin’t widely supported, and sounds better than the WAV file itself, IMHO! but I do encourage Open Source formats :stuck_out_tongue:

Finally, much of my downloaded albums are mp3 burns, and pretty decent ones at that, I am confused now… Would re-ripping the files lose quality even further? I’ve listened to both mp3 and wav files and I honestly can’t tell the difference, but I don’t want to rip into wav and think BOLLOX! I’ve ran outta room, you get me?

OGG Vorbis at maximum ripping is outstanding.

There really is no point in re-ripping your mp3 album burns…Best to start from an original CD or lossless file(s)…There most certainly will be more quality loss, when [I]converting[/I] from lossy>lossy to CD…Will the quality loss be audible?.. chances are yes, but only you can determine, since none of us share ears…
Keep in mind that when you rip an Audio CD that contains mp3 as source files, there should be no further quality loss since the burning app decodes the files to un-compressed WAV and burns them…
IOW, you’ll just have [I]another[/I] copy of the same lossy MP3 album in WAV…

Well; I do know that when I switched the OGG file down to the lowest setting (a tenth of what it was) I could hear some sort of “slurring” espically once Richard Burton had stopped talking - I can hear this so I think it is unacceptable. But on the maximum setting, it sounded better than the wav file itself, much more crisper and clearer IMO… But this is for archiving purposes, so if I need to make another CD copy… Hmm, i think I’ll just give it some welly and turn 'em all into WAVs. At least then, I know they are going to work on Windows machines…

But i’m still split. Anyone help me out?

I don’t use .OGG but most likely it’s the low bitrate/setting…

Aye aye, I did the on purpose to see how “low it could go”. It actually wasn’t bad, however, but noticable. As I said for some reason the ogg, when ramped up to maximum setting, it sounded on par, if not better than the wav file itself. Some interesting stuff guys. keep it coming! :clap:

My only issue with lossless compression is that when HDD volume was $0.50/Gb it was worth worrying about, with HDD space at $0.08 and still falling I feel the issue is (IMCCO) beyond moot on the pointlessness scale.

With HDD space so cheap I just like to spare myself the additional complication.

The issue with expanding a file from an mp3 back into CD form is that it often creates "playback artifacts"
which granted most of which cannot be precisely identified as such except by someone that is actually familiar with the original source.

this occours even if the “original” downloaded mp3 file was “transparent” by ear to the original wav file It is part of the expansion process.

Some call it the zerox of a zerox of a zerox (etc, ad naseum) effect.

If you compress and expand a specific file several times, even to relatively high bitrates
distortion will be multiplied at each conversion until it becomes at first noticeable then
painfully obvious. the more lossy compression used at any step of the process the fewer
generations it takes…

If you are working with files that you originally received as mp3 files and upconverted to wav/cdda don’t convert them any more.

copyinging the file to another identical file, “backing up” costs nothing in quality

And frankly if you have what is to you the original mp3 file that you originally aquired as a download I would strongly sugest archiving THAT, not the CDDA file you later converted it to.

Whatever older source you have is always better than any file you converted/created from it.

Hmm, I found out how to convert my files to Flac, which is lossless and uses about half size of WAV - Worryingly close to OGG sized files when ramped up to max (OGG quality).

PS - Also there a compression level for FLAC between 1 and 10 - Anyone got any suggestions what this is? Surely if it’s lossless, it shouldn’t matter? :S

Anyway, I think I’ve found a decent comprimise between files sizes and quality, I think I’ll use the FLAC since it is lossless :slight_smile:

Exactly! the compression levels are just that, compression settings…The higher the # the more compressed the results and maybe a little slower to encode and decode, but usually negligible…I normally stick to -5…And yes, lossless [I]is[/I] lossless, so no matter the compression level used,the [I]quality[/I] is the same…
And remember you’ll be saving lots of HDD space by using flac or ogg if you prefer…To me it is a no-brainer…I agree that HDDs are cheap/inexpensive these days…Having said that, not everyone lives in the land of milk and honey…:wink:

A good compromise for having your cake & eat it to is using a docking station (toaster) with an internal drive plugged into it. Then you get the convenience of USB but are less likely to carry it around & use it for other data. Also easier to unplug & store.

Resulted, guys :slight_smile:

Well, I made up my mind to store all of my albums using the FLAC codec, despite the file sizes been huge compared to MP3, OGG, etc.


Well, not only is it a lossless format so that the information being copied is IDENTICAL, but also because it’s takes up less storage space than wav, which doesn’t have that edge compared to Flac, and more well known and well supported than APE, despite offering marginally smaller files. Did I mention it is open source and going to be supported for a long time to come?

If I do need to burn another CD, at least I know I am getting exactly what I heard on the CD.

PS - Compression Level 8, didnt seem any point going for less since it’s all lossless anyway :wink: