PC Audio Novice Seeking Advice

I am an old audiophile just getting started with a new music server. I want the best fidelity possible - the least amount of compression possible. What is the best (or very good ones in “your” esteemed opinions) Ripping Software…the best (yada yada) File Formats to use (wav, FLAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless, etc.)…the best ripping speed…etc., etc…???

If it is relevant, I will be using a Squeezebox Duet routed to a good external DAC, via either my laptop (VISTA) or my PC (XP), via my 802.11b Wi-Fi router.

Other suggestions/advice appreciated…


Of the lossless formats, FLAC seems to be the way to go. I don’t know what current app is used for ripping those, I’m still using mp3 format @ 320k. Sounds fine to me on my PC with my Z5500 speakers. Ripping speed should be irrelevant.

Is HDD space or file size an issue? If not, then use wav (uncompressed)…If however you want to squeeze more files on your HDD, then I would try FLAC, as Dogg mentioned…I would rip with EAC or dBpoweramp to flac…Flac only applies [B]LOSSLESS[/B] compression… Compression levels from 0-8 (default is 5)…lower level= less compression, bigger size… higher level, more compression, slower encode= smaller size…Just keep in mind that no matter which compression level you choose, the resulting quality is the same, b/c it is [B]LOSSLESS[/B]…The levels are, compression levels, not quality levels…
As far as,

I want the best fidelity possible.

Well my friend, only [B]you[/B] can answer that, since we don’t have [B]your[/B] [I]ears[/I]…Different strokes, for different folks…:wink:

Thank you for responding.


Space is not an issue, and fidelity is my objective. Therefore, is wav a better option over FLAC? I realize that FLAC is compressed and wav is not, but I read in several threads that the two are identical in fidelity (sound reproduction)…what say you?? Thank you:bow:

FLAC is [B]LOSSLESS[/B], if you decompress the flac back to wav, it [B]will[/B] be the [B]same[/B] quality as the original wav…So yes ,they are identical…I prefer FLAC for tagging purposes,and archiving…
If you compress a word doc to zip, then decompress/unzip, are the two identical or not?..

t0nee1 -



The whole quality issue aside, the biggest factor is how the files will be used. If you are only listening to them on a set of head phones, for example, using wav or flac is overkill. I’d suggest trying various options and judging the quality for yourself on your hardware.