Store AudioCDs on HDD with playback

vbimport

#1

Hi,

I’ll post this to the ‘newbie’ forum cause I think I do have a newcomer’s question.

I want to store my CD collection on harddisk. This preferably without quality loss (I think I will take the diskspace penalty for that?). Furthermore I would like to be able to playback thru my PC (simple audio) and thru my ‘better quality’ stereo amplifier.

I am looking for:

  • the preferred storage format (MP3? of anything better)
  • the prefered software to fill up the disks with CD-rips
  • advice for what audio card is recomended for “high quality” playback thru an amplifier (quality comparable to CD)

Are there any other issues I should take into account?

Anyway thanks for the advice and kind regards,

gerard


#2

Hey there and welcome to the forum.

Basically , even audio cd’s are just a bunch of bits and bytes.
So if you could copy those bits and bytes directly to your harddisk and play them , you should have a perfect copy.

However , there is always some margin for error and error correction.

The best thing to do of course is to have a 1 on 1 copy of your audio tracks. A program like Exact Audio Copy can help you with this.

The process of obtaining digital copies of cd or dvd tracks is called “ripping”. With this program , you can rip those audio tracks towards your harddisk.

Now comes the tough part. The compression.

Naturally , if you store the sound 1 on 1 , you have no quality loss (except that margin i was typing about) but would result in the biggest filesize per track. Here’s where mp3 comes in handy as the most commonly used compression algorithm.

I could give you lots of advice to use 320kpbs , vbr , cbr and a lot other stuff, but i think it’s best you experiment with these numbers and compressions.

For sound card there are also two choiches. Do you accept a normal common , but widely recognized audio card such as the soundblaster , or do you prefer an incompatible but high quality soundcard like the Terratec series ?


#3
  1. the storage format depends on what u’re looking for. u said u want it to be “without quality loss” but will consider using mp3, and those two don’t mix. mp3 is a good format for most purposes, but doesn’t retain all of a track’s sonic information (ie: it’s a “lossy” encoder). it’s also not the best lossy encoder. the best for retaining most of the original quality would probably be Musepack; in most blind listening tests, testers can’t distinguish between the original track and a Musepack-encoded track. Musepack’s quality is also higher at equivalent bitrates than mp3.

if u want to use a “lossless” encoder that retains 100% of the original sonic info while still compressing, u can try using FLAC or Monkey’s Audio. these two are probably the most popular lossless encoders.

u can also choose not to encode at all and leave the ripped tracks as wave files, but i’m not sure u’d want to do this since it would unneccesarily take up a lot of space.

  1. definitely use EAC like Mr. Belvedere said for ripping the cds.

  2. an Audigy or Audigy 2 would probably suit ur needs, assuming u don’t have incredibly high-end equipment that needs something more.


#4

Since you’re talking about lossless compression, is Monkey’s Audio and FLAC the same as SHN ??

Is SHN just a generic term for lossless compression or is it specifically a format, unlike Monkey’s etc. ??

Thanks in advance, as well…:slight_smile:


#5

SHN is its own lossless format, and it’s short for “Shorten”. u can find more info about it at the official homepage.


#6

Originally posted by Mr. Belvedere
The best thing to do of course is to have a 1 on 1 copy of your audio tracks. A program like Exact Audio Copy can help you with this.
Thanks I will try it out.

I could give you lots of advice to use 320kpbs , vbr , cbr and a lot other stuff, but i think it’s best you experiment with these numbers and compressions.

I will too. Should I compress using EAC too? Or use another tool? I found a lot of references to LAME on the web. Since the rip is good, I must use a tool to do a good job on creating the MP3 out of it. So what is my best choice?

For sound card there are also two choiches. Do you accept a normal common , but widely recognized audio card such as the soundblaster , or do you prefer an incompatible but high quality soundcard like the Terratec series ?

I look into that, but based on another poster I understand that a Audigy II or sth. like that should do the job.

Thanks! I can get some hands-on now :slight_smile:

Kind regards, gerard


#7

Originally posted by AZImmortal
1) the storage format depends on what u’re looking for. u said u want it to be “without quality loss” but will consider using mp3, and those two don’t mix. mp3 is a good format for most purposes, but doesn’t retain all of a track’s sonic information (ie: it’s a “lossy” encoder). it’s also not the best lossy encoder. the best for retaining most of the original quality would probably be Musepack; in most blind listening tests, testers can’t distinguish between the original track and a Musepack-encoded track. Musepack’s quality is also higher at equivalent bitrates than mp3.

Thanks for the info. Based on Mr. Belvedere’s reply I surfed the net for info on al these MP3 settings ;). Some people on the net seem to state MP3 can be as good or better as the original CD. They compare 44KHz 16bits for CD with MP3 48KHz 32bitrate. VBR 0 and CBS of 320kpbs using LAME as the tool should do the job.

What is your opinion?

Please note I have not ripped and encoded a single bit! Just looking for info to put all this into perspective!

kind regards, gerard


#8

I use Exact Audio Copy, with Lame as ripper.
remember that if you set “joint-stereo” the mp3 file size will increase, with only a little better quality.
vbr is not a fix thing: try making a “secure-mode” ripping with EAC, and then playing the mp3 with winamp: you’ll se the vbr increasing and decreasing every second.


#9

Originally posted by Infinito
remember that if you set “joint-stereo” the mp3 file size will increase, with only a little better quality.

Thanks for the reply. Based on the increasing size I conclude ‘joint-stereo’ is better for the quality. However if I read the description on Internet I understand it is a trick to overcome limitations on “low quality” MP3 encoding. Shouldn’t I better use a higher bitrate en leave joint-stereo for what is worth?

kind regards, gerard


#10

uhm, I don’t know exactly…
maybe you could set a personal standard type of compression, and than use it for all songs.
probably you can set bitrate at 128 (joint-stereo is 192, i guess) and you’ll have good results.
finally, I have a 5.1 creative system: with the winamp “rock” settings an mp3 sounds like a cd track.
sorry if my English is not readable!!


#11

Some people on the net seem to state MP3 can be as good or better as the original CD.

where did u read that? not only can an mp3 never be as good as the original cd at any bitrate, but the idea that an encoder can actually make something sound better is ridiculous. the quality of something will never get better than the original source.

for most intents and purposes, an mp3 encoded properly will be transparent to most listeners. however, those with more discerning ears (and equipment) can sometimes pick out artifacting. to encode mp3s at such a high bitrate (u suggested u’ll use 320kbps) is a waste of space when Musepack will provide indistinguishable encodes at around 170kbps.

i personally use Musepack for encoding songs that i’ll store on my hard drive because i’m one of those listeners that can discern. however, i still encode to mp3 (using Lame) when i want to put songs onto a cd for use in my mp3 cd player because of lack of Musepack support (there are currently no hardware players that support Musepack).