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 Posted:   Sep 17, 2013 - 1:38 PM   
 By:   John Schuermann   (Member)

I have always been amazed at how many people invest thousands of dollars in equipment, and then do nothing toward treating the listening room. If you want to invest wisely in creating a good sounding system, put money into acoustic treatments and audition lots of speakers. Treating the room and buying good speakers will do more toward creating a enjoyable listening experience than spending hours playing with various bit rates on MP3s.

Here is a good list as to what's important when choosing a sound system, as posted on the AVS Forum by Arny Krueger, who invented the ABX comparator and conducted hundreds of blind listening tests between amplifiers, receivers, CD players, cables, you name it.

Components vary greatly in their potential to change the sound of a system. The order of probable change is:

(most probable)
The recording you are playing
The room
The speakers
(beyond here probability is zero or near zero for good components)
Signal processors unless you change default adjustments
Signal sources, particularly if connected via digital lines
(least probable)

 Posted:   Sep 17, 2013 - 1:40 PM   
 By:   Martin B.   (Member)

I use dbPoweramp to get a secure and accurate rip to FLAC for storage. I can then create a m4a, mp3, whatever I need from that FLAC file.

 Posted:   Sep 17, 2013 - 2:04 PM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

But to each their own, as they say.


But all I have to say is that until you've heard a decent high end setup (Preamp, Amp, DAC, Good Speakers), you just don't know you're missing.

I agree: I'm only half-way there, using a decent integrated hi-fi Amp but with no separate DAC. But, as I've written before, the sound is just so much better than the old hi-fi components I lived with for years ... and the Amp is just so much better than the excellent AV Receiver I used for several years.

As for ripping: rather long-winded (in my low-tech way): rip to WMA lossless and then convert to FLAC lossless (using foobar2000). I store the WMA files on an HDD whilst the FLAC files - used for my everyday playing - are on the NAS.

Not 100% error free but it works wonderfully well.


 Posted:   Sep 17, 2013 - 2:06 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

I rip everything to FLAC first with full scans. Then I convert them to MP3 VBR V-0 for portable listening and most of those just have the cover art with it. The FLAC rip is for archiving/backing up my collection while the MP3s allow me to have my entire collection.

I am surprised most by how many people still use 320kbps mp3s. Yes some time ago 320 was the standard and thought to be the best for getting highest quality in your mp3s. However, in recent years the VBR v-0 has become the standard for both personal encoding and professional encoding. iTunes and Amazon both put up stuff at VBR.

This is especially useful for encoding your film scores with dynamic range because the music will not be as high of a bitrate on the quieter sections but will go to the max for your settings on the louder parts. Whether you choose to go with VBR V-2 (max bitrate of 192kbps) or VBR V-0 (max bitrate 245kbps) is up to you and whether you think you can tell the difference. I use V-0 mostly because I don't want to have to re-encode everything if I decide later that 192 is too low. All my mp3s are backed up weekly to an external hard drive on my router so I won't ever have to re-encode everything.

 Posted:   Sep 17, 2013 - 2:39 PM   
 By:   hurlburt.lazar227   (Member)

What's a good program to rip FLAC - I had one suggested to me and downloaded (it was free and worked well), but then had a break in and my laptop was stolen (BASTARDS!!!!!), and so I no longer have the program, the email that suggested it....

Any suggestions?

 Posted:   Sep 17, 2013 - 2:45 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

You know at first I thought this had something to do with eating pork and beans around a camp fire.

 Posted:   Sep 17, 2013 - 2:46 PM   
 By:   Tom Guernsey   (Member)

Apple lossless into iTunes. I must say that one of iTunes' most useful features is that it will down encode your high sample rate rips into a lower quality for your iPods and iPhones so you don't use up all the space as a result. Sadly a major factor when deciding not to get a smartphone that isn't an iPhone. Lame I know.

 Posted:   Sep 17, 2013 - 2:55 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

What's a good program to rip FLAC - I had one suggested to me and downloaded (it was free and worked well), but then had a break in and my laptop was stolen (BASTARDS!!!!!), and so I no longer have the program, the email that suggested it....

Any suggestions?

Well EAC is a good robust program to use for ripping. iTunes seems to do a decent job in apple lossless codec though it doesn't do full cue and log with it.

 Posted:   Sep 17, 2013 - 3:08 PM   
 By:   Traveling Matt   (Member)

Hard drives are so cheap these days that there's not much point in using a lossy codec for archive use.

Agreed. They're also quite large now and, as I prefer to stick to "CD-perfect" files for archive, I use EAC to rip to 44.1 KHz, 16-bit WAV. I then export them via Audacity to 320 kbps VBR MP3s for my player.

 Posted:   Sep 17, 2013 - 3:15 PM   
 By:   General Kael   (Member)

My Library consists almost entirely of 320 kbps mp3. That fits a TON of music on one computer! But I also have a "Soundtrack Cues Hall of Fame" that my brothers and I came up with and update each year. And for those special files, I also have them in Apple Lossless. More recently with the purchase of an external cloud hard-drive, I've started ripping a .WAV copy of each CD just for backup.

 Posted:   Sep 17, 2013 - 3:24 PM   
 By:   Mr Greg   (Member)

I have cracking sound system on my PC - spent quite a bit of money on it as I wanted the "Full Experience" when using Flight Simulators. So I rip straight to FLAC, unless I'm ripping to put on iPod in which case it's Apple Lossless.

 Posted:   Sep 17, 2013 - 3:27 PM   
 By:   Penelope Pineapple   (Member)

I rip to ALAC using XLD, which checks the rips against online databases for accuracy and tells you if there's any issues. (This is handy because if there's a scratch or a skip in a file you'll know immediately instead of having to listen to every album you rip to make sure it's good.) Then I use Jaikoz to embed metadata into each file. (Something iTunes doesn't do very well.)

 Posted:   Sep 17, 2013 - 4:01 PM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

You know at first I thought this had something to do with eating pork and beans around a camp fire.

Moi aussi, Monsieur Porpoise Academy! smile

 Posted:   Sep 17, 2013 - 4:11 PM   
 By:   AMAFilmScoreFan   (Member)

I normally rip/encode on a Mac and I end up ripping it twice, with the first pass for my typical usage with portable devices (which typically bring with them suboptimal acoustic listening experiences anyways, e.g., in car, bus, public) and the second pass for archival (that way I don't cry for too long if they burn in an unexpected fire).

== Pass 1 ==
I use iTunes to rip and encode to 128kbps ABR MPEG-4 AAC (it's the default "AAC Encoder" settings). For me, this has the optimal performance to size ratio so I can put a lot of music on my portable devices and the quality is CD-like to me with the equipment and environment I use these in. This MPEG-4 format is supported nearly as well as MP3 (aka MPEG-1, Layer 3) on devices and produces better output at lower bitrates than MP3 and typically requires less power consumption from the portable devices for playback than MP3. Additionally, its licensing is less prohibitive than MP3.

== Pass 2 ==
I use XLD with Secure Ripper (supports AccurateRip database) to rip to FLAC, although now that ALAC is open source that should suffice, too, for long-term archival. Then, I use MusicBrainz Picard for the tagging.

 Posted:   Sep 17, 2013 - 5:58 PM   
 By:   scrapsly   (Member)

I still make an exact CD-R copy lol. I have a vintage 2 channel stereo system that I listen to when I want sound quality. My home theater receiver (that uses the same set of main speakers as my two channel system via speaker switch that wasn't cheap or easy to find) has the capability to improve sound quality of MP3 files so I still rip to 320. You can definately hear the compression of the lossy music, but surprisingly it is tolerable played through the receiver and nice speakers. Even on my computer speakers you can hear the difference between 320 MP3 and a lossless format, but I also have a portable CD player hooked up to the computer speakers so once again I mainly use my exact copy CD'R's. Guess I am behind times, but I still love my CD's. When (hopefully it will) hi resolution lossles files become the norm, I will make a switch.

 Posted:   Sep 18, 2013 - 11:52 AM   
 By:   Tester   (Member)

Despite having the original CDs, I never rip them, I just download the rips from some p2p sharing network like bittorrent or emule. If somebody already did it, why do the work twice?

 Posted:   Sep 18, 2013 - 5:41 PM   
 By:   Landstander   (Member)

VBR-0 mp3s using Exact Audio Copy (EAC). Stored on a 1TB Synology NAS in RAID 1.

 Posted:   Sep 18, 2013 - 6:42 PM   
 By:   Trent B.   (Member)

By lifting my leg up saying either "Olay" or "uh-oh" and let it out.

Oh you mean for CDs. In that case I use AudioGrabber and encode my files from wav to flac. For flac encoding I use dbpoweramp.

Although if there's any I plan to put on my iPod Classic I'll make copies of the original rip wav files and paste them into a different folder specifically for iTunes/iPod use. Then from there it'll be encoded to apple lossless for my iPod Classic.

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