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Best way to backup audio CDs
androdion
post Nov 30 2012, 01:27
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I'm a CD collector and as such I like to take good care of my collection. I keep them stored at decent temperatures without being exposed to direct sunlight, smoke or moist. Even so there are CDs which you acquire second-handed that weren't treated as good as that and present signs of decay, and by decay I mean "pin holes" and/or "disc rot". Others have been made by pressing plants that have been know to present this problems over time, or are from a time period where manufacturing processes were more rudimentary and didn't take into consideration the possible decay of the CDs.

All of this to say that as a CD collector I do have some old discs that are beginning to present signs of decay and "rotting", so I wanted to make backup copies of them in the best possible way, not to play them from my PC but just to have them backed up in case some of the data on the CDs gets destroyed and lost over time. I've been reading a lot into it and I've became aware of these "gold discs" that are supposed to last 100-200 years or so because gold doesn't rust pure and simple. I have no idea how feasible this option is (to do direct copies into gold discs) and how expensive it would be, so I'd like to for now make the backups into a hard drive and possibly later on record them to that kind of media.

Now a problem arises. How to back them up in digital format? FLAC is the go to format, but wouldn't it be better to save them as an uncompressed WAV with a CUE sheet? What is the best option to back up audio CDs by using EAC?
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dgauze
post Nov 30 2012, 02:04
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QUOTE
FLAC is the go to format, but wouldn't it be better to save them as an uncompressed WAV with a CUE sheet?


No, because flac can check for errors, and let you know if the audio file gets corrupted. Not to mention saving you close to half the space.

As for rippers, if you're on windows, try cueripper. IME, it's been very secure and easy enough to configure.
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androdion
post Nov 30 2012, 02:06
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QUOTE (dgauze @ Nov 30 2012, 01:04) *
QUOTE
FLAC is the go to format, but wouldn't it be better to save them as an uncompressed WAV with a CUE sheet?


No, because flac can check for errors, and let you know if the audio file gets corrupted. Not to mention saving you close to half the space.

As for rippers, if you're on windows, try cueripper. IME, it's been very secure and easy enough to configure.

Thanks for the reply. I already use EAC and I'm pretty happy with its results. And since it can work with FLAC and create CD images I think I'll maintain my choice of software.

Can you elaborate a bit on that WAV vs FLAC thing you've mentioned?
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DVDdoug
post Nov 30 2012, 02:31
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My music isn't properly backed-up, although I have 4 MP3 copies of everything on 3 different computers and a portable drive (including a full library on a computer at work). I've got a few hundred CDs that I've been collecting (starting with the early days of CDs) and as far as I can remember, I've only had 3 discs "go bad" or get damaged (and I replaced them). And now that I think of it, one of those was a gold disc from Mobile Fidelity that cracked after being left in the car. (Other than that, I've had jewel cases warp in a hot car, but no other CDs have ever been damaged that way... And, maybe it wasn't the heat???)

I do have a habit of making an extra "archive copy" whenever I copy a CD, but not every time I rip to MP3. I have a few gold discs, but mostly I use whatever I happen to have on-hand at the time.

I think the best-safest backup solution would be to use hard drives. And, use whatever backup strategy you'd use for any other data. I'm not an expert on that stuff, but you'd have multiple copies in different physical locations, and maybe multiple generations of copies so in case any bad data gets backed-up, or in case some data is missing from a newer backup, there is an older good-copy. And, then you have to validate your back-ups at regular intervals.

QUOTE
FLAC is the go to format, but wouldn't it be better to save them as an uncompressed WAV with a CUE sheet? What is the best option to back up audio CDs by using EAC?
I think that's just a personal choice. I'd probably go with FLAC. I can't think of any disadvantage with FLAC. There may not be any FLAC decoders in 100 years, but as long as you (or someone) can re-format the data before it's too late, any lossless format is acceptable.

Oh... There may be an advantage with WAV... This almost never happens with digital storage, but if just one bit in a WAV file gets corrupted, you're only going to corrupt one sample (1/44100th of a second) and only one channel. (That's assuming the header doesn't get corrupted, making the file unreadable, but a corrupt header could be fixed.) With a compressed format, one corrupt bit is likely to do more damage.

P.S.
But as dgauze says, you might not know there's an error in the WAV fie.

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Nov 30 2012, 02:42
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androdion
post Nov 30 2012, 03:44
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I already use two distinct HDD to have my MP3 backed up, as well as my documents, photos, etc. My idea was to do the same with the 20+ year old CDs I own to prevent any kind of "age problem" from destroying them permanently. That way I could have a backup stored and "print" a new copy with ease.

So, if I understand correctly what you're both trying to say is that WAV is more likely to be corrupted due to being a contiguous "open" file instead of individual compressed tracks right?! Should I just configure EAC for FLAC then and get over with it? wink.gif What would be the best settings then? Any guides out there with command line specifications for FLAC compression on EAC?
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Cynic
post Nov 30 2012, 14:01
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QUOTE (androdion @ Nov 30 2012, 02:44) *
What would be the best settings then? Any guides out there with command line specifications for FLAC compression on EAC?


Yes, check the HA wiki.

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Porcus
post Nov 30 2012, 14:38
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QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Nov 30 2012, 02:31) *
Oh... There may be an advantage with WAV... This almost never happens with digital storage, but if just one bit in a WAV file gets corrupted, you're only going to corrupt one sample (1/44100th of a second) and only one channel. (That's assuming the header doesn't get corrupted, making the file unreadable, but a corrupt header could be fixed.) With a compressed format, one corrupt bit is likely to do more damage.


If that is an issue, then FLAC can store uncompressed. If you have no more files than can be fit on one drive anyway, it is maybe not an issue. If you need two drives and uncompressed requires a third, then you might just as well compress and use the third for parity. Currently I am using this thing (no striping!): http://www.vilett.com/disParity/

Also, you got backup solutions like Spoon's AudioSafe, which is planned to work on a pay-when-you-need-it basis.


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