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Best lossless ripping for Mac
Sabeque
post May 1 2012, 21:33
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Hi,

I've done a lot of searching on this topic and links keep pointing to this forum, so I believe the people here know their stuff. smile.gif

I apologize if this has been already addressed. I see similar questions and threads but not one for my specific situation. A lot of the data out there also seems to be very subjective, overwhelming and/or confusing. I also apologize for all of the info but I want to be thorough. smile.gif

Objective:
Rip CD collection in highest quality possible to lossless format (as yet undefined).

Factors:
~ I'm on a Mac and from what I've read XLD is the best option for accurate rips.
~ I want to be able to tag my files with Artist, Track name, etc. and want compatibility with iTunes without plugins or workarounds, so FLAC is not an option for me.
~ My music is mostly electronic and hip hop (not sure if this makes a difference when choosing the lossless format or conversion settings).
~ Larger file size is not a concern for me. Quality is. HD space is cheap.
~ Many of my CDs are mixed, i.e. gapless.

Purpose:
~ To have the highest quality digital backup possible. Many of my CDs are rare or irreplaceable promos. A few are also older and have begun to degrade. I want to convert everything now in the best quality I can so that I can save my music indefinitely.
~ After the CDs degrade more I need another source as close as possible to the original. Therefore I want to have lossless files that I can listen to or use whenever I need to create a lossy (MP3) version for my iPhone.

Questions:
~ When trying to convert some CDs in iTunes, some tracks were not converted at all because the CDs were degraded (no scratches, just old). I am hoping XLD can use error correction to "fix" these issues. Does XLD do this kind of correction?
~ I have heard ALAC may not be a good choice because of a theoretical "jitter" issue which compromises quality. Is this true?
~ Assuming AIFF is the best choice based on the factors above, what would be the best settings? I see a lot of tutorials for FLAC conversion but not for AIFF. When I checked the Wiki page comparing lossless formats I also did not see any AIFF reference there.
~ XLD has an option that says somethign about C2 error pointers (if your dirve supports this). How do I know if my drive supports this?
~ If you rip a gapless CD to multiple lossless tracks and then later convert those lossless files to mp3, can you join the tracks as one file when converting to mp3 so that you can remove the gaps? I've had problems playing gapless albums as multiple tracks in mp3 format on my iphone.

Thanks!
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Sabeque
post May 2 2012, 21:14
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I've also just noticed on the wiki page about lossless comparisons that ALAC does not have anything listed under "error handling" (neither "yes nor "no". Does this mean there is no way to detect if the file is corrupt? I've heard FLAC has some kind of checksum to verify this. I don't want to rip to lossless, have my CDs degrade and then find out later the rip is corrupt and no way to get my music back. Maybe FLAC is the way to go after all, although no iTunes support. sigh... sad.gif
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Nessuno
post May 2 2012, 21:52
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QUOTE (Sabeque @ May 2 2012, 22:14) *
I've also just noticed on the wiki page about lossless comparisons that ALAC does not have anything listed under "error handling" (neither "yes nor "no". Does this mean there is no way to detect if the file is corrupt? I've heard FLAC has some kind of checksum to verify this. I don't want to rip to lossless, have my CDs degrade and then find out later the rip is corrupt and no way to get my music back. Maybe FLAC is the way to go after all, although no iTunes support. sigh... sad.gif


Being a lossless encoder ALAC co/decoding is a deterministic process. If the rip is free of error you'll always get back the exact bitperfect copy of the track musical data anytime you decode it.
An ALAC file is just a file in your HD, like a txt or doc or a FLAC itself, reading operations doesn't corrupt it until, of course, the physical media gets corrupt. In this case only a backup can assure you a reliable and full recovery.

AFAIK FLAC error handling is meant to help in case of streaming, not decoding in place.


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Nessuno
post May 2 2012, 22:06
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By the way: speaking about backup, you can just rip to FLAC, convert to ALAC for iTunes convenience and save the FLAC files offline for backup purposes. XLD can handle the conversion as a batch job and automatically add the results to iTunes library.

Being a more widely compatible and better documented format, FLAC is better than ALAC for long term archiving.

This post has been edited by Nessuno: May 2 2012, 22:07


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db1989
post May 2 2012, 22:25
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Is it really necessary to maintain two lossless archives?

QUOTE
Being a more widely compatible and better documented format, FLAC is better than ALAC for long term archiving.
ALAC has been open-sourced, and so I doubt it can ever disappear; thus, I’m not sure how much anyone should worry about this.

Plus, hypothetical concerns about future compatibility should not be confused with some (also hypothetical) large disadvantage of ALAC in terms of the chance that files will spontaneously be corrupted; I doubt this is much of a risk—in fact, I’d prefer that we see some concrete facts about the relative resilience of the two formats—, and it’s sensible to keep a backup (RAID, PAR2, etc.) anyway.

Hey, cut me some slack: a backup is different from a separate lossless archive tongue.gif

This post has been edited by db1989: May 2 2012, 22:28
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Nessuno
post May 3 2012, 08:10
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QUOTE (db1989 @ May 2 2012, 23:25) *
Is it really necessary to maintain two lossless archives?


I see and understand your point: only one suffice, what is really necessary is a backup policy.
All the more, maintaining two separate archives could also cause issues with tag syncing, should you edit the online copy, so I admit is not such a good advice, not for newbies at least.

Just to clarify, for the OP: he can safely rely on ALAC only, it's perfectly suited for his needs.

His easiest workflow could be Rip with XLD to ALAC and import to iTunes. That's all.
Then he can let iTunes take care of transcoding to AAC on iPhone sync, use it to burn CD copies and, if he has a working Time Machine system with an external HD as target, even forget about backups!

About ALAC being open source, well, is a change happened a few months ago and with all good wishes, time will tell. As of today, I still consider FLAC a safer bet, but yes: that's just me! smile.gif


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Posts in this topic
- Sabeque   Best lossless ripping for Mac   May 1 2012, 21:33
- - db1989   QUOTE (Sabeque @ May 1 2012, 21:33) I hav...   May 1 2012, 21:50
- - Ron Jones   QUOTE (Sabeque @ May 1 2012, 13:33) I...   May 1 2012, 21:53
|- - db1989   QUOTE (Ron Jones @ May 1 2012, 21:53) QUO...   May 1 2012, 22:10
||- - Nessuno   QUOTE (db1989 @ May 1 2012, 23:10) Some m...   May 1 2012, 22:49
||- - db1989   I should have been clearer that I meant between en...   May 1 2012, 22:56
|- - ringenesherre   QUOTE (Ron Jones @ May 1 2012, 22:53) QUO...   May 1 2012, 22:16
||- - Sabeque   QUOTE (ringenesherre @ May 1 2012, 23:16)...   May 1 2012, 22:28
|- - greynol   QUOTE (Ron Jones @ May 1 2012, 13:53) QUO...   May 2 2012, 06:05
|- - Nessuno   QUOTE (greynol @ May 2 2012, 07:05) Movin...   May 2 2012, 08:36
- - Sabeque   Wow you guys are fast! Thank you for respondin...   May 1 2012, 22:27
|- - db1989   QUOTE (Sabeque @ May 1 2012, 22:27) So fr...   May 1 2012, 22:33
|- - Porcus   QUOTE (Sabeque @ May 1 2012, 23:27) ~ So ...   May 2 2012, 00:08
|- - Sabeque   QUOTE (Porcus @ May 2 2012, 01:08) QUOTE ...   May 2 2012, 15:33
|- - Porcus   QUOTE (Sabeque @ May 2 2012, 16:33) ~ Wha...   May 2 2012, 18:00
- - Nessuno   QUOTE (Sabeque @ May 1 2012, 22:33) ~ Whe...   May 1 2012, 22:38
- - Sabeque   Thank you all very much for your insights and quic...   May 2 2012, 18:36
- - Sabeque   One more question: Let's say I rip a gapless ...   May 2 2012, 20:53
|- - Porcus   QUOTE (Sabeque @ May 2 2012, 21:53) Let...   May 3 2012, 08:40
- - Sabeque   I've also just noticed on the wiki page about ...   May 2 2012, 21:14
|- - Nessuno   QUOTE (Sabeque @ May 2 2012, 22:14) I...   May 2 2012, 21:52
|- - Nessuno   By the way: speaking about backup, you can just ri...   May 2 2012, 22:06
|- - db1989   Is it really necessary to maintain two lossless ar...   May 2 2012, 22:25
|- - Nessuno   QUOTE (db1989 @ May 2 2012, 23:25) Is it ...   May 3 2012, 08:10
- - RobertoDomenico   XLD will import into iTunes automatically and iTun...   May 3 2012, 08:22
- - Sabeque   Thank you all again for your input   May 6 2012, 22:48
- - fazalmajid   I use Sbooth's Max on my Mac. For some reason ...   Jul 18 2012, 17:34


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