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Do lossless files differ if downloaded from store vs. ripped from CD?
Engelsstaub
post Jan 14 2013, 03:21
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QUOTE (kirbydoo @ Jan 13 2013, 14:30) *
...I buy music from sites such as Beatport, Discogs, and Bandcamp, all of which seem to give pleasing results. I guess I am trying to ask, what is the difference between how you obtain lossless music from the web and how you obtain it from a CD? I know, there is a bunch of technical stuff that goes into ripping music from a CD, but how do online music stores sell lossless music?


In the case of a few albums I downloaded from Bandcamp, it seems the creators are savvy enough to use a secure ripper. One such example is an Australian metal band called Be'lakor.

I purchased their latest "CD" "Of Breath and Bone" through their Bandcamp page and was surprised that, when opening the folder as a disc in XLD, AccurateRip returned this result...

CODE
X Lossless Decoder version 20121222 (142.2)

XLD AccurateRip checking logfile

TOC of the selected file
Track | Start | Length | Start sector | End sector
---------------------------------------------------------
1 | 00:00:00 | 08:04:58 | 0 | 36357
2 | 08:04:58 | 06:14:19 | 36358 | 64426
3 | 14:19:02 | 06:46:29 | 64427 | 94905
4 | 21:05:31 | 06:06:23 | 94906 | 122378
5 | 27:11:54 | 01:28:74 | 122379 | 129052
6 | 28:40:53 | 09:21:31 | 129053 | 171158
7 | 38:02:09 | 09:17:32 | 171159 | 212965
8 | 47:19:41 | 08:58:43 | 212966 | 253358

AccurateRip Summary (DiscID: 00108cbf-006e1353-6b0d3208)
Track 01 : OK (v1, confidence 3/3)
Track 02 : OK (v1, confidence 3/3)
Track 03 : OK (v1, confidence 3/3)
Track 04 : OK (v1, confidence 3/3)
Track 05 : OK (v1, confidence 3/3)
Track 06 : OK (v1, confidence 3/3)
Track 07 : OK (v1, confidence 3/3)
Track 08 : OK (v1, confidence 3/3)
->All tracks accurately ripped.

All Tracks
Album gain : -8.34 dB
Peak : 1.000000
CRC32 hash : F3D42B68
CRC32 hash (skip zero) : F6DFC633

Track 01
Track gain : -8.55 dB
Peak : 1.000000
CRC32 hash : 1E1BE589
CRC32 hash (skip zero) : 6C7227DF
AccurateRip v1 signature : 9F52C20E
AccurateRip v2 signature : 779BC338
->Accurately ripped (v1, confidence 3/3)

Track 02
Track gain : -8.01 dB
Peak : 1.000000
CRC32 hash : 9A3E0CC6
CRC32 hash (skip zero) : A01A2EC4
AccurateRip v1 signature : 68D4A4C3
AccurateRip v2 signature : 784556F3
->Accurately ripped (v1, confidence 3/3)

Track 03
Track gain : -8.55 dB
Peak : 1.000000
CRC32 hash : 94E00791
CRC32 hash (skip zero) : E31FFE11
AccurateRip v1 signature : 475247DC
AccurateRip v2 signature : C457C637
->Accurately ripped (v1, confidence 3/3)

Track 04
Track gain : -8.60 dB
Peak : 1.000000
CRC32 hash : 721AABF3
CRC32 hash (skip zero) : C960EE53
AccurateRip v1 signature : F89E4624
AccurateRip v2 signature : F9E83715
->Accurately ripped (v1, confidence 3/3)

Track 05
Track gain : -2.43 dB
Peak : 0.910950
CRC32 hash : F2779B1D
CRC32 hash (skip zero) : 58791892
AccurateRip v1 signature : 25A2F725
AccurateRip v2 signature : 6AA3ED21
->Accurately ripped (v1, confidence 3/3)

Track 06
Track gain : -8.11 dB
Peak : 1.000000
CRC32 hash : 8356DEA9
CRC32 hash (skip zero) : BDB857A7
AccurateRip v1 signature : 3563C6FF
AccurateRip v2 signature : 2985A9B4
->Accurately ripped (v1, confidence 3/3)

Track 07
Track gain : -8.20 dB
Peak : 1.000000
CRC32 hash : CE93BD87
CRC32 hash (skip zero) : 22C3ED50
AccurateRip v1 signature : CCCFAA2E
AccurateRip v2 signature : 14FB9D81
->Accurately ripped (v1, confidence 3/3)

Track 08
Track gain : -8.25 dB
Peak : 1.000000
CRC32 hash : A4F5C9AE
CRC32 hash (skip zero) : 5971218B
AccurateRip v1 signature : BC61A59C
AccurateRip v2 signature : 47B5BBC5
->Accurately ripped (v1, confidence 3/3)

End of status report


Even more pleasingly, they also included a PDF containing the entire layout for the CD Booklet, Jewel-case insert, and the art that is applied to the disc itself sans the whole in the middle! If online music was always distributed in such a way, with this level of attention to detail, I'd see no further reason to buy physical media...at least CDs anyway. ...but now I digress a bit.

This, unfortunately, is more or less a crapshoot. It's nearly impossible to tell which distributed version will be "better" until you've gotten your hands on more than one and started doing some comparisons. I love to hit Bandcamp for more obscure artists that I like and just trust that they're doing the right thing. Sometimes Bandcamp is the only way to get certain releases that were limited to a small run of 7" singles and stuff like that. I try not to worry too much about it but I think the bottom line is this: as long as there is still physical media available one may be better served by obtaining that copy.


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yourlord
post Jan 14 2013, 04:46
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QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Jan 13 2013, 21:21) *
Be'lakor



Thanks for mentioning that band and album. I headed over to bandcamp, listened a bit, and just bought the album (in FLAC of course)..
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Engelsstaub
post Jan 14 2013, 05:26
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I just re-read my post...hopefully my point wasn't lost within that seeming advertisement laugh.gif




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Mach-X
post Jan 14 2013, 06:06
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No your point is clear. For myself, the price of a professionally pressed cd is in many cases not much more than a purchased download and I get a nice master copy to rip and encode as i wish - for me its part of the music ritual unwrapping a fresh disc popping it in the cdrom and checking out the booklet while its ripping. The source of online purchases is dubious....that 24 bit flac could be a resampled master, and the dubious improvements of 24 vs 16 has been covered elsewhere. Remember a master has already been downmixed from multi track to two channel 16/44 for cd release....its unlikely the record label has gone to he added expense of remastering differently for online purchases.....no matter what apple would have you believe.
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frozenspeed
post Jan 14 2013, 16:00
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You know where the lossless file you MADE came from. You have no idea if the one you bought was SOURCED from a quality source or some cheap TDK tape from 1985. If you buy from Apple you have to accept that the source was good enough for Steve Job's turtleneck at one point. If you buy from Microsoft you have to accept that the store may not exist in 6 months.
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yourlord
post Jan 14 2013, 17:28
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When buying from indie bands it's always a gamble.. Given the layman understanding of codecs it wouldn't surprise me to see an Indie band stumble their way into transcoding an mp3 to FLAC and call it a lossless original.. It's probably not even them being deceptive, but rather they simply don't understand the tech at all..

I was the bassist for a metal band up until late 2009 and obviously the technical end of things fell on my shoulders. I built, hosted, and ran the website. I wrote the merchandising web-commerce system from scratch. I also did all the artwork, mixed 2 of 4 of our demo songs, and handled mastering the CD image sent to the CD manufacturer. We did all our mixing under Linux using Ardour. The output from that was mastered through JAMin and then output to PCM in wav format, then I converted that to FLAC. The audio tracks on the CD image were created from those FLAC files. There is no higher quality version of the songs so when we provided the FLAC files for download it really was the best version there is..

But, in my dealings with my bandmates and other bands when playing shows, I'm pretty certain the mention of audio codecs would illicit a "deer in headlights" reaction from most. To a great majority of people all digital music is "mp3" with no further understanding or care about what that really means.
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Canar
post Jan 14 2013, 18:10
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QUOTE (frozenspeed @ Jan 14 2013, 07:00) *
You know where the lossless file you MADE came from. You have no idea if the one you bought was SOURCED from a quality source or some cheap TDK tape from 1985. If you buy from Apple you have to accept that the source was good enough for Steve Job's turtleneck at one point. If you buy from Microsoft you have to accept that the store may not exist in 6 months.
This argument is facile. All you know is that your lossless came from CD. You don't know where that CD came from any more than you know where a lossless download came from. I have a pressed CD that is sourced from 192kbps CBR MP3. I know because I found the scene release that it came from.


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skamp
post Jan 14 2013, 18:11
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QUOTE (db1989 @ Jan 14 2013, 02:04) *
And what exactly is this “cd processing”? What special processes are mastering engineers feeling obliged to use before pressing onto a CD that they otherwise would omit, other than the obvious down-conversion if necessary?


Off the top of my head, aligning track boundaries to mod 588 values, not that it makes an audible difference whatsoever. I only mention it because many iTunes and Amazon songs that I've purchased didn't end on such boundaries, indicating that they are not straight-up CD rips (and the nature / characteristics of their sources remains a mystery).

Edit: …and as such couldn't be matched to the AccurateRip database even if they were lossless.

This post has been edited by skamp: Jan 14 2013, 18:19


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greynol
post Jan 14 2013, 18:21
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Yes. It would be fool-hardy (if not libel) to jump to conclusions about the source of these tracks without definitive proof.

As for AR verification, you can attempt to realign the tracks and add padding in order to mimic an original pressing. I've done it before on a few occasions with discs that I own for which there was no entry in the database.

This post has been edited by greynol: Jan 14 2013, 18:23


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Porcus
post Feb 1 2013, 17:40
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AFAIK, Bandcamp gets the files from the artists, rather than ripping the CD. AFAIK, they only accept lossless formats. And my impression is that yourlord is right, many will just go “well then let us make a file in $FORMAT” and convert their mp3's.

It isn't rational to pull a track from a CD when you have the master in a file, and in the era of hard drive capacity one should. (Thirty years ago, an audio CD was an enormous load of data!)

This post has been edited by Porcus: Feb 1 2013, 17:40


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skamp
post Feb 1 2013, 17:42
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QUOTE (Porcus @ Feb 1 2013, 17:40) *
Thirty years ago, an audio CD was an enormous load of data!


Larger than my first hard drive!


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Porcus
post Feb 1 2013, 20:08
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QUOTE (skamp @ Feb 1 2013, 17:42) *
QUOTE (Porcus @ Feb 1 2013, 17:40) *
Thirty years ago, an audio CD was an enormous load of data!


Larger than my first hard drive!


Which likely cost you more than your most recent one, even in nominal amounts.


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yourlord
post Feb 2 2013, 00:25
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My first hard drive was an 80MB Connor bought in 1992. For the 11 years before that I lived entirely in floppy land..
I bought my first hard drive larger than 1GB in 1995 (How's that for tech advancement?! 3 years from 80MB drives to over 1200MB!) and it set me back a good $400 then.. I never dreamed of storing my music in a lossless format until drive capacities got north of 200GB.

Now I store my lossless collection on 2 1TB drives in a ZFS mirror.
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greynol
post Feb 2 2013, 00:44
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Let's get back on topic, please.


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