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ripping lp and cd to flac

Discussion in 'Streamers & Network Music Players' started by erniemit, Oct 23, 2012.

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  1. erniemit

    erniemit Member

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    I have converted 95 CDs into 96kHz FLAC files. I also have a 24 b x 128kHz album on FLAC. Obviously, my computer also plays CD discs. Now, no matter what the file is, when WinAmp plays it, outputting the digital stream to a Cambridge DAC USB port, the LED on the DAC front says 44kHz. The only time I have seen anything other than 44, it was 48 when playing a concert DVD via optical. What's happening? Do I need a new driver for my USB 3.0 port, or need to make a config setting change in control panel or the WinAmp? The other strange observation is that when ripping to FLAC, the file size ends up being the same as the WAV on the CD. I don't get it. The Dianna Kroll FLAC album I have is over 1.6 gig, and that would require more than 2 CDs of space even though the album play time is not any longer than most. My PC is a Dell Inspiron 660 and it does not have a optical output, or I would have already tried that. I wanted some advice before I add a new sound card to a brand new PC.

    I am also going to be ripping LPs using a NAD PP3i phono preamp (on order now), which has a USB output that connects to the PC. It comes with FLAC compatible "Vinyl Studio" ripping software that does 24 b up to 192kHz, but the NAD USB output is limited to 96kHz. I trust that will be enough to digitize in audiophile quality HD; but, I know that hearing the difference depends on the stereo system. I have a good one: Marantz preamp, Quad and NAD power amps, and 6 Magnepan speakers. Correct me if I am wrong, but the leap from 16b x 44 to 24b x 96 is a "mile", and the further move to 24b x 128 is going to be another inch past that.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012
  2. Steven

    Steven Senior Moderator

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    What settings are you using to output to flac?
  3. amcluesent

    amcluesent Moderator

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    Prabably Windows sound mixer is resampling to 44KHz. You need to look at bit-perfect playback using ASIO or WASAPI drivers. Dont't know if Winamp can use these, you may need to use foobar2000 or similar.

    IMHO pointless to upsample.
  4. larkone

    larkone Active Member

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    The file size will be more than the the wav if you upsample to 24/96. FLAC at 16/44 normally works out about 60% of the original file size. You have upsampled to 24/96 so it has been padded out with additional information. 700MB CD as wav would be about 420MB as 16/44 FLAC, you have upsampled to more than twice the resolution so that would give a file size more than the original wav file size. Agree with Amcluesent, it is a bit pointless.

    Why are you adding a soundcard to your PC when you can output via USB to a DacMagic. It would be a backwards step because onboard soundcards suffer from all of the internal electrical noise generated in a PC.

    Audio does not use anything like the max throughput of USB2 let alone USB3. 24/192 PCM uses about 4.6 Mbs of bandwidth, about a third of the theoretical bandwidth of USB 1.1, and less than a tenth of the theoretical bandwidth of USB 2.0. Even in practice, most USB 2.0 controllers are capable of sustaining at least 3MB/s, or 24Mbps. Using USB3 adds nothing to the throughput.

    Before you start ripping to these very high levels you should have a read of this first and take a view 24/192 Music Downloads are Very Silly Indeed

    It could save you a fortune in disk space and backup drives.

    As Amcluesent suggested try a better audio player, configured correctly. Good info here on how to configure them for bitperfect playback http://www.dcsltd.co.uk/assets/dCS_Guide_to_Computer_Audio.pdf
  5. erniemit

    erniemit Member

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    Well, I must first say thanks for the replies, as I appreciate that more than you know. I wll comment and answer some questions. The sound card mentioned is not being used as an output deivce, only as an input. The ESI Juli@ sound card has stereo RCA plug inputs, and is capable of 24 b x 192. Now, there are no plans to utilize that bandwidth. I am now satisfied with 24b x 96kHz. I found out yesterday that the Juli@ sound card is on backorder until December, and that is why I got the NAD with USB output on order, which will feed LP data into the PC at 24 x 96 (max for that unit). Last night I played with the control panel settings on the Dell and got the data rate up to 48k from 44k. There were two drivers to choose from, but both are 16b, and the one that works (called USB speaker/headphone) is limited to 48K. I'll need to contact Dell to find out if they have a better driver that will work for me (with WinAmp). Audiophile quality is more improtant than disc space, but unnecssary waste of disc space is not deireable either. I have a 2 TB internal hard drive and room in the PC for another, plus a 2TB external hard drive to back up files. Any frther advice or comments would be appreciated. Thanks again.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  6. larkone

    larkone Active Member

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    What you are essentially saying is that you have ripped a CD (16/44), up-sampled in Winamp to 24/96 and then played it back at 16/44, as evidenced by your DAC. Then your Dac Magic upsamples it 24/192. That is an awful lot of re-sampling going on and conventional wisdom would say that is not going to sound as good as ripping at 16/44 and playing back at 16/44. All of those stages are dependent on the quality of the algorithms doing the re-sampling and 16/44 to 24/96 is a non-integer conversion so mathematically very complex, especially compared to integer based re-sampling - such as 16/44 to 24/88 or 24/176 which are simple conversions of 2x or 4x.

    44.1 to 96 is 2.17687074829932x and then you are doing the reverse at playback.

    You should try ripping a CD at 16/44 Flac and play back at the same rate, let your DacMagic do any up-sampling and see if you can hear a difference to your multiple re-sampled versions. Exact Audio Copy (EAC) is generally considered to be the best at obtaining very accurate rips and is free.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  7. erniemit

    erniemit Member

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    What is happening is not intended and I am trying to set things up so it does not go back and fourth / up and down as you may suggest I am doing. Let me clear up my intent, which should make more sense than your interpretation:

    Step 1: Use Switch Sound Format Converter Plus Edition ($29.99ea) to send CD music to hard drive while converting it to FLAC @ 24 b x 96k.

    Step 1a: Use Vinyl Studio to convert incoming audio from phono amp USB to hard drive also in FLAC 24 b x 96k.

    Use WinAmp to send 24b x 96 music to Cambridge DAC.

    The three pieces of software selected above are all 24b FLAC supported. EAC is not.

    The problem, I now find, is the limitation of the Dell PC, as it has a limited "integrated sound" and that hardware has no drivers for OUTPUTTING anything higher than 16 b x 48 k. I find that I will now needto add a sound card to the PC that has the HD support. The last suggestion I got is to install a SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme sound card, which has an optical output that also does 24b x 96k that my current hardare can not.

    I would say Eureka, but one issue remains. My Cambridge DAC has three inputs; two optical and one USB. I bought an $89 USB cable to connect the PC to the DAC because the two opticals are now used for the CD and DVD players. I'm now looking for a similar sound card that has a usb output.
  8. larkone

    larkone Active Member

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    Still confused - if you are connecting by USB to the DAC then you don't need any special drivers - the bit rate will depend on the bit rate the DAC will accept. The DAC becomes your soundcard.

    Also still don't understand why you are upsampling at rip when your DAC has a potentially much better upsampling engine. http://forum.dbpoweramp.com/showthread.php?26383-Converting-16-44-wave-to-24-96-FLAC

    Expensive USB cables are a complete waste of money, you are only feeding data along it into a buffer in your DAC (assuming it is async USB) so it will have no effect on the sound.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  9. delback

    delback Member

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    I would like to comment specifically on the LP ripping. There are a lot of audiophiles around who insist that LP must be ripped at high rates and word lengths, but to be blunt they are deluded. (And I say this as a vinyl junkie who has been digitising LPs using a Linn LP12 and Naim preamp since 1994).

    A first class pressing in perfect condition has a noise floor somewhere around the -65dB mark, perhaps -70dB on a good day with a following wind. This is 25-30dB above the noise floor of 16 bit PCM. Sampling an LP at greater then 16 bit simply gives you a more faithful recording of the noise; there is no wanted signal down at those levels.

    Some kind of signal does come off LPs above 20kHz, but it is pretty much all noise and distortion. Sampling an LP above 44.1kHz simply records this high-frequency noise and distortion (which most people wouldn't be able to hear, anyway).

    In summary: for LP rips, 16/44 is perfectly adequate. If you are planning to do a massive amount of post-recording processing (eg. for restoration purposes) then it might be worthwhile working at 24 bit to avoid the accumulation of rounding errors - although you'd have to do a heck of a lot before any rounding errors bring the quantisation noise up above the LP's intrinsic noise floor.
  10. larkone

    larkone Active Member

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    Thanks delback - well put. I would argue ripping CDs at anymore then 16/44 is also a waste of time and space. I think the issue here is that the file conversion software being used is just that and not upsampling using interpolation but rather just padding out the file with zeroes which would give absolutely no benefit. I could be wrong but the information on the software is very thin.
  11. erniemit

    erniemit Member

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    Well, i can't fact check these premises that make a valid argument, but it sounds interesting. While I am no expert on the dB of noise floors, I can speil digitize. Luckilly, I have all the necessary equipment, class A and Class A/B amplifiers and speakers that would qualify as BBC monitors, that I can make several digitizations of several songs, and do blind testing wth other friends of mine that have a good set of ears and musicial talents. So far, our votes to date have been consistent on comparrisons of CD vs. vinly (same album), Capital vs. EMI vinyl (same album),and recently the improvements as we went from DAC to DAC playing the same CD song. From worst to best in the DAC category it was Sony ES CD player internal DAC, Marantz SR7005 AVR internal DAC, and the Cambridge DAC Magic won hands down. (I had guessed that it could not be possible for a $500 CD player or a $900 receiver to have a $400 DAC inside, but it was obvious to everyone listening.)

    I'll let everyone know if the differences are phony or perceived as we compare tracks digitized at both 16b x 48k and 24b x 96k on a reference system. Sound good to you?

    There are people who would argue with audiophiles about tube amps that create so much more distortion, but Audio Research is still in business selling tube amps. Audio Research REFERENCE 250 Monaural Amplifier

    There are people who pay $300 for a set of headphones to "hear better" the MP3 files on their i-pads, and that all maes me laugh more than I made you laugh. :D

    In closing:
    Blogosphere: A place where people get to feel like experts (real experts know how to spell digitize), get in trivial academic arguments with other non-experts, perform a show of condescending strength by making condemnations of the people simply asking for advice (by using big words like “deluded”), and attempt to convince other readers that they are superior beings with keys to the universe, their followers who didn’t even understand what they said, or have the ability to fact check the premises used in the valid logical arguments they assert.
  12. amcluesent

    amcluesent Moderator

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    Seems you're an expert indeed, so any more posts would be superfluous. Good luck with your digitizing.
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2012
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