Answered Are all CD rippers/servers the same sonically?

Paul Reading

Standard Member
I have been looking at a CD ripper / server and there are quite a few to choose from such as Naim, NovaFidelity/Cocktail, AVA Media etc. The thing is if they are all reading the bit stream and then writing that to the HDD and then serving that same bitstream to the HiFi streamer is there a sonic difference between them?

There is a huge price difference between the different servers on the market. I want to buy a high end system like the Linn Majic 109 system, but I don't want to waste money on a server if there is no difference between between them.


Distinguished Member
All the time the data remains in the digital domain CD/hard disk/streamer then there will be no difference. It is all down to the DAC and your sound system. Don't get misled by the marketing rubbish delivered by some companies telling you their implementation of a hard drive or network hardware can improve the sound - not true.


Distinguished Member
CD ripping can be done quick and dirty or carefully and accurately.

EAC on the PC is the gold standard for accurate and perfect ripping of CD,s.
See EAC setup here for the parameters that can affect the ripping process and stop you getting an accurate rip.
EAC configuration - Hydrogenaudio Knowledgebase

All the parameters are based on controlling how the drive reads and ensuring an accurate data stream.

So, to answer the question, yes they can sound different depending on how they are ripping the data. Presumably, they dont tell you how they are doing this, or give you control over the process or any checks as to accuracy.

If the data extracted is accurate, it will be identical across systems.
If not, it wont.

This rules out so called " high end" rippers/servers for me as there is usually no way to verify accurate rips.

I just use EAC, then store my known good rips onto my server.
Then its simply a question of getting a good DAC, in the end , this way is verifiably better and far cheaper than these so called "high end" ripper/ servers.

Kinetic Frenzy

Well-known Member
I use XLD for my MAC - does the job well and gives you a well detailed report into the specifics of the rip as well as a summary.

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