Best .wav audio ripping + playback - particularly 24 bit


Active Member
I'm setting up my PC to be my main CD playback device - I decided this is probably a cheaper way of improving CD playback than buying a new CDP or a DAC.

I currently have a fairly high-spec Athlon PC with an EgoSys Wamirack 24/96 (i.e. a proper Pro card with 24 bit / 96 KHz capability).

The question is what is (a) the best software for recording CDs to hard disk in .wav format (particularly in 24 bit format), (b) what is the best software for playing them back.

I'm currently using Ahead Nero (latest version) for "ripping". This seems to work ok, but I don't know if there is other software that does the job better.

Playback is more of an issue: winamp seems to work ok, but some of my 24 bit files are played back as noise - can't work out why this is. Windows Media Player doesn't like 24 bit recordings, even in its most recent version 9 incarnation. Sonic Foundry Siren seems to be able to handle the 24 bit files that winamp doesn't like - but I've otherwise heard little about this player, so don't know if it is much good.

I'm not yet certain whether 24 bit wav files actually sound better than 16 bit files - I'm still waiting for some balanced cables to arrive to connect the Wamirack to the balanced inputs of my Primare amp (Jamo Conert 11 speakers) - I'm currently monitoring the situation with a reasonable pair of headphones (Sennheiser HD 600). It is possible of course the 24 bit files are just a waste of disk space ...

Any thoughts on best ripping / playback software - both 16 and 24 bit - greatly appreciated.



Monkeys Audio is a lossless compression codec that works very well.
You will not hear any difference ripping at 24bit as CD's are 16bit audio and the software simply resamples it to 24bit. Wait for DVD-A or SACD playback to become available!


You could as branxxx about this, he uses his pc very effectively as a high end player.



Active Member
Thanks buns - it looks as though branxx is several (big) steps ahead of me in the HCPC audio league ...

I see on a previous thread he talked about Siren - but I have also found that this is discontinued. Any views on what the best alternative product is?

After a bit of searching the web, I have come across "Exact audio copy" ( Its a free grabber that seems to do an excellent job - only in 16 bit, but as Lem pointed out it is possibly meaningless to go anywhere near 24 bit anyway.



Active Member
After posting that last question, I also noticed that Windows Media 9 beta apparently has HDCD support. I've installed this, but I can't see any obvious way of confirming that it is doing HDCD decoding, and the help page cryptically says:

"Enhanced audio quality playback is only available on select versions of Windows. For more information, see Special features."

Following the hyperlinks on the help page seemed to be quite a circular activity - I couldn't get much of a clear idea of what is really can do ...


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