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Question Commercial CD ripping

bogart99

Active Member
Seems here was about the most apt forum to post the question.
I want my small CD collection , is just over 100, commercially ripped as I do not have the time. I can get them all done and dusted for £1 apiece. That is using "ripmaster.co.uk". Can anyone recommend alternative companies on past experience?
 

dannnielll

Well-known Member
I think you are over estimating the actual work involved A hundred CDs at a typical rate of 3 to 5 minutes per CD ,using any decent ripper and any decent Computer with CDs in good condition. The CD ripping is done at any where up to 60 times real time, so most of the time is just opening and closing those cases and the CD drawer opening and closing. Any of the good ripping software will go on the net and get the artwork and metadata... composers, singers, date of performance.
There are just so many software packages available including Musicbee, Sonys free Music Center ,that I hesitate to suggest one
 

bogart99

Active Member
So if I go for this dBPoweramp program what file should I convert to. I intend transfering to a NAS which is sitting here doing nothing and then accessing by using Alexa.
 

dannnielll

Well-known Member
So if I go for this dBPoweramp program what file should I convert to. I intend transfering to a NAS which is sitting here doing nothing and then accessing by using Alexa.
Unless storage is a problem ..and with 100 cds ,it is not, since they are only 680 Mb each, I would suggest non compressed full fat CDA format. My reason is that this is the second most utilised format,after MP3 . Whereas FLAC is equally as good soundwise, there are some devices incapable of reading that format,including many settop boxes, Dvd players and car stereos. Very recent Blu-ray players etc have the ability,but not all. A single 128Gb thumbdrive will easily handle this and a 32GB might if they were FLACed
Now I don't know how you intend using the files , but there is a huge variety of methods . Any windows laptop or any Android tablet with DNLA or casting capabilities will do it via wireless or wired networks.
 

butcherpete

Member
Its a very easy process (I am all for easy, being disabled)I used the free trial of Dbpoweramp, and ripped 160 odd CD's in a few days, last night I went on to buy it outright...£31, as I have over 300 classical recording to do some time,The music is all on a SSD drive on the PC
 

jamieu

Active Member
dBPoweramp is the way to go, been a while since I used it in anger, but there's a batch rip feature where you simply pop in a new CD into the drive once the last CD has finished ripping.

Re. FLAC vs CDA, while some devices won't support FLAC there are also plenty that won't support CDA without transcoding. Someone correct me as I am probably wrong here, but FLAC will let you embed extra metadata and artwork into the actual file (which is useful if your player doesn't do it's own metadata retrieval and indexing). As long as you pick a lossless format you can always bulk convert to another format. There's no point ripping above 16-bit/44.1kHz as that is all your CD's will have been mastered too.

In terms of playback there's a whole world of options, some devices will happily see a remote network SMB share on your NAS (ie. Sonos). While others (like AVR's) tend to expect a DLNA/UPNP server to serve up the files. Luckily your NAS will support SMB out of the box and will likely have an inbuilt DLNA/UPNP server or a 3rd party package that can offer it. It really depends of what devices you have in the house already and how those devices work wrt. local music collections ie. some i) pull the music (from the NAS) while others ii) expect the music to be 'pushed' to them. It's probably better to list out what kit you have already and what your use cases are ie. do you have one playback device or do you have multiple speakers and need multiroom synced playback support? Do you need streaming services and radio? Who is using the system? How do you want to control the system ie. voice/desktop/mobile/dedicated hardware controls? What phones do you have iOS/Android? Do you need a dedicated hardware volume control or screen to show what is playing? Do you have a large collection you might need a 'better' interface (than many apps/platforms offer) to navigate and rediscover your collection? etc. etc. Rather than listing out even option in every permutation.
 

Cebolla

Member
Unless storage is a problem ..and with 100 cds ,it is not, since they are only 680 Mb each, I would suggest non compressed full fat CDA format
Re. FLAC vs CDA, while some devices won't support FLAC there are also plenty that won't support CDA without transcoding.
Has anyone actually stored any audio content in a file with the CDA format?

The .cda file is just a very small amount of data used as a place holder (aka stub) for each physical track on the audio CD, so stores no actual audio data - pop out the audio CD and the audio data is no longer available to the computer:
CDA File - What is it and how do I open it?


Don't you actually mean an uncompressed audio format, such as WAV or AIFF?
 

Cebolla

Member
So if I go for this dBPoweramp program what file should I convert to. I intend transfering to a NAS which is sitting here doing nothing and then accessing by using Alexa.
The only official way of playing your own music files with Alexa, is to upload the music files to the Amazon Music online/cloud service.

Other (unofficial) ways exist of playing your own files with Alexa without having to upload them to Amazon Music. However, it requires a fair bit of software DIY to install & configure Alexa support on the very few media server applications that are capable of this (eg Logitech Media Server, Plex, etc).
 
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bogart99

Active Member
dBPoweramp is the way to go, been a while since I used it in anger, but there's a batch rip feature where you simply pop in a new CD into the drive once the last CD has finished ripping.

Re. FLAC vs CDA, while some devices won't support FLAC there are also plenty that won't support CDA without transcoding. Someone correct me as I am probably wrong here, but FLAC will let you embed extra metadata and artwork into the actual file (which is useful if your player doesn't do it's own metadata retrieval and indexing). As long as you pick a lossless format you can always bulk convert to another format. There's no point ripping above 16-bit/44.1kHz as that is all your CD's will have been mastered too.

In terms of playback there's a whole world of options, some devices will happily see a remote network SMB share on your NAS (ie. Sonos). While others (like AVR's) tend to expect a DLNA/UPNP server to serve up the files. Luckily your NAS will support SMB out of the box and will likely have an inbuilt DLNA/UPNP server or a 3rd party package that can offer it. It really depends of what devices you have in the house already and how those devices work wrt. local music collections ie. some i) pull the music (from the NAS) while others ii) expect the music to be 'pushed' to them. It's probably better to list out what kit you have already and what your use cases are ie. do you have one playback device or do you have multiple speakers and need multiroom synced playback support? Do you need streaming services and radio? Who is using the system? How do you want to control the system ie. voice/desktop/mobile/dedicated hardware controls? What phones do you have iOS/Android? Do you need a dedicated hardware volume control or screen to show what is playing? Do you have a large collection you might need a 'better' interface (than many apps/platforms offer) to navigate and rediscover your collection? etc. etc. Rather than listing out even option in every permutation.
Hmm quite a complicated setup this seems to be. Well here goes. The NAS is a Synology DS218j fitted with 2 x 4GB WD Red drives all bought on a whim when they were offered at a good price.Currently have hifi setup in living room with CD player would be nice to dispense with it though. Around the house are dotted various Alexa devices Echos and Dots to just be able to access news weather and Spotify music, as well as some Amazon music, ie that dished up for free.
Now here I may be showing my lack of knowledge as I believed I could put my music onto the NAS and as both it and the Alexa devices are connected to the same home wifi network playing music from the NAS would be as easy as asking Alexa to do it. I have no real intention do do any video ont eh NAS so it is priobably way over the top and possibly could as somebody has stated just use a in the PC. Have got a 500GB Samsung SSD lying around doing nothing. I really must stop buying things until I have a real need for them.
 

bogart99

Active Member
The only official way of playing your own music files with Alexa, is to upload the music files to the Amazon Music online/cloud service.

Other (unofficial) ways exist of playing your own files with Alexa without having to upload them to Amazon Music. However, it requires a fair bit of software DIY to install & configure Alexa support on the very few media server applications that are capable of this (eg Logitech Media Server, Plex, etc).
I am very keen to have physical media at home. As I have access to Spotify there seems little point in uploading to somewhere else.
 

Cebolla

Member
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dannnielll

Well-known Member
Has anyone actually stored any audio content in a file with the CDA format?

The .cda file is just a very small amount of data used as a place holder (aka stub) for each physical track on the audio CD, so stores no actual audio data - pop out the audio CD and the audio data is no longer available to the computer:
CDA File - What is it and how do I open it?


Don't you actually mean an uncompressed audio format, such as WAV or AIFF?
You are correct. Looking again at the bewildering range of ripping formats one of the WAV WMA , AIFF is the way to go. One of my rippers once just called it CDA ,and the name stuck . My current Sony software uses MP3, FLAC and AIFF as its options, whereas EAC and Audicity have more.
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
If you're only going to play back on Echo devices then I really can't see any point in ripping in the first place, assuming your Spotify is Premium. I doubt very much you'll be able to distinguish between Spotify's 320k & locally stored FLAC on those devices. I believe you're going to have to rethink this.
 

jamieu

Active Member
Has anyone actually stored any audio content in a file with the CDA format?

The .cda file is just a very small amount of data used as a place holder (aka stub) for each physical track on the audio CD, so stores no actual audio data - pop out the audio CD and the audio data is no longer available to the computer:
CDA File - What is it and how do I open it?

Don't you actually mean an uncompressed audio format, such as WAV or AIFF?
No I haven't, I assumed dannnielll was talking about using them similarly to how .cue files can be stored alongside a .bin 'disc image' of a CD. Which I have used and found to be a less than ideal way of storing music for playback purposes a) because you have multiple files so your server software is going to have to read both files to generate something you can play and b) unless something has changed since I last used .bin/.cue files there's also no way of embedding an image or extra metadata. Maybe for archival purposes it could be useful if you actually wanted to quickly recreate a physical CD, but I can't see the benefit for playback. Although someone do let me know if I am missing something here.

My recommendation would be to store them as uncompressed 16-bit/44.1kHz FLAC files if your intended use it to use them for playback.

---

As Cebolla says if you want to use your Alexa devices to play your local music files then you'll need to upload them to Amazon (edit: 'upload your music' no longer even seems to be an option) or jump though some hoops (per cebolla's links). Amazon simply isn't remotely interested in the local music playback business, let alone allowing you to select that music via Alexa (at least not directly). The good news, if you wanted to go down the rabbit hole, is that LMS and Plex are both available as Synology packages (although the official LMS Synology package is an old version so you'll need to use an unofficial package if you still want a one-click NAS install). But you'll still need to do some extra configuration to get the Alexa part working. FWIW I've only ever got Alexa to control volume, start/stop/pause and playlist selection on non 'official' platforms and that involved a fair amount of research, configuration and hoop jumping, so no idea how well the paid plugins cebolla linked to handle playback by album/artist name).
 
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jamieu

Active Member
If you're only going to play back on Echo devices then I really can't see any point in ripping in the first place, assuming your Spotify is Premium. I doubt very much you'll be able to distinguish between Spotify's 320k & locally stored FLAC on those devices. I believe you're going to have to rethink this.
I've argued for both sides on this previously ;-) but playing devils advocate:
  • ~£9.99/month isn't free (OK that is less than the price of CD and if your time is money, then it's certainly the better option, so I am already losing my argument!!)
  • Once the marketing around 'hi rez' formats from the newer platforms dies down and everyone has 'hi rez' formats (whatever that means, but let's assume it's good enough you can't tell the difference) then I expect we'll start seeing much more exclusivity around back catalogues/lables (much like we've seen with the TV/Movie streaming platforms). So you may end up having to subscribe to multiple platforms to get everything you want.
  • The ability to 'ring fence' music you like, the huge catalogues available from most streaming platforms can be overwhelming as well as great. With your own collection you can hopefully pick a genre and find that most of the tracks in that genre are to your liking, but ask Alexa to play say Jazz or Classical and you'll likely be dropped into the very commercial end of both of those genres.
That all said, the argument for just paying Mr. Bezos his ~£9.99/month so that you can seamlessly playback 90% of the music you want on his (heavily subsidised) hardware without any additional effort, possibly in exchange for a bit of your personal data ;-) is an extremely compelling one for most people.

Actually this article has some other interesting points re. streaming vs ownership and how it changes our relationship to music. Both pros and cons. I expect most people nowadays are happy using Spotify (et al.) as a sort of personal radio station. I know that now how I often listen to music when I am not making a point of putting a particular album on.
 
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RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
£9.99/month isn't free
No, but the OP says he already has Spotify & hasn't indicated that he wants to ditch it. So in that context it's effectively "free" as he's already paying it & it isn't an extra cost. Again assuming that he has Premium.

Personally I find asking Alexa to play anything from Spotify to be a complete lottery, with a very low success rate. So I can't see it being any more accurate with a local library.
 

dannnielll

Well-known Member
No I haven't, I assumed dannnielll was talking about using them similarly to how .cue files can be stored alongside a .bin 'disc image' of a CD. Which I have used and found to be a less than ideal way of storing music for playback purposes a) because you have multiple files so your server software is going to have to read both files to generate something you can play and b) unless something has changed since I last used .bin/.cue files there's also no way of embedding an image or extra metadata. Maybe for archival purposes it could be useful if you actually wanted to quickly recreate a physical CD, but I can't see the benefit for playback. Although someone do let me know if I am missing something here.

My recommendation would be to store them as uncompressed 16-bit/44.1kHz FLAC files if your intended use it to use them for playback.

---

As Cebolla says if you want to use your Alexa devices to play your local music files then you'll need to upload them to Amazon (edit: 'upload your music' no longer even seems to be an option) or jump though some hoops (per cebolla's links). Amazon simply isn't remotely interested in the local music playback business, let alone allowing you to select that music via Alexa (at least not directly). The good news, if you wanted to go down the rabbit hole, is that LMS and Plex are both available as Synology packages (although the official LMS Synology package is an old version so you'll need to use an unofficial package if you still want a one-click NAS install). But you'll still need to do some extra configuration to get the Alexa part working. FWIW I've only ever got Alexa to control volume, start/stop/pause and playlist selection on non 'official' platforms and that involved a fair amount of research, configuration and hoop jumping, so no idea how well the paid plugins cebolla linked to handle playback by album/artist name).
I converted all my CDs to FLAC, and in general this is fine, however some devices even on the network cannot play them back. I can examine the File structure on a USB drive plugged into a very new TV , ..a top of range LG OLED , but it cannot play them. Whereas any MP3 on the same USB will play. Now they can play on very new Panasonic Blu-ray player.
 

bogart99

Active Member
No, but the OP says he already has Spotify & hasn't indicated that he wants to ditch it. So in that context it's effectively "free" as he's already paying it & it isn't an extra cost. Again assuming that he has Premium.

Personally I find asking Alexa to play anything from Spotify to be a complete lottery, with a very low success rate. So I can't see it being any more accurate with a local library.
I would agree with getting Alexa at times to understand me seems more effort than it is worth. Is it me or her? Plus live out in the sticks with the internet often going down. Last week after the storm phone line was out for 4 days so have a local setup would be good too.
 

Cebolla

Member
No I haven't, I assumed dannnielll was talking about using them similarly to how .cue files can be stored alongside a .bin 'disc image' of a CD. Which I have used and found to be a less than ideal way of storing music for playback purposes a) because you have multiple files so your server software is going to have to read both files to generate something you can play and b) unless something has changed since I last used .bin/.cue files there's also no way of embedding an image or extra metadata. Maybe for archival purposes it could be useful if you actually wanted to quickly recreate a physical CD, but I can't see the benefit for playback. Although someone do let me know if I am missing something here.
Blimey - agree with it not having any benefit for playback!

As Cebolla says if you want to use your Alexa devices to play your local music files then you'll need to upload them to Amazon (edit: 'upload your music' no longer even seems to be an option)
Good spot - that'll teach me not to double check the latest situation on Amazon. Apologies to the OP for the misinformation. So even worse - no official Amazon method for Alexa playing your own files. :(
 

Cebolla

Member
I would agree with getting Alexa at times to understand me seems more effort than it is worth. Is it me or her? Plus live out in the sticks with the internet often going down. Last week after the storm phone line was out for 4 days so have a local setup would be good too.
Can't say if it'll be any better with Google Assistant, if you ditch your Amazon Alexa devices for the equivalent Google ones, but at least you can easily play your own files on them the old way with control via an app and Chromecast/Google Cast streaming!
 
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RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
I would agree with getting Alexa at times to understand me seems more effort than it is worth. Is it me or her?
As far as Spotify is concerned it's definitely Alexa. I've had many examples of it steadfastly replacing what I've asked for for another artist entirely. No idea how that happens, I can only assume it matches the request to the first approximation it finds.
Plus live out in the sticks with the internet often going down.
There again, a local library isn't going to help as Alexa can't function at all without an Internet connection.

So you're going to need both another method of requesting music (mobile/tablet) & other devices to play to.
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
For what it's worth I have the same NAS/HDDs running LMS to serve my music to my main system.

You say you'd like to dispense with your main system, so you could start with a streaming solution there. If you want to develop that into a multi-room setup, that could be done in stages. But if that is your desire then the main system needs to be selected with that in mind. But the fact remains that voice control is either going to be difficult or require a paid-for solution.

The Media Server skill that @Cebolla mentioned isn't hugely expensive at £2.99 per month. But again would be reliant on an Internet connection.
 

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