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New system - what audio codec and software to use?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Pezerinno, Oct 24, 2005.

  1. Pezerinno

    Pezerinno
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    I have recently built a second system for music duties which consists of a Rotel1062 amp, totem dreamcatcher speakers and a RME9632 soundcard. I have 4x250gb samsung spinpoints in raid so space isn't really a concern. What is the best way to transfer my cds to my HD? Also whats the best player to use? I like iTunes (use it on my laptop) but am happy to use whatever. I'm not sure if its the player that makes much difference to the sound quality or just what codec is used.

    From looking around it would appear lossless isn't any lower quality than straight .wav as no information is lost, whats the apple ELAC like? I know FLAC is popular also...

    Thanks for your help in advance. Nick.
     
  2. oxygenuk

    oxygenuk
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    if you wanna put your cds on HDD just find a cd ripping program.

    as for player use winamp, it has radio and the best sound and best options

    enjoy
     
  3. The Dude

    The Dude
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    you want EAC for ripping your CDs, this can also do the conversion to .ape or .flac for you.. It's the best there is, bar none.
    It will even rip CD's which are unplayable due to surface damage, if you're patient enough.

    Popular players are JRiver Media Center (fancy), Foobar (simple), and Winamp (no idea).
    It's hard to recommend one as your card does away with the need for ASIO support I believe...so out of my experiences there.

    There are a few HSDP32 users around here, I'm sure they'll be along shortly to confirm.. :D

    I use JRiver and love it :thumbsup:, Foobar seems to be the popular choice amongst peeps like ourselves here...
     
  4. Slinkoff

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    I still like WMP because it's the only app that you can "double-click to add to playlst". Everything else requires you to drag or access the right-click menu or click another button somewhere, if you double click it starts playing the track.

    Such a simple feature but the one I use the most. I've tried all the players including foobar, which people often say improves the sound quality, I can't hear it myself, everything sounds the same regardless of what I use to play it and I can't hear a difference between WAV, FLAC and MP3s encoded with -altpresetstandard LAME settings, but that might just be me and my non-audiophile ears. I've got great equipment though so it's definitely not that.
     
  5. ChrisOH

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    Hi,

    I'm using the same soundcard but let me start by saying I'm no expert. However, I have been where you are now and would say that you can spend a lot of time (I have) trying to figure out the best way forward although, ipping with EAC is almost a given if you have an appropriate drive.

    From what I have been doing I would say you need to consider a few things regarding choice of codecand player

    1. Format compatibility eg Are you likely to want to stream audio to another system. I am now and wish I had considered this to begin with. I have just ordered an SB2 and wish I had started with FLAC rather than .ape which is held up by some as the best sounding but lacks the same third party support of FLAC.

    2. How do you want to manage and view your collection. .wav does not mattter given disc space is cheap but it can't be taggged like some of the lossless / lossy codecs. Once you have fillled those discx...

    3. The music player does not make a great deal if any difference IMHO. That said I have only tried winamp and Foobar YMMV. The Foobar sight even says their player does not sound any better than others. This being the case it is ease of use and whether you want to use any upsampling and the like.

    Personally I have just about settled on Foobar but I will only be using it as a player as I want to use X Lobby as the front end.

    I look forward to seeing what other RME users might say about the subject too.

    Trust this helps

    Chris
     
  6. Pezerinno

    Pezerinno
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    Thanks for the replied guys. Chris -

    I can't ever see me wanting to stream audio to another system in my situation.

    This is the thing I like about iTunes, everything there listed by name. Saying that I have little experience with other players.

    How do I go about ripping with EAC and what drives are appropriate? I have two samsung DVDrw drives (not sure on model number).

    How long roughly does ripping a cd in, say FLAC, take?

    Out of interest do you use your RME straight to your amp or do you have a external DAC inbetween?

    Cheers.
     
  7. Barbarosa

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    Ripping with EAC happens at about 3x to 4x if you go for a high level of error correction - so 10 to 15 mins per CD. Drive shouldn't be an issue, you can disable things like caching from EAC. Encoding to FLAC is quick - a few seconds per track, much faster than say LAME. Somewhere on the FLAC website, there is a page on how to set up EAC with FLAC.

    The best thing is that if you decide that you need to change format, you can transcode without loosing any quality.
     
  8. Pezerinno

    Pezerinno
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  9. The Dude

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    that's the one... :thumbsup:
     
  10. Pezerinno

    Pezerinno
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    Is this much better than apples lossless in iTunes as that looks much easier :D
     
  11. The Dude

    The Dude
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    It's really not difficult at all, he just puts a lot of work into the product and tells you everything.

    Anyone can setup and use EAC in ten mins, it's not tricky at all.
    to the best of my knowldege, there is nothing better for extracting data from CD.. it is very very good.
     
  12. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    I'd agree, EAC is a doddle to use once its set up. there are some great step by step guides telling you how to set it up too. once done it downloads all the data for the CD you are ripping from freedb and adds this to the tags of your desired format. works a charm and rarely takes longer than 10 minutes or so on my system.

    I personally use foobar as it is nice and compact and just does a great job. not really much experience with other players to compare it though. It also hooks up neatly to things like Xlobby to give you a high quality player and a high quality front end.
     
  13. ChrisOH

    ChrisOH
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    Hi Nick,

    It seems to me that you favour convenience over absolute sound quality which is a bit of an anathema given your choice of sound card.

    If you are familiar and happy with i Tunes it is likely to be the most convenient option available to you and you may as well stick with it, particularly if you also use an i pod. If however, you are a bit of an audiofool it is probably not be all you could achieve in terms of sound quality, particularly in its compressed forms in comparison to Lossless codecs like .ape, FLAC et al.

    This being the case EAC (Exact Audio Copy) is recognised by most as the best tool for ripping CD to hard drives and it offers a great deal of flexibility in terms of what if any compression you might want to apply automatically after the ripping process. It is a product in its own right and there are competitors, EAC is its name.

    As others say it is not too difficult to set up given the various instructions out there (try Hydrogenaudio http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php)

    Why not play about with it and compare to i Tunes and decide for yourself? It is worth the investment in time to make sure that you consider your options. Ripping takes time however you go about it in the end and you will not want to do it twice if you have a sizeable collection. One final point about lossless is that you can recover the original wav file so there is no need to re-rip things even if you do want to change from one codec to another.

    I use the analogue out from the RME directly to a pre-amp. There is only one SPDIF out and this is currently being used for DVD via a processor.

    Good luck

    Chris
     
  14. Pezerinno

    Pezerinno
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    Thanks again for the replies - I might get back to you if I encounter any problems :D
     
  15. BenW

    BenW
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    Wow, just ripped a few CDs with EAC, FLAC and Flacattack and wow!
     
  16. chemicalbrother

    chemicalbrother
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    Either use flac or wav or the best sounding music :cool:
     

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