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Ripping my CD collection - Any reason not to do it all as .WAV files?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Andy Tain, Feb 23, 2021 at 12:47 PM.

  1. Andy Tain

    Andy Tain Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Hi - just about to hit a major ripping of my CD collection (about 3000 CD's) - I've done about 100 so far and do them as WAV files, with a slow rip - with error correction etc. - time is not important and it is a job whilst I am doing other things - and I did my initial set as WAV as I think (I say "think" with no proof to back me up :)) that that is its native state and a top quality file.
    These are just "normal" CD's
    File size is no issue nowadays for me as storage is "cheap" and already in place - and 2 x backups, so I could not see the advantage of flac other than file size.
    WAVs play fine for me (I use MediaMonkey on a laptop into my Musical Fidelity M1 Clic as the DAC to play as I like the software layout) (and mainly I like the way I can format the extraction file names and numbers to my liking etc.)
    But is there any reason not to do them all as WAVs?
    My thought is that from that format I can convert to other formats with ease if I ever need to (mp3 player in the gym etc)
    Many thanks in advance - just wanted some assurance before I get stuck in :D
    Bingo Bongo likes this.
  2. LostArk

    LostArk Forum Resident

    New York
    WAV is the wrong choice. FLAC has a built-in checksum so you can verify the files are 1:1 bit perfect at any time in the future. If for no other reason than that you should choose FLAC. WAV file sizes are also dramatically larger than FLAC for no benefit. As a principle you should choose the smaller file size, all else being equal. Though all else is not equal, FLAC is better for the aforementioned reason.
  3. Mike-48

    Mike-48 A shadow of my former self

    Portland, Oregon
    Some say WAV gives better sound, though FLAC is lossless, too. I've never experienced that. If there's an objective basis to differences in sound, probably it's the engineering quality of the renderer (decoder).

    FLAC files were designed to include metadata. WAV were not, and it's been added by various vendors as an afterthought. I don't know whether the resulting limited compatibility has yet been resolved. It was a pain the last time I tried WAVs -- but that was long ago.

    As @LostArk said, the checksum feature can be useful. It's described here:

    So I suggest ripping to FLAC, using a program that has AccurateRip or other means of verifying the file's integrity. (I don't know about MM, one way or the other.)

    If you think that either FLAC or WAV sounds better, have someone help you do a blind test. Of all the things in audio, this seems like one of the easiest to test. I have fooled myself many times about audio differences, and I doubt it's only me -- I'm just not that special. :)
    Sevoflurane, Hazelmullins and Randoms like this.
  4. wwaldmanfan

    wwaldmanfan Born In The 50's

    WAV has shortcomings with metadata. I'm an Apple user, so I use AIFF, because it its infinite wisdom, Apple does not support FLAC :realmad:
  5. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    This is the reason why FLAC is the best option and the main reason not to use WAV.

    Other reasons not to use WAV? Metadata.

    Originally I ripped to AIFF as like WAV it is lossless and uncompressed with better Metadata support, but having heard no difference between AIFF and FLAC when listening blind through a very well set up, revealing full range active system fronted by a Linn Klimax DS, I could not find a single reason not to use FLAC.

    I obviously recommended ripping with a program that uses AccurateRip, such as the excellent CD Ripper in dBpoweramp.

    I could also hear no difference in rips at the maximum speed dBpoweramp allowed on a specific disc and deliberately ripped slow.
  6. joannenugent

    joannenugent Forum Resident

    East Coast USA
    There is nothing wrong with WAV per say. But as other have said FLAC has built in fingerprints (if you want to check file integrity in the future). FLAC also has better support for metadata (like tags).

    One option is to archive everything in FLAC and then convert to WAV or AIFF or MP3 for your actual playback needs. Like you said, space is pretty cheap nowadays and file conversion between lossless formats is lighting fast with modern computers.

    As a side note: the trick to ripping once, is really ripping the disc correctly. Choose a good software that supports AccurateRip and error correction. You will have to think about pregap detection, hidden tracks before track 1, and detecting pre-emphasis (which can be tagged in the disc TOC or in the sub-channel). There are a few options for Windows. For Mac XLD is your best option.

    One final suggestion, with good ripping software, there is no need to rip at a low speed. The software will do its thing and if it needs to slow the drive down to read the disc without errors it will do that. Also modern drives (there is only 2-3 manufactures of optical drives left) sometimes read better at high speeds anyway. So just let the software choose whatever speed is working best for it.

    *Edit: Looks like the post above just beat me with all the suggestions lol
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021 at 2:05 PM
    Sevoflurane, CDV, Grant and 2 others like this.
  7. eetu

    eetu Forum Resident

    It’s only the music app that doesn’t support flac these days, isn’t it? With any other app, you can play flac easily.
  8. BayouTiger

    BayouTiger Forum Resident

    New Orleans
    Not really any correlation between AIFF and FLAC, the Apple choice for their lossless but space saving format would be ALAC. FWIW (as long as we are going nuts with acronyms), AIFF>WAV since it was designed from the beginning to handle Metadata. The PCM encoding of the actual payload is identical, so it's just more convenient. Also Apple can certainly handle FLAC, just not in the iTunes sphere.
    Spy Car, Sterling1 and BruceS like this.
  9. Ingenieur

    Ingenieur Forum Resident

    dBPowerAmp, it has converters to change file types.
  10. SBurke

    SBurke Nostalgia Junkie

    Philadelphia, PA
    Go with FLAC, for the reasons mentioned above. Especially if you have any classical music reissues, you will appreciate the more robust metadata.
    Hazelmullins and Mike-48 like this.
  11. PhilCo

    PhilCo Forum Resident

    san jose
    Agree that FLAC handles Metadata better, in fact I have a number of songs that have lost the metadata on my hard drive, while inconvenient it is also kind of fun (What the heck is this song I am listening to now), but my largest concern with FLAC is that Apple Music (iTunes) doesn't play FLAC, I have switched to ROON so I don't use Music anymore but I vastly prefer Music to ROON's look and feel. New Roon update does help. With regard to storage space, that is rapidly turning towards free. I recently bought a 5Tb drive for under $100. Non compressed music is clearly the way of the future even if you are streaming. Whichever format you choose make sure that it is un-compressed, you will thank yourself later.
    Mike-48 likes this.
  12. Grower of Mushrooms

    Grower of Mushrooms Omnivorous mammalian bipedal entity.

    FLAC for metadata, especially artwork.

    I like the album cover being displayed while the tunes are playing.

    Metadata helps too if you get into makin playlists in da fewture......
    Mike-48 likes this.
  13. Vincent Kars

    Vincent Kars Forum Resident

    WAV is a bit of a paradox.
    The support for the audio part is almost universal.
    The support for the tagging part is a mess.
    The short story: WAV has a tagging standard but it don’t support “crucial” tags like [Album] or {Art work}, etc.
    This can be easily overcome as the WAV standard is very flexible so you can write ID3 tags in a info chunk. The bad news, this is not a standard.
    So rip to FLAC as you have the best of both worlds, lossless and excellent tagging support.

    The long story: The Well-Tempered Computer
    Rubberpigg and Grant like this.
  14. pscreed

    pscreed Upstanding Member

    FLAC. No doubt in my mind anyway.
  15. DrGoon

    DrGoon Active Member

    St. Petersburg, FL
    What everybody says here is true - FLAC makes sense from a storage and indexing format. Conversion post rip is easy however. You can make a WAV from a FLAC as easily as vice versa if you ever feel that you need to. The time sink is the accurate rip, not the storage format or batch conversion. Even on a Mac there is no need to entertain Apple's awful software in 2021, which is why I (painlessly) converted all my Apple Lossless files to FLAC a while back.
    Crawdad, pscreed and Randoms like this.
  16. smith6552

    smith6552 Forum Resident

    Highland Park, IL
    I find that WAV files sound better. Do what I did. Rip one of your most familiar cds into WAV, FLAC and AIFF. Then listen to them A/B/C. Choose whichever sounds best to you. WAV tags have a reputation of being finicky but I've had no trouble with missing titles or album art; even when editing them later.

    You have a big job ahead of you so research upfront is valuable.

    Also, your device can make a difference. My Mac, Macbrook Pro, and 10 year old HP all sound different when contrasted.

    I find WAV from dbPoweramp ripped on my 10 year old PC sounds the most like the cd. Your mileage may vary.

    Good luck!
    Melvin likes this.
  17. Denaz

    Denaz Forum Resident

    Asheville NC
    Flac, and then find a good flac player!!
  18. DavidR

    DavidR Forum Resident

    My streamer is the Naim ND5 and WAV sounds better then FLAC for whatever reason. I know it shouldn't but it does, I need to do more digging into this.

    Storage is so cheap that file size is not an issue anymore, so I will stick with WAV. I generate SHA256 hashes for each album when I rip them so it is easy to check for any corruption.
    Freebird and Buisfan like this.
  19. DavidR

    DavidR Forum Resident

    Thinking about it there must be more CPU overheard needed for the media player to decompress FLAC vs the already decompressed WAV. This increased processor load could lead to increased EMI/RFI interference levels, these in turn can affect the jitter spectrum of the derived timing and data signals...
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021 at 7:14 PM
    cjay likes this.
  20. Grant

    Grant Just chillin'!

    United States
    1 - Rip to FLAC for more space

    2 - More compatibility

    3 - Tagging options

    That last one: tagging. See, wav, even broadcast wave, are somewhat limited on the tagging data they can hold and programs and finicky in what they will allow or use.

    Other than that, if you still prefer wav, which offers absolutely no advantage over FLAC, your business.
  21. DrGoon

    DrGoon Active Member

    St. Petersburg, FL
    It shouldn't. Again, in 2021 there is no need to run so close to the ceiling with processor loads. I use a Linux with the "low latency" kernel options turned on (I just use Ubuntu Studio rather than roll my own, but there are plenty of options) and the Roon server software, which has ample caching to keep ahead of conversion overhead.
  22. doctor fuse

    doctor fuse Forum Resident

    WAV is also a proprietary file, which means who knows what hijinx will be imposed on them in the future. FLAC is open source, I believe.
  23. BruceS

    BruceS El Sirviente del Gato

    Reading, MA US
    No issues with ALAC here. There are plenty of reasons to be annoyed with Apple, but ALAC is not one of them. Good point about Apple/FLAC.
  24. DavidR

    DavidR Forum Resident

    Interesting from Gordon Rankin:-


    I have done more than 10 audio shows where we bootcamped and showed that both with FLAC/ALAC and AIFF/WAV that flat PCM files (AIFF/WAV) always sounded better.

    So I setup a test as follows:

    MacBook Pro (bootcamp Win764ULT) <==USB={USB Analyzer}==>DAC/Conveter-->Prism dScope III.

    Then hanging onto to the DAC was my TEK Scope which can decode I2S and my Wavecrest DTS and a Standford 760 FFT analyzer which I use to test power supplies as it is capable of full range 1nV readings.

    So in this test I compared software programs which were bit true and sound different and also some USB cables which sound different and of course file types which sound different. I have like 200 hours in testing.... so far I can't see any difference.

    YET!!!!! 82% of the time people picked the Flat PCM file over the lossless.

    John Atkinson and Charlie Hansen both said that I could have spent that time designing something cool. So for now that is what I am going to do!

    USB Cables was kind of interesting as I did find some cases were the cables caused data errors and excess jitter on the USB side. While this does not have anything to do with Audio related Jitter errors it did seem to effect the data stream. Especially with Async feedback pipe and the host missing some of these which caused buffering errors.

    J. Gordon Rankin
    cjay likes this.
  25. DavidR

    DavidR Forum Resident

    Maybe it depends on the processing power of the media player, I have no idea what's in my Naim could be an old 8086!
    BayouTiger and DrGoon like this.

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