Best quality format for ripping cds using windows media player

ronrags -- Tue, 10/05/2010 - 11:26

I'm new to computer audio and I'm wondering which format will give the highest quailty audio using windows media player. There are 2 lossless options either wma or wav, but I'm not sure which is better. Is is true that flac is better than either of these lossless formats? 

rossop -- Tue, 10/05/2010 - 17:01

I use Windows Media Lossless. From what i can gather any lossless is the way to go. Im fairly new to all this as well. Go have a look at  http://www.computeraudiophile.com/  like I did to get clued up. I ended up getting the J River Media Center. An Asus Zonar Essence ST Sound Card hooked up to a Peachtree Nova Amp/DAC. I have it driving  the Era 4 and Sub 8. Sounds pretty good.
I have the PS Audio PWT and PWD in my main system and when the Bridge  becomes available I plan to stream from my PC to it via an iPod touch.

ronrags -- Wed, 10/06/2010 - 07:07

rossop,

Thanks for the link since I'm just starting and need to become a little more educated on the subject. I should start by ripping in both wma and wav formats and compare to see which is better. I guess it also depends on the quality of the dac I'm using.

Ron

ScottB -- Wed, 10/06/2010 - 20:35

I'm not new to computer audio - I've been investigating and using this stuff for years, have used all the major software programs, on both Mac and Windows. J River Media Center is what I use now, and have used for the last 4 years. It's the most flexible in terms of formats supported, external devices and formats supported, metadata ("tagging") features, and user interface customization.
I use the FLAC format for ripping. It's the only widely used "lossless" format that is not owned by a major hardware or software company, and is thus more likely to remain usable well into the future. In addition, it's the only lossless format supported by the majority of the online music stores which supply true lossless music (HDTracks, iTrax, Linn, Passionato, and a lot of others). As far as I have been able to determine, on a very high resolution system (Blue Smoke/AlphaDAC/Spectral/Magico M5), there are no audible benefits or demerits to any of the lossless formats vs. each other or uncompressed (WAV/AIFF) formats.
Two important things to consider when ripping. First, data integrity - how do you know the data on the CD has been read perfectly? Second, "metadata" - also known as "tags", things like artist name, song name, album, composer, date, genre, style, album art, etc. Getting this right makes all the difference in making your music collection more searchable, more "discoverable", which is, IMO, the most important advantage of ripping your collection in the first place. For both of the above reasons, I recommend using a dedicated ripping program called dbPowerAmp, with the "PerfectMeta" option.
Both of these programs are not free, but very cheap compared to a significant CD collection. I'd suggest you check them out. Search the aforementioned computeraudiophile.com forums for more opinions.

rossop -- Wed, 10/06/2010 - 20:52

Could not agree more. One thing: I do have dbPoweramp but have been using one of my media centers to rip cds. Either Windows, JRMC15 or Media Monkey. I think I will use dbPA in future. What do you think?

ronrags -- Thu, 10/07/2010 - 06:47

Scott,

This is the type of info I needed to hear especially since you have a highend system and years of experience. I'll take your advice and purchase the dbpoweramp software since my main concern is optimizing the sound quality. My next investment is purchasing a good dac for my Simaudio/Focal system. I appreciate if you have any recommendations for a dac.

Thanks, Ron

rossop -- Thu, 10/07/2010 - 09:39

Have a look at the J River Media Center as well.

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