Ripping Huge Library of CDs, Apple Music or DbPoweramp for ALAC?

My latest plan is to commit to re-ripping my entire CD collection using ALAC format. I have DbPoweramp and Apple “Music” - they both do the job. For payback, I’ll be using Audirvana 3.5 (for now) and Apple Music. Audirvana on my dedicated music server (Mac mini) and Music on my desktop and iOS devices.
After using both softwares to rip CDs I am finding that while DbPoweramp provides much more metadata and better error detection, Music creates more consistent files that seem to be managed better/easier by Audirvana. Note: I am not tasking Audirvana with using my Apple Music library and files. Audirvana is on a dedicated (stripped) MacMini and that mini is dedicated to music only.
Note: My music libraries have major meta data continuity issues do to ripping using different apps and purchasing HD files. When I re-rip everything, I am hoping to keep things consistent and cleaner. Purchased files metadata can be edited to the “standard.”
So… I am asking for those with similar experience and keeping in mind my usage: Which of the two ripping software would you suggest I use and why?

Thanks much!

Neither. :slightly_smiling_face: For MacOS, I very much like XLD. You may want to check it out on a couple of CDs and see whether it satisfies your needs.

2 Likes

I would go with dbPowerAmp or XLD. Why you want to rip the CDs in ALAC? Why not FLAC?

:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes:

I suggest you rip the CD’s as .AIFF files (Audio Interchange File Format)…The Apple Inc. raw lossless PCM file format…
What makes you think you cannot get a bit-perfect rip with metadata from Apple Music and .AIFF?

:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes:
Why not ALAC (.M4A) if @Bambooken is trying to maximize storage space? …The decode processing differential would be the only consideration…

It‘s a vendor specific format. It’s widely supported but still not as widely as FLAC.

2 Likes

… and because Alac doesn’t manage Artist tag as multi item (and others) … Audirvana and JRiver use a trick to supersede this limitation but other players don’t and this could be a big problem sooner or later …

1 Like

very much agree. XLD to FLAC is the way.

2 Likes

I use XLD to rip to AIFF, but it will do FLAC or AIFF or ALAC or others.

:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes: @bitracer @stefano_mbp

@Bambooken is employing macOS on a MacMini and is looking for consistency… Why can’t the metadata then be further organized in Audirvana?

If storage space is not an issue…

:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes:

Why?

:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes:

The reason for ripping to .AIFF or .ALAC is the “Vertical Integration” with Core Audio API’s… .FLAC is a ubiquitous format that macOS supports, but it is not native to the macOS audio ecosystem.

To everyone who has responded thus far: Thank you! (It is heartening to have your input and extremely helpful.)

~ Here’s the rub… I’m wondering if the less/simpler metadata provided by the ALAC format (ripped via Music) is, in the end better? The KISS principle, less is more, etc.
The reason I opened this thread is due to my experience so far using DBpoweramp and FLAC format. The resulting files are fine and the error checking is very good. However, the data (metadata) is only as good as the data discovered by the ripping software. That data is consistently, inconsistent (garbage in/garbage out).

Example: Now and then, the same artist/band’s data can be just slightly differently entered at the datasource. The result is a bunged up interpretation by Audirvana. This is especially true when the track has a collaborative “Artist” field (Neil Young, feat Emmylou Harris). This track may end up as a separate album from the rest of the origin album’s tracks. When this happens, I have been using PerfectTUNES to clean up as best I can. (Plus the challenge of figuring out what is causing the problem is not always easy). Once I believe I have corrected the data properly, when I refresh the data in Audirvana, it’s a 50/50 proposition that it will “take” and that song will appear as part of the album/disk it was ripped from. Sometimes, Audirvana (3.5) simply does not acknowledge the changes I’ve made.
BTW: Using XLD seems to have similar results as dBpoweramp. They probably use the same data sources. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
~ Another question: Can anyone confirm if ORIGIN does a better job of data handling? It claims to. (Perhaps upgrading to ORGIN, I can avoid using PerfectTUNES)

So… I’m now thinking that .AIFF may be as good of a solution as ALAC? Still, thinking that using Apple Music to keep the data simple might be the way to go.
~ One more question: Does anyone know where the album art data is stored for AIFF and ALAC?
Note: Apple Music does not work with FLAC files. I still use the Music app and other iOS devices to listen to music on-the-go. Otherwise, I’d be going with FLAC.
Side note: I’m not tasking Audirvana with using my Apple Music library.

If you’re trying to imply that AIFF and ALAC will somehow sound better on Apple hardware, that’s nonsense. The only reason why you might want to rip in ALAC is integration with Apple Music for mobile use, that’s it.

If that’s the goal, you’re better off converting the part of your collection you want to take with you to AAC using XLD (or some other software) from FLAC.

1 Like

I doubt that Apple Music will produce better results. From personal experience, XLD produced good results with minimal tweaking. It will depend on how niche the music you’re listening is. If you’re listening to mainstream genres you’ll get good results with pretty much any software as far as tagging is concerned.

I’m not implying AIFF / ALAC are better via Apple. However, I have an “Apple” centric “ecosystem” and I have a habit of generally over-engineering things. Also, I’m very frustrated with not being able to keep my Audirvana library (display side of things) consistent.

I have done extensive A/B testing with Apple Music vs Audirvana and the trouble is well worth the fidelity gains. In the end, I really want the every-now-and-then, cross device, convince of Apple and the fidelity of Audirvana. All, in a neat and consistent interface. (meaning the proper reference data/metadata appearing properly). Oh, and a functional JetPack too… ha!

1 Like

A whole lot of my music is not even near mainstream. Which likely causes trouble too.

The format to which you rip is not going to help you with the tagging, with the exception of some of the limitation mentioned above.

Since you’ll be investing a lot of time ripping the CDs, it would be logical to go with the most ubiquitous format (FLAC). Unless, …, you really need to take lossless content with you on the iPhone. Even for that, it might be more reasonable to subscribe to Apple Music streaming service.

1 Like

Thanks for your input.
With AppleTVs throughout the house, Apple Music on my desktop as the server/source, streamer… Older modified iPod with direct-out goes to car. As I mentioned, over-engineering, but it works for me. The Mac mini that runs Audirvana is free standing and not a part of the other tech.

It would be nice to rip-for-days and do it once, right, without a lot of tag/data correction.
:sun_with_face:

@bitracer - can you confirm that Apple Music rips with less tags? As in, less to be inconsistent? I’m not sure what database Apple uses as the source-data for their platform. I do know that they keep trying to get me to subscribe. I’m very happy with Prime Unlimited and it’s less expensive too.