Tuesday, September 25, 2018 05:22

Right about ripping: then and now

CODECSFor years I’ve been telling people who decided to rip their CDs to MP3s or similar compressed files that they should under no circumstances dispose of the original CDs afterward.  This goes double for LPs of course.

I recall my spiel pretty clearly:  “If you get rid of the original sources, the sound quality of your rips will be stuck in the 1990s forever.  If and when better file formats come around, you’ll be out of luck.”

Well, now we’re all in luck.  We can rip our CDs, LPs, or other “real” audio to lossless compressed files.  I use FLAC (free lossless audio codec).  Apple’s excellent ALAC (Apple lossless audio codec) is out there, mainly  for users of Apple brand devices.  Either of these saves about 50 percent on storage space compared to what we perceive as standard PCM audio files and serve up the same listening experience as an original CD.

If your current personal media player doesn’t support either FLAC or ALAC, you’re still okay.  You can rip to lossless files stored on your computer as FLAC or ALAC, then convert those to MP3 or whatever format your device is happy with.  Keep the lossless files around for use with upgraded hardware or for use when improved formats with greater compression come along.  The original CDs shouldn’t be needed any more, but I’d suggest keeping the jewel box inserts for future reference.  How you handle notes printed on Digipak holders is up to you.

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