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Best Format to Rip CD Audio [Read Definitive Guide 2019]

Audio Basis - educational articles

yuri korzunovCD ripper software extract compact disk audio data to number musical formats at hard disk of a computer. Some formats can cause losses of ripped information. It is critical or not?
CD-audio contains music in 44.1 kHz / 16 bit resolution. But available audio systems and devices have higher audio resolution.
44.1 / 16 may be converted in other resolution. But give it advantages or not? Answer is not simple, as seems at first glance.
How to choose audio format for CD ripping better way? Read easy explanation by audio software developer Yuri Korzunov.

• DSF, DFF, ISO (1-bit audio) is supported in maximal PROduce-RD and configurable Modula-R
• For ISO tracks, DSF, DFF with length more 3 minutes FREE demo mute 2 second silence in the output middle
• DVD ISO is NOT supported

Watch and share: video about safe audio ripping

Ripping is not 100% safe. Wrong data reading from compact disk is possible. The best CD ripping software for audiophile should detect compact disk errors as better as possible, to avoid of music interruptions, pauses, skips, clicks may be there.

First aim of CD ripping is maximally qualitative CD-audio-data copy to sound file without audio processing of music.

Further these data may be converted to other formats and resolutions by your option.


Lossless files are recommended as the best format to rip CD:

What is the best audio format for sound quality? All these formats is absolutely identical by binary audio content and able to keep full CD's sound quality.

FLAC and ALAC store compressed data. And we cannot directly compare binary content WAV and FLAC, as example. But we can pack WAV1 to FLAC, unpack FLAC to WAV2 and compare binary content of WAV1 and WAV2. If a conversion software work correctly and without sound processing, the binary content will identical.

There is opinion, that lossless compression (like FLAC) can degrade sound when playback (was discussed here). For that case was implemented so-called "uncompressed FLAC". But the author still don't know about professional researches FLAC vs. "uncompressed FLAC".


Tip #1. What about sound quality improvement?

As rule, your audio system (Digital Audio Player, home audio, mobile phone, DAC or others) supports sample rates higher than 44.1 kHz / 16 bit. And you want to ask: can I get better sound quality via upsampling to maximal sample rate and bit depth of my audio system?

Theoretically, upsampling can't improve sound quality. Contrary, it cause some small losses (distortions; its level depend on used conversion software). But, when we consider this matter in conjunction with used equipment, we can get other result. Read details...


Tip #2. Does it make sense apply dithering to ripped audio files?

In general case, not. But for some recordings special dithering can reduce impact of correlated distortions, that degrade sound, theoretically.

Applying of dither can cause higher noise level. Apply dither by your taste.

NOTE: Dithering estimating on lowest loudness levels of a recording is encouraged.

Read more about dithering...


Tip #3. Which lossless audio format is the best?

If refer to sound quality, any lossless audio format (lossless or not) is the same to store 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.

However, audio player software compatibilty issues are probable:

  • file type;
  • metadata.

As example, iTunes can't play FLAC.

Or some players can't display WAV metadata.

General recommendations:

  • use FLAC files;
  • if you use iTunes, convert FLAC to ALAC or AIFF;
  • if you play AIFF at iTunes, use compatible type of AIFF metadata.

NOTE: When convert to AIFF for iTunes, in AuI ConverteR in Settings > Metedata > check "Compatibility metatags with iTunes" switch.

AIFF compatibility iTunes

Read more about audio formats...


Tip #4. Is there a difference between CD rippers?

For most of compact disks, the difference is no there.

When a CD is damaged, different CD rippers (in conjunction with CD drive) can give different error number in converted audio files.



Metadata issue


When compact disk is ripped, track metadata (song, performer name, etc.) may be queried from Internet database. So target format must be storing metadata capable. All formats, mentioned in the article, is capable for metadata.

When you use iTunes on Mac, ripping to AIFF, ALAC is recommended, because both formats able to support metadata, that can be read by iTunes software.

When you use Windows or other Mac audio playback software to listening of ripped files, you have many options that have no issues with metadata for WAV, FLAC, AIFF, ALAC.

When you use WAV format, issue with impossibility of reading metadata is more probable. As rule, more playback software/hardware have FLAC metadata compatibility. You can prefer uncompressed FLAC if you more like uncompressed storing of audio data.


Resume: What is the best way to store CDs digitally?

  1. The best way to store CDs is riping to lossless files WAV, FLAC, AIFF, ALAC.
        CD ripping may be performed with errors. If you have ripping seance, that was performed without reported errors, it is recommended to backup the ripped files.
  2. Ripping to lossless formats is recommended for future conversion to other formats and resolutions. In the future may appear more qualitative audio converters and lossy formats.
  3. As rule FLAC have lesser probability of issues with reading metadata (song, performer name, etc.). But for iTunes compatibility AIFF and ALAC is recommended.
  4. If you prefer FLAC due better metadata compatibility, than WAV, but you don't sure that FLAC sound better, than WAV, you can choose "uncompressed FLAC".


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The Best Format to Rip CD Audio


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