Optimum ripping solutions

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Optimum ripping solutions

Post by ThomasOK » 2013-01-22 22:46

I looked through the forum and couldn't find a thread that really deals with this (one I found on ripping software was more to deal with ensuring exact rips rather than musical performance) so I am starting this thread.

Now that we have the wonderful new resource of the Linnofil Super NAS to work towards giving us the most musical feed to DS systems,the other side of the coin is what is the best way to get the music into the NAS drives. I know that overall EAC has been put forward as the most musical ripping software and this still seems to be the case, but various experiences would be worthwhile to discuss.

The other big question is what is the best drive solution for ripping? It has been indicated that it is likely better to have an external drive for ripping rather than an internal one. Is this because it gives better rips than the internal drive, because having the drive internal harms the musical performance of the NAS, or both? It would be interesting to know how much of a performance loss there is as the idea of an all-in-one ripping/NAS solution is very appealing to many.

If the best choice is an external drive for ripping this also brings up several questions. Which drives are best? (As David Neel mentioned these tend to go out of production and be replaced by newer models frequently.) How is it best to connect them? USB or FireWire or eSATA? Bus powered or separate power supply? Has anybody done tune tests on the cables to connect them to the computer to find the best choices here? After seeing information on the Plextor drive it brings up one more question: vertical or horizontal?

Now that we have the ability to make a great step up in the place we store our music it would be great if we could also have the best solutions to get the most musical information on there as well. I know this is asking a lot of those members who have worked the hardest find the best solutions but it feels like some real progress is being made here and it would be great to share that.

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Re: Optimum ripping solutions

Post by Music Lover » 2013-01-22 23:53

ThomasOK wrote:The other big question is what is the best drive solution for ripping? It has been indicated that it is likely better to have an external drive for ripping rather than an internal one. Is this because it gives better rips than the internal drive, because having the drive internal harms the musical performance of the NAS, or both? It would be interesting to know how much of a performance loss there is as the idea of an all-in-one ripping/NAS solution is very appealing to many.
An external drive has many advantages. You can easily optimize power cable, position (including different racks) and the way you connect it to the PC (USB etc)
Also, it makes it easier to compare different models.
And personally I like to separate the drive from the NAS.

I have a Plexor B310U. Hope to compare rips from Linnofil's Plexor in the future.
Both these drives are designed for horizontal use.
And I also prefer EAC.

With the LS NAS, it's easier to compare different rips but to be honest, all my spare time is currently spent on optimizing the NAS ;-)
It's all about musical understanding!

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Post by David Neel » 2013-01-23 00:00

I'll be contributing, but not just yet. I'm building a SuperNAS, or at least I will be when all the parts arrive.

Currently I have my digital music on my laptop hard drive, ripped by dbpoweramp to uncompressed flac. As first step, I will transfer those files to SuperNAS. Then I will be able to compare existing rips, rips done by dbpoweramp but with the new drive I have ordered - PX-310U, as per Linnofil's recommendation, and then the same ripping drive with EAC.

I had EAC before, but found it clunky to use, and the new version appears to be WAV only - so I bought dbpoweramp based on Linn's endorsement. Now I will try EAC again. This might also get into the FLAC vs WAV debate.

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Re: Optimum ripping solutions

Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-23 01:38

Music Lover wrote:I have a Plexor B310U.
I thought you bought the Plextor 950 BR writer?

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Post by ThomasOK » 2013-01-23 03:40

Actually the reason I asked vertical vs. horizontal is that the first photo I saw of the Plextor B310U showed it positioned vertically in an included stand! I actually assumed from Linnofil's comment about the importance of leveling that horizontal placement is necessary. I had a feeling that the ability to optimize the environment of the ripping drive might be a big part of the performance advantage. Music Lover, since you also mention optimizing position and racks am I safe in assuming you have found the best performance with the Plextor on a Yggdrasil? If so do you put it on the same Yggdrasil as the NAS or do you use one for the Plextor and one of the NAS when ripping?

Another question this brings up is file types. Is it the general opinion that FLAC is still the best format for storage and transmission to the NAS? I know there has been talk about WAV vs. FLAC on the Linn forum but I am unsure of the methodology used. I also wonder if anyone has tested FLAC vs. ALAC. I know these machines are mainly PC based but a couple of quick A/Bs here indicated ALAC might be superior. I don't consider them conclusive as they were done under less than ideal circumstances but just wondered if anyone here had tried this comparison.

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Re: Optimum ripping solutions

Post by Music Lover » 2013-01-23 07:35

Linnofil wrote:
Music Lover wrote:I have a Plexor B310U.
I thought you bought the Plextor 950 BR writer?
Nope, sorry for the confusion.

At the time, both the more expensive BD drives were sold out in EU so I ordered both.
The 310 arrived after 6 weeks and I then canceled the other order.
It's all about musical understanding!

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Re: Optimum ripping solutions

Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-23 09:32

Music Lover wrote:I have a Plexor B310U.
Linnofil wrote:I thought you bought the Plextor 950 BR writer?
Music Lover wrote:Nope
OK, good to know. I guess a 950 is my next buy then...

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Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-23 09:50

David Neel wrote:Currently I have my digital music on my laptop hard drive, ripped by dbpoweramp to uncompressed flac. As first step, I will transfer those files to SuperNAS. Then I will be able to compare existing rips, rips done by dbpoweramp but with the new drive I have ordered - PX-310U, as per Linnofil's recommendation, and then the same ripping drive with EAC.
I think this will be very rewarding for you. There are settings in the rip SW that affect the performance, some of them drive dependent. This makes it a bit tricky to compare.

David Neel wrote:I had EAC before, but found it clunky to use, and the new version appears to be WAV only - so I bought dbpoweramp based on Linn's endorsement. Now I will try EAC again. This might also get into the FLAC vs WAV debate.
The new interface for EAC (>1.0 ) is a little bit better. EAC does rip to FLAC. Just rip to "compressed" to get a FLAC file. (Compression option needs to be set to FLAC in the settings.) Use <Shift+F5> to start ripping and you will be OK.

That you must use the compressed option in the menu is a bit confusing, I know many who have fallen into that trap. The menu looks the same for all compressed options and doesn't change when you choose a lossless compression. So confusing, but at the same time logical, when looked at from a SW perspective.

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Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-23 10:07

This is info from the L.S. NAS thread. http://www.lejonklou.com/forum/viewtopi ... 4767#14767

I used to be hesitant to use an external rip drive. Since the external drives I had tested wasn't any good. One LG drive even swapped the left and right channels! But when I bought a new Samsung CD/DVD R/W drive (for PC use), the SE-224Q USB (2), I then realised that it was the best rip drive I yet had tried. It was also ripping very fast. I still have it and use it for ripping. By working with this drive, level surface, different rubber feet and turning the wall plug the right way, I got really good results, better than any interrnal drive I had tried. The 224 drives are still avaliable as an intenal drive: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsung-SATA-Re ... 009DF373A/

Because of this tweaking enhancements I still prefer an external drive. I think that the Plextor 950 can be a good compromise. It has USB3 as well as eSATA and should be as good as an internal drive when it comes to connectivity and have all the advantadges of a external drive. It can also be completely disconnected when not in use. The option to try two different interfaces and the possiblility of experimenting with power supplies makes it a very tempting option!
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Plextor-PX-B950 ... 0075D0RJE/

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Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-23 10:24

More info from the L.S. NAS: http://www.lejonklou.com/forum/viewtopi ... 4768#14768
David Neel wrote:Linnofil, is your recommendation of an external drive based on better performance in ripping, or better performance from the SuperNAS because the CD drive doesn't affect it?
As Lejonklou mentioned, it's based on performance. The tweaking possibilities makes it easier to get more out of an external drive. But it's also nice that it can be completely disconnected when not in use.

David Neel wrote:How did you chose the Plextor 310, and how is it better? And can anybody else offer any suggestions?
This particular drive is untested, by me. *sorry...* But all the tests done in Sweden indicates that the Plextor Blu Ray drives are the best for ripping. The readers have in some cases been better than the writers. I'm still very tempted by the 950 writer, as that have eSATA as well as USB3. The 310 is also cheaper at £107 than the 950 at £165.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Plextor-PX-B310 ... 001J8V7CW/
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Plextor-PX-B950 ... 0075D0RJE/

It's difficult to have a real rip drive shotout, since the PC and local conditions likely affect the result, as does the transfer of files over the internet. But me and a friend (also with a L.S. NAS) discussed that we should try that anyway. By sending a CD and a USB stick around to some of the NAS builders in Sweden. We all have different rip drives. One external and one internal Plextor BR, one external Plextor DVD and me with the external Samsung 224 DVD.) Could be interesting!

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Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-24 17:51

paolo wrote:I've also bought a Samsung SH-224BB DVD drive which I'm very curious to compare to my best ripping drive at the moment (Sony/Optiarc AD7200 - latest 72X0 versions are not as good). I will report the results. Looking forward to hear more about Plextor external drives.
Nice! It's going to be interesting to hear your results. The Samsung drive is now old and cheap, so it doesn't cost much to try it. But as I have mentioned, some of the good things about the external drive was for me to optimize the surroundings for the drive. This will be difficut with an internal drive. If you have long cables for SATA and power you can try to have the drive outside the computer case and test surface, leveling etc. Try turning the wall plug 180 degrees, I think it will make a difference.

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Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-25 01:12

I now have a Plextor PX-B310U at home. Thanks to a loan from ML. I will try and test this against my Samsung drive as soon as I can.

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Post by John » 2013-01-25 15:41

I'm not a cd guy but I use iTunes and rip to AIFF after comparing it to ALAC.

Do folks find the rips sound better than from what comes out of the cd player?

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Post by paolo » 2013-01-25 16:34

Linnofil wrote: The Samsung drive is now old and cheap, so it doesn't cost much to try it. But as I have mentioned, some of the good things about the external drive was for me to optimize the surroundings for the drive. This will be difficut with an internal drive. If you have long cables for SATA and power you can try to have the drive outside the computer case and test surface, leveling etc.


Interesting. Using an external drive do you take the power from the internal PSU of the PC/NAS, or from the external drive's own PS? I guess the former solution could give better results, as the PSU inside the PC has been suitably selected for performance, right?
Linnofil wrote: Try turning the wall plug 180 degrees, I think it will make a difference.

Yes I always try that also with network/IT devices and I agree it always makes a difference ;)

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Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-25 19:16

John wrote:I'm not a cd guy but I use iTunes and rip to AIFF after comparing it to ALAC.
I have not tried ripping with iTunes. How does it compare to other rippers, such as EAC? Did you test ripping to AIFF vs. ALAC and prefered AIFF as it is, or that you rip to AIFF and then convert to ALAC? i didn't know a Linn DS could handle AIFF. (Even if it's a simpel format to decode.)
John wrote:Do folks find the rips sound better than from what comes out of the cd player?
Yes, very much so. A good rip in a Linn DS shall beat ANY CD player.

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Post by John » 2013-01-25 20:01

Linnofil wrote:
John wrote:I'm not a cd guy but I use iTunes and rip to AIFF after comparing it to ALAC.
I have not tried ripping with iTunes. How does it compare to other rippers, such as EAC? Did you test ripping to AIFF vs. ALAC and prefered AIFF as it is, or that you rip to AIFF and then convert to ALAC? i didn't know a Linn DS could handle AIFF. (Even if it's a simpel format to decode.)
I haven't tried other rippers. No conversions were done for the rips, they were direct to the format in question. I've heard something is lost in the conversion process. I'm pretty sure Linn supports AIFF, I like it because it can handle metadata.
John wrote:Do folks find the rips sound better than from what comes out of the cd player?
Linnofil wrote: Yes, very much so. A good rip in a Linn DS shall beat ANY CD player.
That's interesting because I don't own a cd player so I'm glad to hear one is not needed to get the best from that format.

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Post by David Neel » 2013-01-27 17:57

Linnofil wrote:I now have a Plextor PX-B310U at home. Thanks to a loan from ML. I will try and test this against my Samsung drive as soon as I can.
I've cancelled my PX-B310U and ordered the internal Samsung drive, to be used externally to my LSNAS. If I've guessed wrong, I only lose £15! Look forward to the comparison!

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Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-29 00:24

Linnofil wrote: The Samsung drive is now old and cheap, so it doesn't cost much to try it.
paolo wrote:Interesting. Using an external drive do you take the power from the internal PSU of the PC/NAS, or from the external drive's own PS? I guess the former solution could give better results, as the PSU inside the PC has been suitably selected for performance, right?
I have used the included external PSU to power the drive. With the Linnofil Super NAS PSU the internal drive might be better. I still would like to have it externally, to get all the benefits from that. It will most likely require extention cables to the PSU and a long SATA cable. Interesting experiments!
Linnofil wrote: Try turning the wall plug 180 degrees, I think it will make a difference.
paolo wrote:Yes I always try that also with network/IT devices and I agree it always makes a difference ;)
I sort of knew that already. I just added that for all the other readers...

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Post by Linnofil » 2013-01-29 00:33

David Neel wrote:I've cancelled my PX-B310U and ordered the internal Samsung drive, to be used externally to my LSNAS. If I've guessed wrong, I only lose £15! Look forward to the comparison!
Can't beat cheap! :-) Especially when it's good. £15 is not much to loose, so it's well spent as an experimentation budget.

With this drive, the tweaks, the LS NAS and EAC, I'm sure it's going to be a great improvement.

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Post by David Neel » 2013-03-30 20:17

I've now started to experiment with ripping, as over half of my CDs are not yet ripped. My LSNAS has all files ripped lossless flac with dbpoweramp, done on my laptop's built-in drive and then copied across to the LSNAS.

Yesterday I installed EAC to the LSNAS and connected my Samsung SH-224. I ripped several new CDs, plus one track previously ripped. The new CDs sounded good - better than previous rips. I then tried the previously ripped track, which now showed up twice on Kinsky. I was not aware which rip was which, but one was clearly preferable - which turned out to be the EAC file. EAC is monumentally unfriendly to use, and VERY slow compared to dbpoweramp. But the gain was enough to consider re-ripping the 150+ CDs already ripped.

Today I realised that there were more variables than just EAC vs dbpoweramp - the ripping drives were different. So I installed dbpoweramp onto the NAS and re-ripped one of the new CDs. Now it is almost too close to call between the rips, and the one I thought was EAC turned out to be dbpoweramp - it appears that the CD drive may be the big difference.

I will continue to experiment, but at this stage I'm not convinced about EAC. I'm ripping it at the highest resolution offered, 1024, but the files are about half the size of the dbpoweramp lossless files. Am I missing a setting in EAC which will do lossless?

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Post by ThomasOK » 2013-05-20 05:56

A little report on some experiments with different ripping software on my new LS-NAS setup (this is mainly copied from a longer post on the Linnofil Super NAS thread but I felt this info should be here as well).

First, here is the hardware used for ripping:

• Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD drive
• Enclosure: Vantec NexStar DX Model NST-530SU USB 2.0 & eSATA
• eSATA Cable: Included "Serial ATA 26AWG E189529 AWM STYLE 2725 80°C 30V VW-1 VEGA TECH"
• Power cord: Linn
• Ripping software: tested EAC, db Poweramp, iTunes

These comparisons were of the way the music was ripped. All of this was ripped at the store with the NAS upside down on a Q4 rack with the ripping drive on the same shelf separated by a bit. Both units were fed by Linn Longwell cables with Hubbell plugs direct into the wall. Other cabling was as above. What I found out was quite interesting on the musical performance front. I ripped the entire Heart Shaped World disc 5 ways as follows:

db poweramp - FLAC
EAC - FLAC
iTunes - ALAC, converted to FLAC by db music converter
iTunes - ALAC
finally I did a second EAC - FLAC with the eSATA cable reversed to With Text to test the cable direction (as opposed to the Against Text I had randomly used for the other four rips).

I did rip a few other discs but only used EAC - FLAC with the cable Against Text on them so I haven't used them for testing yet.

The worst musically was the EAC With Text so this cable obviously sounds better Against Text. The second worst was the db poweramp rip. Both of these two definitely had parts that sounded a bit out of tune - especially on the track "Wicked Game" where the guitar is a good test for this - and both just had less enjoyable movement to them. In the middle was the iTunes rip converted to FLAC with a significantly more tuneful performance than either of the above and better timing of notes. As a matter of fact it was really close to the EAC Against Text rip, so close that when I did the comparison at the store I had a hard time telling them apart. Even at home I had to go back and forth a few times to establish my preference but it was more obvious on the "Wicked Game" track than "Heart Shaped World". Still, in my notes I gave the EAC AT rip a position of 2 and the ITunes converted FLAC a 2.2. However, the unquestioned most musical rip was the iTunes ripped to ALAC and played as an ALAC. It was simply more musical, more toe tapping, more in tune and more emotionally engaging (and "Wicked Game" is one of those tunes that, well reproduced, really gets me). Whenever I played that rip I just wanted to listen to the whole thing and several times I did, having to restart to do a proper A/B.

So there you have it, I find iTunes ripped to ALAC to make the most musical files I have found so far. While this was not as I expected I have to say it comes as a pleasant surprise. For one thing I have to agree that EAC is a bear to use and quite slow, at least on my setup. I noticed one of the tracks on a different disc I was ripping showed that it was ripping at 0.9x speed! (I supposed it might not have been in good condition - but still!) I did have EAC setup with the Linn recommendations and the additional suggestions from Nicolav. The fact that EAC couldn't find the metadata on most of the discs I ripped without me telling it to look ad GDDB, a two step process, didn't help its usability. Not to mention that iTunes is free unlike db poweramp or the necessary payment for GDDB on EAC if you want decent metadata. The downside to iTunes is that it appears I will have to reformat the artwork if I want Asset to send it to Kinsky. But that assumes I find Asset to be the most musical server. I plan to also try Minim server and Linn's Songbox to see how they do.

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Post by rowlandhills » 2014-08-18 17:41

I'm about to replace my home PC with a MacBook Pro, and this setup will need to handle ripping duties as well as general web access etc. (and my wife's academic work, which is the main reason for buying it).

Are there any particular drive recommendations when using a Mac for ripping? I'm not yet sure whether I'll be using XLD or running dBPoweramp through a windows emulator on the Mac.

The obvious option is probably the "Apple USB SuperDrive" which Apple are trying to sell me when I buy the new laptop, but is it any good?
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Post by MisterH » 2014-08-18 20:20

rowlandhills wrote:I'm about to replace my home PC with a MacBook Pro, and this setup will need to handle ripping duties as well as general web access etc. (and my wife's academic work, which is the main reason for buying it).

Are there any particular drive recommendations when using a Mac for ripping? I'm not yet sure whether I'll be using XLD or running dBPoweramp through a windows emulator on the Mac.

The obvious option is probably the "Apple USB SuperDrive" which Apple are trying to sell me when I buy the new laptop, but is it any good?
I use an old MacBook Pro which has in built drive, but for ripping purposes I use the Apple USB super drive on an IMac and have no problems. I use dbPoweramp on the IMac running under VMWARE and have never had a problem.

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Post by rowlandhills » 2014-08-18 22:18

Thanks Neil, that's good to know.
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Post by ThomasOK » 2014-08-21 20:57

I haven't tried external ripping drives on a Mac. The report above was using the LS-NAS with the external drive noted. I don't see any reason the same drive wouldn't work as well with a Mac but there have been some changes in the products. The Samsung has been replaced with a newer version model # SH-224DB which Newegg sells for $20 but I don't know what differences there may be. The case I used is also not available but a similar case, the VANTEC ST-530S3-BK is for $50 - it is USB 3.0 but doesn't have eSATA. Pricewise similar to the Superdrive but no idea of the musical comparison.
Last edited by ThomasOK on 2014-08-22 04:08, edited 1 time in total.

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