View Full Version : Digitizing a radio station's 7,000 CD collection, best/fastest ripper/player

01-21-2006, 04:53 PM
I have recently been appointed director of my college radio station’s project to digitize all of our 7,000+ CDs.

After briefly looking through various pages describing different lossless formats, I am still uncertain which format would be the most optimal for both ripping/encoding CDs onto and playback on a RAID (Random Array of Independent Disks) system run on Mac OSX while ensuring sound quality and compatibility with recording programs (for example, lossless codecs most compatible with editing and DAW programs, such as Pro Tools and Wavelab?)

Also, what would be the fastest lossless format program for both ripping CDs (1 CD ripped per minute using a super-fast drive, if this is possible) and playback with a large music library of over 100,000 songs? It needs to be capable of rapidly accessing songs upon cue, because for us as a radio station, immediate playback is vital. It would also need to have extensive tagging capabilities so that we can keep track of our massive collection.

People have been telling me that at 1 CD per minute, I can't avoid pop/clicks, and other problem of infidelity. Is that true? What is the lowest rate one can usually rip at while ensuring fidelity.

Please let me know your suggestions for such a program and/or codec. I am considering having separate programs for ripping/encoding and playback, if there isn’t a “workhorse” program that can do both with stability and speed.

Also, recommendations on what would be the fastest RAID setup would so appreciated!
I’m thinking of going with something simple like just a RAID 0 setup because of cost and the feeling that I’m getting that data recovery software would work if something did go wrong.


01-21-2006, 08:25 PM
Ripping a CD at one per minute is possible, but depends heavily on the format, the length of the CD, and the power of the computer.

If your ripping 7,000+ CDs, I HIGHLY advise against using a RAID 0 array and instead recommend either a RAID 1 or RAID 5 (requires 3 discs) array. By using a RAID 0 array you are doubling your chance of losing your data, as only one drive needs to fail and you lose everything. RAID 1 makes an exact copy on another drive and RAID 5 can lose one drive and still rebuild everything. Do note that a hardware RAID controller should be used, not on-motherboard controllers for low CPU utilization.
RAID 1 reads as fast as a single drive but writes a little slower, as it writes it twice. RAID 5 reads and writes a little slower than a single drive, but you gain redundancy.

Back to formats. The problem comes down to the fact that the most compatible lossless format is WAV, but it has no tagging. The next most compatible would probably be Apple's Lossless, which at the moment is encoded via an iTunes plugin. Also note that dMC is Windows-only regarding CD ripping but does work via WINE in Linux for converting to most formats.
The best compromise for formats would be pick one lossless format (FLAC, ALAC, Monkey's, etc) and use that for storage. If you need to use editing programs, convert the file to WAV, edit, then re-encode back to FLAC, noting that the file will need to be re-tagged.

dMC only converts files, dAP plays them back.

01-22-2006, 02:47 PM
Monkeys Audio is pretty fast at encoding, but 1 cd a minute (a cd might be 75 minutes long, you would need a x75 speed cd drive), even x52 cd drives tend to only rip at x20 - x35 depending upon position.