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Thread: What is the best Codec To Use?

  1. #1

    What is the best Codec To Use?

    I have 3000 CD's that I wish to archive. I know this will be a long process, but I want to create a digital music database of my CD's that are a true copy of the originals. I know using a lossy compression method is not the way to go, so I am aware that it is a lossless codec I need to use. However there are quite a number of lossless codecs out there and each have there own plus and minus points. Using a comparison table posted on Wikipedia (http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index....ess_comparison) it seems that FLAC compression is the first choice for most people. So I was wondering if there are any professional archivers out there that can point me in the right direction by answering the following questions:

    1. What codec do professionals use: FLAC, WavPack, TAC, Monkeys, OptimFROG, ALAC, WMA, Shorten, LA, TTA, LPAC, MPEG4 ALS/SLS, Real Lossless or plain old WAV?
    2. What settings would you recommend for the chosen format?
    3. What formats do professionals use to create digital music data-bases for televion and radio?
    4. What format is the most compatable with all/most of the standard players available?
    5. What longevity do these encoders have. Are any Codecs more likely to become obsolete.

    Now I am aware of the amount of drive space taken up whilst using Lossless files, but that is not really a major concern. All I want is a like-for-like digital archive copy of all my CD's. This is a major factor as I may sell the orginal CD's at a later date. I am also aware that some portable players only use certain file formats, but if I have a CD quality archive I can use this to encode to other formats without loss of quality, as though I were using the original CD.

    Sorry for the amount of questions, but I want to choose the right codec first time.

    Hopefully somebody out there can help me.

    If Spoon reads this, I would be very interested to hear what he would recommend, and also what would be the safest settings to use in dBpoweramp.

    Regards

    Simon

  2. #2
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    Re: What is the best Codec To Use?

    FLAC would be the first choice unless you are tied to Microsoft or Apple.

  3. #3
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    Re: What is the best Codec To Use?

    I've used FLAC for converting my thousands of CDs. Not that many choices on options when converting to lossless. There is the compression level (dealing with file size). I use "8" which is the smallest size. Otherwise, you simply decide on what tags you want to use. You'll want to think hard about this. Bottom line is that you want your artwork, tags, etc. to be "perfect" in your FLAC files. This way you can do batch conversions later to any lossy format (mp3) with ease. And by the way, I'm on a windows machine. Almost any player these days will deal with FLAC (itunes is a major exception). I play FLAC through my SqueezeCenter/SqueezeBox products for distribution of music throughout my home. I also use foobar2000 on my computer to play FLAC files. If you went with the SONOS product for home music distribution, FLAC is good as well. For portable use, I convert my FLAC files to mp3 with the click of a mouse using dbpoweramp and then use the mp3 files within ITUNES for synching with my ipods.

  4. #4

    Re: What is the best Codec To Use?

    Thanks for the replies guys, it's greatly appreciated. Seems like FLAC is the best option after all.

    Before I proceed on the never ending task of ripping all my CD's, I have just a few more questions...

    1. Without the need to install various music players on my computer to handle FLAC files, is there a way to make WMP play FLAC files?

    2. After downloading and installing the FLAC codec to use with dBpa I read through your quick guide to using FLAC files. Do I need to change the IDTag format to ID3 v1/2, so I can imbed album art into the files, or will the album art still be present in the files if I use the default Vorbis Comments IDTag?

    3. I have read elsewhere in this Forum that some users recommend ripping clean FLAC files from CD's, then adding the requied DSP Effects using the FLAC files; such as Replaygain, Hidden Track Silence Removal etc. Is it safer this way, or can it be done during the ripping process?

    4. In order to burn an exact copy of your ripped FLAC tracks back to CD, I understand I need to write a CUE sheet. Can you quickly explain what this is and how I can write them? Is it an actual file I can save in each album folder?

    Regards

    Simon

  5. #5
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    Re: What is the best Codec To Use?

    2. leave as default
    3. can be done when ripping
    4. CueSheet beta writer is in the beta section of this forum.

  6. #6
    dBpoweramp Guru
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    Re: What is the best Codec To Use?

    I recall playing flac in winamp several years ago. Seems there was a simple plugin. Google winamp and flac.

  7. #7
    dBpoweramp Enthusiast Tigerman's Avatar
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    Re: What is the best Codec To Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by garym View Post
    I recall playing flac in winamp several years ago. Seems there was a simple plugin. Google winamp and flac.
    Winamp plays flac out of the box now.
    For WMP you need a directshowfilter:

    http://www.xiph.org/dshow/

  8. #8
    dBpoweramp Guru
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    Re: What is the best Codec To Use?

    sorry, misread the question. but this is useful info for those using WMP. thanks.

  9. #9

    Re: What is the best Codec To Use?

    Thanks for all the posts guys...all very useful.

    Now comes that hard part...converting all those CD's!

    Regards

    Simon

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