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Thread: What causes distortion in CDs ripped to FLAC files?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2021
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    Question What causes distortion in CDs ripped to FLAC files?

    I am using PLEX to stream my music. I am using only uncompressed FLAC format audio files for this purpose. Some of my produced FLAC files have a very high amount of distortion. Two days ago I noticed my set of tracks by Andrea Bocelli were nearly unlistenable due to the distortion. Yesterday it was my Ella Fitzgerald set. I have noticed this in other sets as well. I am certain there is a problem with the ripped files, but I am not sure what caused it. I am thinking some of you may have insights.

    Some of my music I have ripped directly from CDs using dBpoweramp's CD Ripper app. Others I may have converted using dBpoweramp Music Comverter. I am not certain that the freshly ripped files are the ones showing excessive distortion. Two days ago I re-ripped the Andrea Bocelli tracks from the CDs and all was good, meaning no obvious distortion. This is using R15 that I purchased a few years ago.

    I know that some of my music was ripped from the CDs into WAV format files. These rips were done maybe 10 years ago, and I am not sure what cd ripping application that I was using. I can say that I never noticed distortion on these ripped WAV files when I played them on my iBasso D90 DAP. In order to save time, I "converted" many of these WAV rips into uncompressed FLAC files using dBpoweramp Music Converter.

    I am wondering what it the cause of the distortion. If it is the R15 version of the dBpoweramp CD Ripper app then I might have to re-rip nearly all of my music, then check it for quality. If it is the "conversion" process using dBpoweramp Music Converter, then it will be only the older stuff that might need to be re-ripped from the CDs.

    By any chance does CD Ripper have times when it does not produce a quality output, perhaps because I have used it for a great many rips and the app somehow gets corrupted? If so, is there any reason to believe an upgrade to R17 will resolve the problem?

    I am curious what the more knowledgeable people here think might be going on.

    Please advise.

    JAM

  2. #2
    dBpoweramp Guru
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    Re: What causes distortion in CDs ripped to FLAC files?

    Hey JAM,

    my suspicion is that you have used a DSP like "ReplainGain (Apply)" to boost the sound level.


    Dat Ei

  3. #3
    dBpoweramp Guru
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    Re: What causes distortion in CDs ripped to FLAC files?

    Agree with Dat Ei's point. I've used every version of dbpoweramp ripper and converter for over 10 years, creating FLAC files (over 8,000 albums) and I've never seen a single case of distorted playback of a FLAC file I created. The "app" does not get corrupted by lots of use. Do you get the distortion on different players? And as a test try a server other than PLEX (at least temporarily). PLEX is not known as a high quality audio server and people have reported issues with PLEX. load up foobar2000 as a player, add some of these problem files to it, and then play using foobar2000. Still distorted?

    https://www.foobar2000.org/download
    Last edited by garym; 03-02-2021 at 08:31 AM.

  4. #4

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    Re: What causes distortion in CDs ripped to FLAC files?

    Thank you for your replies. No I have never used a DSP app to increase the volume.

    I have listened to the offending tracks on my PC with decent speakers connected, and I hear the same distortion.

    My file manager, in "properties" reveals that the file was created using dBpoweramp, but it is not clear whether CD Ripper was used or Music Converter.

    So either the original recording/pressing had distortion, or dBpoweramp might have been acting up.

  5. #5
    dBpoweramp Guru
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    Re: What causes distortion in CDs ripped to FLAC files?

    Quote Originally Posted by JAMotter View Post
    Thank you for your replies. No I have never used a DSP app to increase the volume.

    I have listened to the offending tracks on my PC with decent speakers connected, and I hear the same distortion.

    My file manager, in "properties" reveals that the file was created using dBpoweramp, but it is not clear whether CD Ripper was used or Music Converter.

    So either the original recording/pressing had distortion, or dBpoweramp might have been acting up.

    hard to say, but it's an unusual problem. Do you have PerfectTunes? Can you run a check to see if the album with the problem tracks actually matches the CRCs in the AccurateRip database? If you don't have PerfectTunes, you can also do an AccurateRip match check (for a complete album only) using foobar2000 and the "file integrity verifyer" component (for free). CueTools will also do this for you.

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