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Mac CD Ripping: iTunes or XLD?

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Hi guys, I just acquired a macbook pro and have ordered a 1tb external hard drive. I hope to rip my sizable CD collection in Apple Lossless and play through iTunes (possibly getting audiophile plug-ins in future). I am wondering which ripping software is best? iTunes is most convenient but I want accurate rips(I don't want to rip again), so should I use a program like XLD? I don't have access to a windows machine or I'd just rip with dbPoweramp.

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I am a Mac Mini user who began using iTunes for ripping but have used XLD for the past 1 1/2 years or so and recommend that is the direction you take.

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iTunes is fine so long as there are no problems with ripping.

 

XLD gives you additional confidence through use of SecureRip and offering detailed reports.

 

Basically I recommend XLD for confidence (rather than any increase in quality).

 

Eloise

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I've usually use iTunes, but why not make your MacMini dual-boot & use dBPowerAmp?

Why? To buy a copy of Windows isn't insignificant cost.

 

What benefit do you feel dbPowerAmp offers over XLD?

 

Eloise

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Because he commented that if he had access he would "just rip with dbPoweramp". Not saying there is a benefit other than that's what he seems familiar with.

 

I use Max and XLD for ALAC conversion, and iTunes and DVD Audio Extractor for extraction. I'll look into XLD for ripping as well just for the logging if anything.

 

A dual-boot would just generally allow for more flexibility. I have a Win7 partition that I never use but may use it for JRiver in the future depending on how the Mac development proceeds.

 

I don't have access to a windows machine or I'd just rip with dbPoweramp.

 

What benefit do you feel dbPowerAmp offers over XLD?

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iTunes is fine so long as there are no problems with ripping.

 

XLD gives you additional confidence through use of SecureRip and offering detailed reports.

 

Basically I recommend XLD for confidence (rather than any increase in quality).

 

Eloise

 

For me, the XLD UI regarding ripping is just a little clearer and makes review of whether I've got the desired settings a bit quicker, likely because it doesn't have to account for all the non-ripping functions that iTunes does.

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Recommend that you rip all your CD's to AIFF format, the universal lossless format which is recognized by nearly all upsampling software programs and music players. A 1 TB drive has plenty of room for well over a thousand CD's in this format. Should you store your music library as AIFF, and then decide later to convert to ALAC, or vice versa, iTunes will batch-convert your library very quickly, and keep both versions, as long as there is space.

 

I usually rip with XLD, because lossless music purchased over the internet is FLAC, which iTunes does not recognize. While XLD does furnish reports, it does not necesssarily fix problems. I had one CD recently that had a small scratch. It would not rip with XLD using any of it's three methods, but I was able to do it with iTunes, and the file sounds fine when played. IME, iTunes with error correction enabled, does a perfectly good job with most CD rips, and is best if you plan to use ALAC format.

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Because he commented that if he had access he would "just rip with dbPoweramp". Not saying there is a benefit other than that's what he seems familiar with.

 

I use Max and XLD for ALAC conversion, and iTunes and DVD Audio Extractor for extraction. I'll look into XLD for ripping as well just for the logging if anything.

 

A dual-boot would just generally allow for more flexibility. I have a Win7 partition that I never use but may use it for JRiver in the future depending on how the Mac development proceeds.

 

Thanks for the reply, I would use dbPoweramp if I could (without dual-boot, looked into that but I don't really need windows for anything else, but thanks for the suggestion) as I have heard it highly recommended by many audiophiles as the best in ease and reliability in CD ripping.

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Thanks for the reply, is there any substantial benefit to using AIFF? I plan on just using iTunes for playback, and converting FLAC files to ALAC. I would use WAV or AIFF but want to get the most out of my storage.

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Thanks for the reply, is there any substantial benefit to using AIFF? I plan on just using iTunes for playback, and converting FLAC files to ALAC. I would use WAV or AIFF but want to get the most out of my storage.

 

There has been some controversy as to whether AIFF or ALAC files sound better. The consensus seems to be that there is no difference when played through a modern computer. So, for your purposes, converting FLAC or other formats to ALAC with XLD would be fine.

I prefer AIFF, because I use a program called Sample Manager to alter some files. It can analyze and repair "defective" files, increase bit depth and/or sample rate, change gain, etc. This program does not recognize ALAC format.

Audiofile Engineering - Sample Manager

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IME, iTunes with error correction enabled, does a perfectly good job with most CD rips, and is best if you plan to use ALAC format.

 

Agreed.

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Recommend that you rip all your CD's to AIFF format, the universal lossless format which is recognized by nearly all upsampling software programs and music players. A 1 TB drive has plenty of room for well over a thousand CD's in this format. Should you store your music library as AIFF, and then decide later to convert to ALAC, or vice versa, iTunes will batch-convert your library very quickly, and keep both versions, as long as there is space.

 

I usually rip with XLD, because lossless music purchased over the internet is FLAC, which iTunes does not recognize. While XLD does furnish reports, it does not necesssarily fix problems. I had one CD recently that had a small scratch. It would not rip with XLD using any of it's three methods, but I was able to do it with iTunes, and the file sounds fine when played. IME, iTunes with error correction enabled, does a perfectly good job with most CD rips, and is best if you plan to use ALAC format.

 

I agree with what you say about XLD, and I use XLD too. But why do you say iTunes 'is best if you plan to use ALAC format' when XLD works fine with ALAC?

 

A further advantage of XLD over iTunes is that it can import metadata from multiple sources, such as musicbrainz as well as being able to use the Apple Gracenote metadata.

 

I personally rip to AIFF with XLD into one iTunes collection, and then I use XLD to convert the AIFF tracks to Apple Lossless and add them to another iTunes collection. Then both iTunes collections are backed up onto two more disks.

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I've never used anything but iTunes, and never had any issues. Just be sure to check the "use error correction" box in preferences/general/import settings.

 

I had believed this too. I learned otherwise after re-ripping my entire collection of CDs in dbPoweramp. To my surprise over a dozen of my CDs could not be re-ripped using dbPoweramp. Errors were reported when comparing the results to those values stored in the AccurateRip database.

 

iTunes was likely able to correct these errors. But if the goal is to accurately rip our CDs, I'm not sure we should be allowing our rippers to make these decisions for us. I'd rather know which CDs result in ripping errors so that I can replace them in order to get a proper rip.

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If you have a large number of iTunes ripped discs; and access to a windows machine then dbPowerAmp creator has a new system which will calculate accurate rip checksum from existing files...

 

PerfectTUNES

 

Eloise

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I had believed this too. I learned otherwise after re-ripping my entire collection of CDs in dbPoweramp. To my surprise over a dozen of my CDs could not be re-ripped using dbPoweramp. Errors were reported when comparing the results to those values stored in the AccurateRip database.

 

iTunes was likely able to correct these errors. But if the goal is to accurately rip our CDs, I'm not sure we should be allowing our rippers to make these decisions for us. I'd rather know which CDs result in ripping errors so that I can replace them in order to get a proper rip.

 

I guess this all depends on how fussy or anal-retentive you want to be about *music*. I bought a used CD on ebay of a favorite and rare album, "Sailor", by The Steve Miller Band (when Boz Scaggs was in the band, and before Steve went all "Abracadabra"--yuck). This reissue sells for $20 new, so I went the pre-owned route, for about $8. A lesson learned, because there was a small scratch on the CD, and XLD could not rip Track 3 no matter how I tried. As a last resort, I tried ripping it to AIFF in iTunes with error correction. No problemo, and it plays perfectly fine. I tossed the CD, but made multiple backups of the lossless file.

 

Like everyone here, I'm interested in obtaining *perfect* digital music reproduction, but, at my age, with body parts removed from surgeries, debiliating accidents and sports injuries, arthritis, diverticulosis, etc., etc., I'm not gonna replace a CD just to get a "perfect" rip, if I can otherwise get one that *sounds* perfect, even if I have to use the dreaded iTunes to do it. YMMV.

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Yeah, people can get a little OCD about this sort of thing... It always seems to be harder and more work than it need be. Ease-of-use has advantages including time savings. I do clean my discs while waiting to feed them with Stoner's window cleaner and a microfiber.

 

Still have a lot of Furtwangler Legacy CDs I need to catch up on... :/

 

No way I'm going to compare checksums of my library against an online DB and worry about it. Reed-Solomon error correction is pretty robust and if the disc is sketchy enough that the redundancy can't reconstruct the missing data then it is interpolated. Worst case you get a drop-out and know the disc has some serious issues. If I heard that, and really needed the disc to be perfect then I would figure it out at that point.

 

Logging is nice, but for CDs I'll just auto-feed them into iTunes using EC... And convert formats with Max or XLD. ALAC or FLAC would be my preferred format. Even with sufficient storage (14TB), the ~2x lossless compression ratio is currently worth about $1000 1/2(RAID $ + WD Red hard drives). Not a trivial sum IMHO...

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If you have a large number of iTunes ripped discs; and access to a windows machine then dbPowerAmp creator has a new system which will calculate accurate rip checksum from existing files...

 

PerfectTUNES

 

Eloise

 

XLD for Mac will do this, too :)

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If I rip CDs with XLD, do they go into my iTunes library to be played over iTunes?

 

If you check the box in the XLD prefs that says "Add to iTunes Library."

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Thank you.

What are the benefits of ripping a CD into two different formats? Is it so one can use different players?

 

What formats did you have in mind?

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Well, someone above wrote:

 

I personally rip to AIFF with XLD into one iTunes collection, and then I use XLD to convert the AIFF tracks to Apple Lossless and add them to another iTunes collection. Then both iTunes collections are backed up onto two more disks.

 

I'm curious what the benefit of this is. (I'm new to all of this.)

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AIFF is uncompressed and is thought by some folks to offer better sound for that reason than losslessly compressed ALAC. But if you are just storing your songs in a second location as a backup, ALAC saves space, and can be converted to AIFF when needed.

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