For best sound, is it necessary to rip CDs to uncompressed instead of lossless compressed format?

In this learn-as-you-go-along hobby, I started out by ripping all my CDs to Apple Lossless. I’ve read, however, that the process of having to de-compress the files on playback can degrade sound quality. Since reading that, I’ve ripped only to uncompressed AIFF files, but I still have the earlier rips in ALAC. Obviously, it would be less time consuming to un-compress the ALAC files to AIFF than it would be to re-rip the CDs. However, I want to feed the best possible signal to my DSD from the music server. To accomplish that objective, should I start from scratch and re-rip the CD where possible?

Apologies in advance if this is asked and answered elsewhere or if there is an obvious answer that eludes me.

Thank you for your consideration.

Answered many times elsewhere, videos done, ripping parties had… discussed, argued, fought, compromised, thought again… :disappointed_relieved:


It’s nice to be here.
If convenient, kindly point me to the thread(s).
I was not able to locate an answer that seemed definitive.

Thank you for the welcome and the reply.

Here is a start from the search… no google…

Very kind of you. Many thanks. Sorry to clutter the forum with a redundant question.

All good, there are many here to help… and a lot of great dialog… welcome.

I have a large local collection of music. Because I’m Mac based, no flac. Approximately 10% DSD, 60% ALAC, and 30% AIFF. I personally would not bother re-ripping a ton of ALAC stuff in AIFF. To me, all those formats sound great and it’s more about how a given recording was mastered.

Like so much with this hobby, a subject like this is highly subjective. You could pick a few favorite CDs and compare ALAC to AIFF to see how they compare to you.

I believe Paul McGowan likes the AIFF format best cause it does a better job w/ meta data. I’ve ripped all my small (275) CD collection into wav… not as good at meta data…

Yes, WAV is terrible with meta data. But I’ve found ALAC and AIFF to be equal in that regard.

I do rip most CDs into AIFF these days. But it’s more because of the theoretical benefits of being not compressed rather than actually noticing a significant audio difference between the two.

As mentioned, there are many different opinions on this topic.

1 Like

I hate everything Apple and have been forced to buy an iPAD for my streaming set up. The reason for wav ripping… just not a mac mini or mac anything. I have never used that platform in my life… My buddy was a Steve Jobs worshiper and I was a Waz guy… been a chief engineer at one time in my career… :slight_smile: I thought Steve Jobs was an idiot for the complete end to end control… I liked to tinker… :slight_smile:


I gave up on apple wav or mp3 and hired someone to re-copy all my CDs, ripped to flac. That hired hand was me. :smile: 500 CDs later no regrets; flac is my favorite format. Especially for streaming, I use ROON- Tidal for a high quality streaming experience, which is 95%+ of my listening mode. I do use compressed flac level 5 initially to save space on my laptop, then bought a 4TB drive for $85. Storage is so cheap. So, I have reduced my storage space from 9 large boxes to 1 little shelf of prized CDs.

Tip, now I buy box lots of CD at auctions, 100 to 250 per box for as low as $12 for 150, up to my limit of $25 (donate most of the ones I don’t keep to a local charity shop). I do buy an occasional new release, want to support my favorite artists. The PSA forum subject “What are you spinning now” does entice me to buy new releases. All of these CDs get ‘flac-ed’ :wink:

Oh yeah, welcome to the forum of very helpful people.



If your aim is best sound quality, that will come from a CD transport connected to the DAC.

I have been ripping CD’s and DVDs for 13 years. I have read all the debates on what is best. I rip everything to FLAC at the default compression rate. I have no regrets. I also choose to trust dbPoweramp to do the deed.

1 Like

What was the result of a sound comparison in your setup? You should decide based on that and your own convenience preferences, not on what people with different basic preconditions recommend.

IMO it doesn’t make sense for people who can’t hear a difference in their system to follow recommendations of people who can in theirs.

1 Like

I hate Apple too… They’ve become a bunch of thieving robbers…! Just bought a nice Samsung and am now looking for a nice WINDOWS/LINUX laptop…

1 Like

Use my Melco N1ZS10 network player to rip cd’s to uncompressed flac files, playing these with the Melco outperforms my PWT CD transport…


No surprise about that. My only experience with PWT was at a dealer show room in Singapore and it wasn’t worth a 2nd listen. My point is, the best sounding CD transport will sound better than the best sounding music server.

I venture to doubt.

1 Like

We missed you… need to get the Magico speakers worked into this thread… were you on travel. Disagree on the CD vs. streaming… I guess it depends on your streamer… a more thought experiment “best” than actual concrete comparison. In my situation, I use my DMP about 5% after setting up my streaming; however, I don’t have thousands of CDs. My streaming is better SQ than DMP. However, that is where the pesky “best” abstract term comes in… I use my ears and brain for comparison and no I can’t travel to Australia for a swap…

@jazznut - perfectly put… I am fortunate to have great hearing, a working brain (sometimes I wonder), and a strong will. It all comes down to hearing and I don’t put much stock in group think. There are so many variables to a full system and each piece of equipment and piece of infrastructure makes a difference. If you can’t tell the difference, who cares, don’t get caught up in the group think…