If ripping CDs to FLAC > ROON, any need for CD player/transport?

Not sure if this is best in Transports or Network section, but I have a serious question…

I don’t have a CD player in my main house system (NAD 7050 network amp, used for streaming throughout the house), nor in my office system (Sprout100 + Mac Roon Core + Turntable).

I have hundreds of CD’s (not thousands tho), and most are ripped to iTunes at 256K (but I’m re-ripping everything as FLAC). I have lots of other files in my library that are purchased iTunes AAC files (for which I don’t have a CD master).

So, question: Is there really any need for a CD player/transport anywhere on the chain? I suppose if a friend came over with a CD that was out of print, and wanted to give it a listen, and I wasn’t going to rip it to my own library, I might need a player. But with Tidal/Roon Lossless FLAC (and MQA), and if I can rip my CDs to lossless FLAC, what need for a transport?

Opinions will vary, partly because of personal preference, partly due to audiphile woo-magic ;), but I personally hate physical media of any sort. CDs, vinyl all not worth the trouble.

I say rip those CDs to lossless and forget about a transport.

I do like vinyl still. I have a bigger record collection than a CD collection, and many are out of print.

And a great recording on vinyl does sound amazing.

(But I’m smelling what you’re cooking, especially with CDs. I think much of the benefit of the FLAC files over playing a CD is that the error correction is done, and it’s playing from memory.)

I’m in the same boat. I love my vinyl and have no desire to replace. But all of my CDs have been ripped and are stored on my NAS. I use Roon to play them via my DSJr/Bridge (Tidal/NAS).


None required.

What are you using to rip your flac files?

I suspect a dedicated CD transport will sound better than network playback of your ripped CD collection. But probably not much better. And probably not worth the effort. And certainly not as convenient.

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Why? I can think of no reason for this to be true and at least one reason why it might be false. That reason is that reading a file from a spinner or SSD is going to be less error prone than reading from a CD.

From direct experience. CD playback from my DMP sounded better than network playback of bit perfect ripped CD.

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Just using a mac mini (still with an optical drive!) on my home network that rips the files right to the media library on the NAS.

My current system is pretty humble, so I don’t know that it could differentiate between the CD and a ripped FLAC (or even a streamed FLAC, for that matter). Roon tells me it’s lossless. So, why should I think otherwise?!

Sometimes I wonder why I’m spending time re-ripping these discs. Tidal has MOST of them, and some in MQA format, too. (Not that MQA is the end-all, by any stretch… but you see my point.)

Sorry, I should have been more specific…I was curious which ripping program you were using? I get the ripping everything when you can stream it though. I ripped everything a few years ago, and made enough backup copies to ensure I wouldn’t lose anything if my drive crashed. From time to time, there are things in my collection that Tidal doesn’t offer…so ripping works for that.

ah, sorry! dBpoweramp. (http://www.dbpoweramp.com)

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Thanks. Good choice…

That is subjective. Do you have any objective reasons why using a CD transport would be better than ripped FLAC files?

yeah, seems to work pretty well. I do have some CD’s from back in the day that look like i used them as coasters in a weak moment, and I see that they can be error-filled when ripping. But these are mostly well-loved and easily replaced (or streamed) recordings.

Subjective is the definitive test.
The power supplies in the CD transport might be better. The digital clock in the CD transport might have lower phase noise. The NAS can have R/W errors. The CD transport might employ signal processing techniques that reduce jitter (digital lens). There could be a host of reasons why the CD transport might sound better than network audio. What is certain is what I hear, for whatever reason one might sound better than the other.

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I’m sure you are hearing a difference but not from the reasons you mention. Most likely, the playback path from the DMP to your speakers is different/better than the network playback path from the ripped file to your speakers. The 1’s and 0’s sitting on the CD and the 1’s and 0’s sitting inside the ripped file on your NAS are identical, error free, or you would have much larger problems in your environment.

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The same bits get delivered with different jitter levels, depending on the hardware delivering them.
So, do you think you could convince anyone that a $125K MSB disc spinner delivering the same 1’s and 0’s to a DAC would not sound different to a $400 NAS delivering the same 1’s and 0’s to the same DAC? Whilst you might claim they are the same 1’s and 0’s, those 1’s and 0’s sound different due to the technical excellence of the hardware that spits them out. For the reasons I mentioned above.

We are saying the same thing I think. Your example has two different paths from source to destination, and they probably sound different (maybe not $124,600 difference.) The sources are the same however. There are no NAS r/w errors or differences in the sources. The answer to the OP’s original question, “if I can rip my CDs to lossless FLAC, what need for a transport?”, then answer is still ‘none.’ Now if the OP is coming from a $125K MSB disc spinner, then their network path should also be of similar quality. But I’m assuming this is not the case otherwise they would not be asking this question.

Yeah, I guess I should have qualified the question with the caveat that at some point I was considering getting a $500 transport to play through the Sprout100’s built-in DAC. :crazy_face:

Anyway, I think the answer to my question is, “maybe, someday (for someone) but not today (for you).”