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


Yes, agreed. But I will wager that you will find your ripped CD content streamed via Roon --> RAAT --> Chromecast --> toslink --> Sprout100 much easier, cleaner and more convenient than investing in a mechanical CD transport.


That’s right. But some people enjoy the tactile experience of loading a CD in a tray or placing a stylus on a vinyl record…it’s not entirely about what you hear.


Ted has often addressed why different playback systems can sound different even if both are bit-perfect. See, e.g., here.


Oh, totally agree on the vinyl ritual. CD’s not as much of a ritual, but yes, there’s something about looking through the physical library and selecting something and taking it out of the case, etc…

Crux of the thread for me was re: the sound quality of FLAC vs CD transport. Not thinking of doing away with my Thorens!


Yep…if I had the choice and sound quality was the most important factor, I’d spin a disc in a MSB or Esoteric 100 times out of 100 over anything FLAC. The transport is better, but not by much. Given we are talking about the other end of the hardware price spectrum, just let Tidal/Roon/Sprout100 do what they do and dispense with the disc spinner.


I was talking in general. I can make specific setups sound better or worse by carefully choosing components, cables, and speakers.

In general, why would a CD transport sound better than a FLAC file streamed to a DAC? The answer is, that in general, it would not.


It might also be useful to try EAC (Exact Audio Copy). It’s a program that I’ve used for 6 years now and find it a bit (sic) easier to use than others.


Actually, the correct answer is “It depends.” See, Ted’s post which I linked above.

And it has nothing to do with “components, cables, and speakers” in a macro sense. One must assume these are all the same or the question/answer of server v. transport has no value; there are too many large variables. The relatively small differences between server and transport playback will be swamped by the bigger differences between systems.


I’ve been using it for nearly 20 years. It still does an exceedingly good job, of course it’s been updated in this time.


Agreed, EAC remains excellent. I like dBpoweramp as well.


I took a look at EAC but it’s windows only. (I suppose I could run a VM on my mac, but that’s adding complexity I don’t need.)


dBpoweramp is available on the Mac as well as PC. I have both versions (need PC to decode HDCD discs). Great program.


Interesting on the HDCD thing. I have a boxed set of Grateful Dead CDs that are HDCD, and the Mac version of dBpoweramp ripped it just fine. Or are you saying that the windows version would decode/rip them differently? (To something other than a regular FLAC file?)


Although opinions on this are different, my experience is that you shouldn’t compare flac with the files read from a transport (equivalent to wav/aif). Use wav/aif also as file format to compare apples/apples.


@terzinator, there is a plug-in for the Windows version of dBpoweramp that will decode HDCD files. Microsoft bought the rights to the technology (along with Pacific Microsonics) years ago and at one point built it into their media player and some smart guy figured out how to pull it out to use in other programs (foobar2000 also decodes HDCD and I assume it uses the same underlying tech).

Depending on which Grateful Dead box set you have it may or may not matter. They still claim to use HDCD for virtually all their releases but in fact they don’t actually use any of the HDCD features, such as peak extend. (They apparently continue to use an old Pacific Microsonics ADC, which is still considered one of the best, and the result is the files trip the HDCD flag whether or not any actual features are used.) That’s true of most, if not all, of the studio albums and all the more recent live releases. If you did use the HDCD plug-in on those, the only thing it would do is lower the playback volume by 6 dB. (You can set the HDCD plug-in to boost the level by the same 6 dB, but that should get you back to where you would be without decoding to begin with if the files don’t use peak extend.) Older live releases do use peak extend, which in effect gets a bit or two more resolution out of decoded files by compressing a portion of the undecoded files. That’s probably more than you wanted to know. (If you list or PM me the box set you have I can check it against my list when I get home if I have that set–I’ve used foobar2000 to determine which CDs do or do not use peak extend.)


My upgraded Oppo Blu-Ray hasn’t been used for 3-4 years. I stream everything these days, except for my ripped FLACs.


Wow, thanks for all the info. It’s the Golden Road set, 1965-73.

I had most everything already, but some was on vinyl. Found it on Craigslist for a steal so I grabbed it.

Nice to have, plus it has a couple of discs special to the set.


FLAC files contain the exact same data as a WAV file. The idea that WAV files sound better than FLAC files is illogical…especially when played over a network using streamers.


The theory (and my practical listening experience) is, that flac is a compressed, lossless PCM format, while wav/aif is a non compressed lossless format. The renderer needs add. processing effort for flac while playing the file, which seems to be responsible for degraded sound.

There are different opinions on this and Ted points out that depending on care taken when comparing, various impacts could lead to differences so he sees this critically as you can read here:

IMO it’s easy to try if in your setup there’s a difference, so you can judge yourself. I tried it after an early recommendation of Paul shortly after I bought the DS, heard the difference and sticked to it.

If you hear it or not might be connected to the revealingness of your setup and/or the individual conditions within your setup or of your comparison.


Have you compared WAV rips to CD? Take the Flac question out of the equation.

The title of the thread is a bit misleading. There is no ripping to flac, rips are wavs that are then subsequently compressed into flac. One does not have to use flac at all.