Lossless CD rip, or Web download


So, ignoring all other aspects (cost, resale value, enjoying physical media etc) - what is your opinion on what might, or does in your mind sound better: If I were to purchase a CD and rip it (Lossless FLAC) using all the best software and accuracy checking, or if I were to purchase the Web download of the same album (also lossless FLAC).

Typically I’m finding that my CD Rips of original CDs are within one megabyte of the size of the artists official web downloads - which makes me feel like I’m doing my ripping right, and doesn’t give a hint that one would stand out as better sounding then the other.

With all the music purchasing I’ve been doing this past year after adding the Decware Mystery Amp and the DirectStream to my lineup - this question always rattles around in my head whenever I see I have both CD and Web available.

Any thoughts or experience with this?


I have never compared, expect them to sound the same, but perhaps the download could be “better” if it is sourced from the original digital recording.

This however assumes something went wrong transferring the file to CD and ripping it.


That’s just it, there are a lot of steps in taking the original file, and eventually getting it to CD. Maybe just the process takes away some information?

Whereas the Web download might be directly from the master source.

Just speculating. Usually I’m about bits-are-bits as long as they get there safely - but the whoel RamBuffer thing has me questioning everything (which, to be honest, I question everything anyways)


I’m with you.

There is enough error correction and data redundancy in CDs I expect them to be good, and one can easily check via AccurateRip, etc. While there can be mistakes, the glass mastering process and the rest of CD production is carefully monitored.


There is much less error checking on audio CDs than data CDs. Accurate rip should guarantee that your ripping process matches the rips of others tho.

Still someone has to decide when the glass master is “good enough” and we know that companies will take different degrees of care here. XRCDs, etc. should be a little more reliable…

In general if given a choice I’d download from someone I trust over a random CD.


Thanks Ted, that’s how I’m leaning as well.