Ripping CDs

I browsed the Antipodes forums to learn about ripping via their dedicated USB ports, and am left with the impression that it may take 20 minutes per CD! Is that true?
I have yet to find any product (aside from the Bluesound Vault—which device seems audiophylically suspect) that automatically rips a CD, obtains metadata, an enters it into the library within 5 minutes. I don’t think I have the fortitude for much more than that.

I’d consider using a ripping service instead of buying a ripper combination for a one time job only. And all who think of playing their ripped CD‘s instead of hires online streaming, have no advantage of those locally stored CD quality files anyway.

I have no idea why local play of CD quality should be preferred against playing hires online streaming. Even though local streaming sounds better than online, it can’t be by much in this case.

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@milorp Yes, that sounds like a plan developing! Have you checked what proportion of your CD library is available on Tidal or Qobuz? It makes sense to me that PS Audio is launching a streamer first (AirLens) with no ripper or onboard storage, because that is the way things are going… and it is quality too!

More on ripping should probably be in another thread. Or check out the dBpoweramp forum. Lot’s of info there on headaches that can result, e.g., when ripping old CDs from the 1980s…

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@jazznut @Carousel and @stevensegal it is indeed reasonable to consider why I would bother to digitize my CD collection at all, recognizing that the majority probably are available for streaming on Qobuz or Tidal. Indeed I should think more about that. But off the cuff, aside from being a Luddite, several reasons:

  • Some of the CD’s in my collection, especially those by smaller labels, are not available on streaming, but are important to me and worth preserving
  • Twice in the last 8 years my Comcast line was severed by a snowplow and not reconnected for about 6 weeks. There is no fiber optic cable in my area. I don’t trust them. I hate them.
  • Comcast internet service is flakey and stops working reliably during windy or wet weather, sometimes for days; yet every 2 years they attempt to double the prices and curtail data usage. Did I say I hate Comcast?
  • I have no reliable cell service at my home, or in many areas nearby. I hate all cellular carriers in this area too. They all suck. Bad. And my routine cellular needs don’t justify spending more than $15/month for service.
  • I want portability of my collection so I can listen in my van when I dawdle in the boondocks.

But, that said, I will at some point also end up subscribing to a streaming service. I need to get a better grip on how much data I will end up consuming by doing that, and what that would cost me in connectivity. It could well end up at an extra couple hundred bucks a month, so that $1800 for a ripper/streamer pays for itself pretty quickly.

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CD’s from the 1980s, old?!?

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I was refering to manufacture date of the CDs! Indeed you have some very good reasons to do some ripping. On account of flooding in towns around us, I had no internet for two weeks last Summer. Maybe give dBpoweramp a try using a free trial. There is a big support forum.

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This is as old as CDs get. They were first introduced in 1982, making the original CDs 40 years old.

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dBpoweramp meets nearly all of these requirements, in combination with Roon and JRiver Media Center. Getting a bit perfect rip does take longer than 5 minutes but, on average, less than 20 minutes.

I rip CD’s while doing other things on the computer I am ripping them to. It is really not a bother once you get into it.

FWIW.

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In early 1985 I got a Discman. I’ll never forget how little I got to listen to it. Everywhere I went people wanted to see it and the CD’s. I was on a flight once and the pilot came out of the flight deck because he had heard from the crew that a passenger had one. I am certain for a while there I could have sold at least one a day.

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My first CD (“double box”) purchase was a 1985 issue: Billy Joel Greatest Hits Volume I & Volume II.

Apropos of nothing,

Cheers.

[Edit/Note: I still have the CDs and “New York State of Mind” sounds pretty darn incredible on the big rig, despite its early 80’s heritage.]

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Billy Joel’s “52nd Street” was the first CD released…

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First ever, wherever…?

First CD dropped, I think it was in Japan.

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Most of the best sounding CDs I own come from the 80’s…

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Hi @milorp

There has been some good advice in the thread. I started on this journey about 5 years ago and I will add my 2c.

Totally agree with you about maintaining your physical media. I have about 900ish CD,s together with various Hi-Res downloads purchased from HD Tracks, ProStudio Masters and Qobuz. If I stop my subscription to Qobuz (or it gets stopped for reasons you mentioned) there will be no shortage of music to fall back on.

I support the purchase of dbPoweramp. It is a bargain for what it gives you. If you like futzing with metadata, MP3tag is also useful for metadata editing, if somewhat challenging to learn its full capabilities.

For ripping, I purchased an external BD ripper from Pioneer that is excellent and not too expensive. The ripping process took about 6 months so not a job for the impatient.

If you are going to use Roon, one school of thought would be not to worry about folder structure or metadata protocol too much as Ron sorts it out for you. I would caution against that approach as many other software player apps (MPD, MinimServer, Peng, squeeze, etc.) will use your folder structure to provide access to your music.

In my case, I have music arranged by Genre (basically a subset of the Genres listed in DbPoweramp) and then by artist and then album. In the case of classical music, I sort by composer and then artist but I have made sure that my metadata includes Orchestra, conductor or principal soloists if applicable.

I originally ripped all the CD’s to a Synology NAS running RAID 1. I have a second Synology NAS in a separate location and make periodic updates via a portable SSD. If you are more tech savvy, you can connect the NAS drives over the internet for real-time duplication.

My ROON core lives on my laptop so a single subscription can be used in either of my houses. Streaming therefore needs ROON activated on the laptop where it looks for any endpoints available.

Based on the research I have done, I recently purchased an all in one server and renderer, an Antipodes K50 which has local SSD storage and numerous player options including Roon, Squeeze, MinimServer and MPD. It also has digital outs for USB, spdif, AES/EBU and I2S.

As I agree with many on here that Roon is optimised for convenience rather than ultimate sound quality, I use Roon when playing Qobuz or background and Squeeze for critical listening to my local collection.

Good luck with the journey.

Best,
Chris

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Thanks Chris.

The Antipodes K50 does look like an excellent solution in one box, aside from the ripper. I noticed on their website that they have discontinued the outboard K10 ripper box accessory, regrettably, and perhaps even more regrettably that in two weeks the K50 price rises to $17.5K. I like that K50 would connect to the DS DAC via I2S.

Regarding the whole ripping issue, if I may ramble, I remember in the 1990s when I was looking at a Meridian product in NYC, the dealer told me the kids at Juilliard would rip my CD’s for something like $1 each, or $1.50 with metadata. I wonder what the going rate is these days, and how it compares to buying something like the Nimbie USB auto ripper ($900) where you stack ‘em and forget ‘em, letting dBPoweramp do its tricks unsupervised (unfortunately no longer supported in MacOS on the Nimbie). Datatronics - CD DVD Duplicator, Printer, Networking Products, Modem, Hub, Lan Card

I watched a YouTube demonstration of dBPoweramp, and yes, so cool and facilitative. But for me, that makes the process more engaging than I am likely to tolerate after the first 100 CD’s, if I survive that long.

So I suspect that for me the most palatable route is still the mindless detour to the Innuos ZENmini slot for whatever CD I’m next going to play on the DS Transport, and once the AirLens becomes available, enslaving the Innuos to the AirLens as its NAS and possible Roon core.

One thing I haven’t worked out yet is whether the metadata, once committed to the Innuos ripping utility in automatic mode, can be modified long after whenever errors are encountered in the course of playing the selections. Similarly, I’m uncertain if the Innuos will preserve as unique ripped CD’s that lack metadata, or if it will overwrite them when another anonymous CD is ripped (new “track1” over old “track1”) in the manner that dBPowerbase apparently is want to do. Does anyone know if Innuos does that, and whether it permits retrospective editing of the metadata?

@milorp For classical, Innuos itself seems to recommend using ripping in “assisted” mode, that way you have to approve / edit as needed the metadata before the ripping process completes. For non-classical, the recommendation seems to be to use the “automatic” process. Apparently you can go back in the app later to make corrections. Google: “ripping-cds-with-innuos-2-0”. Maybe someone else can comment on how easy editing is.

@Elk Should this go to another thread… Ripping CDs 2022?

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I hear you on the manual ripping process. I did mine over 6 months a few at a time, usually whilst doing other things on the computer. That way I managed to retain the will to live. DBP ripping also gives you the ability to alter things like artist, genre to suit your metadata requirements as well as correct spelling errors in the metadata from the music databases. You would be surprised how many there are.

I am fairly sure there are ripping services available that will take your CD’s and do it all for you.

Unlike many, I keep my CD’s as sometimes I prefer to play them on my PST.

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