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Topic: Per CD or Per song? (Read 6024 times) previous topic - next topic
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Per CD or Per song?

I have seen some people promote ripping a CD to one .wav file and I have seen others promote ripping a CD based on each song.

I'm curious if anyone can explain to me the pros and cons of each.

I understand that the gaps can be an issue, but I am under the impression that if you create a CUE sheet and use it to burn the CD, that you get the same gaps regardless of how you ripped it.

I also understand the benefit for file management when dealing with just one file instead of several, but that seems like a very small benefit unless someone can prove to me otherwise.

And does one form have a benefit when it comes to tagging over another?
For example, if I wanted to take an APE file and convert it to MP3, would I be better off with one APE file for the entire CD, or with one per song?  Or am I screwed either way and I'm going to have to redo the ID3 tags no matter what?

Thanks in advance for your responses.

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #1
I think single file is better because it preserves the gaps. I agree that with CUE sheets you still keep the gap information, but that limits your choice of players. You can still create APL files (check MakeAPL software) that can access individual tracks in your single file getting the best of both worlds. I think this is more consistent and logical considering the fact that your CD is essentially one stream of bits. Therefore you are keeping the exact image of the CD on your hard disk, and use bookmarks (APL files) to access individual files (just like how CD track access works with your CD player).

Unfortunately APL files could not be tagged (could they?). I wish APL files carried regular APEv2 tags with replaygain information. Then I think single file solution would have no disadvantages.Maybe it'll be implemented soon.
The object of mankind lies in its highest individuals.
One must have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #2
I don't understand the fuss about preserving the gaps...
Does it really matter if there's a 2 ssecond gap instead of a
1.89 second gap? Isn't the actual music track that matters?
I don't get it...
Wanna buy a monkey?

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #3
Quote
I don't understand the fuss about preserving the gaps...
Does it really matter if there's a 2 ssecond gap instead of a
1.89 second gap? Isn't the actual music track that matters?
I don't get it...

I'd have to agree. The only time I've ever found that ripping the whole CD as one file proved useful is when the CD is actually recorded to take advantage of that. The only example of which that comes to mind is live CDs where, even though split up, all of the files are one single recording.

If you're ripping a CD to one file when the CD is actually filled with seperate tracks (as most CDs are), it is much less useful as you do not have single tracks to play/move to a portable.


EDIT: Clarification

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #4
I prefer ripping each song as an individual track.  Gaps aren't a problem as they can be added to the end of tracks.  Per Song ripping is also ripping if you want to make compilation discs quickly.

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #5
Quote
Unfortunately APL files could not be tagged (could they?). I wish APL files carried regular APEv2 tags with replaygain information. Then I think single file solution would have no disadvantages.Maybe it'll be implemented soon.

An APL has seeking info and an APE1 (MakeAPL) or APE2 (Foobar2000) tag

Example
Code: [Select]
[Monkey's Audio Image Link File]
Image File=Un Dia Normal.fla
Start Block=95437251
Finish Block=105061635

----- APE TAG (DO NOT TOUCH!!!) -----
APETAGEXÐ  !                        Artist Juanes       Album Un Día Normal       Title La Historia de Juan       Track 11        REPLAYGAIN_TRACK_GAIN -9.890000 dB       REPLAYGAIN_TRACK_PEAK 0.988617        REPLAYGAIN_ALBUM_GAIN -10.06 dB
      REPLAYGAIN_ALBUM_PEAK 0.98861694APETAGEXÐ  !        €        


I use a Big Flac and APLs for seeking.
"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you."

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #6
Quote
I don't understand the fuss about preserving the gaps...
Does it really matter if there's a 2 ssecond gap instead of a
1.89 second gap? Isn't the actual music track that matters?
I don't get it...

No, you obviously don't.

What if there is _no_ gap?
"Would Sir like to the program to insert a two second gap into His music?"

No?

Aight.

And if the gap is 74 minutes and contains the entire cd, would you like to get a 0 second wav file?

Read up.

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #7
Quote
I understand that the gaps can be an issue, but I am under the impression that if you create a CUE sheet and use it to burn the CD, that you get the same gaps regardless of how you ripped it.

You don't even need a CUE sheet.
You can rip to individual WAVs and get an exact copy.
Just make sure that you don't use an option like "remove digital/analog silence at the beginning/end of tracks".

It's the same one long WAV or several WAVs, for accuracy.
There's no problem with gaps either way. (This problem appears with MP3 format or WAVs not multiple of 588 samples).

Of course, select 0 seconds pauses with your burning software to have an exact copy.

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #8
Quote
What if there is _no_ gap?
"Would Sir like to the program to insert a two second gap into His music?"


Has it occured to u that gaps are configurable in most decent burning programs?

Quote
And if the gap is 74 minutes and contains the entire cd, would you like to get a 0 second wav file?


Why would anyone want to rip a 74 minute gap?

Preserving gaps is only useful when u want to make en exact copy
of an audio cd.

If u wanna make compilations with songs from different albums
does ripping to a single file do u any good?

Nope

And is a single file any any handier for playback?

Nope

Aight.
Wanna buy a monkey?

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #9
Quote
Preserving gaps is only useful when u want to make en exact copy
of an audio cd.

If u wanna make compilations with songs from different albums
does ripping to a single file do u any good?

Nope

And is a single file any any handier for playback?


But I always want to keep an exact layout of the CD. If you discard the gap information you should understand you're losing information about the original CD. If this process does not take any extra time why wouldn't I do that? I'd like to listen the tracks with intended amount of gaps not 2 sec. It also has additional advantage, which is the freedb/cddb lookup. If you burn it back to a CD later on even if you used a lossy format your CD will be recognized by cddb (because the algorithm depends on the cd layout).
The object of mankind lies in its highest individuals.
One must have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #10
Quote
But I always want to keep an exact layout of the CD. If you discard the gap information you should understand you're losing information about the original CD. If this process does not take any extra time why wouldn't I do that? I'd like to listen the tracks with intended amount of gaps not 2 sec. It also has additional advantage, which is the freedb/cddb lookup. If you burn it back to a CD later on even if you used a lossy format your CD will be recognized by cddb (because the algorithm depends on the cd layout).


Uhm, let me quote myself:

Quote
Preserving gaps is only useful when u want to make en exact copy
of an audio cd.


So, in effect I'm agreeing with you. If making an exact copy of an audio cd is
important to u, then ripping to a single file+cue sheet surely is a convenient way
to do it. I was just pointing out that for other purposes, a single file isn't as convenient.
Wanna buy a monkey?

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #11
Quote
But I always want to keep an exact layout of the CD. If you discard the gap information you should understand you're losing information about the original CD.


I don't think you necessarily have to rip as a single file in order to preserve the gap information...IIRC, EAC appends gaps to the previous tracks by default.

It's easy enough to verify...just rip a whole CD with EAC as a single image, call it "CDImage1.wav" for the sake of argument. Then rip the same CD as individual tracks, paste them together in your favourite wav editor (in the right order, naturally), and save the output as "CDImage2.wav." Do a binary file compare of CDImage1 and CDImage2 and, provided the rips were secure in both cases, the files will be bit-identical.

The default two-second gap introduced by many burning apps isn't really an issue, most of them will allow you to reset this to zero, allowing you to produce an accurate copy of the original CD from the separate WAV files if this is what you want. In fact, if you use EAC for ripping AND burning with read and write offsets corrected for your drive respectively, you could burn the separate tracks to a CD-R, re-rip the newly burnt CD-R as a single image (call it "CDImage3.wav") and you'll find that the result is still bit-identical to "CDImage1.wav."

If you're wondering, yes I have done all this (I don't have a life). I was puzzling about exactly the same things as the original poster and I thought (mistakenly, apparently) that the single file plus cuesheet approach was the only way to get an accurate representation of a CD.

I now always rip CDs as individual tracks simply because it does make tagging a lot easier. As far as I know, CUEsheets were originally intended simply as pointers to track start/finish locations, and were never designed to handle much in the way of metadata. It becomes particularly awkward for classical and/or compilation albums where you might want a lot of custom fields which differ considerably from track to track.

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #12
Thanks to everyone for their responses.  I think I'm going to have to agree with Heaven17 on this one.  It sounds like I can recreate the CD with individual tracks just as easy as with one wave file. 
The tagging ability and the ability to mix cds is important enough to me.
Which brings me to my next question, but I'll make that a new post.
Thanks again.

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #13
have always done individual tracks - used to taking an LP or tapes  and breaking them up into tracks, and I most definitely prefer ripped CD waves in the same fashion. Most of my playlists are varying tracks from sometime wildly varying genres.

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #14
Quote
Why would anyone want to rip a 74 minute gap?

What he meant was that there are some CDs in which the gaps ARE important and hold some kind of sound data. For example, the Pearl Jam "official bootlegs". The gaps (Index 0) hold whenever Eddie Vedder is addressing the audience between songs. If you got rid of gaps you would lose data. Not music, agreed, but some people in this board (myself included) would want to preserve the original CD structure.
I'm the one in the picture, sitting on a giant cabbage in Mexico, circa 1978.
Reseñas de Rock en Español: www.estadogeneral.com

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #15
I´d say: Song by song. Then you can see at first sight, what´s on the CD.
My used codecs and settings:
FLAC V1.1.2 -4 / APE V3.99 Update 4 -high / MPC V1.15v --q 5 / LAME V3.97b2 -V2 --vbr-new / OGG aoTuV V4.51 Lancer -q5

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #16
Having gapless playback is important depsending on the type of music and the particular CD. For exemple, classical music often runs from one track into the next with no silence between tracks. And even some rock CD's do this, especially if you have some older Pink Floyd albums. It sounds really bad to have a two second gap between tracks when they are SUPPOSED to play from one track into the next without a silence in between.

Having said that, I'm always ripping individual tracks. I don't want to have to rip some CD's diffferently than others, I have a ripping "standard" that I use and I'm halfway through ripping my whole CD collection. I hope to find a way to get gapless playback with some of the tracks using foobar2000, but I haven't really had the time to play around with it. Just my .02....

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #17
Quote
I hope to find a way to get gapless playback with some of the tracks using foobar2000, but I haven't really had the time to play around with it. Just my .02....

It seems like you haven't really had any time to explore foobar2000.
It is gapless in almost any format (only AAC is not, IIRC, you would have to search it). To achieve gapless playback on MP3 files, you have to use a recent version of LAME (the recommended compile will do). If you are not (and you are ripping to MP3) then you will have to star over, I'm afraid.
I'm the one in the picture, sitting on a giant cabbage in Mexico, circa 1978.
Reseñas de Rock en Español: www.estadogeneral.com

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #18
Quote
I have seen some people promote ripping a CD to one .wav file and I have seen others promote ripping a CD based on each song.

Here's my own procedure:

1). EAC -> Copy Image & Create CUE Sheet. I also do this a second time to make sure I get the same CRC value -- it would be nice if EAC had a Test & Copy feature for the CD Image the same way it does for individual tracks.

2). TITLE, PERFORMER, SONGWRITER, and extensive REMark statements are added to the CUE Sheet. This is the CUE Sheet that I'll be keeping. I use the album name for the CUE Sheet (i.e., The Wall.cue).

3). EAC -> Split WAV By CUE Sheet (With Gaps). Now I've got individual tracks which will be converted to .FLAC files. The Cutted (sic) CUE Sheet is tossed.

4). FLAC Frontend -> Individual tracks are converted to .FLAC files complete with FLAC tags. Input files (the individual .WAV files) are deleted.

5). I scan the album cover and clean it up in PhotoShop. A 700 x 700 pixel .TIFF image is created and saved (i.e., The Wall.tiff).

6). The individual .FLAC files, the CUE Sheet, and the album cover .TIFF are all burned to a backup CD-R. I also add a directory to the CD-R called "Tools" which contains FLAC, CDRWIN (Demo version), and WaveCat. Overkill to add the "Tools" directory to every CD-R? You betcha! But it takes only a couple/few megabytes of space and results in a CD-R backup that requires nothing else for restoration.

WaveCat, by the way, is a simple utility program for combining .WAV files. You could also use CoolEdit or something similar. If I ever want to produce an exact copy of the original CD, I only need to convert the .FLAC files back to .WAVs, combine all the .WAVs with WaveCat (or CoolEdit, etc.), and then load my CUE Sheet and the single .WAV file into CDRWIN for burning.

It's doubtful, though, that I'll want to produce very many CDs (preferring to use my PC as a 1000+ CD jukebox instead of using conventional CD changers), so that's why it makes more sense (for me) to save individual tracks instead of one giant file.
Watching for pigs on the wing...

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #19
PigsOnTheWing:
Your process sounds more complicated to me than it needs to be.  I have setup EAC to encode directly to FLAC.  Do you have a reason for adding so many steps?

One other question, not just for PigsOnTheWing but for other people who burn their archives to disc.

It is my understanding that everyone prefers to use EAC because it does the best job at making sure it reads the CD correctly.  You can have it read each sector more than once and it takes care of the fact that most CD players will "make up" data for sections that are difficult to read.  It eliminates the errors that can be generated by a defective CD or hardware issues.

So when you then take the FLAC file or any other lossless format, and then burn it on a CD-R or DVD-R for that matter, aren't you eliminating the advantage you gained from ripping with EAC?  I'm I missing something here?

Thanks again to everyone for their posts, this information is invaluable.

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #20
Quote
Your process sounds more complicated to me than it needs to be.  I have setup EAC to encode directly to FLAC.  Do you have a reason for adding so many steps?

I prefer to have EAC rip the entire CD at once as opposed to individual tracks. The process goes faster without having to ramp up/down between tracks. And I know that I'm going to get a fully compliant CUE Sheet with gaps. It only takes a minute to have EAC split the .WAV file into individual tracks for conversion to .FLAC files.

I have not tried using EAC to encode .FLAC files...does it handle the adding of FLAC tags?

Quote
So when you then take the FLAC file or any other lossless format, and then burn it on a CD-R or DVD-R for that matter, aren't you eliminating the advantage you gained from ripping with EAC?  I'm I missing something here?

Not at all. The point of using EAC to rip your CDs is to get the best possible copy of your audio. Remember that audio and data are two different things. Normal CD audio tracks don't really offer anything in the way of error correction -- you are actually relying on your CD player to correct errors. Data files, on the other hand, have error correction. That's why the .WAV files take up more room than the original CD audio does. And that's why using FLAC or Monkey's Audio becomes a necessity when trying to put those .WAVs back onto a CD-R (as data) if the original album was a long one.

In my own case, I have little or no use for audio CDs once I've ripped my CDs and converted all of the music to FLAC data files, as I'm using my PC to provide instant access to 1000+ albums instead of using conventional CD changers. I'm creating CD-R backups, of course, in case something should happen to my hard drive(s), but those backups are of data--not CD audio--as I don't want to have to go through the whole process of ripping audio again.
Watching for pigs on the wing...

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #21
Quote
So when you then take the FLAC file or any other lossless format, and then burn it on a CD-R or DVD-R for that matter, aren't you eliminating the advantage you gained from ripping with EAC? I'm I missing something here?


It's important to recognise the difference between an audio CD and a data CD (eg a CD-R with FLAC files burnt to it).

As you rightly said, an audio CD player will use a "best guess" if it is unable to read part of an audio track, and the result may or may not be audible. EAC does its best to recover the information in these circumstances, and will report "suspicious positions" if it is unable to do so.

In the case of a data CD such as a program installation disc, it simply wouldn't work properly if some of the the data were unrecoverable. Because of this, the error correction routines are very much more robust on a data CD than on an audio CD. It's also usually much quicker to restore backups from data CDs or DVDs rather than having to re-rip, re-encode, re-tag etc..etc..

Having said that, CD-Rs are not the most reliable of media, but that's another story...

Edit: PigsOnTheWing explained it better than I did...

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #22
For my own purposes, and based on my music tastes, I did one Vorbis file per song.  I get natively gapless playback on all my platforms (no special tagging or plug-ins needed), the ability to copy one song at a time from one device to another and the ability to tag each track individually (though mass-tagging can also be done using Tag&Rename, or any of several other programs).

Gapless playback was essential for me, as a bulk of my listening includes music tracks that "run together", such as live recordings, classical, electronica and of course, Pink Floyd.  Ever listened to The Wall (or almost any other PF album) with gaps?        Or the four tracks on Il Giardino's Brandenburg Concertos which comprise Bach's Concerto No. 1 in F major?  Or The Chemical Brothers Surrender?  The Police Live?  And though (admirably) foobar2000 and Winamp can do gapless MP3 playback, my non-PC-based players cannot.  [Gapless is of extreme importance to me, personally...definitely among my top requirements, right behind basic playback compatibility on all main platforms, and just ahead of >99% audio transparency.]

Cuesheets are often a good answer for encoding to one file per album (and being able to playback/seek individual tracks), but if all your major platforms don't know to read a cuesheet file, then it won't be (as in my case).

My solution only applies for an encoding format which is natively gapless.  Most (all?) portable MP3 players can't do gapless MP3 playback, for example.  Then again, they probably can't do cuesheets either.  But if gapless doesn't matter for you, then this is mostly all moot.  But for me, player compatibility and gapless playback are both critical considerations when I decided whether to rip to one file per CD or one per song.

Only one thing I can think of that I miss by not having one file per CD...only 400 (or so) files to keep track of in maintaining my whole music collection, vs. the current 5000+ files.  Not that that's a big collection, but ~8% as many files just seems like they would be much easier to manage.  (Then again, it would be 800 files with the cuesheets, right?)

 

Per CD or Per song?

Reply #23
PigsOnTheWing:
In regards to EAC to FLAC.  I'm actually using the settings provided to me by Mareo (http://mareo.netfirms.com/), a software app I found on flac's download page.  I'm planning on encoding to FLAC and MP3 at the same time.  Your question about the FLAC tags I'm not sure I can answer correctly as I'm still new to this process.  However, it does put tags on, but when I look at the tag in Media Tagger, it says that it is a "vorbis" tag.  But using dBpowerAmp, if I hold my mouse over it, it says that it's a FLAC tag.  Not sure if there is a difference between the two, but I thought there was.

My goal is to make everything as automated as possible, and using EAC with Mareo to make FLAC and MP3 files and delete the WAVs just makes the most sense for me.  The FLAC files are archives for me that can be mass converted to some other format using a batch file, and the MP3s are what I use to listen to (no hi-fi stereo yet, just an iPod and computer speakers).  I've played with dBpowerAmp Music Converter on the FLAC files to make sure the tags would be carried over and it worked when making MP3s and OGG files.

Thank you and Heaven17 on clearing up the audio error correction versus the data error correction.  Makes a lot of sense now.  I think I'm still going to keep everything on hard drives though for my own purposes.

ScorLibran:  Thanks for your input.  I can see why gapless playback would be important for you.  I definitely have my fair share of live CDs, but it isn't as crucial to me as I really do listen to most of my music through my iPod and I'm pretty sure there isn't anything to do about it on there.