CDs

Can I Convert my CDs and not Lose Quality?

FLAC

Episode 1571

Mark from Grand Rapids, MI

Mark wants to know how he can convert his CDs and have them sound as good. Leo says that digital music records differently by using sampling. 44100 is CD-quality sound. 16-bit resolution is CD quality. But he can buy higher resolution samples like 24 bit. However, the files get large as a result, which is why compression has come into play. MP3, AAC, etc. Lossless is also possible with FLAC and Apple Lossless. Google Pixel XL can play back those lossless files with the right application.

Is there a better media option than CDs?

Super Audio CD

Episode 1328

Louie from Orange County, CA

Louie wants to know if there's a higher quality CD for audio. Scott says that SACD or Super Audio CD is one. It was meant to succeed CD, but online music distribution pretty much killed it. He can still get them online and they do offer better audio specs than CDs do. How do they compare to Blu-ray audio? It's just a different technology, with Blu-ray audio using PCM to store a lot more data, while SACD uses DSD. Blu-ray audio has better specs up to 24 bits, while CD audio is 18bits. He can also get greater dynamic and frequency range.

What format should I rip my CDs to?

Episode 1237

Charlie from Whitman, MA

Charlie wants to rip his CDs to a memory stick. Should he partition it since it's 128GB? Leo says why not just get a smaller one? Or, better yet, rip the CDs into higher quality. If he's going to do it, do it once. Charlie should rip the CDs into FLAC, which is a lossless format, and preserves 100% of the CD quality. MP3 doesn't do that, neither does AAC. FLAC is identical to CD quality. Use that for archival storage and then he can convert down from there to a USB drive.

How can I rip my LPs?

Episode 1164

Duke from Huntington Beach, CA

Duke wants to be able to rip his LPs and burn them to CDs. His turntable is a good one, but he doesn't know how to get it into the computer. Leo says that turntables are unbalanced. He'd need a preamp with a turntable connection. He should turn the amp on the turntable setting and then connect the amp into the computer, which has a minijack in, which would require an adapter.

Why can't I see song titles on the CDs I just burned?

CD

Episode 1088

Michael from Long Beach, CA

Michael tried burning CDs, but he can't see the track names that he gives it when he tries loading that CD on a different computer. Leo says that's because the CDs don't include that information. It should be remembered in iTunes, but the physical media itself wouldn't have that data. It's normal and not part of the spec. If he sees it, that's because the device has identified it and downloaded the listings from the internet. Leo recommends uninstalling all burning software, iTunes, and Quicktime. Then he should install Quicktime first, then iTunes. That should clean up iTunes.

Why is it taking so long to rip a CD on my Mac?

Episode 1083

John from Canyon, CA

John rips his CDs and puts them on his iPad to listen to. But his new iMac takes a lot longer to rip his CDs in iTunes than his old one. He even tried a third party ripper and it takes the same amount of time.

Leo says that's an odd development because the machines are much faster. Leo suggests looking at the bitrate that John is ripping to. Another issue is error correction. If that's enabled, that will really slow things down. Turning that off would speed things up. Leo also thinks that iTunes could be contributing to the problem, because as it's progressed, it's gotten worse.