What is the best program for converting CDs to FLAC files?

I have a large classical music library that is in mostly 192kps mp3 . I downloaded "Exact Audio Copy" from C/Net and converted one of my CDs to FLAC. It seems that the FLAC file is roughly twice the size of the same 320 kps mp3 file. Converting to FLAC should not be an issue with hard drive storage space. It is, however, amazing to see how fast a 2 TB hard drive can be gobbled up.

"Exact Audio Copy" was very slow! It took over 15 minutes to covert a 48 minute CD to FLAC. Art there better (faster and as accurate as EAC) options than using "Exact Audio Copy?" EAC does verify the accuracy of the FLAC file and that is a feature I like. Maybe EAC is an OK program and I was not using it properly.

I play back my Mp3s in Foobar. I was able to play FLAC files in Foobar without any problems. Are their better options for playback?
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Comments

  • DaveHoDaveHo Posts: 1,395
    I use dBpoweramp for ripping CDs to FLAC. https://dbpoweramp.com/

    All my ripped music resides on my NAS. I use BubbleUPnp to control streaming from the NAS to several devices around the house.

    For the work headphone rig, music is on an external hard drive connected to a computer & I use Foobar.
  • daddyjtdaddyjt Posts: 361
    Agreed - DbPoweramp is incredibly Versatel. It Only takes about 2 min to rip a cd. It also allows you to convert to just about any other file type you can imagine.
  • heiney9heiney9 Posts: 23,340
    DbPoweramp is the "go to"
  • RicardoRicardo Posts: 10,464
    What they said.
  • drselectdrselect Posts: 652
    What he said about what they said.
  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 1,773
    JRiver and rip to WAV format for archiving purposes. JRiver is an all in one solution for reasonably fast ripping and excellent library management. I manage around 32,000 tracks originally ripped to WAV and also exported to separate FLAC and high bitrate MP3 format libraries.
  • voltzvoltz Posts: 4,370
    JRiver Media. I use it to rip all of my music files, and It is a great player also!
  • gcegce Posts: 2,035
    1 more for DbPoweramp.
  • sgmsmgsgmsmg Posts: 129
    Anyone using DbPoweramp on a Mac?
  • woofiepawswoofiepaws Posts: 206
    I'm using DbPoweramp on a MacBook Pro. Latest version of macOS. No issues.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 27,202
    I have a large classical music library that is in mostly 192kps mp3 . I downloaded "Exact Audio Copy" from C/Net and converted one of my CDs to FLAC. It seems that the FLAC file is roughly twice the size of the same 320 kps mp3 file. Converting to FLAC should not be an issue with hard drive storage space. It is, however, amazing to see how fast a 2 TB hard drive can be gobbled up.

    "Exact Audio Copy" was very slow! It took over 15 minutes to covert a 48 minute CD to FLAC. Art there better (faster and as accurate as EAC) options than using "Exact Audio Copy?" EAC does verify the accuracy of the FLAC file and that is a feature I like. Maybe EAC is an OK program and I was not using it properly.

    I play back my Mp3s in Foobar. I was able to play FLAC files in Foobar without any problems. Are their better options for playback?

    Couple things come to mind.

    Is your computers processor up to snuff ? Meaning is it fast or aged and full of memory that slows it down when downloading ? That will effect your speed, 15 minutes to download a cd is very slow. Normally it's like 3-5 minutes depending on if some sort of error correction is engaged, which it should be.

    Free programs usually are a bit slower than paid for programs. DB power amp, JRIVER are excellent programs to use. Heck, if your on a windows machine, you can even use good old ITunes for your purpose.

    These files should not be filling up a 2 TB hard drive easily, that's a heck of a lot of storage. A flac file or apple lossless file is still compressed and then uncompressed when open. A WAV file is uncompressed for the whole process, thus it takes up more storage. Most find uncompressed WAV files to sound slightly better, but that's an argument for another day. MP3 files, the worst kind, actually leave out bits of information to reduce file size. This was the most common back in the day because storage was at a premium and ideal for use with portable devices. Today I see no reason to use them. If you have an MP3 file, that certain information is gone and there is no way to recover it, so don't think about converting MP3 files to flac or another lossless file as you will only copy an already compromised MP3 recording. Start with a lossless file, be it Apple lossless, Flac, Wav, etc. I have roughly 400 cd's on my hard drive and that only takes up 8gb's. So your 2 TB hard drive should be more than ample.

    Software to use.....Jriver is probably easier to use than DB Poweramp, but DB gives you more parameters of adjustment which can be a blessing or aggravating to the novice. ITUNES is probably the easiest of all and more automated which makes it more appealing to the novice. Hope that helps some, good luck to you.
  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 1,773
    I have around 32000 tracks in WAV format taking up about 1.4TB of disc space. To me EAC seemed to be fairly slow at ripping CDs but there are different error checking options in it. For some reason there is variability in the ripping speed between different CDs even in perfect condition with any of the programs including JRiver. It can take up to ten times longer to copy a "fast" CD compared to a really slow one.

    For scratched CDs there is no program that will do any better at reading and copying damaged sectors than others. The better programs will attempt to read the damaged sectors multiple times and let a user know when the read attempts to get a bit perfect copy failed. That is a function of the CD drive and the amount of damage on the disc. iTunes will just blast through and copy whatever it can and not report errors. That is why it is fast.
  • My computer is moderately fast. Late last year I replaced a small, 8 year old Acer XP computer. That computer only had one gig of memory and was very slow. My new Acer computer has Windows 10 Home, 8 gigs of ram, and a 2 TB hard drive. It has an Intel CORE I5 processor. It is fast enough to easily stream HD movies from Comcast without any lurching.

    I'm happy with playback on Foobar, but I have not compared it to JRiver or Itunes. I would need to research what programs support FLAC and what programs support Apple lossless files. This would also be a possible issue for buying hardware and what files that hardware supports. Does Apple keep their Lossless format proprietary? Do they let third party companies use that format? Are there programs that can convert Apple lossless to FLAC and vice versa?
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 27,202
    All programs these days support both flac and Apple lossless, most support WAV too. For right now, I'm using ITunes on my windows 10 machine and it rips a cd in about 3-5 minutes with error correction on. Yes, ITunes does have error correction, use it. Plus it's something you probably already have installed on your Windows 10 machine.

    Other than that, Jriver is pretty nifty, I'd recommend that one for guys just getting into downloading stuff. Yes, you can convert files too, flac to Apple lossless, or other formats but like I said, you don't want to convert MP3's to any of the other lossless formats.

    Lossless files, be it in flac, apple lossless, Wav, is comparable to cd quality, which is what you want. MP3 isn't...by a good margin too. Then we have getting those files to your stereo system, gear used, etc., that can and will also affect the sound.
  • zuulzuul Posts: 96
    if you're using a mac I've found that XLD is the best program for converting files to FLAC.
  • Emlyn wrote: »
    I have around 32000 tracks in WAV format taking up about 1.4TB of disc space. To me EAC seemed to be fairly slow at ripping CDs but there are different error checking options in it. For some reason there is variability in the ripping speed between different CDs even in perfect condition with any of the programs including JRiver. It can take up to ten times longer to copy a "fast" CD compared to a really slow one.

    For scratched CDs there is no program that will do any better at reading and copying damaged sectors than others. The better programs will attempt to read the damaged sectors multiple times and let a user know when the read attempts to get a bit perfect copy failed. That is a function of the CD drive and the amount of damage on the disc. iTunes will just blast through and copy whatever it can and not report errors. That is why it is fast.


    I did consider converting to WAV but I have listened to several CDs converted to FLAC and am happy with the quality and FLAC saves some space on my 2 TB hard drive.

    I originally tried EAC (Exact Audio Copy) and then I tried the trial version of DbPoweramp. The first CD took 33 minutes to rip to FLAC using DbPoweramp. It did not seem to be a major improvement over EAC. Like you noted, the rip time varies. I decided to use EAC. Usually, CDs take 12 to 17 minutes. The metadata lookup feature of EAC is very good. I have not got pics of the wrong orchestra/conductor yet in over 200 CDs that I converted to FLAC. The big difference my new computer has over my XP computer is that I can still use the computer to do other things when I'm converting CDs, so speed is not as big an issue as it was with the XP.

    For now, I'll stick with Foobar instead of trying JRiver. I like how it lets me load several folders of music files in at the same time. This makes it easy to listen several Orchestral versions of classical music. I like Foobar over the old Winamp media player.

    I don't know how many tracks of music I have, but I did a spreadsheet inventory and I have about 1,350 classical CDs (excluding duplicates). The first 200 CDs took up about 60 GB of hard disk space, so I should be able to convert the entire collection in 400 GB or a little less.
  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 3,413
    I use media monkey. It works fine, and is a little cheaper than dbpoweramp and jriver. I haven't compared them so I don't know if there are differences between them...
  • I did a search in Yahoo and got some info on media monkey at Wikipedia. I set up my own folder system to organize my audio library and do not use Itunes or other programs to do so. With classical music, the main options are folders by composer, by conductor and or orchestra, and by soloist artist or small ensemble. About 80% of my library is by composer. But I have some very big boxes of music that I do differently. I have the 70 CD original jackets Vladimir Horowitz box and an 80 CD box with Leonard Bernstein (concertos and other orchestral works) for example.

    Media monkey offers a freeware version so maybe I'll give it a try for ripping FLAC. The EAC program is very easy to use and their is an internet article at CNET that is pretty good.
    rooftop59 wrote: »
    I use media monkey. It works fine, and is a little cheaper than dbpoweramp and jriver. I haven't compared them so I don't know if there are differences between them...

  • msgmsg Posts: 2,852
    EZ CD Audio Converter was recommended to me by two other members when I was looking into this last. Tried dBpoweramp and EAC, but just liked EZ CD best and it's the one I use.

    I can't remember what you call all the error checking stuff, and whether EZ CD doesn't do it, or I just have it turned off, but it's pretty fast. I think there were two error checking mechanisms going on in the other softwares, and one of them would come up with mismatches or something pretty regularly? Not sure whether this indicated bad disc, bad read/rip, bad drive, or what. Would obviously fail on scratched discs.

    Another nice piece of software is Music Bee. It can rip audio as well, but I use it more for music management. Still can't believe it's free for as robust and smart as it is.
  • msg wrote: »
    EZ CD Audio Converter was recommended to me by two other members when I was looking into this last. Tried dBpoweramp and EAC, but just liked EZ CD best and it's the one I use.

    I can't remember what you call all the error checking stuff, and whether EZ CD doesn't do it, or I just have it turned off, but it's pretty fast. I think there were two error checking mechanisms going on in the other softwares, and one of them would come up with mismatches or something pretty regularly? Not sure whether this indicated bad disc, bad read/rip, bad drive, or what. Would obviously fail on scratched discs.

    Another nice piece of software is Music Bee. It can rip audio as well, but I use it more for music management. Still can't believe it's free for as robust and smart as it is.

    With EAC, for about 1 in 100 CDs, the error checking seems to go off the deep end and the program slows down to 0.1 speed. Sometimes the program will do re-sampling. I listened to some of the tracks re-sampled at fairly loud volumes and they sounded OK. Copying a disc to the computer is not always a slam dunk.

    Thanks for the lead for EZ CD, I'll check it out.
  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 1,773
    Regarding classical music files, one thing I have been thinking of doing is setting up a separate library in JRiver just for classical and keeping the other music in a different library. A good classical library needs to show orchestra, composer, conductor etc that rock and pop music doesn't. Classical can be hard to catalog in a library since there are a lot of options.
  • The composer is probably the best category for most classical. Many people on the margins of classical fail to realize that at least 3/4 of the music is chamber music (piano, violin, cello sonatas, string trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, piano trios, quartets, music for wind instruments, brass instruments, smaller ensembles, etc.) These can all be organized under the composer.

    If you use a spreadsheet you can list everything including soloist artists and then sort the spreadsheet in many different ways. It is a challenge.
  • Johnny_CashJohnny_Cash Posts: 1
    Media Monkey or Windows Media Player is all you really need. Both do any of the lossless formats including Apple (ALAC).
  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 1,773
    The composer is probably the best category for most classical. Many people on the margins of classical fail to realize that at least 3/4 of the music is chamber music (piano, violin, cello sonatas, string trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, piano trios, quartets, music for wind instruments, brass instruments, smaller ensembles, etc.) These can all be organized under the composer.

    If you use a spreadsheet you can list everything including soloist artists and then sort the spreadsheet in many different ways. It is a challenge.

    I have three of the Herbert von Karajan big boxes which are 80+ CD's a piece and the Mercury Living Presence box sets too. Takes a lonnnnnng time to rip those and get the meta data properly set! Most of that has to be done manually to get it the way I want it. Finding the right cover art is an adventure too since the auto finder is usually wrong.

  • Emlyn wrote: »
    The composer is probably the best category for most classical. Many people on the margins of classical fail to realize that at least 3/4 of the music is chamber music (piano, violin, cello sonatas, string trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, piano trios, quartets, music for wind instruments, brass instruments, smaller ensembles, etc.) These can all be organized under the composer.

    If you use a spreadsheet you can list everything including soloist artists and then sort the spreadsheet in many different ways. It is a challenge.

    I have three of the Herbert von Karajan big boxes which are 80+ CD's a piece and the Mercury Living Presence box sets too. Takes a lonnnnnng time to rip those and get the meta data properly set! Most of that has to be done manually to get it the way I want it. Finding the right cover art is an adventure too since the auto finder is usually wrong.

    I can live with the art being off as long as the track data is accurate. The big danger in the meta data are some of the extremely long track file names. Some of these are so long that the computer will not play them. I make sure the tract data is correct and then I edit out the stuff that is way too long. I have many Mercury Living Presence in smaller boxes or single CDs. Great label!
  • afterburntafterburnt Posts: 2,915
    edited May 30
    I use EAC, EAC is cheap spelled sideways. I think it works ok, although the metadata tagging can be a pain I don't think that has anything to do with EAC. I have always wanted to try JRiver, but I don't seem to have time give it a workout during the free trial. I will try it one of these days. I use Foobar with Fidelizer to play stuff from the PC.
  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 3,413
    Media Monkey or Windows Media Player is all you really need. Both do any of the lossless formats including Apple (ALAC).

    Last time I tried WMC did WAV but not FLAC. Has that changed?
  • GatecrasherGatecrasher Posts: 1,551
    edited June 20

    I did consider converting to WAV but I have listened to several CDs converted to FLAC and am happy with the quality and FLAC saves some space on my 2 TB hard drive.

    I originally tried EAC (Exact Audio Copy) and then I tried the trial version of DbPoweramp. The first CD took 33 minutes to rip to FLAC using DbPoweramp. It did not seem to be a major improvement over EAC. Like you noted, the rip time varies. I decided to use EAC. Usually, CDs take 12 to 17 minutes. The metadata lookup feature of EAC is very good. I have not got pics of the wrong orchestra/conductor yet in over 200 CDs that I converted to FLAC. The big difference my new computer has over my XP computer is that I can still use the computer to do other things when I'm converting CDs, so speed is not as big an issue as it was with the XP.

    It sounds to me like you might have a problem with your PC Donner. There is no way that it should take that long to rip a CD in either dBpoweramp or EAC.

    My PC is 4 years old and I can rip most CDs to FLAC in 90 seconds in dBpoweramp. I have tried most of the CD ripping software including EZ and AVS and IMO dBpoweramp is by far the best of all of them. I have gotten a lot of EAC files with corrupted meta data and other issues. Never with dBpoweramp.

    The thing that is nice about dBpoweramp is I have found a way to work around any and all corruption issues with audio files and can repair them now. It took a long time to figure out the best ways to approach it. Sometimes it's hard to tell if a file is corrupt. Some will still play normally but technically they are corrupted and can prevent you from doing certain things with them like converting to other formats, changing the compression or tagging.

    EAC was good back in the days when you needed CUE files to play MP3s on certain players but most players today don't need it so I get rid of all that crap and split the tracks just like they would be on a CD. EAC has a tendency to corrupt the CUE file by writing the text out of order and/or adding dead spots which is confusing to some players. You will see this if you try to split the tracks and it fails to separate all of them. I have found a solution for this issue too using dBpoweramp and can split any that have bad CUE files.

    I then add any additional info or tagging using "Tag & Rename" which is another excellent software package. The way I have dBpoweramp setup doesn't leave much extra to do though other than add the album artwork to be displayed. I like to add my own at 600x600@300 DPI resolution and do not retrieve anything from online. It's a standard I've used for several years now an ensures that all of the files in my music library will all be displayed and play the same. That's the key, to pick a file setup you like and stick with it.

    The result is the cleanest and most properly tagged FLAC directory and files possible with zero corruption and everything setup the way I like it. No unnecessary crap or outdated features and the files will be perfectly displayed on any player.

    I would seriously look into your PC. Something is definitely wrong if it takes you more than a couple minutes to rip a CD to FLAC. I can rip DVDs faster than you are ripping CDs.
  • I just ripped disc 1 of 12 from the RCA box "Eugene Ormandy conducts Tchaikovsky and the first 7 tracks were OK, but the EAC program was not able to verify the data for track 7 and said it had problems at the 3:14-3:15 mark. Instead of trying to rip it again, I listened to the 11 minute track and it is OK and sounds fine. The Tchaikovsky symphonies with their heavy dose of brass and percussion sound great cranked up. They are almost as neurotic as the Bruckner symphonies as far as the piano forte dynamics go - soft and then LOUD!

    There have been little to no problems ripping so far. Time wise, it has been 13 to 17 minutes per disc. My computer is able to stream hi def video from Comcast and YouTube and is fast enough. Maybe there is a setting that needs to be changed. I rip 10 CDs a day at a leisurely pace. EAC had problems finding the meta data on CDs 7 and 8 of my 17 CD Carlo Maria Giulini "The London Years" Warner box. It looks like I may end up manually entering track info for some CDs in that box. EAC is not perfect. The ripped tracks sound fine to me. But I expect there will be some errors in this mechanical/digital process.
  • GatecrasherGatecrasher Posts: 1,551
    You have a major problem if it takes you 13 to 17 minute to rip a CD. I could rip ten of them in that amount of time. Maybe your CDRom is slow?
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