Audiophiles, please help make collection accessible!

Good morning, Dopers!

My husband has a large cd collection (500? 700? 900?), but no cd player on which to play them. He also has some archaic, non-working speakers which take up a huge chunk of our bedroom. For Christmas, I would like to do something for him which would allow him to listen to alllll his CDs easily, but not take up so much space that the square footage of our living space is compromised.

Money is, of course, an issue this year. So what would be some ways to go about this. I’m not opposed to something labor-intensive, so I was thinking about getting an iPod and just downloading everything to that… would that be a good idea? Get one of those dock/speaker things…

Any ideas? I really do not listen to cds other than in my vehicle, so I’m lost as to the possibilities.

Any help greatly appreciated :slight_smile:

Manually ripping hundreds of CDs is going to be incredibly labor intensive. Like hundreds of hours. But that’s probably your only choice. I’m not even sure of many iPods could store 900 CDs on them. Though the goal is to get them all digitally stored as MP3s on a hard drive and he can pick and choose from there. Downloading that much music legally would cost several thousands of dollars, think $10+ a CD. Downloading them illegally, aside from being illegal, would probably be even more time consuming and tedious than ripping them and provide less consistent sound quality.

I just can’t fathom someone with 900 CDs and no CD player. If he’s a huge music fan how would he possibly listen to them? I’d think anyone with that many CDs would probably want them in MP3 format anyways one day so they’ll probably need to be ripped eventually anyways. Assuming you have a PC you might want to buy a 1 TB external HD install a good ripping software and methodically start doing it whenever he’s not around. Each CD will need to be loaded manually and takes 3-4 minutes to rip so expect to do it in sessions over the next month.

I’m not sure what the best audio quality for your purposes is nor what the best software choice is. It all depends on your needs and your level of detail.

Your gift could be a promise to rip, say, three CDs every day for the next year. Not all that time consuming, and he can choose which iPod to get, and whichever track he wants to put on it.

I am not positive on my info here so mods feel more than free to delete.

you are allowed to make copies of your music for personal use, so to my knowledge there is no legal reason why you couldn’t simply use a torrent program to download the ones you own.

keep in mind that while you are allowed to download these copies you are NOT allowed to share them, this is what the RIAA keeps suing people over.

and as already posted above you may not get the best quality on all of them.

with a really fast computer it would still take you 10 minutes or more per disc to rip them all, and you will need some pretty serious hard drive space to store all that. at a guess at least 100gigs, (maybe even 200)

as for sound, you can get a decent sounding set of computer speakers with a subwoofer for a pretty low price. $50-100 or so.

It’s not going to take as much space as you think. I’ve got a 20gig iPod, that’s full, and it has between 350-400 CDs on it. I don’t know exactly as I’m at work so no access to iTunes. It will take awhile to do all of the ripping, but you can let the computer do it while you do something else. A 60-80 gig iPod would probably do the trick, though it would take a few months to do all the CDs.

Depends greatly on quality. A MP3 ripped at 320 Kbps takes about 10 MB of space for a 4 minute song. If you figure your average CD has 13 songs on it you’ll be talking 125 GB of space for 900 CDs. If you have a CD collection that big and are going to spend hours and hours ripping it to disk I wouldn’t waste the time doing it any less than 256 kbps for fear of one day having to redo it. Hell, most true audiophiles would scoff at using MP3 at all and probably insist on FLAC which would be double the size.

Can iPods play FLAC?

No, iPods and Zunes cannot play FLAC at the moment AFAIK. However it’s still worth considering if you’re trying to preserve and archive a collection of this scale for an audiophile. Once the entire collection was ripped to FLAC on a hard drive it’d be trivial to down convert all or any portion to WMA, AAC, or MP3 of whatever bitrate you prefer for on-the-go on your PMP.

Ripping this much music is a massive undertaking. It’s best you do it right the first time and get as much of the information as there is to get. You can always convert down, you can never convert up.

Ripping CDs isn’t hard, you just do it in the background while you’re doing other things. I know with Itunes, you just put the CD in and click “yes” when it asks you if you want to rip it. I think you can even set it to do it automatically without asking. Just keep a stack of CDs next to the computer at all times and you’ll get it done eventually.

These days, the only hard-drive based Ipod is the Classic which come in 120GB and costs $250. That’s what you would need. Itunes usually uses 128k AAC, which sounds pretty good unless you have high-end speakers or something. 256k AAC is more than enough.

If you just want to make the CDs take up less space, you could get some CD wallets: Amazon search Although I think buying enough to hold 900 CDs would bring you almost halfway towards the cost of an Ipod. You could also try putting them in paper sleeves: sleeves and putting those in boxes, either these: box or any boxes you have around.

CD players are dirt cheap these days. You can also use a DVD player to play CDs. If you only want to listen at home, if your computer has some decent audio output jack, you could hook that up to a stereo and skip the Ipod.

I’d recommend against an Ipod speaker system. You can hook an Ipod up to a regular stereo, and get better sound. The only reason to get any sort of special Ipod system is if you want the Ipod to charge while you play it, or to control the Ipod with a remote. What would be your budget for a stereo system? What brand and model are his current speakers? Does he already have a stereo receiver? If so, then you just need some speakers. If not, I’d recommend looking for a stereo receiver on Craigslist because they go very cheap and you can save money or put it towards better speakers. Buying new, you can get some really nice bookshelf speakers starting around $150-200 a pair, and you could maybe add a subwoofer in the future when you can spare more money.

Thank you for all the suggestions :slight_smile:

I’m still investigating. In short, I need something small so I can have space and get rid of the ancient broken stereo equipment, and the four non-functioning speakers.

I’d love a jukebox :slight_smile: But that is very impractical.

DJ equipment?

Do you have a DVD player? If so, you probably can play the CDs in it and listen through the TV speakers.

If you think that he’ll want to listen to his music at home, consider a Squeezebox Boom. If you have a wireless network you can have music anywhere in the house. You still have to rip all of the CDs to MP3s (or FLAC for best quality), of course.

Manually ripping CDs is not that labor intensive, I have well over 500 CDs and it’ll take a day or so.

Get EAC (Exact Audio Copy) and set it up. This will take 15 minutes and it’s a free program.

Then rip all your music to a lossless format. FLAC is the most common, but WavPack has better compression/decompression. APE is the best lossless codec (this is short for code/decode) for compression, but it’s not totally open source, so many don’t use it.

I’d use FLAC with a setting of 8, that is the second highest compression level. There is one higher but it’ll take forever to compress and you will only save a tiny bit more.

You can find 2TB external drives on Buy.Com or ZipZoomFly.Com for about $150.00 now. So those are excellent.

If your CDs are in good shape EAC will fly through the ripping prossess. Set EAC to reject the CD if there is a read/synch error. Then rip your CDs. This will fly fast.

So if your CD has an error, then remove it and set it aside, then rip your flawless CDs first.

You can get through this in a day or so.

Then go back and change EAC setting to recover data. This will take a bit longer and sometimes the data can’t be recovered. But first set EAC to recover data and then go through the remaining CDs and rip them. Set aside any that can’t have data recovered.

Then you can play with EAC with things like burst mode to see if you can get a readable rip. Sometimes you can.

Whatever CDs are left then you’ll have to buy again to get a rip. BTW if you have a scratch on the label side of the CD you’re pretty much screwed. It’s nearly impossible to get a rip off a CD with a label side scratch. The data is just under the label. You can often get a readable rip if the scratch is on the shiny side though

So now you have an external hard drive full of FLAC (or other lossless) music. The advantage to ripping to FLAC or lossless, is that you can easily convert them to mp3 or mp4(a4a) or any other type of lossy codec. Even in the future.

Go to hydrogenaudio they will give you all the details. Their forums are very helpful, just don’t ever mention file sharing they HATE/DETEST that over there :slight_smile:

You can also use dbpoweramp. It has an excellent quality ripper too, but it is not free. EAC is and works great. EAC and dbpoweramp are the best for Windows. CDparanoia is another one you can use for MAC that is similar.

It’s been my experience that if you do other things on your computer while you are ripping music, the resulting mp3 will “skip”…

Anyhow, I have around 450-500 cd’s worth of Mp3’s (160kps). The only thing big enough to hold them all is the ipod Classics, which are available in 80 and 160gb versions. Another plus with ipods are there is just a ridiculous amount of speakers, docks, etc, available for them, and many car and home stereos now have ipod connectors.

No matter how you do it, converting that many cd’s to digital format is going to be very time consuming. I would suggest doing 3-5 cd’s a day, as mentioned above. Or, portable cd players (boom boxes) are pretty cheap, and you can get him one of those. Depends on whether he’d like to take his collection with him wherever he goes (get an ipod classic), or wants to primarily listen to it at home (get a boom box).

Not sure if you were looking for suggestions on the speakers as well, but I’d get rid of them. Especially if they don’t work, it would probably be more trouble than its worth to have them repaired. You could get a new pair of speakers that sound much better and take up much less space, and hook them to your boom box.

I’ve never had that problem. I keep the error correction turned on in Itunes.

The Ipod Classic now only has one size, 160GB for $250. (It was 120GB a few months ago.)

A nice CD player and a set of Grado SR80i headphones.

The ripping of 1000 CDs takes two weeks (4 hours per night) with 4 PCs networked to a common share / hard drive. I know, because I’ve done it.

The 160G iPod (assuming you rip at 192kbps) will hold all of the resulting mp3s.

OP calls upon audiophiles, but doesn’t make it clear how much of an audiophile her husband really is. If he is any type of audiophile at all he will not be happy with mp3s and an Ipod (which in combination with a decent quality speaker dock will work if he is not an audiophile).

If he is an audiophile, it is more complicated, but Markxxx has the right idea. You will also need a computer of some sort to read the hard drive and output to an amplifier and then to the speakers (hopefully he has a working amp and speaker). If not, there is some incredible speakers that come in small packages now, but you are looking at a minimum of $500-600.

Either way, the ripping of the CDs will be time intensive, but there really is no way to get around it. As long as you properly backup the data, it is a one time thing.

Make him either fix or toss the speakers that are not working.

I’d highly recommend ripping lossless, but it’ll take space. I’d estimate about 100 gigs per 250 albums.

FLAC is the most popular format, but I would personally recommend WMA Lossless. Almost all modern PCs will play it just fine, there’s several devices out there that handle it nicely, and it’s easily transcoded to and from FLAC if you have any need to later on.

Thanks, Markxxx- I think I will follow your advice… seems easy enough for me :slight_smile: