I’m currently backing up my music collection to my new hard drive and I realized I may have a problem. A lot of my music came from friends who would burn me audio cd’s from their own mp3 collection. Let’s say that most of them were mp3’s at 192 kbps. So now when I rip the music from these audio cd’s, just how will the quality be affected? Let’s say I rip at 192 kbps CBR. Obviously it won’t sound as good as the original mp3’s. How bad is it going to be? Will it sound worse or better than the original mp3’s converted to 128 kbps? I like my music to be at least 192 kbps, but that would mean I’d have to use a lossless format, which would eat up too much space. Would using a variable bit rate do much to help? Am I screwed?
If you’re ripping at 192, you’re ripping at 192, doesn’t matter if it’s from the source or a copy, although the further the copy is away from the source the more likely it will have glitches or other copy errors. But if the mp3s are 100% on the cd and you have a decent ripper, it should be fine.
The thing is, they’re all burned as audio cd’s. They’re ** not** data cd’s with mp3’s on them. So I’m ripping at low quality an audio cd which is already at low quality.
Bad bad doper! Going from wav -> mp3 -> wav and now BACK to mp3 is generally a no-no. Going back and forth from a lossy compression introduces artifacts and loses some of the original info.
You can rip the audio to a wav file (which should be identical to what’s on the CD), then use a lossless encoder to save space and still sound great. There are tons of them including ogg vorbis, apple lossless and um…well, tons I tell you! You may not get the same space saving as MP3(pro), but you get better sound.
Let’s see how many generations we’re talking about.
- Original CD (.wav)
- Compressed to mp3 (i.e. ripped from CD and then maybe travelling around the Internet )
- Expanded to .wav (to make a music CD, i.e. looking at it in explorer will only reveal .cda 1kb files)
- Ripping to mp3
That’s three generations from the original, compressing to a lossy format, expanding that, and then compressing again.
Teaching sound engineering to HS kids has made me make to up to 8 generations of format changes in order to prove a point. The factual answer is that it all depends on the original source and what type of music is being transformed.
If it’s * Le Sacre du Printemps with full orchestra from a CD, it’ll probably sound terrible. If it’s local band doing their version ofPretty Fly for a White guy*, it’s not going to make a lot of difference.
You simply have to judge for yourself what is “good enough”.
Vorbis is a lossy codec. I’m told that all the cool kids use flac for lossless encoding these days.
That’s what I was afraid of. Damn. I have maybe 150 of these burned albums spanning everything from Mozart to Count Basie to Madonna to Hatebreed. And that’s on top of the 500 or so legitimate cd’s I have. This project will take forever. I might have to just purchase another hard drive and encode them all with FLAC, rather than going through all the different options.
Thanks for the replies everyone.