Ripping, tagging and encoding

So it seems that ripping really is about ripping (to wave format), then encoding and tagging the file. To mp3 or ogg or whatever you want. Encoding to FLAC, which is a lossless encoding is another option. Flac has the benefit of being smaller than Wave, without losing any quality.

Ars Technica has nice overview of ripping and encoding music.
I’ll probably use ABCDE (A Better CD Encoder), which is a Shell script who manages the whole rip-tag-encode process. It takes a device as one of its parameters, so I should be able to make a wrapper script to run it on my 16 cdrom drives.

Some conclusions so far:

  • there ain’t much difference between various ripping engines, at least as far as quality is concerned
  • the best for encoding is LAME
  • best encode with variable bitrate (VBR)
  • 128Kbps is a minimum, 192Kbps is good; not sure if that matters when using VBR
  • stick to default LAME settings and use --alt-preset standard
  • wav cannot cary metadata, so no tags. at least encode to flac to keep something lossless
  • mp3 uses id3v1 and id3v2; flac and ogg seem to use their own tagging scheme
  • Not sure yet:

  • mp3 or ogg? practical or philosophical
  • maybe encode all to flac – at least to start with – and convert to mp3 or ogg as needed
  • or encode to both mp3 and ogg, which still will be smaller than flac
  • is it as good, easy and performant to convert flac to mp3 and ogg as it is to convert from wav?
  • playing with grip, I can’t seem to encode to flac and have it properly tagged
  • are tags converted when encoding from flac to mp3 or ogg or do I need to retag if I plan to transcode afterwards?
  • my 2 scsi 4X cdrom loaders (nakamichi mbr-7.4) are more than 10 years old; not sure if that affects quality; would it help to rip on 1X?
  • Oh, some nice info on converting flac to mp3 or ogg.