the corner office

a blog, by Colin Pretorius

Ripping CDs (Again)

About 13 and a half years ago, I started ripping my CDs. The majority of them were ripped to mp3s, not a lossless format like flac. I'm not an audiophile or anything and I'd never pretend to be able to hear the difference, but it always bothered me that my digital copies were 'lossy'. Irrational perhaps, but I paid for every bit on that CD dammit, and I want a perfect copy of it.

At the time, I wrote

The downside is that I'll probably want to redo all of this again some time (when terabyte disks come standard with new PCs), but I'll just treat that as another chance to amble down memory lane in the future :-)

Back in 2005, a terabyte of disk space was a fairly expensive proposition, certainly more than I could afford, especially being on one of my glorious 'sabbaticals'. Also, how much more to buy another terabyte's worth of disks to back everything up? Now we're up to multiple terabyte disks, and at the time I'd have hardly believed it would one day be dirt cheap to back up a terabyte's worth of data to online storage, let alone have the bandwidth to get it all up there and back again in in a hurry if you need it. But here we are, so I'm re-ripping all our CDs, to flacs, so my digital copies are as good as they'll ever get.

The main reason I started though, is that I want to reclaim shelf space. I'm ripping the CDs, and soon I'll be bagging all the disks, liners and booklets into storage boxes, and sending the mountain of jewel cases to the dump (assuming the local charity shop which takes almost everything isn't crazy enough to take them).

This time around I've gone with EAC for the ripping and encoding. The old cddb/freedb metadata lookups have been replaced by MusicBrainz, which is an incredibly detailed online database and an archivist's dream but a personal productivity nightmare (crowdsourced and volunteer-driven, nit-picky down to bar codes and catalogue numbers; I have tons of SA and/or rare pressings of CDs which aren't listed on the database. I feel morally obliged to add the details, but when do I find the time? Who can live with this kind of guilt?)

One interesting (or perhaps depressing) fact: when I ripped the CDs the first time around, I put all the mp3s into a "to listen" folder, and only moved an album out of there once I'd listened to it to make sure it sounded OK. Looking back at the "to listen" folder, about half of all the music I owned in 2005, I've never listened to since.

So one might ask why bother at all about making copies of music I never listen to, especially given how much more music I have 13 years later. And it would be a reasonable question, but the answer is simple: there are two kinds of people in this world. Those who'd cart their old CDs off to the charity shop instead of just the jewel cases, and those who just won't. I've long since made peace with being one of the latter. Saying goodbye to the jewel cases will be hard enough. But at least we'll have space for more books.

{2018.08.16 21:10}

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