A Ripping Yarn

My system consists of Neat Motive 2, Supernait 3, Chord Qutest at the back end (all fantastic) fed by Bluesound node and a recently acquired CD5 XS. I have around 2000 cd’s, they are ripped to iTunes (with match) For use on iPhone etc but do not compare to the cd or even the node. I can’t be bothered to re-rip my cd collection so questions as follows.

  1. Is there anything that I can easily do to get better quality from my ripped cd collection.
  2. Will ripped quality ever be as good as direct from cd.
  3. Will streaming quality ever quite match direct from cd.
  4. Given that I love the sound from the qutest and find the bluesound interface excellent. Would I see much of an improvement from nd5xs2 or ndx2.

I am new to streaming and I am currently using Amazon music HD, Tidal ( hi-res) and apple. Not much between them but tidal seems to give best quality.

If ripping your collection is a no go, your options are just listen to your cds on your player or stream them using your tidal or amazon account.
The node plus qutest is a nice combo but I think the nd5xs2 will edge it on sq.
Depends what you want really.

To what target format did you rip? If lossless, the SQ should be as good or better than CD (assuming matching DACs). The data is the same, and you circumvent all the issues CD theoretically can have with on-time delivery of data.

Same with streaming IF the master is the same as CD and if streaming with a lossless format. Everything depends on the master

Edit: and as per elverdiblanco’s following post, if you ripped to a lossy format there is nothing you can do to recreate the missing data

What format did you rip the CDs to in iTunes?

If it is a lossy, low bit rate format they are never going to sound as good as the original CDs

The cd’s were ripped starting 20 years ago at 120 Kbps for an original iPod, Audiophile quality was never a consideration then. The iTunes Match upgrades to 256Kbps unfortunately nothing is lossless.

Oh I see. Then the answer to “will they ever be as good as CD” is most likely “no”. Though most will be on streaming anyway, and you can either re-rip the few that are not, or live with their 256 kbps from the iTunes matches - that isn’t horrible if well done

As Suedkiez says. But if you re-rip to lossless format such as flac, they will certainly sound no worse than CD and have a definite chance of sounding better.

Ripping on a computer (not trying to put on an iPhone) is quick and easy.

120kbps, ouch. I always imported stuff on to my old iPod at 192 kbps because 128kbps sounded rubbish even on a £15 pair of Sennheiser earbuds so it must sound really rubbish on a decent system.
As @Suedkiez says, stick with streaming them from Tidal or whatever and re-rip the ones where there is a gap in the streaming service.

Fortunately the iTunes Match has allowed me to upgrade everything to 256.Kbps. But still a noticeable difference

Is there any way to rip Cd’s quickly without processing 2000 cd’s indually? I suspect that the sensible answer is to stream with the added benefit of a vast, extended library

Not really, but if you use dbPoweramp that will rip a CD in about 5 minutes, it is the quickest ripper available in my experience. EAC by comparison takes about 20 minutes to rip a CD.

And you can do it while doing other things.

The sensible answer is to stream and re-rip the missing ones that you really listen to. If your streaming setup works and you have some practice, it is not much of a hassle to occasionally stick a less often played CD into the ripper and wait 5 minutes, instead of putting it into the CD player.

You could also get a Uniti Core, Roon, or similar, and have them auto-ripped, tagged, and playable after 5 minutes whenever you stick a CD in.

There are also commercial services that will rip a CD stash, or you pay some student. (Probably less costly than a Core all in all …)

I ripped 700 CDs during lockdown. It was a one-time chance (we hope!) and while it was a bit of a hassle it was not totally horrible either.

One other thing to bear in mind is that CD rips take up a lot more space than lossy files. 2000 CDs at an average of say 300MB each means you’ll need about 600GB of disk space to store them. That means you should also really be looking at a NAS

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