"Best" file format for CD ripping

More info on FLAC & compression levels that might be useful in considering what to use
(I posted this on another thread)

Also keep in mind that compression level 0 is still compressed, its the ‘uncompressed’ level that is truly uncompressed …
… see pix for comparison of file sizes for levels 0, 5, 8 & uncompressed

I am in the Apple ecosystem and in the past I had ripped ALAC files to my iPod for use in my car - so before I ventured into streaming I already had circa 200 ALAC files and I just carried on from there using dBpoweramp to rip the remainder of my collection. One interesting difference I have noticed between ALAC and FLAC is that - as reported by my Auralic Aries at least - ALAC has a ‘set’ bitrate per track that does not vary whereas with FLAC the bitrate is constantly changing. Not that I have looked into it but I am guessing that perhaps ALAC tracks are set to the highest bitrate required whereas FLAC tracks use the berate appropriate to the data. I cannot hear any difference sound wise. Perhaps @Simon-in-Suffolk might know the technical reason behind it.

There are no differences between ALAC and FLAC in that regard - they encode the content based on the sample data rate and word size - certainly up to 192/32

You shouldn’t hear any difference between them, though different software might provide certain sonic differences due to processing noise etc. ALAC and FLAC are pretty similar in what they achieve

If I understand the question … I believe FLAC encode (pack) each track depending on space/data ratio, this shows as variable numbers in the “Bit Rate” column across an album when viewing the album file, not during replay.
If that album is decoded (unpacked) to the “Uncompressed” level, as happens when its played, each track will show the correct Bit Rate(s) for 16 or 24 bit in kbps

I guess that will be down to the software used - with FLAC and ALAC when I stream it on Naim app I see the regular headers of sample size and sample rate. I see no mention of lossless compression data rate (as distinct the audio data sample rates) as I guess that is meaningless as far as the audio replay. The content sample rate resolution is defined in the formats (ALAC and FLAC) headers like as with WAV.

Tagging is also fully fine with wav via mp3 tag

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Exactly, there is no difference for tagging WAV or FLAC on the input screen of MP3Tag.


One thing to consider (file format notwithstanding) is using a ripping software that validates the rip as accurate to the CD. I’ve had a couple of situations in the past where I’ve used a basic software to rip a cd (iTunes or WMP I think) and (in instances where I’ve also used a cheap CD drive) the result has been a little glitchy in places.

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Exactly the same here, and for the same reasons!

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Whilst I use Asset on a Synology NAS, Synology’s own media server will also transcode FLAC to WAV and is obviously available free (assuming you have a Synology NAS). I’m sure QNAP does the same…

Yes it does but not very well, or at least it didn’t when I used it.
It transcodes 24 bit as 16 bit (16 bit transcode is OK)
It does not transcode gapless albums cleanly, (the track join is not seamless)

To only a certain extent… I believe mp3tag only supports the unofficial ID3 tag extension to WAV, not the standardised ListInfo tags of wav files… however ID3 tags are more relevant for ripping, ListInfo tags are more relevant for media creation.
However some rippers like dbPoweramp, support concurrent writing meta data in both the unofficial id3 tagging as well as the official ListInfo tagging formats.

This is one of the beauties of RIFF based file structures, they are quite adaptable.

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You could simply rip a well recorded CD that you know well in both FLAC and WAV formats and compare them.likewise with downloads. Direct comparison versus theory. I’ve done this all rip and buy downloads in WAV.


yeah - you don’t even need to theorise about differences - its even simpler you can use basic file difference applications - as I have done - and I have not found one bit of difference so far. Many years ago I did similar things on CD rippers - and posted the results on the then forum… again not one bit of a difference detected… when the CD drive offset was correctly configured in the ripper.

I find its better to validate and compare - rather than rely on abstract notions which may or may not be based on reality that seem to otherwise develop a life of their own.


In the interest of economy, I am using my MacBookPro AIFF iTunes library to drive the HugoTT2 into the Nait50 via ChordSarumT USB. I have a line on a s/h Chord Music into the Nait50 when it is available. Using Roon/Quobuz mostly and a FLAC hard drive of ripped vinyl. Love the HugoTT2 because it will take optical from TV and Bluetooth from my iPhone in addition to the USB from MBP. I like the Bluetooth to feed old radio shows from the iPhone and they sound great considering an older FM source online.

One Naim streamer per household is enough for us until a mate to the Nait50 comes out.

Me too for some strange a mysterious reason I keep coming back to WAV.


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