I don’t have a large music library, probably about 500 ripped CD albums, and 50-60 24/96 downloads, all in FLAC. I will soon be getting a NDX2 with either a XPS DR, or 555 PS DR to pull the best out of my library.
I ripped my CDs using dbpoweramp’s AccurateRip, with no compression and no DSP. The library is stored on a SSD, within a Roon Nucleus. I have three separate back-ups.
I’m moving house shortly, and was thinking of getting rid of the CDs. Is there a better app or ripping programme that would squeeze a bit more out of the CDs before I part with them?
No. If you have an Accuraterip conformation than that is it -you’ve extracted all the information.k
That said, based on some declared experiences there could be a slightbenefit to sound if the music is ripped with the Melco CD ripper, and played on a Melco, but AFAIK no’one has pursued this to explore the reasons, which speculation suggests may be due to file format considerations, the Melco format possibly altering the load on the processo, hence benefitting sound quality. Alternatively Melco might be modifying the file in some way, undetectable in data comparison yet sounding pleasant to some people’s ears - but that would be modification of the file, and would seem unlikely. However this is all simply guesswork, assuming the noted difference to be genuine.
I assume that you ripped to flac. The flac format is lossless, regardless of compression level. If you compress and uncompress it, it is the exact same bits as the original. Fundamentally the same as when you use zip on a computer to compress a text file with a novel, after uncompression it is the same novel. Or if you zip a computer program, it is the same program and still works after unzipping it again.
The default flac compression level of 5 is what you should use, this is what dBpoweramp has preconfigured if you did not change it. Higher compression is slower when ripping (though not significantly on a modern computer) and gains nearly nothing because music data is inherently complex and cannot be compressed much more even with more effort. Lower compression does not help because uncompression of flac files of all compression levels uses nearly the same computing load (flac is very smart). (And in any case, if you want you can make the UPnP server on the NAS perform the uncompression and have it send the uncompressed WAV file to the NDX2; many people preferred this on the old streamers as there is less computing power available on these models and reducing its load may have helped, but it does not seem to make a perceivable difference on the new streamers like the NDX2 which are much more powerful. (flac uncompression is a trivial computer load by modern standards)
DSP is a wholly different cattle of fish. It has the option to actually alter the audio data, but not all DSP options do.
E.g., adding Replay Gain in the dbPoweramp settings only analyzes the loudness and puts a value into a file tag, so that on replay the tracks from different albums can be played at even volume, e.g. in a playlist. This does no harm to the actual audio data in the files and you can choose on replay whether to use this info or not. (It is not worth re-ripping, though, you can add this info to your existing rips if you want. Anyways, Replay Gain may be nice for background music in a bar, but usually not so much for domestic hifi, even in playlists - it tends to make quiet songs feel too loud as the volume is upped to match the volume of songs that are expected to be louder by type of music)
There are many other options in the dbPoweramp DSP settings that do not affect the actual audio data. Other options do change the audio - you do NOT want this. Yes this will change the SQ but not improve it. In any case, always rip the original audio data, in the unlikely case that you want to make such adjustments in the future it can be done just as well by starting with the existing rips. (They ARE the same data as is on the CDs!). The DSP options are explained here: https://www.dbpoweramp.com/Help/dMC/dsp.htm
Dbp is an excellent ripping program. When I started ripping my CD’s I ripped to ALAC later on as storage got cheaper I started to rip everything to AIFF, and I continue too. WAV is good but metadata support has been lacking.
Whether for good or bad depends on what you do with DSP: for good you can, or can partially, even out lumpy frequency response caused by the room or speakers, or perhaps provide “loudness” compensation at low listening levels. However there are limitations, and in particular never try to cancel out a null caused by standing waves, as it can’t but trying is a rapid path to speaker destruction, and similar risk trying to boost response in the bass where the speaker rolls off. DSP can also be used to modify beyond that, but where correcting defects arguably is improving sound quality, other modifications to taste are simply changing sound and might be reducing sound quality in absolute terms, even if making more desirable to the person doing.
Yes it will change them… I really wouldn’t adjust the sample media data. and if you do any adjustment then do so at play out/streaming time using meta data etc, which is incidentally the preferred method according to industrial audio streaming standards such as EBU R128 s2.
One technique of obtaining better reconstruction which is as close to squeezing more out of your CDs that I can think of, from your DAC of the 44.1/16 sample data is by using specialised over sampler algorithms such as the Chord Mscalar or other methods.
This is, of course, all correct when using DSP on replay, such as in Roon. However, based on the context of the OP being about ripping the CDs again, I believe @DJM was asking about the DSP settings in dBpoweramp. Of course (and I know you know this, just to clarify for @DJM) one would not make such room correction DSP adjustments during the ripping.