I have decided once and all to end my dependence on re-ripping my music CD collection. I have completely revamped my strategy of digital music and organizing it. The reason is simple: I want flexibility in the future. When new formats come out, I want to be able to instantly convert my collection to them.
Why this sudden change?
I recently discovered with horror (i.e: blowing up my ear drums) that my iPod when connected to my car stereo does not use Sound Check. As a result, I constantly have to switch the volumes of songs.
I also recently decided to start using the LAME 3.97 Beta with the -v 2 quality setting for encoding my music. However, all of my old music files were encoding using a wide-range of settings and versions of LAME.
For now on, this is the process I will use for digital music:
- Rip CD’s using Exact Audio Copy and encode directly to FLAC (with setting 5)
- All FLAC files are stored on my 120 GB external hard drive.
- Using foobar2000, add all ReplayGain tags.
- Convert these FLAC files to MP3 using the LAME 3.97 Beta encoder, with the resulting MP3 files already preprocessed with ReplayGain (essentially skipping the step of using mp3gain)
- Add the resulting MP3′s to iTunes 6 with Sound Check enabled.
With all of that, I will no longer have to worry about re-ripping my collection. If some hotshot new AAC VBR encoder is released for example or if some miracle results in OGG support with the iPod, I can basically start up foobar2000 and have it output to the new format overnight while I’m sleeping. With how fast computers are today, I estimate it would take at most a day to convert from FLAC to any new format.
I’m psyched about this. Guess I am going to be busy over the next few weeks getting my collection ripped one last time.