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Old 26th May 2006, 13:57   #1
gaekwad2
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Winamp CD ripping guide - first draft and (hopefully) discussion

Contents:

Basics

Ripping Preferences
Encoder
.WAV output
aacPlus (HE-AAC) Encoder v1.2
aacPlus (HE-AAC) High Bitrate Encoder v1.2 (Pro only)
LC-AAC Encoder v1.2
MP3 Encoder v1.3 (Pro only)
MP4/aacPlus (HE-AAC) Encoder v1.2
MP4/aacPlus (HE-AAC) High Bitrate Encoder v1.2 (Pro only)
MP4/LC-AAC Encoder v1.2
WMA Encoder v1.1
Additional 3rd party encoding plugins:
FLAC Encoder v1.0
Ogg Vorbis

Ripping
Output File Settings
Playlist Generation



Basics:

Open the Media Library and select your CD drive in the left pane under Rip & Burn.
Insert a CD, if you have allowed Winamp to connect to the internet it will now use CDDB to get title information. If not (or if CDDB failed to produce the correct info) you'll have to enter it yourself by right-clicking on one of the tracks and selecting Edit CD info.
To rip the whole CD now press Rip and choose Rip all tracks.
To rip only one or a few track(s) select it/them (using ctrl and shift as you would in Windows Explorer), then press Rip and choose Rip selected tracks.

By default it will now rip the CD/tracks to 64kbps aacPlus files and put them into C:\My Music, to change this go to


Ripping Preferences:

The Ripping Preferences can be accessed via the Rip button, or by opening the Preferences window (pressing CTRL-P or right-clicking on Winamp/left clicking on the Menu button (top left in the default modern skin and all classic ones) and going to Options > Preferences) and selecting CD Ripping.
They consist of four tabs:
Encoder
Ripping
Output File Settings
Playlist Generation


Encoder:

The first tab lets you choose from the following encoders:
.WAV output
aacPlus (HE-AAC) Encoder v1.2
aacPlus (HE-AAC) High Bitrate Encoder v1.2 (Pro only)
LC-AAC Encoder v1.2
MP3 Encoder v1.3 (Pro only)
MP4/aacPlus (HE-AAC) Encoder v1.2
MP4/aacPlus (HE-AAC) High Bitrate Encoder v1.2 (Pro only)
MP4/LC-AAC Encoder v1.2
WMA Encoder v1.1
And optionally:
FLAC Encoder v1.0
Ogg Vorbis

Which one to use?
For (relatively) listenable quality at 64kbps and below: MP4/aacPlus
At the other extreme, if you don't want to lose any quality: FLAC
In between: At about 190-200kbps MP3, AAC, Vorbis and WMA Professional are all capable of producing quality that can't be distinguished from the original almost all the time, below that MP3's quality drops faster than that of the other three formats, at 128kbps they're still quite close though.


Recommended settings:

.WAV output

Check Write .WAV header, uncheck Convert to format, filename extension: WAV
This should only really be used if you want uncompressed files either to burn as an audio CD (and even then FLAC may be a better choice) or to use in/compress with another program.
(Convert to format can be used to play with the Windows ACM codecs, use at your own risk though: resulting files may not even play in Winamp.)


aacPlus (HE-AAC) Encoder v1.2

Only recommended if you know you need raw AAC, otherwise use MP4/aacPlus instead. (see there for recommended settings as well)


aacPlus (HE-AAC) High Bitrate Encoder v1.2

Only recommended if you know you need raw AAC, otherwise use MP4/High Bitrate aacPlus instead. (see there for recommended settings as well)



LC-AAC Encoder v1.2

Only recommended if you know you need raw AAC, otherwise use MP4/LC-AAC instead. (see there for recommended settings as well)



MP3 Encoder v1.3

For (close to) perfect quality, variable bitrate, producing on average about 200kbps:
Quality: --alt-preset fast standard
Everything else: If the sources are very easy to compress or (almost) mono you can save a little by setting minimum bitrate to 32, usually without affecting quality. Theoretically the 128 minimum limit decreases the risk of artifacts caused by the vbr algorithm choosing a too low bitrate but with the current encoder this safety precaution doesn't seem to be necessary anymore.

For extra safety (at ~240kbps):
Quality: --alt-preset fast extreme

For the best quality possible with mp3 (320kbps constant bitrate):
Quality: --alt-preset insane
This mode simply uses the highest possible bitrate all the time instead of only when deemed necessary which does improve quality with a handful of so-called 'killer samples' but generally using it is, as the name suggests, not very reasonable unless size doesn't matter at all but you have to use mp3.

If those all produce too big files:
Quality: R3mix
Minimum Bitrate: 32
Maximum Bitrate: 320
This setting produces on average about 175kbps with still extremely high quality.
(The default limits of 96 and 224 are leftovers of the old R3mix preset that got replaced with an improved setting based on the alt-presets, only the name was kept for backwards compatibility.)

For even smaller sizes:
Quality: --alt-preset abr
Minimum Bitrate: 32
Maximum Bitrate: 320
Average Bitrate: anything you want

If you absolutely need a constant bitrate (eg. for some braindead hardware players):
Quality: --alt-preset cbr

All other quality modes are not recommended!
(Yes, even if you know what you're doing. Some settings are broken and may produce unexpected results.)


MP4/aacPlus (HE-AAC) Encoder v1.2

Recommended up to 80(or maybe 96)kbps, above that LC-AAC produces better results.

Stereo Mode:
Up to 40kbps - Parametric Stereo
48kbps or higher - Stereo
At ultra low bitrates Mono probably sounds better though.

Container Options:
Quote:
Originally posted by Benski
"Backwards Compability" is recommended when putting the songs on your iPod. The downside is that the file info shows LC-AAC when it is really HE-AAC.
"Accurate Information" properly shows HE-AAC, but might not play on devices that don't think they can play HE-AAC.
In practice it doesn't make much of a difference, I'd use Accurate Information since aacPlus on an iPod sounds really awful anyway (missing the high frequencies and, in case of Parametric Stereo, mono).


MP4/aacPlus (HE-AAC) High Bitrate Encoder v1.2

Recommended bitrates: ???

Stereo Mode: Stereo

Container Options: (see Benski's explanation above)
In this case Backwards Compatible makes more sense than with regular aacPlus since the basic AAC part is encoded at full sample-rate and SBR (the 'Plus part') is only used for ultra-high frequencies. Therefore it doesn't sound as bad on a player that doesn't support aacPlus.


MP4/LC-AAC Encoder v1.2

Recommended bitrates: 96kbps and above
(Personally I'd only use it up to 160 (and only if Ogg Vorbis isn't an option), above that I'd go with mp3. While AAC is technically superior the mp3 encoder is far more tested and heavily tuned and has the advantage of being able to use variable bitrates.)

Stereo Mode: Stereo


WMA Encoder v1.1

Available options depend on the installed Windows Media codecs.
Unlike WiMP, WME and dBPowerAMP the Winamp encoder only offers costant bitrate encoding and (therefore) no lossless mode.

Windows Media contains a couple of different formats.
Both ACELP.net and Voice aren't interesting for encoding music.
Windows Media Audio 9/9.1/9.2 is, well, it's fast and relatively decent around 64kbps (but not as good as aacPlus or Ogg Vorbis), at 96kbps mp3 is already better though and above that - forget it.
Windows Media Audio 9/10 Professional is a completely different format, much more like AAC (also quality wise). Unfortunately it can't be played on portables or other hardware players that support WMA.


FLAC Encoder v1.0

This encoder, written by Michael Facquet, can be downloaded here.
FLAC playback requires this input plugin.
(With other FLAC input plugins, such as the official one, you don't get proper Media Library support, and tagging probably doesn't work either.)

FLAC uses lossless compression, the downside is that the resulting files are on average more than twice as big as the biggest mp3s, the advantage over mp3 & co is that you don't lose any information, it can be decoded to a .wav that's bit-for-bit identical to the original.
Compared to uncompressed wav you save (on average) over 40% space and gain the option to store additional information in tags.

This encoder has no complicated options, just one slider. Higher settings mean encoding will be slower (whether this affects the overall ripping speed depends on your drive and CPU) but resulting files will in most cases be slightly smaller.


Ogg Vorbis

The most up-to-date encoder is this one based on aoTuVb4.51 (for reference: the official Vorbis 1.1 is based on aoTuVb2)

Recommended settings: VBR Quality 0.5 (~160kbps) is transparent (=indistinguishable from the original) for most people, though extra-critical listeners prefer Quality 0.6. Higher settings generally aren't worth the additional bitrate.
For not-so-critical listening even 0.4 or 0.3 are fine, and if space is an issue you can go all the way to 0 (~64kbps).
Below that aacPlus is definitely better (at 64-80 it's probably about equal).
The additionally available ABR and CBR modes are extremely slow and most likely produce lower quality at the same size compared with VBR, use only if you must.


Ripping:

Ripping speed: Depends on your drive and the state of your CDs. Start with the highest possible setting (Unlimited for pro, 8x for free), if you get ripping errors (clicks or jumps) try reducing it and/or disabling the Sonic engine (see below).
(and if that doesn't help use EAC)

Read audio data from CD using bundled Sonic extraction engine:
Try what works better for you.
(For me unchecking it and using Nero's wnaspi32 instead leads to higher ripping speeds but ymmv).


Output File Settings:

Browse to your root music folder eg. your 'My Music' folder (the one in your documents, probably not C:\My Music).

Naming convention:
Absolutely has to include at least the <Title> or # (=tracknumber) field, otherwise all tracks will get the same name and overwrite each other and you'll end up with just the last one.

If you want your files to be put into automatically created subfolders use / or \ to separate the folder name(s) from the file name.

Example:
<Artist>\<Album>\## - <Title>
Will create a subfolder named after the artist (if it doesn't already exist), in this it'll create another one named after the album and in this it will put the ripped tracks, named 01 - NameOfTrack1, 02 - NameOfTrack2 etc.


Tagging Settings:
If you do lots of test encodes you may delete later or plan to move your files elsewhere uncheck Automatically add ripped files to media library database, otherwise keep it checked.
Automatically add tags with metadata to ripped files should only be unchecked if you have some kind of pathological hatred for tags.


Playlist Generation:

Create the following playlists:
Media library playlist - will show up in the Library's left pane under Playlists
M3u/pls - will create a playlist file according to the naming convention specified below
What's better, m3u or pls? ugh


Naming Convention:
You can either put the playlist in the same folder as the files by using the same path eg. according to the example above
<Artist>\<Album>\<Artist> - <Album>
or into a separate folder by specifying another name, or put it directly into the root folder so if you want to listen to an album you don't have to go through the subdirectories.



Credit:
DJ Egg, Benski and all contributors to the Hydrogenaudio Knowledgebase

------------------------------------------------------------

Comments, suggestions, corrections?

Last edited by gaekwad2; 26th May 2006 at 15:36.
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Old 26th May 2006, 14:53   #2
DJ Egg
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Awesome! Top job gaekwad2

I should probably copy this over to TSGH at some point...

btw, there's a newer enc_vorbis by Benski based on aoTuV 4.51 available here
(165k zip, 1088 KB uncompressed)

(can't remember if Sawg put it up on sawgfiles or not, so I'll host it for now)

Also note that the default encoder will hopefully be changed to MP4/LC-AAC 128kbps for Winamp 5.23 (instead of raw HE-AAC 64kbps) and that the default for enc_lame/mp3 will probably be changed to --alt-preset fast standard (instead of just --aps).
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Old 26th May 2006, 15:19   #3
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Awesome

The 'high bitrate' HE-AAC was developed for high quality purposes. It is probably best at 256kbps or 320kbps. A listening test at http://www.soundexpert.info/coders320.jsp rated it very well. However, their testing methodology is not proven, and seems to favor SBR enhanced codecs.
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Old 26th May 2006, 15:38   #4
gaekwad2
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Quote:
Originally posted by DJ Egg
btw, there's a newer enc_vorbis by Benski based on aoTuV 4.51 available here
(165k zip, 1088 KB uncompressed)

(can't remember if Sawg put it up on sawgfiles or not, so I'll host it for now)
I didn't know it was publically available, updated the Vorbis part.
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Old 26th May 2006, 20:57   #5
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Any way this (http://homepage3.nifty.com/blacksword/) OGG-encoder is available as a Winamp-plugin? It's AuTOV, but way faster.
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Old 26th May 2006, 21:00   #6
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Great work!


(small typo in the WMA Encoder part, costant instead of constant; that'll be all I can contribute ;p)

Good Winamp plugins by Joonas, DrO and shaneh.
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Old 26th May 2006, 22:59   #7
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Awesome! Great Job!

Please do not PM me for tech support. Any request for tech support through PM will be ignored.
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Old 27th May 2006, 14:27   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by DJ Egg

Also note that the default encoder will hopefully be changed to MP4/LC-AAC 128kbps for Winamp 5.23 (instead of raw HE-AAC 64kbps) and that the default for enc_lame/mp3 will probably be changed to --alt-preset fast standard (instead of just --aps).
Excellent! (Mr. Burns catchphrase)
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Old 30th May 2006, 18:14   #9
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Very nice, this should be stickified somewhere, guides like these are always usefull.
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Old 30th May 2006, 19:03   #10
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I'm still not sure about that High Bitrate aacPlus.

At 256-320kbps LC-AAC can be safely considered transparent, so the only possible advantage would be increased safety against occasional artifacts (confirmation wold need lots of testing) or better suitability for transcoding/extreme processing.
The SoundExpert test seems to show that its artifacs are generally further below the threshold of audibility but whether that means anything in practice...
(Does it matter whether an encode is 224% or 384% transparent? )
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Old 29th September 2006, 22:20   #11
Faiakes
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So what is the highest possible quality (setting) WinAmp's aac+ encoder can offer?

And is that better than the best CBR 320 MP3 can offer?
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Old 29th September 2006, 22:30   #12
gaekwad2
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256kbps Stereo

Whether it's better* than 320kbps mp3 no one seems to know.

*and in what way, less killer samples, better suited for transcoding or heavy filtering?

Btw, this guide is outdated. There's a new one for Winamp 5.30 here (posted in a new thread because I didn't want to bump this one fearing people might only read the first post (so much for that)).
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