I’ve amassed a fairly sizable CD collection (over 1000 CD’s) over the years and I have been archiving them onto my hard drive for the last year. I can use every square foot of home that I can get (houses here cost about $500+ per square foot), plus I like the convenience of having quick access and search for any title or artist. I still buy CD’s because MP3’s and iTunes are lossy codecs, which brings me to my point; archive with a lossless codec. Whether it be FLAC, iTunes Lossless, or Windows Audio Lossless, the key is to use a lossless codec.
It’s fascinating to me how your average consumer is demanding more and more details out of a digital camera, while they are are settling for lower resolution and compressed music. Equate lossy compressed music to your digital camera from 10 years back versus lossless compressed music which is better than your high end digital camera today.
Here’s the scoop. Lossy compression methods means that details and nuances in a song are dropped in favor of making that file as small as possible. In pop music where there aren’t as many nuances and details to
lose, it may not be as perceptible. For music with more complex instruments, you most likely will perceive the loss when you go back and listen to the original uncompressed source. When you compress it using a lossy compression, once it’s lost, it’s lost. No software will be able to recover those details. Hard drive space is now cheap at less than $100 for 1TeraByte (1000GB). An average CD using the lossless codec will take us less than 400MB to archive, which means you will be able to store about 2500 CD’s on a hard drive. I actually backup my music onto another hard drive in case of a hard drive crash.
Hard drive space being so cheap, there’s no reason not to want lossless as your primary music storage method. If you prefer to buy music online, try to find a vendor who sells that music as a lossless format. From what I’ve heard, they don’t cost much more if any. This will future proof your collection, since in all likelihood, online music distribution will gravitate to lossless and higher resolutions.
I use Windows Media Player because it’s an easy to use, convenient software. You can probably find out how to do that on your preferred software by doing an online search. To archive lossless, go to options, rip music, and then select Windows Media Audio Lossless as the format.