Seeing that this is a site that’s always been geared more towards music enthusiasts/snobs/historians, I have a question to pose to the readers. One project that’s been in the back of my mind is finally clearing out my CD collection for good and archiving them in a lossless format. I refuse to use Apple’s AAC, so I’m pretty much stuck with FLAC. My big question is tagging all those FLAC files and getting them to play nice with various applications. Now days, I’m primarily using Simplify Media to stream music to my iPhone. With the last update, Simplify Media now supports FLAC so I think I’m set on that front (haven’t tried it yet). Burning FLAC to CDs for the car can be handled by Nero. The girlfriend would probably appreciate a iTunes friendly solution, so that’s also another thing to consider. The plan is to rip all my cds to FLAC, then copy them to a second “backup” hard drive that will be pulled from my PC and stored somewhere offsite. Anyone gone through this for their collection? Any pitfalls/things to avoid? Anything that you wish you would have thought of from the get go? Any tools you suggest? This is just in the initial planning phase, but something that I would like to accomplish in 2010. I would love to get some dialog going in the comments about this. Thanks!


  1. Hey Kevin.

    I noticed you put this up here last week and didn’t respond for two reasons: first, the whole problem seems so intractable for now; and second, I have a feeling that my current solution is not so serious as you and your approach might require. But nobody else has written in, so I thought I’d get the ball rolling.

    When I first started digitizing music in 2002, I was just as anti-Apple as you seem to be (and I still am). Looking for a better format, but without the storage space need for something lossless, I settled on OGG. This decision limited my range of portable players, of course, and has governed every other choice I’ve made since then — who wants to re-digitize their whole collection?

    My current set-up is Quinntessential Player with the OGG and FLAC plug-ins on my computer, and the Cowon iAudio 7 for portable listening — 16 GB, flash memory, small form factor, and OGG compatible. My new car has a plug-in through the armrest to the stereo (1/4″ mini plug, so no direct control of the music with the stereo), which is my work-around for the car — it’s better than burning new CD’s all the time.

    Even now that mass storage is cheap, it just seems like such a drag to have to go through ripping everything all over again? Not to mention that I’ve lost some CD’s and others have gotten scratched and would be unrippable now…

    Your solution for backup seems OK, but there’s no guarantee against hard drive failure. And what formats will we all be using in five, ten, or twenty years?

  2. Thanks for the tips. The hard-drive failure thing has been a huge issue. I currently have my music collection saved on a Drobo which is a redundant drive array, so if one drive dies, the other drives rebuild the files. But that doesn’t work if something would happen like a fire or theft. Another option would be to pay for space from my web host. I’m guessing that everything I have on CD would be around 1 TB in lossless format. The bigger issue is like you said, the file format and what will continue to be used in the future. I’m betting that FLAC will be supported by niche users for a long time to come as will AAC, but I just can’t resolve myself to give up complete control of the collection to iTunes and their weird computer registry BS.

    I really want to get it right so I’m not ripping my entire collection a 3rd time in the future.

    The thing that’s really brought this idea to the forefront is Simplify Media’s ability to stream FLAC files. I use Simplify for everything now, so having access to my collection in mp3 format to play nice w/my iPhone is no longer an issue.

    But thanks Justin for weighing in. I appreciate the feedback!

  3. FLAC does seem to be an increasingly better choice, as multiple 32 GB flash portable players are supporting it (iAudio S9, Samsung P3)… that’s probably where I’ll head when the iAudio 7 dies.

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