CD ROM Jukebox…
It is well a known fact that there is at least a 5% or more loss of music quality with these compression techniques.
The only way not to loose any of the data stored on a CD is converting it directly to a straight WAV file format (lossless audio).
When a CD is played in a standard high quality CD player, the Redbook audio tracks are normally converted to 16 bit wave format at a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz. Then over sampling is applied to correct for any loss caused by the 44.1 kHz sampling. (Sampling rate is done at 44,100 times per second per channel or 88,200 total two channel stereo per second. Since there is 2 8 bit bytes per 16 bit word, his constitutes 88,200 x 2 or 176,400 bytes per second. For 60 minutes of music, this is a little over 630 million Bytes.
By the way, this gives the listener the polyphony of 65,536 levels of sound from full quieting to full loudness or about 95db. This indicates a sign wave of +32,767 to -32,768.
Anyway, MP3 compression has a different kind of sampling methodology and dynamic range. It assumes if a continuous sign wave is within 5 to 15% the same (depending upon the compression the user desires) It merely counts the cycles and stores the most prevalent wave form and the number of times it occurred. Then upon playback, it reconstructs the pattern giving the listener the illusion of sound. For the average hard-rocker, this loss is probably indistinguishable. But upon hearing a violin concerto, the 5 to 10% loss is very noticeable. Among other things, the ambiance is totally missing.
Let's Get CDs On Computer
So, I had to get the CD images on the computer. I tried a variety of CD copying software packages to store the images. I even tried the LINUX Journal’s method of creating and storing ISO Audio CD Images. But I had a lot of trouble mounding and sharing the CD files under Samba. That’s when I decided to go with Microsoft Windows.
What a RIP
One of the biggest headaches was the fact that most media software packages refuse to copy or “rip” a CD into WAV file format. After a bunch of trials with various software packages such as Window's Media Player, WinAmp and others, I finally settled on a piece of software called Virtual CD, which does create individual WAV files.
However, after loading about 50 CDs, I realized I was in trouble. The following were the difficulties I encountered:
The conclusion: there are a lot of problems with making CD images that play just like CDs. Hence the music server was an expensive and bad idea.
Let's not give up yet.
WinAmp solved three of the four problems.
Well, it seems to be working, thanks to WinAmp.
S June 2002