Best quality audio format to rip my cd’s to my roon nucleus


FLAC is efficient, but not lossy. And, as has been recommended in this string, I’d like to add another vote for dBpoweramp CD ripper - it’s worth the one-time license fee and is perfect for your (really significant) task of approximately 1000 CD’s. That’s about the same number of CD’s I ripped using the application and a PC about a year ago and it made the ripping very easy. Before commencing, I recommend that you read up on the application so that your settings allow you to rip once and for all. For example, I recommend secure ripping and using AccurateRip in every case you can (some obscure CD’s may not be in their database). I also recommend steering clear of any DSP (except HDCD, in case you have those) - just capture what’s on the CD and let your DAC work out your playback product. Additionally, the application allows you to get the CD meta-data as right as you can; just take your time and research as necessary with Discogs, etc.

If you have SACD’s, consider SACDExtract (this one will require some reading and particular hardware, but it’s effective).

The FLAC files talk very nicely with Roon and Roon will provide cover art and other meta-data, even beyond what you capture off each CD via dBpoweramp.

All the best…


Thank you makes sense

Disc space is not an issue for me, I’m most interested in the sound quality thanks you all for tons of discussion help

I have the 218 into the network router along with the nucleus into the switch which then goes meridian speaker link to the esp 5200’s. I believe that would be your case #1 which would be great thx

This is the connection i see playing roon with a tidal selection mqa

I use dbPower Amp. Ripped 500 CDs to FLAC, level 5 option in dbPower Amp. FLAC is compressed, but it is lossless. I store all of my media FLAC files on a MacBook i9, and run the Roon Core on the same machine.

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One time fee that is until a “major” update, then it’s another one time fee. And yes this happened to me when dpbPowerAmp went from 14 to 15 or was it 15 to 16 or maybe 16 to 17 :grin:

“Some obscure CDs” are now less obscure thanks to the many CDs I ripped which were, at the time, not in the AccurateRip database. Mostly jazz CDs :laughing:

Because I was transitioning from iTunes, I re-ripped using my Apple Superdrive to ALAC. Like FLAC it is now an Open Source format and is lossless, so it takes up less space on your drive and you don’t lose any fidelity. Works well as does FLAC.

I use an open source software program from Japan, XLD. It supports cd extraction and transcoding of files from disk.

XLD is very flexible and fast and includes the FFMPEG FLAC codecs. Roon Core uses the native codecs with FFMPEG codecs filling any gaps. On Linux, all codecs are from the FFMPEG library (one of the dependencies)

I use FLAC (free lossless audio codec) but ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec). Either one will give you the original bits back. You can verify this using a DAW. How do they do this? They encode the music using their particular method. They also include the residuals between the reconstructed encoded version and the original. The residuals are compressed using regular data compression. The audio is reconstructed and the residual is applied returning the original sample time series.

FLAC - Using FLAC (using FLAC on various platforms)

FLAC and ALAC have somewhat different priorities. FLAC is designed for easy (fast) reconstruction by modest integer-only processors. FLAC is intended to support archival lossless storage of media. On modern M1 Apple Silicon, FLAC encoding is also scary fast.

iOS currently includes the FLAC codecs. It is unclear if Apple put them in MacOS. It is likely that they did.

Either ALAC or FLAC returns the original bits. They are “bit-perfect” to use a term of art.

Please do not change the sampling rate or word size! Mark and Jamie at Present Day Productions explain in this video.

Since 44.1 and 48 kHz are not related by an integer (are not harmonically related), changing to 48 kHz or any multiple discards the samples in the 44.1 master and replaces them with approximated samples. Mark shows how sample rate conversion introduces ultrasonic distortion to which some amplifiers react very badly.

Mark and Jamie make a pretty light but faithful presentation of this bit of engineering science. And they show you the damage of oversampling. They do explain non-linear plugins and use of higher sampling rates with them but that is for pro audio engineers and has already been done when the record was mixed. Absolutely nothing to be gained by up-sampling a finished recording for Roon – it’s maths and science.

Commercial CD encoders have some advantages over XLD including use of licensed track metadata libraries, easy completion or correction of metadata, finding missing album artwork, etc. Roon also does a lot of these things for you when it puts a track in the library.

Commercial rippers may be better at allowing you to tag alternate versions of a track, say Money from Dark Side of the Moon. I have this on Japanese reissue vinyl and on CD. I digitized the LP using a Parasound Phono USB interface. So I have two to tell apart.


@Jazzfan_NJ gave three elements of excellent advice. Well by now many people have recommended dBPowerAmp. He also pointed to mp3tag to clean up file tagging. It’s free if you choose, but please buy the guy a cup of coffee, it’s well worth it.

But the most critical advice was to check the Roon Knowledge Base for best practices. It wasn’t as fully developed when I ripped most of my CD’s and caused a lot of headache for me later. Following it, whether you like the suggestions or not, is the path of least resistance in the end and you’ll spend more time listening to music than fiddling at the keyboard.

One thing on dbPowerAmp, pay attention to the Lossless Encoding setting. Check the Knowledge Base or other posts for recommendations.

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XLD for Mac works fine for me. Yate is good for tweaking metadata and album art. Pretty much all commercially available audio files are in .flac format, including Qobuz.

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Exactly! Which is why I also recommended a good file renaming program. Multi-disc sets and compilations can be very tricky in Roon even if done “correctly” (in quotes since there are several ways to do things correctly) and an absolute mess if done incorrectly (and there are lots of ways to things incorrectly).

Another area of concern which has not yet been mentioned is the folder/directory structure one chooses to use for one’s music file storage. From what I’ve read on the Roon community new Roon users coming from iTunes find this to be a big problem. Once again there are several ways to set up one’s music folder and they are all slightly different and all equally valid.

As @rcaudio suggests do the research and choose wisely, grasshopper.

Is there a recommended „setting“ for dbPowerAmp to get the best metadata and structure fit for Roon recognition? I am also about to rip 1000 CDs so the setting should be fine when starting - to avoid any manual work after.

I’ve used EAC and mp3tag to copy to Flac which I’ve been pleased with. Mp3tag is a joy to use. One problem I’ve experienced is that I have several Japanese rock cds and Japanese writing is not recognised.

Both FLAC and ID3v2.4 tags support UTF-8 charset so any character should work. I guess it’s a tool problem. I have quite a few tracks with special chars and they work fine for me in Roon, but I’m using my own tool to manage metadata.

There is no “one” setting, and it’s been a while since I’ve ripped a lot of stuff. But for me, I’d focus on the path and naming convention for ripping (mostly set and forget). Always check the metadata and make tweaks with Roon’s best practices in mind. I ripped to FLAC with lossless level 5, verify written data, Secure Rip and Accurate Rip. If some tracks won’t rip, clean the disc (I squirt the disc with 50/50 solution of water to alcohol and dry with a clean cloth).

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Just adding my two cents:

I ripped 1,000 CD to AIFF two weeks ago and loaded them onto the Room Nucleus, and Roon/Nucleus recognized everything (except ~40 more obscure CDs) with metadata and it worked flawlessly.

As an engineer I’m not crazy about decompressing lossless files and feeding them to the DAC. I like simplicity, storage is cheap, and to me this seems like one extra step that can go wrong. However, I am aware of published test results that show no difference in this process/signal path.


I never heard of this particular step ever going wrong unless the file is corrupt, in which case it would most probably go wrong even if uncompressed.



But why bother?

Storage is cheap. Most entire collections fit uncompressed on a TB thumb drive. If not, on a solid state drive for less than $400. There is no point in compressing music today and adding a step for the server/DAC…

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Just to say … before you start on a mammoth cd ripping project you might find worthwhile to check how many of your cds are available through streaming services like Qobuz or Tidal. I got into ripping fairly early on. Now as a Qobuz subscriber I find that most of my rips are available from Qobuz, often in higher quality. Not sure I would bother ripping anything but obscure stuff nowadays.

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