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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm still waiting on parts for my new media server, but I'm trying to plan as much as I can before everything arrives. I have around 1000 CDs that I plan to rip to APE (or some lossless compression scheme). These will be for use in my high-end HT. In addition, I'd like to have MP3s for use in several other stations around the house. The reason I want MP3s as well is because there are several components available that I can plug into a small stereo system to stream MP3s from a server, but I haven't seen one that understands APE.


My question is whether products like WinAmp or MediaCenter are scriptable enough that I can build the MP3s after I rip the APE files, or do I need to rip twice? If either of these products are not, is there a product that is?


Also, does anyone know of any products, other than another PC, that can play APEs? I have a couple of rooms with receivers or small stereos. With my network, it would be great to make all my CDs available everywhere without having to have two copies of everything.


The ultimate would be if I could centralize everything with multiple zones, but unfortunately the previous owner of the house only had the foresight to add a network. Running speaker wire everywhere would be too expensive, and my wife would never go for ripping anymore holes in the walls.
 

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Hmmm, I've never tried this, but I think that RazorLame (with an APE plugin) should be able to directly decode an APE file and encode it as MP3. You might have to do some research. RazorLame is freeware and a very good MP3 encoder, so it should be worth the research effort, if it works.


Another option is to first rip to WAV, then encode as MP3 then encode as APE and delete the WAV. Personally, I prefer this approach because that way the ripping (which you have to manually attend) is as fast as possible since no encoding is slowing it down. Then after you've ripped a bunch of disks, you can do all the encoding while you're sleeping or at work.
 

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MediaCenter will convert apes to mp3s very nicely. The reason it is nice is because it can move the mp3 files to a new folder and actually create the artist - album subfolders there too. This was the reason I originally looked at MediaCenter.


One word of caution - do not do your whole collection at once. It will probably crash at some point. I would do about 30 GB at a time. It takes a while as the ape must be decoded to wav and then encoded into mp3. You can rip it to wav, then do two conversions to ape and mp3 later if you want. It would be nice if MC built this in to automatically convert it to both formats in one session (I think I will start a thread on this over there).


We definately pay a price for wanting lossless. I need to have an mp3 collection as well for my portable. I believe that devices will support lossless soon, but it will most likely be FLAC and not ape, which will require another conversion at some point. It will be a while before portables go FLAC (you would need a lot bigger HD and sound quality is not as important) but a lot of the network streamers will incorporate FLAC and digital outputs which makes them very attractive. I just bought an HP Digital Media Reciever for my sister ($60 at ecost) and it is a piece of crap. Would not even see the server software.
 

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You only need to rip once, but don't rip to WAV, as you don't get to use meta data file tags. You can convert from APE to mp3 or any other format, so just one rip to lossless is all you need.
 

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speaking of tags, I usually rip my files into this filename convention:


Artist / Album / artist$album$track no.$title$year$genre


that way, if for some reason in the future, you cannot convert an ape tag to a new format, you can always get the info from the filename.
 

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dbpoweramp converter can do these conversions while maintaining the tags as well. It supports a wide range of formats.


Cheers


Thomas
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all your info. This is very helpful. It sounds like the most expedient way for me to go is to rip to WAV, then covert to APE and MP3 in bulk. Regarding WAV vs. APE, is there any reason not to rip to WAV, but store them in a WinXP compressed folder? That should get me close to 50% compression without another format switch. This assumes, of course, that I'm using a player that can store tags with WAV files.
 
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