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Mythbusting proper lossless rips
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LiquidAcid
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Old Sep 13, 2009, 05:53 PM Local time: Sep 13, 2009, 11:53 PM 1 #1 of 16
Mythbusting proper lossless rips

Hi there,

inspired by some discussion about lossless ripping on the #gamemp3s IRC chan (which resulted in me being kicked from the chan), I wrote this little "essay":

Quote:
Some people in the #gamemp3s IRC channel claim to understand what a proper lossless rip of a CD is, but actually they don't know a bit. This short text is for all those people.

Problem:
User A comes into the #gamemp3s IRC channel offering a proper lossless rip of an album that was not yet released by #gamemp3s. As everybody will know a proper rip includes a logfile and the cuesheet by definition. However a proper lossless rip demands even more, but I'm not going to present the details (you can read a lot about it here: Sonic On The Net • View topic - How To Rip 1:1 Copies of Audio CDs Using Exact Audio Copy). Now user B (who claims to know everything about proper lossless rip) answers that #gamemp3s doesn't release lossless rips and that user A had to rerip the whole album (three discs, to be precise) to MP3 and possibly #gamemp3s would release it then.

Later user A also finds out that it's apparently mandatory to supply a logfile for the rip. User A is now very surprised and also confused since a proper lossless rip (like already stated) already contains a logfile for the rip. User B seems to think that a logfile depends either on the ripping process or on the destination format. But both is wrong if the ripping process is proper.

User A reads between the lines that FLAC files are probably not very popular among the #gamemp3s people and proposes to transcode his rip to VBR V0 with LAME 3.98. User B is furious and states that this is a no-go! If user A wanted his rip released he/she should rerip everything with EAC directly to MP3 and come back.

Dear user B, you clearly haven't understood how proper lossless rips work.

First of all EAC doesn't rip "directly" to MP3. It first extracts the audio track from the disc to WAV, which is later feed into an external encoder, mostly LAME if you want to create MP3. Let me emphasize that CD is NOT WAV, but the WAV format is the one that most closely resembles the internal representation on the disc (see the Redbook standard for more information).

So you always let EAC extract to WAV, because that's what it does! Everything else is done by an external program which is called by EAC. EAC works the same when you encode to MP3, when you encode the FLAC, when you encode to AAC, when you encode the WAV, the only difference is the call of the external tool. Logfile and cuesheet are not going to change if you change the destination format (apart from a change of the file extensions). If they DO change (read: the CRC values are different) then you did something wrong in the first place.

Proper lossless rips have the feature that you can rip the disc multiple times (with the same drive) and the results on your harddrive are identical, EVERY SINGLE TIME. The nice feature of a proper rip is that this is even true when doing it with another drive (which probably has a different read offset, see also AccuRip).

Proper lossless rips are 1:1 representations of a digital audio disc and store all the data that is necessary to completly recreate the disc (at least the digital data part, artwork is a different story).

Now something about lossless encoding, we take FLAC as an example since it's my favorite codec and has also a lot of hardware player support. FLAC takes a source X, does some mathematical magic and produces a result Y. The nice feature is that the way from X to Y is fully reversible, so if you have Y you can recreate X and time. You can think of FLAC as an archiver for WAV files if you want. And like the famous ZIP format an archiver doesn't throw away information (at least if it's not broken). It doesn't happen that you zip your documents, then unzip then on another system and half of the letters are gone.

FLAC also has the nice property that you don't need to fully unpack the file if you want to play it back. But the most important property is the one I already mentioned. Create a FLAC from source X, then decode it again, you end up with source X again, bit-identical!

Why am I writing all this junk here?

The point is that the demand for a rerip is just stupid. I'm (yes, I'm the dubious user A) just redoing everything that I already did for the lossless version. I have EAC still set up for proper rips, so if I started ripping now I'm going to end up with the same WAV files I already had back when doing the lossless rip. I could just take the FLAC files I already have, and transcode them to VBR V0 and it would make absolutely NO difference at all. You could not hear the difference, you could not measure it, you could not diff (unix tool that compares files) it because there are NO differences.

So, to make this clear. If I transcoded the files and copied over the tags (yes, the files are tagged with the information from VGMdb.net) this would produce the same files that I would get after setting the EAC encoder to LAME and reripping everything. In short, I'm wasting my time reripping the discs. There is another nice feature of proper lossless rips. You can always create lossy versions out of them without fearing that you loose additional quality. I have a script on my system which quickly transcodes a FLAC album into a much smaller Ogg Vorbis encoding, retaining the tags, which are perfect for listening on my portable audio player. Quite handy!

The last thing I want to make clear. This was not written to diss anyone, but to clear up some myths which some people still believe in. MP3 was invented back in 1982 (released in 1992 as part of the MPEG1 standard), now we have 2009, so a lot has happened in the past years. I know some people have their problems with lossless formats, but it's really no rocket science.
Greets,
liquid

EDIT: It's now also available in the #gamemp3s comment area (http://www.gamemp3s.net/2009/09/12/lets-take-some-e/).
I know it's not exactly on-topic there but it looks like they really need it there.

EDIT2: It was available... for a short time.

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Kaleb.G
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Old Sep 14, 2009, 12:21 AM Local time: Sep 13, 2009, 10:21 PM #2 of 16
I thought this thread title said "Masturbating proper lossless rips".

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Basil
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Old Sep 14, 2009, 12:21 AM Local time: Sep 13, 2009, 11:21 PM #3 of 16
Comment seems to be deleted, either that or I missed it somehow.

I'm curious though, why were you banned?

Additional Spam:
I thought this thread title said "Masturbating proper lossless rips".
Of course that's what you would think, your head is always in the gutter and you can never pull it out of your sexual fantasyland

Additional Spam:
Perhaps you'd like to mass debate that in your next response

This thing is sticky, and I don't like it. I don't appreciate it.

Last edited by Basil; Sep 14, 2009 at 12:29 AM. Reason: This member got a little too post happy.
Bigblah
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Old Sep 14, 2009, 01:44 AM Local time: Sep 14, 2009, 02:44 PM 1 #4 of 16
Someone go tell user B that he's FIRED


Next time, just rip the damn CD to .iso

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Last edited by Bigblah; Sep 14, 2009 at 01:48 AM.
Zergrinch
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Old Sep 14, 2009, 03:28 AM Local time: Sep 14, 2009, 04:28 PM #5 of 16
That is not permitted. Only rips from physical CD via EAC to MP3 is proper!!1

I was speaking idiomatically.
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Old Sep 14, 2009, 03:36 AM Local time: Sep 14, 2009, 09:36 AM #6 of 16
Comment seems to be deleted, either that or I missed it somehow.
Yeah, looks like it was deleted. Well, censorship, eh?

I'm curious though, why were you banned?
I think user B couldn't stand it that I was right about the fact that transcoding does produce identical results. He kept on debating that reripping was the only true way to go.

@blah: Please read what Msia did write in the #gamemp3s release thread. They have this strange policy that enforces the use of the LAME encoder in EAC. I mean, they can just do whatever they want. But this policy is certainly stupid.

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Old Sep 14, 2009, 03:45 AM Local time: Sep 14, 2009, 04:45 PM #7 of 16
They have this strange policy that enforces the use of the LAME encoder in EAC. I mean, they can just do whatever they want. But this policy is certainly stupid.
Well, see this goes straight to the group name, Liquid. After all, they're gamemp3s and not gameflacs... Can't have no whippersnapper convert from lossless, nosirree. Must be pure and virginal!

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Old Sep 14, 2009, 03:53 AM Local time: Sep 14, 2009, 09:53 AM #8 of 16
@Zergrinch: No, you're missing the point. I'm not requesting them to release the lossless rip. The main question is why they have this policy, which makes absolutely no sense.

i) Rerip the discs with LAME set as an external compressor
ii) Transcode my lossless rip to MP3 via LAME

Both i) and ii) are going to give identical results. Again, my question is "Why is ii) forbidden, but i) allowed".

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Old Sep 14, 2009, 08:55 AM #9 of 16
Sometimes you just have to take a step back and say "I know this guy is wrong, but I'll just spend a few moments to comply with him so that my end goal (releasing this album) is accomplished most quickly and efficiently*."

The other alternative is for two strong personalities to spend a lot of energy and time fighting about it, until there is no hope of ever repairing any kind of working relationship. To be honest, I'm glad that #gamemp3s has standards to prevent someone from downloading an "mp3 to flac" transcode from some torrent site, transcoding it back to mp3 and releasing it, even if it means they'll err on the side of caution when they don't fully understand the technical details, like in this case.

* i.e., re-ripping the album would have been quicker than writing the opening post in this thread

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Last edited by Secret Squirrel; Sep 14, 2009 at 08:57 AM.
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Old Sep 14, 2009, 10:01 AM Local time: Sep 14, 2009, 04:01 PM 1 #10 of 16
Sometimes you just have to take a step back and say "I know this guy is wrong, but I'll just spend a few moments to comply with him so that my end goal (releasing this album) is accomplished most quickly and efficiently."
That's not how I "work". There is a saying here "Der Kl├╝gere gibt nach" (the wiser head gives in), but you can carry the thought a bit further: If the wiser head always gives in, sooner or later the idiots are going to rule the world.

And I think I have to state this again. This topic was never about getting the album released. That would be a nice side effect, but that's not the main point. The main point still is whether or not this rule makes sense.

If I wanted to release it I could just transcode it and modify the information in the header of the logfile. It would be indistinguishable from a rerip.

The other alternative is for two strong personalities to spend a lot of energy and time fighting about it, until there is no hope of ever repairing any kind of working relationship.
I don't consider this fighting and I don't see any issues in doing such a debate. Rules and guidelines are totally alright, if they make sense. And one should acknowledge that rules are not stable over time, so you have to reconsider them from time to time.

I have the impression that this topic is rather a dogma than a rule. That would also explain better why I was kicked from the chan. Practicing rules as an end in itself, well... that's masturbation... (to pick up Kaleb.G's comment)

To be honest, I'm glad that #gamemp3s has standards to prevent someone from downloading an "mp3 to flac" transcode from some torrent site, transcoding it back to mp3 and releasing it, even if it means they'll err on the side of caution when they don't fully understand the technical details, like in this case.
You don't seem to see the problem that you simply can't prove that the stuff you're sending to #gamemp3s for release was ripped by you, from your discs. So this rule doesn't prevent anyone from doing the process you describe above. It probably makes it a bit harder, but prevent... no, definitely not.

Even if I would post a pic of me holding the album, that would prove nothing. There will always be a rest of doubt. Like I already said to Msia, at some point you have to trust the one on the other side of the net.

If they (#gamemp3s) can't do that, than that's fine with me. But I don't really see any obligations to do any more advances. Credit for releasing goes to #gamemp3s and not me (plus I don't want any credit). I don't gain anything from supplying the album to them. And I don't lose anything if they don't want it.

However what I'm not going to do: Doing work twice just because of some ruleset that makes no sense in this context.
Everything is available: The logfile, the cuesheet (I even submitted AccuRip results) and the original WAVs. You just have to pipe them through LAME and copy the tags. I simply don't get why this is forbidden....

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Old Sep 14, 2009, 10:07 AM Local time: Sep 14, 2009, 11:07 PM #11 of 16
So it all boils down to an issue of trust. It's their channel, it's their rules, no matter how strange. Why do you need #gamemp3s to release it anyway? Is there something preventing you from doing it yourself?

Also, revealing names kinda defeats the purpose of obscuring details in your opening post.

This thing is sticky, and I don't like it. I don't appreciate it.

Last edited by Bigblah; Sep 14, 2009 at 10:12 AM.
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Old Sep 14, 2009, 10:15 AM Local time: Sep 14, 2009, 04:15 PM #12 of 16
Why do you need #gamemp3s to release it anyway? Is there something preventing you from doing it yourself?
Actually I already did release it, at least here on GFF.
There is the proper lossless rip which is still uploaded and also a VBR V2 encode. We're talking about the amagami OSTs here, which you can find in the Iwadare discography thread, which was started by me.

I just thought it would be nice to also have it on #gamemp3s, in case the MU links go down. And it probably reaches a few more people there.

Also, revealing names kinda defeats the purpose of obscuring details in your opening post.
Corrected

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Old Sep 14, 2009, 10:51 AM Local time: Sep 14, 2009, 11:51 PM #13 of 16
Liquid, your point about transcoding from lossless to mp3 as being indistinguishable from CD to mp3 are valid, and I agree with it. However, the way you're going about this (via a confrontational public essay) will be counterproductive for your purposes. You might think you aren't "fighting", but that is often what the other side perceives, especially since you're not the type to mince your words.

A better approach would be to persuade User B of your points, and back them up with data. For example, a blind listening test, a bit-by-bit comparison, or running Neill Corlett's Informer software. As it is, publicly calling out someone who has an equally strong personality (as Secret Squirrel puts it) to yourself is counterproductive. You won't change his mind through heated arguments, and your ancillary purpose of getting a wider release under the Gamemp3s banner is unlikely to occur either.

While you may think the wiser head gives in, it is usually through a careful calibration of the situation - come now, we're not about to let the idiots rule the world. Is the battle so important as to expend energy and goodwill towards making a stand? For a single OST which can be securely ripped in maybe thirty minutes at most, I doubt it.

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Old Sep 14, 2009, 12:34 PM Local time: Sep 14, 2009, 06:34 PM #14 of 16
Liquid, your point about transcoding from lossless to mp3 as being indistinguishable from CD to mp3 are valid, and I agree with it.
Thanks, that's all I wanted to hear.

A better approach would be to persuade User B of your points, and back them up with data. For example, a blind listening test, a bit-by-bit comparison, or running Neill Corlett's Informer software.
lol?

Are you paying me for doing this? It's pointless anyway, what is the point in me doing a ABX here?? No, like I already said, I don't have any obligations to do anything more. I provided a basis with the essay, everything else is "private study". I have backed up all my arguments with hard facts. If you're resistant to learning then I can't do anything about it

You still seem to have the impression that I want to convince anyone on the "other side", eventually leading to the release of the album on #gamemp3s. Again, I don't really care about that. Yes, it would be nice to have the album released, but that's all. Would be nice, nothing more.

The motivation for the essay came after I got kicked from the chan. I sorted my thoughts and wrote down what I could not say in the chan.
If it helps some people to clear up some doubts about transcoding lossless material, then that's cool. If it makes user B realize that he/she was wrong, even better. If not, well, I don't really care.
People have to be willing to learn and that's clearly not the case when I say: We're doing it this way, because it was always done this way.

Most people (also Secret Squirrel) here seem to believe that my "goal" is to get this released. Again, this is not my motivation. If it was I would already have a torrent up on a small tracker and a link posted in the #gamemp3s comment area.

I also would like to remind you all of the discussion in this thread:
http://www.gamingforce.org/forums/my...on-thread.html
(comment #29 for example)
Back then it was about "when is a MP3 broken".

What kind of toxic man-thing is happening now?
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Old Sep 14, 2009, 04:57 PM Local time: Sep 14, 2009, 02:57 PM #15 of 16
Perhaps you'd like to mass debate that in your next response


But quite simply, the #gamemp3s group are OCD when it comes to rips... to the point where they'll pass up perfectly prepared MP3 rips by other people (including myself, who has ripped for them before) because they don't have time to verify and correct every little detail. If you suggest anything out of line, no matter how logically sensible it may be, they will have a panic attack. It's a good group for downloading from since you can rest assured that you're always getting a quality rip, but I've long given up on trying to contribute.

If I wanted to release it I could just transcode it and modify the information in the header of the logfile. It would be indistinguishable from a rerip.
You should just do that anyway, for the lulz.

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Old Nov 21, 2009, 12:29 AM #16 of 16
LOL. I'm joining this discussion rather late but after reading the comment, I would conclude that user B seems to misunderstand a lot of things, and the whole rule over at #gamemp3s is indeed odd.

As LiquidAcid had stated, EAC will automatically create .wav files first before encoding to .mp3 format, this, in essence, would break #gamemp3s' rule, right? It would seem that User B is confused about lossless to lossless transcoding - .wav to .flac, therefore, all that User B needs to understand is that .wav and .flac are virtually the same thing, and transcoding from .flac back to .wav, to .mp3 is exactly the same as transcoding from .wav to .mp3.

As for the whole 'it could have been transcoded from a torrent that originally released the music in MP3 format', this obviously wasn't the case since LiquidAcid had already confirmed to have ripped from the CDs directly. User B was probably more confused/opposed to the method of transcoding as LiquidAcid had described it.

I know of another site where they have some strange rules for sharing proper lossless rips, or at least what their perception of "proper" is, and they will reject you if you do not comply, even if what you're sharing is completely legitimate. For example, you have to supply a certain number of CUE sheets or it will not be submittable. True, it's nothing difficult to do but it's a strange rule nonetheless.

Even with hard evidence that can be verified and agreed upon by a majority of people, there will always be those that simply fight it and continue to be stubborn.

Btw, the essay that LiquidAcid submitted, although not being of much use to User B, may in fact educate others that got the chance to read it and had opposing beliefs up until that point, therefore, reducing the number of "idiots", Actually, I prefer to call them "misinformed".

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