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September 17, 2006

Music catalog

Over the past few months, I have been slowly digitising my Tango music collection. By the way, this is about my fourth – and hopefully the final – attempt at converting my Tango music collection into a digital format. Those of you who had experience in conscientiously converting and organizing any sizable music collection can surely appreciate that this can be quite a major undertaking, eg. the need to verify the tags, etc.

A bit of history on this. My first couple of attempts was to convert everything to lossy formats. A major limitation of such digital formats is that, while file sizes can be kept small, the trade-off is that some information about the music is lost forever. This means that a full recovery to CD quality is no longer possible and future conversion to another format will inevitably cause a deterioration in quality. The formats I tried was the ubiquitous MP3 and then Org Vorbis, an open source encoding which is much more efficient than MP3. In my opinion, Org Vorbis was consistently better for similar or smaller file sizes than MP3.

Next, with rapidly increasing sizes in computer hard disks with the corresponding dropping prices, it occurred to me that lossless may actually be a realistic option. First format I tried was WavPack, a hybrid lossless audio compression. While lossless formats do takes up more space, in future I can transcode to lossy formats like MP3 or AAC without sacrificing much in quality. I may add at this stage that I was using the combination of EAC (ripper + appropriate encoding plug-in) and WinAmp (player).

Finally – fast forward to present day – my recent attempts are to convert everything to Apple Lossless. I did briefly dabble in AAC but in the end was swayed by the potential longevity of lossless formats. Needless to say, a new 5.5G 80GB Ipod is also on its way as we speak…

*Incidentally I have also updated my list of CDs, especially those from the Golden Age, which you can see in the side navigation menu.

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