Ripping FLAC on Mac OS X

I always want to listen to my music on my iAudio M3 portable player at the highest fidelity, so OGG Vorbis (.ogg) is already not enough to me. I’m slowing migrating my collection of music to FLAC. On Linux this task is trivial, because I just have to change the encoder setting in jack (the name of the text-based frontend that I use) from oggenc to flac. But ripping CDs on Mac OS X is new to me. After some searching and testing, I stick with MARS.

There are other encoders like xACT and jRpper, but they all require some setup like installing the backend encoders separately. MARS is straightforward and easy to use, and can encode to OGG or FLAC files. Most importantly, MARS can query FreeDB and tags your songs automatically. The drawback is MARS inherits the same encoding problem like any other ripping softwares that make use of FreeDB. If the names of your songs are all in English, you’ll be fine, but if you have to rip Chinese and Japanese CDs like me, then all you get is some strange characters, because there is no encoding information in FreeDB records, they can be in Big5, GB2312 or whatever encoding. Moreover, until CDDB protocol level 6, only ASCII and ISO-8859-1 are supported. So unless your client is compliant with level 6, you will always get rubbish. At the end, I have to copy the song names manually from iTunes to MARS. Yes, iTunes get it right.

2 thoughts on “Ripping FLAC on Mac OS X”

  1. See “Max” for an OS X native cdparanoia based secure ripper that can encode and transcode to many formats, including Vorbis and FLAC.

    Also, FLAC is really only useful for transcoding (in case better formats come out in the future). You can *never* hear the difference between Vorbis q5 (~160) and FLAC. Not even golden ears with the best equipment can hear the difference. If you don’t believe me, you can try to hear the difference yourself, but make sure you use double-blind tests (ABX)

    Also, you might want to try the aoTuV fork of Vorbis. Most of the quality improvements come from that fork.

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