Volume differences between CDs and ripped versions?

July 9, 2019
 by Paul McGowan

4 comments on “Volume differences between CDs and ripped versions?”

  1. Paul explains that the process of reading or transcribing a CD should create a near-perfect copy of the digital data. He mentions some techniques for minimizing the low level of data errors that occasionally occur when reading data from the disc.

    There are two possible explanations for the observed change in volume when ripping CDs: First, if the data from the CD is subject to lossy compression (for example MP3) then the digital volume may be changed by the encoder used. I guess that people reading this will not intentionally use lossy compression when reading a CD. At least, I hope not. Second, software used to access and organise the ripped tracks (for example iTunes) might normalise or equalise the level during playback. This is typically done by reading the whole of the track to find the peak level, or average level, and then processing the digital data on playback to provide a uniform listening level. This inevitably reduces dynamic range slightly and introduces a small amount of distortion, but is otherwise fairly transparent. I guess most listeners will not use this normalisation for critical listening, but it is quite handy for dance music played at high volume. That's what we used to call "disco" in the olden days.

    1. Paul,
      I rip my CDs using the JRiver programme. Does this CD ripping programme meet the higher standard that you referred to in your video?
      Does the quality of the external CD / DVD drive potentially affect the quality of the rip? I am using a Sony Blu-ray / CD external drive for this purpose. However, I remember being surprised that none of the high end hi-fi manufacturers made an external Blu-ray / CD reader for this purpose. Maybe PS Audio should consider this product for future release.
      Regards
      Barry Smith
      ps I am taking delivery of a P20 power regenerator next week and am very excited to hear the difference.

      1. Thanks, Barry, have fun and let us know!

        I have never found the external reader to make much of a difference as long as the program performing the rip can't fully control its speed a rewrite options (which would be odd).

        JRiver does an ok job.

        1. Paul,
          Your Adelaide PS Audio dealer installed a P20 Power regenerator in my hi fi system yesterday. We had a few problems with a whistle on one of the zones but I understand there is a mod to overcome this issue. Anyway we redistributed the equipment to avoid this zone so that I could listen to the unit.
          I was surprised at the level of voltage fluctuation and THD on the incoming power. These problems were addressed comprehensively by the P20.
          I had a good time last night listening to my hi fi system with and without the P20. Comparative listening, even with my old Adept power conditioner connected, clearly revealed less background noise, greater clarity and improved sound stage. I was enjoying listening to the music to the point that it was hard to turn it off and go to bed. The only downside is that it is quite large and was immediately judged by my wife as aesthetically challenged. I am fortunate that she loves me enough to put up with my hi fi. So I think your P20 has found a new home.
          Kind regards

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