flawless digital copy? maybe!

In a previous post, I bemoaned a problem i was encountering with some supposedly identical CDs. I had a pile of CDs from a project, which should have had identical tracks on each — but ripping and comparing the resultant files yielded miscompares.

After collecting further data, it appears that perhaps the miscompares are explainable. As it so happens, one of the people doing the duplication did not understand the differences between .wav, .mp3, .wma, etc. file formats. While all the CDs were audio CDs, they were burned at different times, some having been ripped as mp3, or as wma, or as…

Perhaps the best news is that I was able to locate proper mastered versions of each track that had not been through this rough treatment. I procured copies of each track as they came from the mastering house.

Even better — the process seems very durable. After sequencing the tracks, I uploaded them to our store on BandCamp. This upload was in the form of .wav files. I then downloaded these files in .flac format. Then I used MediaMonkey to convert the .flac files to .wav files. Finally, I used ExactAudioCopy‘s built in .wav file comparison tool to compare the original files to the ones procured from BandCamp. Again, these were uplloaded as .wav, converted to .flac by BandCamp, downloaded as .flac, then converted back to .wav. In each case, the files’ audio portion matched exactly.

So I again believe in the integrity of digital audio. Woo-hoo!

flawless digital copy? nonsense!

In preparing to relrelease a past album, I discover that CD is an imperfect means of copying music from one point to another. Why? I don’t yet know

Well, I’m preparing to rerelease an album by the Lee Thomas Band. We first released this about a decade ago, on our own little indie label Nome Zone.

In the process, I am trying to find the best copy I can of the original tracks. I have located seven CDs, encompassing two different sequences of the same twelve songs. While a couple of these may be examples of work-in-progress during the mastering stage, most of them should have bit-for-bit copies of the exact same .wav files. Unfortunately, such is not the case.

I guess there is quite a bit about .wav files upon CD that I do not understand.

In order to eliminate the issues caused be flaws on the CDs themselves, I employed Exact Audio Copy to extract the .wav files. This program supposedly reads and rereads the tracks until each sector is extracted without CRC errors. Yet there are still differences between almost every extracted track. ouch.

So I will need in the end to audition them all to determine which are the best copies of each song. Then I’ll submit them for release. Watch these pages for future info.

In the meantime, you can listen to a low-bitrate MP3 version of an example at our ReverbNation site. Enjoy!