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My entire CD collection in one USB stick ...
Old 05-10-2018, 10:50 PM   #1
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My entire CD collection in one USB stick ...

So, it took me 3 weeks but I managed to transfer all my CDs (about 800s) into one giant folder in a 32GB USB stick. Not all the tracks made it into the stick. I only included the tracks I still want to listen to. Even so, they amount to 5400 tracks: jazz, classical, pop, rock, disco, musical, soundtracks, foreign, ....

I used 192 kbps mp3 format. Sound quality is passable for most occasions but does not stand up to a quiet listening session with my audiophile equipment. But ... what a convenience to hook the stick up to my car, especially, on a long drive. I never run out of things to listen to (... which drove my DW crazy a few times).


However, to listen to MP3 files through my music system, I had to buy a $70 DAC to connect my MP3 player to preamp. My old preamp does not have digital input.

For those who have done the similar conversion, feel free to share your experience/comment. For those who have not done this yet, give it a thought. It certainly made me listen to music more.
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Old 05-10-2018, 11:02 PM   #2
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You should have used FLAC (lossless) compression. It's every bit as good as the original CD. Many of my Sheffield Labs audiophile CDs sound horrible even when compressed at 320 kbs mp3 format. I have about 600 CDs that I will eventually rip onto portable hard drives.
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Old 05-11-2018, 12:11 AM   #3
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Not exactly the same, but I do transfer about 8-10 CD's at a time to fill up a 1GB usb stick and then listen to that in my car. I really like the convenience of it. I just have it shuffle the songs (though I could play albums in order) and I have about 6 hours of listening. Of course, since they're all my CD's, it's songs and artists I like and no commercials. Between that and Pandora (free version), that's about all I listen to in the car these days.
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FLAC
Old 05-11-2018, 01:05 AM   #4
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FLAC

You should have ripped to FLAC first.

Here is what I did.
1. Rip all 200 CDs to FLAC. In my case, as a Mac OS user, I used software from sbooth.org .
2. Make an additional copy from FLAC to MP4. I use VBR and try to keep the minimum above 256 kbps.
3. Enter the MP$ into iTunes, add the artwork. Give the result to my wife, the iTunes junky.
4. Save the FLAC on my iMac and on a backup drive in the office and remotely using Backblaze.
5. Give away the CDs.

Recently, I changed step 2 to FLAC->Apple lossless as iTunes is OK with that. All my FLAC files only consume 100GB.
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Old 05-11-2018, 02:07 AM   #5
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You should have used FLAC (lossless) compression. It's every bit as good as the original CD. Many of my Sheffield Labs audiophile CDs sound horrible even when compressed at 320 kbs mp3 format. I have about 600 CDs that I will eventually rip onto portable hard drives.
I am thinking of doing the same thing. What software did you use?
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Old 05-11-2018, 05:52 AM   #6
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Make sure you have other backups - not just the USB drive.
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Old 05-11-2018, 06:24 AM   #7
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I converted all of my CDs to mp3 15 years ago, and mostly have bought mp3s since. The tracks are stored on my computer, backed up with other data, and also put on various devices for running, listening at home, and in my car. I have about 50GB in my Music folder, which includes 14GB audiobooks.

I have a 32GB stub that goes in the USB slot in my center storage bin and takes up virtually no room, and stays there permanently. I've organized them in a way that makes sense to me--singles by type (hard rock, soft rock, classical, etc), and sometimes all of an artists hits or sometimes individual CDs. I don't want to do too much scrolling while driving so this makes more sense than having each CD as an individual choice. I don't have nearly everything on there. I put a new headunit in my old Miata but it doesn't read labels so I just put singles on a 4GB card and put it on random.

I might look at reconverting the CDs to FLAC. What do you use for that? I don't have sensitive ears so I don't know that I can really tell the difference. Certainly in a car with other noise it doesn't matter, and my running headphones probably don't carry the sound as well either, but maybe I'll try a few to compare. Can't do anything about the music I've purchased.
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Old 05-11-2018, 06:28 AM   #8
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Much smaller collection, but I did the same thing. Around the time the 2016 election ads started, I was still commuting to w*rk. I just couldn't stand listening to the radio any more so I bought a new sound system for the car. It supports Bluetooth and USB.

Best modification I ever made to a vehicle (and one of the least inexpensive!) I did the same thing for my truck soon after.

First I put all the songs I like from our CD's onto a USB memory stick. I'm not an audiophile so the quality is good enough for casual listening while driving. Now I can't imagine having my music interrupted by commercials. And I don't get my blood pressure up listening to the political news.

Since then I've graduated to a phone that takes an SD card, so I loaded the card up with all the same music, and run the radios from that via Bluetooth. When I go from one vehicle to the other, the same song picks up where it left off.

If anyone's interested, I bought the systems from Crutchfield on-line. Put in your make, model and year, and they'll tell you which systems will work, and even sell you a custom face plate for a perfect installation. Mine cost around $105 each altogether, including the face plate.

One of these days I want to buy the mp3s for all the stuff my collection is missing. I have zero interest in paying for a subscription to streaming audio services. I want to own it.
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Old 05-11-2018, 06:50 AM   #9
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I don't have my entire collection, but about 20 CDs on a USB stick for my car. The USB stick is also great for listening to temporary programs too. I might go on a long drive and beforehand, capture a couple of talk radio program from my computer. Put those files in a temp folder on the USB stick, then have the programs to listen to during the drive.
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Old 05-11-2018, 06:52 AM   #10
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Wow - this sure beats my 1974 method, which consisted of a removable cassette deck mounted under the glove box, and the 12-inch speaker extracted from an old Ampeg guitar amp lodged in the cardboard shelf of the VW, between the backseat and rear window. That system was home-made state of the art then, at least when you didn't have the fundage for a real system (imagine that !).

I too am now digital, but not sure how much better that really is.
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Old 05-11-2018, 06:58 AM   #11
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Converted most of my music to MP3's many years ago. Organized them by "artist" and copied them from my master disk files to memory sticks. I have one in each vehicle (that have USB ports ) I don't recall how many songs I have on the sticks but it's well over a thousand. That way I have the exact same songs and file system in each car. If I need another (for whatever reason) I can just make another stick in "minutes" from the master or from one of the other sticks. I even keep one on my key chain, "just in case". Sounds as good as the original music sources. Or at least it does to my older ears. Only way to fly.
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Old 05-11-2018, 07:01 AM   #12
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I like music but have been dragging my feet on the digital conversion. Hopefully this thread will inspire me to action.
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Old 05-11-2018, 07:08 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by mcbraemer View Post
Wow - this sure beats my 1974 method, which consisted of a removable cassette deck mounted under the glove box, and the 12-inch speaker extracted from an old Ampeg guitar amp lodged in the cardboard shelf of the VW, between the backseat and rear window. That system was home-made state of the art then, at least when you didn't have the fundage for a real system (imagine that !).

I too am now digital, but not sure how much better that really is.
Until a few months ago I was still using cassette tapes in my Miata. The tapes were ancient and didn't sound nearly as good as my mp3s. I can skip a track whenever I want, and have whatever I want of my collection at my fingertips without switching tapes. Heck, in a Miata, just the room to store a few tapes is limited.

I don't think either of my cars play FLAC tracks so if I do convert to that, I'll have to have to keep converted CDs in mp3 format as well.
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Old 05-11-2018, 07:45 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post
You should have ripped to FLAC first.
... .
Agreed - save the FLAC (lossless) files on a hard drive.

It's quick and easy to copy/convert from those 'masters' to a USB stick in mp3 format for casual listening. Nice thing is, if you decide 192 Kbps isn't good enough, convert again using a higher rate. If you find 192 Kbps is overkill for your use, convert to a lower rate and get more songs per stick (though at the size/cost of sticks these days, it hardly matters - how many songs do you need at your fingertips?).

The real 'work' is that first conversion, so make it lossless so you can do future conversions w/o additional conversion loss.

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Make sure you have other backups - not just the USB drive.
+1000 - back up the FLAC especially, you can always regenerate a USB stick from that.

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Old 05-11-2018, 07:53 AM   #15
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I started ripping my CD collection in 2002. I use JRiver Media Center to rip the CDs into .wav files for each track. My collection is just under 4000 songs and is just under 200G in size.

This tool also collects the album cover art. I chose the wav format as the cost of storage is much cheaper than the effort to rip the songs. This tool will bulk convert the entire collection to any other format, so I also have my entire collection stored as MP3s.

From my mp3 collection, I create content for my car, motorhome, phone and swimming head set.

All this ripped content is copied to backup media and stored in a safety deposit box at a bank.

As a work at home software developer, my primary listening environment is my computer. I use media center to play my content (random, shuffle). My computer is connected to a Krell Showcase pre-amp via the optical out port. The preamp drives the Krell KAV 3250 amp which drives BW 802 speakers.

My secondary listening environment is my home theater. Here, I use a ROKU to stream content from my computer collection into another Krell/ BW setup.

Now, with all this ripped content, I will occasionally slip select CDs into the home theater system for some old school listening... Pink Floyd albums are enjoyed this way!
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Old 05-11-2018, 07:53 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Free To Canoe View Post
I like music but have been dragging my feet on the digital conversion. Hopefully this thread will inspire me to action.
The beauty, in addition to having easy backups of everything, is I use the "genre" meta-data field to code many songs, and most players can select by 'genre'. Many (most?) let you use logic AND/OR/NOT on that field.

I applied this to our large Christmas music collection, marking all of them as "C-MAS", and also ", instrumental", and/or ",mellow", ",jaunty", " ,serious", etc. It takes seconds to create and save a "smart' play-list (automatically updates as you add new music), that includes say "C-MAS" + "instrumental" + "mellow", etc, depending on your mood.

You just can't do that with an non-digitized collection. It's also wacky fun to choose a random word, and play all songs with that word in the title. You get some funny surprises.

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Old 05-11-2018, 07:56 AM   #17
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Similar to Dave Barnes, here's what I do:
  1. rip CDs to FLAC, store a copy on my desktop PC hard drive, and on an external drive. The external drive serves as a backup, and I also connect it to my home stereo
  2. create MP3 files from the FLAC files
  3. the MP3 files then get split across 2 USB sticks: one for artists A through L, one for artists M through Z. The files could all fit on 1 USB but my car refuses to recognize more than 10,000 files on 1 USB stick and I have more than 10,000 song files.
  4. run a script to create a text file list of all the artist / album / songs in my collection. That gets stored in Dropbox so I can see it on my phone and stop myself from re-purchasing a CD I already own - something I've been know to do when making impulse purchases at used record shops.


I love having my entire collection available in the car on long drives.
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Old 05-11-2018, 07:59 AM   #18
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I did my husband's CDs a year ago. I used Microsoft Media Player. It took two or three days, just doing it when I was watching TV or surfing the 'net, but was quite easy to do. I had expected some to block it but none did. (about 100 CDs).
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Old 05-11-2018, 08:54 AM   #19
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I am thinking of doing the same thing. What software did you use?
Exact Audio Copy. See the link below for instructions and link to the free software:

https://www.techradar.com/how-to/how...ur-cds-to-flac
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Old 05-11-2018, 08:56 AM   #20
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I gave up on the whole concept of "owning" music about 10 years ago. I have a huge CD collection, but honestly, I'm bored with it. I crave new music... and there's plenty of it. But it takes some effort to find stuff I like. And I don't just mean new releases. There's plenty of music from the past that is "new to me."

I subscribe to Tidal lossless and I also use the free version of Pandora. I put a ton of effort into configuring and maintaining my "stations" on Pandora. I also use the thumbs up/down as frequently as possible so the system learns what I like. Pandora gets a lot of use in my workshop and in the car. But for serious listening, I use Tidal lossless on my home system, often with new music I discovered on Pandora. Tidal's suggestions are getting quite good as well, especially brand new releases that I might like.
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