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Apple iTunes: Error correction when reading audio CDs

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I am curious as to what the latest consensus is in regards to the "Use error correction when reading audio CDs" in Apple iTunes. It seems that among audiophiles opinions have been spread on enabling the feature. I wanted to post a new discussion to get updated opinions on if the feature should or should not be enabled to get the highest, full hog quality import with Apple Lossless Encoding.


EDIT: I am using an Apple computer.
post #2 of 7
I can't think of anyone who would recommend NOT using it, *IF* you are going to use iTunes to import your music.

But that said, I think most people would probably recommend you use something OTHER than iTunes to do the audio extraction. eg. EAC (Exact Audio Copy)


combined with Accurate Rip


iTunes Error Correction is... lacking to say the least. I have used it and STILL found my music had skips in it. Basically if it finds a problem and can't fix it, it seems to carry on. I'd rather it didn't... or at least TOLD ME that there was an unrecoverable problem.

EAC will require a Windows computer. I rip with EAC to WAV and then import the WAV's into iTunes and compress to ALAC (Apple Lossless)... you might even be able to have EAC rip to ALAC, I think there was a free ALAC encoder out there. YMMV with that though.
post #3 of 7
If you're using a Windows machine, I would say rip some cds to hard drive without error correction and decide:
- do you hear any difference or do pops/silences/etc. pop up?
- is the speed of rip with error correction too slow for my tastes?

Then I would just use EAC when archiving a CD to CDR.

If you've got an Apple machine, same speed of rip applies, but if you want to create a cdr for archive backup purposes, I would definitely use error correction unless you can find an EAC equivalent for the Mac.

I've only got a 160 GB hard drive, so I swap out what files I've got ripped in iTunes. If I want to create an archival backup, I use EAC for maximal fidelity.
post #4 of 7
I have ripped many, many CDs in iTunes over the last 2 years without error correction, and never had a single problem... until last week. One album ripped with the same small skip in part of one song every time, but it went away when I enabled error correction. So it's unlikely to make that much of a difference, but you should definitely turn it on. It does slow down the rip a bit, but unless you're ripping directly to WAV, have a slow CD drive, or have an insanely fast processor, the limiting factor is probably the conversion anyway, you shouldn't notice any slowdown.

The big reason people will tell you not to use iTunes for encoding is that its mp3 encoding is sub-par. If you're using a Mac, though, I think there's an iTunes plugin that lets you rip using LAME, which I would suggest. I personally do everything in AAC format, though, as the conversion is fast, and I don't think such a plugin exists for the PC anyway. I like iTunes for ripping and general music organization. (especially now that I know how to drive it with Python scripts when I want to do something complicated...)
post #5 of 7
Back when I was having network issues at home, as well as a pesky piece of spyware, the use of error correction helped. You might say that one has nothing to do with the other; however, they all consume CPU clock cycles. Using error correction reduces the ripping rate, and actually makes it easier for your PC to keep up, especially if there are other heavy processes. If you have a laptop or a single CPU machine, the key is to do a selective startup with very little processes running in the background, and/or eliminate the spyware or unknown P2P software that could be running, and then try ripping without error correction. You will most likely find your ripping speeds will increase.

ilounge has got a great thread on this here.
post #6 of 7
I found several of my ripped mp3s contain static noise and obvious errors (sound like a hick up) without the error correction enabled. Once I enabled the error correction, the problem went away. Other than slower ripping time, I don't see any reason not to if you are using itune to rip your CDs.
post #7 of 7
Your drives matter at least as much as the software used. I use EAC on a PC and iTunes (w/error correction) on a Mac and get more perfect audible rips from each depending on the CDs problems. EAC has much better reporting though without a doubt.

As others have said, can't think of a reason to not use error correction if using iTunes. I think error correction is pretty good on iTunes as a matter of fact. It's just that some people use EAC as the standard so everything missing one of its features 'sucks'.
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