Soundtrack Central The best of VGM and other great soundtracks

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Ashley Winchester Nov 12, 2015

Lately I've been getting a lot of rip requests since my soundtracks are listed in my collection over at discogs. I really like discogs and the marketplace is absolutely astounding... but the "discussion" with the people on the other end always goes sour when I won't go the extra mile and re-rip something for them in FLAC.

My digital music collection is all in mp3 and I'm perfectly fine with that format. I know there's some loss with that conversion but considering the compact size of the file it's a good trade off when it comes to my needs.

But am I the only one who feels once a person gets their hands on a FLAC rip they aren't going to bother getting the real McCoy?

For example I had someone contact me over Star Ocean 2 and I was like "this album really isn't rare. The original print isn't overly common but it doesn't cost a lot on the second hand market and the album was re-issued when the PSP re-issues came out in the mid 2000's and can be bought from several retailers."

However, saying something like that is basically talking to a wall.

I don't think I'd have a problem giving them the mp3s because they'd then want the real thing to get higher quality by doing a FLAC rip themselves... but they're not going to do that.

Also, I don't want to block incoming messages either as I actually do get some legitimate, non-rip questions and I honestly don't mind that at all.

Anyway, does anyone else get rip requests from any websites they use?

GoldfishX Nov 12, 2015

Usually if I can get the CD cheap ($20 maximum, aside from VGM) and its halfway decent, I'll replace a lossless rip I've downloaded with a rip from the real thing. My rip "trumps" one from the internet, if you will.

If there's no lossless rip available, that is immediate justification for purchasing a more expensive album right there. Which explains why I have so many oddball CD's now...

Amazingu Nov 12, 2015

Sincere question: Is the difference between FLAC and 320kbps mp3 that noticeable?

TerraEpon Nov 12, 2015

The icon, the fact you can mess with the FLAC without losing anything, FLACs are bigger most (though not all) of the time....

Actually I much prefer V0 to 320 when it comes to Mp3, but lossless trumps over all for the fact that it's lossless. Sound quality is less an issue than secure knowledge of perfection compared to the source, and I hate it any time someone says "Mp3 is good enough because you can't tell anyway" because it's not the only reason for it.

brandonk Nov 12, 2015 (edited Nov 12, 2015)

The whole thing about Mp3 vs uncompressed 1 for 1 audio files, can get a bit hairy in discussion. You may as well be discussing politics and religion.

For my take - I've found many MP3s are ripped poorly.  (i.e. NOT using EAC or a properly configured LAME encode setting).

I've also noticed CD's released in the last few years have had alot of crappy MP3 rips.  Things like the intentional 'over-mastering' effect (aka Loudness wars) that may be passable with a pressed  CD, but sound bad when encoded to MP3 and played back on various devices if they're not encoded properly.  This I think is less of an issue CD's that were released pre-year-2000

The other thing you can do easily with FLAC is convert to WAV and edit the file itself  (such as new CD's with the aforementioned loudness issue,) and reduce the volume about 3 DB and then encoded to mp3 (if you prefer) or re-save as WAV or FLAC.   I'm not familiar with a lossless FLAC file editor, but assume you can do the same and keep the format.  Just alot of things don't have native flac support.

As for uncompressed/lossless media or file sources, anecdotally, I recently watched a Blu-Ray that I ripped w/out compression to an MKV and used the 'pure-direct' feature of my receiver.  I usually convert my DVDs to an Apple TV format which converts video and audio to a compressed format for both....but OMG - I could not believe the quality of the lossless/ uncompressed audio coming out of my 7.1. stereo with my receiver sent to "pure/direct"  Of course the file size was 35GB.

And now streaming is the latest thing and most consumers are none-the-wiser.  Do you think companies are sending over the highest quality uncompressed source content over limited bandwidth distribution channels?

As for anyone asking for FLAC rips on media/content you own physical copies of - and you don't feel like doing it, just tell them to "go pound sand" ;-)

GoldfishX Nov 12, 2015 (edited Nov 12, 2015)

Amazingu wrote:

Sincere question: Is the difference between FLAC and 320kbps mp3 that noticeable?

Truthfully, no...Some people with golden ears can probably tell the difference, I can't. But when I run files to my audio gear, I want to be sure I'm feeding it the best source I possibly can. Because of how you can readily transfer lossless files from one format to another, that is another huge plus.

Six years ago, I was doing about half and half lossy and lossless. With the cost of memory dropping like a rock and the increased number of ways to play lossless files, there's no reason for me not to be all-in for lossless at this point.

There's also the thing about paying for digital files...I refuse to pay for lossy files unless it is the ONLY way to acquire the music. I find paying for lossless (basically a perfect 1:1 copy of the source) a much more inviting option (and in a lot of instances, buying a CD for $2-$3 is essentially "buying" a lossless version).

jb Nov 12, 2015

Amazingu wrote:

Sincere question: Is the difference between FLAC and 320kbps mp3 that noticeable?

You'll never notice the difference but some people swear up and down they can.  Don't believe 99% of what people tell you.  There are differences, and it is better, but it's barely, barely, barely noticeable to just about everyone and unless you're running $2000+ worth of audio equipment and know what you're doing, you'll never maximize on that benefit.


Ashley Winchester wrote:

Anyway, does anyone else get rip requests from any websites they use?

I got these at vgmdb.net all the time until I moved everything into a folder called "DO NOT MESSAGE ME FOR LOSSLESS RIPS".  My reasoning behind this has always been the same -- I am not buying albums so people can have perfect copies.  I'm more than happy to share music with the community as a whole, whether it's recently released and widely available or super rare and expensive.  I am not okay with sharing 1:1 copies.  For one, they don't need perfect copies (see above).  Two, I don't spend my time and money so that other people don't have to.  Three, for a lot of people it further incentivizes them to not try to purchase the album and I'm not okay with that.  Fourth, it just feeds the collection fetishist mentality that everyone has.  Too many people just care about getting as many mp3 or FLAC albums as they can to add to their archive and make their Internet dick look bigger.  I'm not okay with that.  I have way more respect for someone who has 20 physical albums they purchased than some guy who has downloaded 10,000.  There's nothing impressive about downloading music.

I share music to contribute to a better community and have discussions and interests evolve from it.  I'm not sharing music so people can up their digital archive counters.  The ironic part is I rip every album I have in 100% FLAC/CUE and reencode those to mp3 if I decide to share them.  I'm about halfway through ripping my collection of 700 or so albums, it's a pretty long process to do so.  I wouldn't mind sharing a FLAC here and there with people I respected who I knew felt the same way about the topic and the community as I do, but generally those people are also the people that are perfectly fine with downloading a high quality mp3 version of it anyway so it hasn't really ever come up.

Ashley Winchester Nov 12, 2015

jb wrote:

I got these at vgmdb.net all the time until I moved everything into a folder called "DO NOT MESSAGE ME FOR LOSSLESS RIPS".  My reasoning behind this has always been the same -- I am not buying albums so people can have perfect copies.  I'm more than happy to share music with the community as a whole, whether it's recently released and widely available or super rare and expensive.  I am not okay with sharing 1:1 copies.  For one, they don't need perfect copies (see above).  Two, I don't spend my time and money so that other people don't have to.  Three, for a lot of people it further incentivizes them to not try to purchase the album and I'm not okay with that.  Fourth, it just feeds the collection fetishist mentality that everyone has.  Too many people just care about getting as many mp3 or FLAC albums as they can to add to their archive and make their Internet dick look bigger.  I'm not okay with that.  I have way more respect for someone who has 20 physical albums they purchased than some guy who has downloaded 10,000.  There's nothing impressive about downloading music.

I share music to contribute to a better community and have discussions and interests evolve from it.  I'm not sharing music so people can up their digital archive counters.  The ironic part is I rip every album I have in 100% FLAC/CUE and reencode those to mp3 if I decide to share them.  I'm about halfway through ripping my collection of 700 or so albums, it's a pretty long process to do so.  I wouldn't mind sharing a FLAC here and there with people I respected who I knew felt the same way about the topic and the community as I do, but generally those people are also the people that are perfectly fine with downloading a high quality mp3 version of it anyway so it hasn't really ever come up.

I agree with all of that. I don't mind sharing mp3s so someone can "check out" an album (even though practically everything is uploaded to youtube these days so that's kind of moot) but yeah, I can't shake the feeling people want 1:1 copies to post in archives and such like you said.

Zorbfish Nov 12, 2015

jb wrote:

I'm about halfway through ripping my collection of 700 or so albums, it's a pretty long process to do so.  I wouldn't mind sharing a FLAC here and there with people I respected who I knew felt the same way about the topic and the community as I do, but generally those people are also the people that are perfectly fine with downloading a high quality mp3 version of it anyway so it hasn't really ever come up.

Not to derail, but how are you doing it (multi-rippers, scripts, tag sources)? I've been trying to take the re-rip to lossless plunge but after doing about a tenth of my stockpile this year it was horrible. I think the lack of reliable metadata source is the worst part; I hate manual tagging. I can't even imagine trying to get nice cover scans of it all.

Ashley Winchester Nov 12, 2015

Zorbfish wrote:

I hate manual tagging. I can't even imagine trying to get nice cover scans of it all.

I'm sure some people's collection's on here dwarf mine, but I agree and disagree with this. I hate and love doing manual tagging.

Yeah, it takes eons... but once you get everything set up the way you want it...

jb Nov 12, 2015

EAC for ripping, following the what.cd recommendations because they are pretty sound, well-reviewed and vetted.

http://filesharingtalk.com/threads/4352 … -%28EAC%29

Tag sources are all vgmdb.net. If vgmdb doesn't have an entry I'll make one and put in the required info which usually requires some research but not much.  Worst-case scenario I have to do radical lookup to build an artist name that I don't recognize.  Best-case scenario I find a jp source that has everything I need.  If it does have an entry I still review it because almost everything I rip I can find some sort of error in the entry that needs correction anyway.

Tagging is manual in foobar, after whatever is pulled in from vgmdb freedb query.  I don't really go overboard with tagging and by overboard I mean tagging every single performer or crediting every single small thing on the album.  I don't really care about who performed what in an orchestra, who mixed an album, where it was recorded or on what dates.  I care about the primary data points, which is everything in the foobar tag window + ARRANGEMENT (if there is an arranger) and LYRICIST (if there is credited lyrics).  Instead of explaining every tag I just took a screenshot of a tag from the recent Chrono Trigger arrange album: here

I do make use of the multi-value tag functionality and ';' separate tags with multiple values, so for example of a track was composed by "Nobuo Uematsu and Hitoshi Sakimoto", I can tag it as "Nobuo Uematsu; Hitoshi Sakimoto" and foobar automatically splits the tag on the ';' field and would create two "COMPOSER" tag fields, one with each value but in the gui/display, it concats all multi-value fields into one field of "tag_n1, tag_n2, ..., tag_nX"

Some things I started doing recently: I used to tag the ARTIST field with an orchestra or large body if it wasn't a vocal song (like "Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra") but that's stupid because I submit my plays to last.fm and crediting a track play to a large unit like that is pretty dumb for stats and listen metrics.  So now I just tag the primary artist in those cases, either the arranger or composer and just keep the unit in the PERFORMER field.

I also made the dumb mistake of tagging every rip I've done to date (400+) with the custom vorbis tag of "LYRICS" for the lyricist but that's wrong because "LYRICS" is actually the tag for the lyrics of the song, not the lyricist, so I had to go and switch everything I had ever tagged with a LYRICS tag to a LYRICIST tag.  Fortunately, foobar has some great functionality for mass tagging if you know how to use it so all I had to do was load everything in my collection and copy and paste.  Took longer to load  the albums than it did to update the tag.

I prefer manual tagging because it's a lot more reliable and I catch mistakes much more than I would if I was just scripting it.  It forces me to check things as I'm doing it and just generally review it during the whole process.  It's a good way to find errors.  Foobar has a mass tagger component you can use to create tagging scripts, which i use mainly to copy values between fields because EAC has pretty poor support for tag functionality when you rip and since I know most of the limitations of the software I know what i need to fix.  Non-ASCII characters in track titles are always converted to the base ASCII so I have to make a mental note to correct things after-the-fact, anything with a quotation mark (") is automatically changed to a single quote (') in tags so I have a script to change all ' to " which I have to be careful for in the cases where that's not appropriate (like 's, or album titles), simple scripts to copy values between fields (artist to arrangement, artist to performer), and a script to change any double space (  ) with a single space because my keyboard likes to randomly insert two spaces because I'm left handed and keyboards are never built for people hitting spacebar with their left thumb instead of their right thumb.

Also, for what it's worth I have a few powershell scripts that I use to quickly fix some things, the biggest is a script to identify any file with Unicode in the filename (gci -recurse "." | where {$_.Name -match "[^\u0000-\u007F]"}) because a lot of times people put Unicode in English tracklists (/, 、, ~, !,  (unicode double-width space), (, ), 「, 」) on vgmdb.net which should never, ever, ever be a thing.  Sometimes it's hard to catch the Unicode left-open quotation mark `vs the ASCII tick mark`.

I'm also generally not that worried about accuracy since it's for my own personal collection only. I'm not sharing it with anyone (usually) and as such, if there's a tagging mistake or issue I just go ahead and fix it if I find it later.

It takes a long time but I've  gotten into the habit of ripping everything that I order that comes in as it comes in and that's at least paused the backfill.  When I have spare time or I'm bored I'll start pulling stuff off the shelf to rip that I haven't ripped yet although now I'm having an issue with remember where I left off on my shelf and what's ripped and what's not, so that will be a weekend project to catalog JUST that by itself.

Rrolack Nov 12, 2015

I've never been asked for a rip request.  Maybe that means my music is lame smile

If I were asked: if the request came from an active member of the community here, I'd consider helping out.  Otherwise, I probably wouldn't.

Amazingu Nov 12, 2015

GoldfishX wrote:
Amazingu wrote:

Sincere question: Is the difference between FLAC and 320kbps mp3 that noticeable?

Truthfully, no...Some people with golden ears can probably tell the difference, I can't.

jb wrote:

You'll never notice the difference but some people swear up and down they can.  Don't believe 99% of what people tell you.  There are differences, and it is better, but it's barely, barely, barely noticeable to just about everyone and unless you're running $2000+ worth of audio equipment and know what you're doing, you'll never maximize on that benefit.

Thanks, that's pretty much what I figured.
I only casually listen to music nowadays anyway, so I guess I'll just stick to mah mp3s.

jb Nov 12, 2015

Amazingu wrote:

Thanks, that's pretty much what I figured.
I only casually listen to music nowadays anyway, so I guess I'll just stick to mah mp3s.

Just to be clear, I'm talking about the difference between two properly ripped albums, one high quality mp3 (vbr or 320) and one lossless.  There are obviously, like Goldfish pointed out, a lot of people who don't rip properly and it will sound like garbage (either format). tongue

GoldfishX Nov 12, 2015

Yeah, that is why I said...I trust my own ripping over pretty much anything I grab on the net. I use the What.CD specifications for everything for my own ripping too. Prior to that, everything had been done in "Burst" mode, so there's been a huge turnover in my personal rips. Even a year ago, logs weren't that big of a deal, now it is virtually a requirement. So I am becoming more and more of an anal asshole with regards to music as the years go by.

To people who are fine with V0 or 320...all I have to say is "enjoy your sanity". tongue

Jodo Kast Nov 12, 2015 (edited Nov 12, 2015)

When I fulfill rip requests, I tell the person to spread it as widely as possible and to never share the link.

1. Wide spreading results in less rip requests. When someone "seeds" for me, they're saving me the time of dealing with scores of people. Of course, I could ignore all rip requests, but that goes against how I feel about this music.

2. Telling them to never share the link is important. I've had a file sharing account deleted due to this.

I used to encode in Burst Mode, like Goldfish, and I now use Secure Mode. It takes longer but it results in mental appeasement. I also always make a cue and log. The cue is handy if I want to quickly change the entire album from wav to something else.

Amazingu Nov 13, 2015

jb wrote:
Amazingu wrote:

Thanks, that's pretty much what I figured.
I only casually listen to music nowadays anyway, so I guess I'll just stick to mah mp3s.

Just to be clear, I'm talking about the difference between two properly ripped albums, one high quality mp3 (vbr or 320) and one lossless.  There are obviously, like Goldfish pointed out, a lot of people who don't rip properly and it will sound like garbage (either format). tongue

Yeah, I got that, that's what I meant too. High quality mp3s are good enough for me, since I spend more time listening to podcasts than music nowadays anyway.

Dragonfish Dog Nov 13, 2015 (edited Nov 13, 2015)

Ashley Winchester wrote:

I don't mind sharing mp3s so someone can "check out" an album (even though practically everything is uploaded to youtube these days so that's kind of moot).

This.

I just direct people to where they can find (and download) the music off of YouTube.

There's also a plug-in for the Mozilla Firefox browser called "Flash Video Downloader."

Cupple that with a program that rips audio tracks from video files, and BAM! Easy music collection without having to resort to illegal download sites.

Only problem with this is, you're not ending up with high-quality audio files, usually 192kbps at most, maybe, but this isn't a problem if you don't care about high-quality audio.

Using this method, I still end up with pretty good-sounding audio that sounds just right off of my car stereo.

That said, nothing beats ripping lossless audio from the officially published audio source (CD) - being able to download music for free can allow one to be inundated with content so overwhemingly that it becomes impossible to find time to enjoy all of it. First world problems, I know. Gotta take everything in moderation, even entertainment. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

XISMZERO Nov 13, 2015

I can't blame some for not wanting to buy 'the real thing' -- most of these discs are long out of print and too costly. In theory, you should only buy it if you feel something for the said property -- it will only effect the the rest of the marketplace of collectors who want to own it. However, there's a form of etiquette that goes along with it. If making such a request, offer something for the ripper's time and, if a physical copy is desired, offer those costs as well and then leave it up to the ripper.

I have asked for CD-Rs of discs like Gunstar Heroes and R-TYPE Special since the asking prices were once too high. When I caught GH for $35 and RTS for $45 both complete, I bought because I've wanted historically near $100 albums since I started listening to arrange VGM.

Best thing about owning the real thing (or be it an .ISO or the actual CD) is that if ripping technology gets better for lossy, you rip it again. If you want to do FLAC one day, and so on.

raynebc Nov 13, 2015

I asked for a CD-R copy of an album of vocal songs once, but only because it was out of print and only came bundled with an anime DVD box set so you can imagine how expensive it usually went for.  The person I asked wasn't interested.  I eventually caved and bought it for somewhere in the ball-park of $100-200, I can't remember for sure, but it's for certain the most expensive CD I own.

GoldfishX Nov 13, 2015

Dragonfish Dog wrote:

That said, nothing beats ripping lossless audio from the officially published audio source (CD) - being able to download music for free can allow one to be inundated with content so overwhemingly that it becomes impossible to find time to enjoy all of it. First world problems, I know. Gotta take everything in moderation, even entertainment. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

I know you are probably talking about blind downloading/hoarding here. But compared to having too LITTLE music, I'd rather have too much, if nothing else as a reference point and as a means to allocate resources and even listening time more effectively. Compared to years ago, where you're shelling out $200 for 5 soundtracks and praying at least 2 of turn out to be really good, it's not that big of a problem.

I will say this...thank god for the chance to sample music off of Youtube. I'm really surprised they haven't figured out a way to branch off the whole music uploading thing from regular videos in them. Like Youmusic or something. For metal bands, I probably sift through 10-20 shitty ones before I find one I like...but that one usually ends being pretty damn good.

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