Audio & Video Software forum

General discussion

What's the best Digital Music Format(for a home library)?

by Stylishboy1975 / November 27, 2010 9:06 PM PST

Hi There,
Hope some of you experts/ more experienced music lovers can help. Have searched a number of different forums but did not find what I was looking for.

Am new to digital music and want to know the best format(s) to save my music in (intend to play it on a Logitech Squeezebox Duet - not really high end gear. Plays MP3, AAC, WMA, Ogg, FLAC, Apple Lossless, WMA Lossless, and WAV music files).

At this stage I think it comes down to FLAC or WAV, but do not know.

I have RealPlayer Plus and my music is in the following formats:
MP3 (128kbs - 320kbps & some VBR kbps)
RealAudio (converted to FLAC on network drive)
RealAudio 8 with ATRAC3 (converted to FLAC on network drive)
RealAudio Lossless (have to convert to WAV to convert to FLAC)

Since making initial enquiries about the Logitech system I have learned that lossless is the best format for sound quality. I then downloaded a utility to convert my music to FLAC (RM MP3 Converter

Having saved a few albums in RealAudio Lossless I found the utility does not like RealAudio Lossless (is fine with the other RealAudio formats).

This caused me to save the albums in WAV (as I see the kbps is 1411 for wav files) so I can then convert to FLAC using the MP3 converter.

I now have four specific questions:
1. As the logitec system plays both WAV & FLAC is there any benefit converting the WAV files to FLAC?

2. Is there much of a differenc between these formats?

3. As my system(yet to be bought) is not that high end are the MP3's likely to sound OK?

4. Should I convert the AAC files fo FLAC?

Other info:
1. I have most of the CD's but a lot of my MP3 music I downloaded from the web ( &

2. I presume there is nothing to be gained by converting the MP3's to FLAC. Am I rignt?

Any help or advice would be much appreciated.


Post a reply
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: What's the best Digital Music Format(for a home library)?
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: What's the best Digital Music Format(for a home library)?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Partial answers.
by Kees_B Forum moderator / November 27, 2010 9:22 PM PST

Converting is always bad. The original as you buy it is always best if you can play it.


Collapse -
Partial Answers - Response
by Stylishboy1975 / November 29, 2010 8:15 PM PST
In reply to: Partial answers.

OK Kees, thanks for that, appreciate it

Collapse -
This one is easy.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 28, 2010 3:27 AM PST

It's the one you choose. There are some thousand discussions about this but if I were to sum it up to 2 points it would be these:

1. Conversion is bad. Don't convert unless there is a good reason.
2. You make the final call.


Collapse -
This one is easy - Response
by Stylishboy1975 / November 29, 2010 8:17 PM PST
In reply to: This one is easy.

OK Bob, thanks for that, appreciate it. One further question though. If I had the option to rip in WAV or FLAC, which would be best?

Collapse -
You're going to be mad at me.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 30, 2010 3:08 AM PST

I'd have to find what you think makes one over the other best. For me, best is MP3 since that's what plays on everything I own. I dismiss WAV because it's so large and featureless. I dismiss FLAC because it's rarely usable in what I own.

Collapse -
WAV - Featureless ??
by Stylishboy1975 / November 30, 2010 9:27 PM PST

Space is not an issue for me thankfully - esp. as I never use portable music units - don't like earplugs or headphones or anything around my ears.

What do you mean when you say WAV is featureless?

Collapse -
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 1, 2010 4:06 AM PST
In reply to: WAV - Featureless ??

But if I duplicate easy to find web content (such as wikipedia) then I'm working far too hard as a volunteer.

I'll repeat my thoughts here that I'm stuck to MP3 since it works across all the things I own and has enough features.

Collapse -
Thank you
by Stylishboy1975 / December 1, 2010 7:13 PM PST
In reply to: Sorry.

OK Bob, that's fair enough - I'll check Wikipedia. I did say I was a beginner though & Wikipedia never occurred to me. Thanks again for your help.

Collapse -
.wav is just sound
by Kees_B Forum moderator / December 1, 2010 7:18 PM PST
In reply to: WAV - Featureless ??

mp3 has the option to include data like name of song, name of artist, name of album, the socalled mp3-tags. You can see or edit them with a tag-editor, and quite a lot of mp3-players recognize and show and use that content.


Collapse -
by Stylishboy1975 / December 2, 2010 2:37 AM PST
In reply to: .wav is just sound

OK, thanks Kees. Have come across a tag utility for MP3's but did not know that WAV does not cater for such info./ data

Collapse -
I would rip to Flac level 4
by Ed Mead Forum moderator / November 28, 2010 6:40 AM PST

if your looking to save a little space. It is lossless, so if you want to go back to wave, nothing is lost. Mp3 at a high bitrate on a low quality system will sound fine at low to mid volume. AAC to flac, I, myself wouldn't. Nothing gained from mp3 to flac, correct.

I convert to lossless using EAC to wav, then use Flac frontend for conversion to flac. You can use EAC for both though.

Collapse -
Flac level 4 - Response
by Stylishboy1975 / November 29, 2010 8:26 PM PST

Ed, appreciate the advice so thank you for that. I can't rip to FLAC with what I have - can you advise as to what you use/ is best for this?

All else being equal, would you choose WAV or FLAC (or some other format)?

EAC ??? - never heard of it - mind you there is probably plenty of this stuff I haven't heard of !!

Collapse -
If room is not a factor, then wave.
by Ed Mead Forum moderator / December 1, 2010 10:42 AM PST
Collapse -
EAC & FLAC Info.
by Stylishboy1975 / December 1, 2010 7:17 PM PST

That's great thank you very much. This is very helpful/ useful info. Am also delighted you'd go for WAV as most of my music is in this format(now) as RealPlayer Plus rips to WAV

thanks again

Collapse -
The most popular music formats
by cindy-orange / January 9, 2011 4:23 PM PST

Hi, I suppose there is something or tool that can help you transfer music from one format to another format without quality loss. But I can't find a good answer to you. Sorry.

Collapse -
Thank you
by Stylishboy1975 / January 9, 2011 10:31 PM PST

OK, thanks anyway

Popular Forums
Computer Help 49,613 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,349 discussions
Laptops 19,436 discussions
Security 30,426 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,308 discussions
Windows 10 360 discussions
Phones 15,802 discussions
Windows 7 7,351 discussions
Networking & Wireless 14,641 discussions

Coming soon

Get behind the wheel with Roadshow

Love cars? Climb into the driver's seat for the latest videos, reviews, shopping advice and picks by our editors delivered to your inbox every week.