The Trials and Tribulations of an Audiophile

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I was gone and now I’m back.  I had some snags with my old hosting company and, since I also registered my domain through them, I lost control of that as well.  It was a long yet slow and boring process until I was finally saved by IBM Cloud Services, so a very special thank you to them as they literally had no reason to help me out but they did anyway.

Moving on, one of my personal projects that has been eating up a considerable amount of my time and money for the past year or so has been collecting and preparing music.  You see, I am, or at least I’ve convinced myself that I believe that I am, an audiophile.  Because of this, regular digital music and downloaded mp3s just won’t do it for me any longer.

So the entire process was preempted with me ripping every one of my cds as FLAC and then putting them into storage.  I later found out that I was using some improper tags in EAC with the ripping/encoding, so I had to delete all of the old rips and start anew.  So here’s been the process –

Last year for Christmas (Christmas 2016) I received a Cowon Plenue that plays .flac files.  Once I got this, I took every album I own and ripped each one to .flac, one by one, and then put them back into storage (I have a master list so that I know album X is in box Y if I ever need to look for them again).  During this, I realized that I’ve lost some albums through the years and I’ve tracked them down and bought them once more (it’s somewhat tricky for some of these obscure albums I own.)

Then, I copy all of these and convert them back to .wav (my car stereo doesn’t support .flac) and I listen to each album from start to finish while I’m driving around.  I keep detailed notes of each artist, album, and song for editing.  I’m trying to create a master playlist of pure music – so those twenty-second slow fadeouts or lingering distortion have no place.  One of the strangest things I’m editing out is leading silence.  In some ways, it makes sense, as it’s a throwback from the cassette and vinyl era.  But cds are specifically programmed for gaps – I can put three seconds of silence between tracks two and three if I want, so I don’t understand why many of my albums (some were recorded and released even beyond 2000) have a half or full-second of silence before anything starts.

Anyhow, then I take my notes and I edit the tracks to remove songs I don’t like, the aforementioned silence and long fade-outs, and then I re-convert them to .flac.  Because of the back and forth, they’ve lost all of their tagging information, so then I bring all the .flac files and add in the metadata, including album art.  Finally, they get shipped off to my music player.

All of this is an unbelievable amount of work, but it’s totally worth it.  I have a complete playlist that I can listen to from start to finish, without having to worry about skipping songs I don’t like or anything while I’m doing something like cycling or jogging and I want to keep my hands free.  And, at the end of the day, I’m listening to lossless quality music that I thoroughly enjoy.  Plus it feels nice to pay for everything I listen to.

I’m currently, while waiting to buy the remainder of cds I need and while I’m still listening through the initial edit for all of the ones I already own, am doing the same thing with my vinyl collection.  More on that later, maybe.

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