This afternoon I pulled up an album in MusicBee that I hadn’t listened all the way through in years, Depeche Mode’s Music for the Masses. Partway into it I noticed one song (Little 15) had a bit of a skip. I scrubbed back, listened to that part again, and sure enough… skip confirmed.

Well, great. How long ago did I rip this CD anyway?

Checking the codec properties for that song’s data file revealed that while it wasn’t made with the beta versions of the Ogg Vorbis codec (thank goodness), it certainly dated back to roughly 2002, thus a very early release version. This means the skip glitch could be on account of a newer playback decoder disliking something about early Ogg Vorbis encoding, but is more likely just a result of the cheap fast CD ripper software I used back then.

No time like the present to freshen the library up a bit, then, is there?

My re-rip process goes a bit like this:

  1. Get out my notes file (I’m currently experimenting with Obsidian to create a platform-neutral Markdown-enabled notes structure) and jot down the song ratings and any special information about all the tracks on a record. For instance, Agent Orange has the BGM “mood” tag set. I don’t want to lose that in a re-rip process.
  2. Delete the album out of the library. (I have backups.)
  3. Fire up dBpoweramp‘s CD Ripper software, choose between the FLAC and Ogg profile selections I’ve put together, insert CD, ensure the tags look good, and tell it to get to work.
  4. If that’s successful, move the new files to the music library file structure.
  5. Run the import process in MusicBee, fix artwork & other tags, including putting the ratings back in place as per the notes taken earlier.
  6. Run the aforementioned backups.

One of the fun things with most mainstream album releases is that they show up in the AccurateRip database, which compares the checksum data for each track against an online server to see if what you just ripped matches up with what everyone else got when they ripped their copies. Failing an AccurateRip check doesn’t mean the rip is bad, but succeeding is a pretty good indicator that your rip will be good. dBpoweramp’s CD Ripper queries this database for you (and uploads your results to help aid the cause).

Also, and this is important, CD Ripper lets you select from varying levels of fussiness in regards to the ripping process. I set mine to a fairly high degree of “please take the time to get it right, I’m not in that big of a hurry.” Today, this came in handy.

On the last track, Pleasure, Little Treasure, CD Ripper noted some problems. A few.

Look, if you want to make an A Broken Frame joke because this is a Depeche Mode CD, go right ahead. I won’t stop you.

Okay, a couple dozen or so. It then proceeded to spend twelve minutes going over each of those problem spots doing its damnedest to get a valid data chunk out of them. And it worked! Every track came out marked Accurate.

Once the files were in MusicBee (and tagged) I ran listen tests on Little 15 (no more skip!) and Pleasure, Little Treasure (sounds great!), and heaved a big sigh of relief. Then I ran the backup to settle the new version of the album into my digital library for good.

It’s so nice when you pay a premium for software that does what it says on the tin. Kudos to the folks behind dBpoweramp.