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CDs with Pre-Emphasis

Posted by LionsMouth 
Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 1,222
Status: Moderator
avatar CDs with Pre-Emphasis
May 03, 2017 12:17AM
What is pre-emphasis? It was a method of equalizing that was used on some CDs originally manufactured during the 80s. If you play these back on a CD player or computer that does not automatically de-emphasize, they will not sound right. They will be oddly tinny and thin sounding.

The purpose of this topic is to help people deal with these discs when ripping or playing them back. I should say this guide is mainly for those on Windows. If you're on a Mac or Linux, I can't help you, though perhaps someone else will chime in with some info for those systems.

More info here:

Pre-Emphasis WIKI

Here is an incomplete list of pre-emphasis CDs.

One reason it is incomplete is that some labels have reissued certain titles over the years that are simply clones of the original discs. One guy found out a classical CD boxset released in 2008 had pre-emphasis. So even though this is typically something that only occurs on certain discs made in the 80s, it can happen with later CD pressings as well.

Even the best CD ripping programs don't always detect pre-emph CDs either. Both EAC and dbPoweramp will only detect pre-emph if it is flagged on the TOC of the disc. If it is flagged on the subcode, they don't detect. You have to listen to the disc through a CD player that decodes pre-emph and compare the rip. Since I use EAC mainly, I know that it does not decode pre-emph if it does manage to detect it on a disc. The rip still has to be decoded manually. I'm not sure if dbPower does decode while ripping or not. Even if it does, it can't detect pre-emph every time.

Another way is to do what I do: play the CD through the analog outputs of your CD player, then switch to outputting your CD sound to an outboard DAC via source selection on your receiver/amp or stereo preamp. If when played through the DAC it sounds oddly tinny and bright, that CD has pre-emphasis. Note that this only works on CD players that decode pre-emphasis internally but do not pass the decoded data to outboard DACs through optical or coax digital outputs. Some CD players do not decode pre-emphasis at all and some may decode before passing the data to an outboard DAC. For reference I'm using an Onkyo C-7030 as my CD player and I have the analog outputs hooked up to my integrated amp on input five. I have the digital coax output of the CD player hooked up to my Schiit DAC and running to input three on the amp. So I just hit the source selection switches as the CD plays and I listen.

Here is a step by step for ripping with Foobar from another forum. I do this a little differently though. Instead of ripping with Foobar, I rip with EAC first. Then I put the FLAC files in Foobar and use the convert function with the relevant filters turned on. Since I do a FLAC to FLAC conversion there is no loss of quality.

This is a step by step I did for a member back in June using foobar on PC- Just another way of doing it, for me this is easy as I use Foobar almost daily

Put your cd in. File, Open Audio Cd, it should find your drive, hit Rip, A dialog box comes up, you can use any of the databases for the track listing, now hit the button "Proceed to the converter set up dialog"
Now another box comes up, in the left box it has your saved presets, if any just delete them all, we'll start from scratch, on the right hand side you can choose output format, pick whatever suits you, now click on 'processing' another box appears, check the box in the upper left, now in the right hand box you will see a box filled with different filters and such, scroll till you find IIR Filter, highlight it and click the arrow so it goes into the Active DSP box, now highlight that and click on 'configure selected' there will be a dropbox, select 'CD-De-emphasis" click ok, now you can go 'Back' now you "Save' that preset, and it should show in the left hand box "Saved Presets", I just named mine 'pre' , now hit the 'convert' button, a file destination folder will pop up, so just direct it where you want the files (songs) to go. a 'converter' box will pop up adding the new EQ while it's ripping the disc smiling smiley

Now whenever you have another disc with pre, after you hit 'Rip' you now have a choice of using the preset

Sounds complicated right? It's not really once you do it a few times.


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