Re: I stuck with CDs
You've already said that you rip to FLAC, so transcoding should be a load less hassle - unless you fancy making the robot for fun of course ;)
It isn't transcoding (I use flac2all for transcoding to Lossy formats, as well as for mass integrity checking), but actual re-ripping. Reasons for this would be:
- I am buying CDs in batches of 15-30 now, sometimes on impulse, and would be nice to just put them in a stack and let a machine rip them, flac2all to transcode them, and I already have a script that will sync my ipod with the latest stuff as soon as I plug it into the dock (rockbox is file based, so a simple rsync works here).
- If by some bad luck I lose the FLAC collection, I will have to re-rip hundreds of CDs manually, which isn't my exact idea of weekend fun.
- Maybe I can make some extra money offering to rip peoples CD collections for them, if there is a demand for it I guess.
And I will gleefully admit that the idea of building the robot sounds like fun as well :-D
It would not surprise me if the record labels came up with a new format that could contain extra information (maybe separate tracks to let the hardware recreate the sound or individual speaker sounds for up to 16 speakers as an example), albeit more for the reasons of DRM, and force new music hardware to get certified to play and enforce the DRM.
Actually, Flac already supports this (albeit up to 8 channels): https://xiph.org/flac/faq.html#general__channels
Unfortunately getting hold of such sources is hard. I have some QUAD and surround sound albums, but they are a rarity. Multitrack recordings really aren't a big thing atm, so tough to get sources (unless you happen to have access to the studio masters, which are usually multitrack)