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How do I rip my CDs to MP3s?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hate to ask such a newbie question but how do I do it?

Have hundreds of CDs, got a DVD player and a car player that will play MP3s on CD but how to I transform the songs on my CDs to MP3?

Back in the old days I tried it once using a program called Winamp if I remember correctly. Is that still around?

What is the best "ripper" out there? Free of course that also has access to a wide data base so it can actually get and retain the song titles.

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 15
Windows Media Player (not the best quality, but probably the easiest to use)
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
thanks dude. had tried WMP but it seemed to rip it only to WMA. Thanks again for the info.
post #4 of 15
Hmm... not sure which version of WMP you've got (mine is 10), but under Tools/Options, there's a "Rip Music" tab where you can change the format. mp3 should be one of the choices, unless you're missing a codec, but I think WMP is using its own mp3 codec (encoder)...
post #5 of 15
I like to use Exact Audio Copy after it's been set up to use the Lame Encoder.
post #6 of 15
Something to note, most MP3 car players don't allow you to access a playlist, so if you're using Windows (not sure with OSX) the burn order is alphabetical only...
post #7 of 15
0wning an iPod, I ripped my entire Cd collection in 128k AAC (.M4A) in Apple iTunes, so I don't totally know the whole MP3 ripping scene, but here's what I've picked up from others who know what they are talking about.

Generally speaking, you'll want an encoder that runs LAME, an Open Source mp3 encoding library. LAME is practically the best in terms of audio quality. Go to Edit->Preferences->Advanced->Importing->Import Using: *Select MP3 Encoder* ->Higher Quality (192k) in iTunes.

Depending on your quality standards, iTunes could give you acceptable quality (ju
If you are not half deaf and over 60, you'll probably want to rip your music at a birate higher than 128k. I recommend 192k for MP3.

In audio encoding, there is a certain bitrate at which you are probably not going to notice a difference between the original CD. That being said, I have never done comparisons on a real audiophile system, just my old 80's Sony speakers/Technics amp, my headphones, my [atrociously sounding] Cambridge SoundWorks computers, our Sony Home Theater in a Box system and a '99 Chevy Suburban through a $5 tape adapter.

When I build my killer stereo this summer, I'll do some serious comparisons.

At these birates, I can not really tell the difference between the compressed track and the original CD:
MP3 - 192k
AAC - 128k
OGG - 96K (although I'd probably rip them in 128k or better).

All the compressed audio I've ever played in Pro-Logic on our sorround sound system has yeilded a considerable amount of garble in derived (surround sound) channel, so I highly recommend you listen to the original CDs if you want to listen using some sort of sorround sound mode on your HT.
post #8 of 15
Another vote for EAC and LAME.

After trial and error, I finally settled on the "--alt preset extreme" setting for LAME. (Since then the alternate presets have become standard.) The average bit-rate is around 256 kbps, which is overkill for some music, but I didn't want to be continually changing settings. Besides some stuff sounded really awful at 128 kbps on a good system.

The optimal encoding rate - where you can't hear the difference - depends not only on the playback system, but also the type of music. As a rule of thumb, classical and jazz require higher rates than rock or pop. Also watch out for female vocals, pianos, high frequencies, sharp attacks, transients, etc. I just use the same fairly high bit-rate for everything.

That said, often I can still hear the difference on the main system. So I keep the MP3s for on-the-road and use lossless exclusively at home. They're the WAVs created by EAC and passed to LAME. I should use FLAC, say, for the sake of tagging, but am too lazy. (Besides, I've gotten the system to read the MP3s' tags.)

The best source for info on this subject is probably Hydrogen Audio.
post #9 of 15
Yes, definitely use a taggable format if you are importing lossless files. FLAC is supported by many media players (and thus platform independent) , and is even supported by some portable media players and network audio devices.

I would discourage the use of Variable bitrate MP3s. Many DVD players, car stereos and mp3 players will just choke on them (have playback problems or just plain not play the file).

I second the notion for Hydrogen Audio.
post #10 of 15
Originally Posted by mattdp View Post

I would discourage the use of Variable bitrate MP3s. Many DVD players, car stereos and mp3 players will just choke on them (have playback problems or just plain not play the file).

I've never had a problem. This used to be a concern but I doubt any player manufactured in the last five years (or longer?) would choke. Anyway, I'd never buy or keep a POS that did.

Edit: FWIW, I feed the WAVs to a pair of AudioTrons, which do not speak FLAC. I generate the TOC file from the MP3s (which have a directory structure identical to the WAVs) and just change the file extensions in the TOC. (BTW, since the AT's on-board DAC is poor, I use only digital out.)
post #11 of 15
I've used EAC and it does do a great job for the basic ripping function. The other mainstays that tons of people use to rip CD to MP3 are, of course, iTunes, Winamp, and Windows Media Player.

Might I humbly suggest another option - MediaMonkey? It's a complete replacement for iTunes. Like other solutions, it rips CDs flawlessly into almost any format you desire using the Lame encoder, and automatically tags ripped content using freedb.

But where it really excels is to then manage huge libraries of content. MediaMonkey has great facilities for retagging, renaming/moving physical files, and even doing automated lookups to Amazon to retrieve album art, descriptive text, etc. and adding this info to the basic track tags.

Best of all, it enables syncing with iPods and almost any other portable device. It will also retrieve content FROM an iPod back to hard disk, and allows new content to be added to the iPod without a full sync (great for people like me that have multiple computers and like to add new content to my iPod from any of them).

MediaMonkey is free, but I like it so much that I licensed the full shareware version which adds a bunch of useful features (not expensive, either). I am happy to say that I am now "iTunes-free", and find this program so much more versatile and less restrictive than iTunes.

The only reason I see to use iTunes anymore is to purchase content from Apple, which I simply don't do.

Anyway, I'd strongly suggest checking it out. I haven't really found anything MediaMonkey can't do, and I'm still discovering neat features a year later. Also cool is that all Winamp plugins work with MM, so you can add lots of extensions like input/output processing as desired.

I have no connection to MediaMonkey other than as a happy user.

post #12 of 15
I rip my mp3's with CDex (easiest program I've ever used for ripping...). I pop in the cd, choose the "remote CDDB" menu option to auto-name the album/songs, and then hit "convert to compressed audio".

I have my ripping set to 320k mp3's. Sounds great, I personally can't tell the difference between cd quality and 320k.
post #13 of 15
Originally Posted by ProofTech View Post

I like to use Exact Audio Copy after it's been set up to use the Lame Encoder.

I tried setting this up today, and it seemed like kind of a pain.

Getting EAC was easy enough, but I was having difficulty with setting up LAME. Basically, I downloaded the zip file, but when I looked at the instructions, they were all talking about building the software with a compiler and I really had no idea what they were talking about.

Is there an easier way to get the lame.exe? If not, can someone walk me through how to create the thing and get it up and running with EAC?
post #14 of 15

Extract the contents of the ZIP file to a folder of your choice and then run EAC's setup wizard to make it work with LAME.
post #15 of 15
I use CDex with LAME stable version.

I uninstalled EAC this week because I found it a bit overwhelming and CDex does the job for my portable needs.
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