I created this page to document what I did to rip all my CDs for my iPod. Normally I would just use iTunes to rip my CDs but this is the third or fourth time to rip all them so I wanted something so I could change the format without re-ripping all the CDs.

To do this I ripped the CDs to flac files. FLAC is a loseless compression so while the files are still large they capture all the quality and are still much smaller than .wav files. My entire collection took up over 80GB in flac, after I converted them to 160bit MP3 (more on that later) it took up 15GB. I took the flac files and put them on a external USB hard drive and then (to be doubly sure) I backed that up on 20 DVDs.

To rip the CDs I used a program called Exact Audio Copy - EAC. EAC does an excellent job of ripping even scratched CDs. You can plug in external converters to convert the files to any format you desire. In this case I used a flac converter.

Once I had all the CDs ripped to flac files I used a program called foobar2000 to convert the files to MP3. Originally I had tried to convert them to AAC (the format used by Apple ITunes) but when I was ripping the files to flac some of the files did not get any metadata and the AAC converter (as well as the VBR MP3 converter) did not like that. So I ended up converting the files to 160 bit CBR (Continuous Bit Rate) MP3.

Lessons Learned
Music and Sound Links [Top]
David Ringrose email [Top]

Below is an email that a friend wrote to a group of us about how he ripped his CDs and gave us a bunch of links. I could have digested it and regurgitated it above but it was so informative I have left it as is.

Scott ran into some issues getting EAC setup for using FLAC, I did a quick search of Hydrogen Audio and came up with the same place I found the answer when I had to set it up.

This page goes thru how to setup EAC to rip to various codecs:
The thread on HA which gave me this link and has some discussion of FLAC settings/EAC and ReplayGain:
Another thread on EAC and FLAC tags:
> Here's the process, tools, and some websites that provided information in coming
> up with my music ripping process.  A couple of you asked about this at lunch,
> and I added a couple of you because you might find it of interest.  FYI, the
> tools I use are FREE!
> HydrogenAudio is the site where I learned most of this, and you can find a LOT
> of answers out there.  A good site to look for info on FLAC or other codec
> settings, general codec info, tag settings for whatever codec you decide to use,
> codec comparisons.  I've found Otto42 and rjamorim to be some of the people who
> seem to be right more often than not.
> Process -
> I rip from a CD using Exact Audio Copy (EAC), there is an EAC bundle that
> contains a bunch of different codecs that is very good.  EAC is even recommended
> in place of iTunes to rip by some iTunes bigots because is faster with error
> correction on, it handles CD errors better (scratches on the disc), and can even
> go around some copy protection.
> EAC uses freedb to lookup Album tags.  This is a good database, but being free
> it isn't always the greatest.  In particular classical albums and compilations
> are horribly labeled in freedb.  The pay service Gracenote that iTunes uses is
> much better in this area.
> I rip to a lossless format, the reason to rip to lossless is then you can
> convert/transcode to another format by just pointing to the directory on your
> harddrive.  So if you buy a player that uses another format you don't have to go
> thru the process of ripping EACH cd again.  I bought a 160gb harddrive just to
> hold my music (an album in FLAC is about 400mb).
> I chose FLAC because it is open source and is getting some hardware support.
> FLAC may take a little longer to encode than some, but its decoding is supposed
> to be faster and require less processor than many of the other lossless formats
> because it is all integer math.  FLAC can't handle album images, but you'd have
> to have a scanner, and the time to scan it in anyways.  Also, there are lossless
> codecs that create smaller files than FLAC, but the difference didn't look to be
> all that large.
> I then use foobar2000 to transcode (convert) to whatever format I desire.  To go
> to AAC there is iTunesEncode, this uses the iTunes codec to create the AAC
> files.  The iTunes/Quicktime codec is generally recognized as the best AAC
> encoder, the one that comes with some Nero tools is also highly regarded.
> If you want to rip and transcode to multiple formats, say FLAC and AAC at the
> same time you can look into MAREO.
> There was also a thread on HydrogenAudio about how to have EAC, read multiple
> CDs, and then transcode later.  This would be handy as you are sitting there
> waiting for it to transcode after it reads.  I haven't ever done this personally
> and several people had problems following the directions given.
> General info:
> Good EAC info site:
> EAC Bundle
> Foobar2000
> iTunesEncode

This page was last modified 11/9/2009