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Beginners Guide To Ripping

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Beginners Guide To Ripping

Lots of tools for doing this. The ideal tool is:

  1. easy to use
  2. good at adding the right tag information
  3. quick
  4. good at sorting out errors on CDs
  5. capable of creating your chosen file type and
  6. available on your PC.

Sadly no tool is ideal at all of these, but some of the most popular ones are listed below.

The tools do vary in their ability to read dirty or damaged discs but you may be able to help them out by repairing the disc itself - see Repairing Damaged Discs.

You may also be interested in adding ReplayGain tags to your collection to normalize the volume that tracks are played at. Check out Adding ReplayGain using Foobar2000 for Windows.

Ripping Tools by Operating system

Mac OS


  • ABCDE: CDParanoia, LAME, Oggenc, Flac, labeller...


Ripping tools


+ Easy to use, quick, good at tagging. Does WAV, MP3, AAC (lossy and lossless). Manages your music library and is supported by SqueezeCenter.

- Not so good with difficult discs. Not on Linux. Won't do FLAC. Can't handle multiple tags.


  • You cannot be certain that your CD has ripped perfectly with iTunes. If this is important to you, look to one of the options below that have better error checking. However, for speed, convenience and ease-of-use, there is no better.



+ Excellent with damaged discs. Very configurable, lots of software available to work with this. Create most file types.

- Can be fiddly to set up the first time. Windows only. For general advice on setup try http://www.teqnilogik.com/tutorials/eac.htm or http://users.pandora.be/satcp/tutorials.htm and for specific advice on using it with FLAC http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=30959


  • Use "secure" mode to get the benefit of EAC's accurate ripping
  • Use AccurateRip (see the beginners' guide linked below). This checks to see if others have had the same rip result as you - if they have, then it is highly likely that you have a perfect rip of your CD.
  • You may also need to download the compression programs (Lame for MP3, Flac for Flac). EAC version V0.99 includes FLAC and AccurateRip.
  • You can easily set it up to rip to multiple formats in parallel by using a companion tool such as MAREO
  • Here is a guide to installing, setting up and running EAC written specifically for Slim users.
  • There is also a page here that covers EAC in some detail.



+ Recommended for Linux



+ ABCDE stands for "A Better CD Encoder"

+ Command-line utility (actually, a shell script) that grabs tracks off a CD, encodes them to flac, ogg or mp3 format, and tags them using the CDDB internet database, all in one go.

+ Uses your favorite encoder and tagger, automating the ripping/encoding/labelling process.

+ Detailed configuration examples can be found at http://www.andrews-corner.org/abcde.html

+ Development Page is http://code.google.com/p/abcde/



+ Straightforward and very easy to use.

+ Uses CDParanoia library to recover damaged disc data

+ Configurable to use external encoders such as FLAC

- Windows only


Go to Options->Settings->CD Drive. Under "Ripping Method" select "Paranoia, Full.

For FLAC encoding, go to Options->Settings->Encoder. Point "Encoder path" to your flac.exe file. Check "Hide DOS box window", "Send WAV header to stdin" and "On-the-fly Encoding". Set file extension to "flac". In the "Parameter string" box, enter:

- -o %2 -T "ARTIST=%a" -T "ALBUM=%b" -T "TITLE=%t" -T "DATE=%y" -T "TRACKNUMBER=%tn" -T "GENRE=%g"



The only satisfactory FLAC ripper on the Mac (but see MAX below). Allows a limited manual entry of tags.

You might do better to use cdparanoia.

J. River Media Center


+ All-in-one solution: Handles all your media-related tasks including ripping, burning, tagging, organizing, replay gain, playlist generation, and more.

+ Supports many popular file types — MP3, WAV, WMA, OGG, APE, FLAC.

+ Ripping is very easy, secure mode available. Does online CD look-up for tags using YADB (a J.River database) and falls back to FreeDB.

- Costs $40 after 30-day trial.




+ Extensive codec support - mp3, WMA, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, Monkey's Audio, FLAC, Apple Lossless and many more from Codec Central at http://www.dbpoweramp.com/codec-central.htm

+ Fast ripping from CD or aux input; Supports AccurateRip

+ Convert between formats with file batch capability

+ Graphical interface

- Playlist editor needs Explorer-type interface


  • PowerPack option ($14) adds CD ripping enhancements, ID tag editing, MP3 encoder license, more


http://www.audiograbber.com-us.net (Windows only)

Audiograbber is a "mid-range" CD ripper and encoder in terms of quality and functionality. It's simple and straightforward to set up if you are a beginner. However, it still has enough advanced features to satisfy more experienced users. Quality is said to be closer to EAC than many rippers (but certainly not as exact / precise as EAC).

+ Its free !

+ Basic set up is easy and straightforward.

+ Default setup is to rip digitally to a WAV file and then encode to MP3.

+ Will perform a check for errors at the end of the rip.

+ Also supports Line in function for recording from analog sources.

+ Has normalise function and track fading function.

+ Supports most external encoders and will rip to a variety of formats (mp3, Ogg, FLAC, WMA).

+ Can preview tracks within the main Audiograbber interface.

+ If you're running low on disc space, Audiograbber will rip one CD track at a time, encode it, and then delete the .wav file before ripping the next track.

+ Clean install (Audiograbber installs no DLLs, OCXs, device drivers, registry entries or anything else except itself in a single directory).

+ Support for 19 languages (need additional language files from the site - also free). Can change languages on the fly.

+ Usual CD information lookup facility - supports "compilation" tag used in SqueezeCenter.

- You need to add an external encoder to get the best out of the program The built in Fraunhofer encoding only has 8 kBit/s 11,025 mono to 56 kBit/s 22,050 stereo encoding (WMA files 5 kBit/s 8,000 mono to 160 kBit/s 44,100 stereo).


  • If you are going to use this program, it is highly advisable to download the LAME codec and simply place it within the Audiograbber directory (see http://www.audiograbber.com-us.net/download.html halfway down the page for step by step instructions) to get proper high bit-rate MP3s.



+ Multi format (including FLAC) ripping for MAC users

+ free!

- relatively new and untested

- secure ripping not quite up to EAC standard yet (but "working on it")



VortexBox is a free, open source, quick install ISO that turns your unused computer into an easy to use music server / jukebox / NAS. Once VortexBox has been loaded on an unused PC it will automatically rip CDs to FLAC and MP3 files,

+ Rips CDs to FLAC automatically. Just insert the CD into the drive.

+ Can also convert your FLAC collection to mp3 or Apple lossless in one step.

+ Automatically tags all files from CDDB. (Most tags are OK , however, some tags have errors or are just plain wrong, you may still need to edit them yourself.)

+ Automatically downloads the cover art. (When it can. You should check to make sure it found the right cover art.)

+ Runs on a self contained box. No need to leave your PC or MAC desktop running all the time to access Squeezebox Server.

+ Squeezebox Server pre-installed and configured.

+ free!

X Lossless Decoder (XLD)


X Lossless Decoder (XLD) is a tool for Mac OS X that is able to decode/convert/play various 'lossless' audio files. The supported audio files can be split into some tracks with cue sheet when decoding. It works on Mac OS X 10.3 and later.

XLD is Universal Binary, so it runs natively on both Intel Macs and PPC Macs.

XLD supports the following formats: (Ogg) FLAC (.flac/.ogg), Monkey's Audio (.ape), Wavpack (.wv), TTA (.tta), Apple Lossless (.m4a) [10.4 and later], AIFF, WAV, etc.

Other formats supported by Libsndfile are also decodable. XLD uses not decoder frontend but library to decode, so no intermediate files are generated. All of the supported formats can be directly split with the cue sheet. XLD also supports so-called 'embedded' or 'internal' cue sheet.

Currently you can choose output format from WAVE,AIFF and Raw PCM. In addition, you can choose Ogg Vorbis (aoTuV), MPEG-4 AAC (QuickTime/CoreAudio), MP3 (LAME), Apple Lossless, FLAC, HE-AAC (aacPlus v1/v2), Wave64 and WavPackin the GUI version.

XLD version 20080812 and later can be used as a CD ripper. You can convert each track in your audio CD into the desired format. Also XLD supports output a CD image with cue sheet (wav+cue, flac+cue, etc).

+ Fast and accurate, pregap correction, creates logfile, multiple format decoding, CDParanoia mode, AccurateRip support, CDDB support, Easy to use, Free!


Contributors: Ceejay, danco, MeSue, Jandk, ...