Ripping the CD collection to MP3, the lazy way?
May 18, 2010 11:55 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way for me to rip all my CDs to mp3 and ensure that the files get named the way I want, and everything is tagged the way I want?

Ok, so here's my basic problem:

1) I have about 200 CDs that I want to rip to MP3
2) My already extensive mp3 collection is organized in the file format - \ - .mp3
3) I want to rip my CDs to mp3 using the same naming format.
4) I want my resultant mp3s to have proper tag information (all track info including album cover art)
5) I want to be able to do the ripping in one step (ie put in the disc, click "rip" [or even better have the software do it automatically] and the cd ejects when complete)

My understanding from this thread is that EAC is the best quality cd ripper, but I have a few issues with that:

1) It seems VERY slow, considering I'm only ripping to 192 kbps vbr mp3s. 2-3 minutes per track is definitely not ideal. The time seems to be taken in ripping to wave first, as lame seems to encode to mp3 from wav in about 10-15 seconds.
2) It doesn't seem to have the capability to get album art, that I can find

Now, I understand that I can use other apps to fetch album art, but I'd ideally like to avoid that if at all possible.

Any suggestions?
posted by antifuse to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh, and I'm on Windows. So far my frontrunner app is MediaMonkey... It seems to rip at reasonable quality, and it gets the file naming convention right... The only thing is, to get album art into the tags I have to do it in a separate step.
posted by antifuse at 11:58 AM on May 18, 2010

I couldn't tell you how to automate the process, but if you have any badly scratched CDs... don't give up on encoding them until you've tried running them through a ripper that uses cdparanoia. It's not fast, but it's saved several of my most abused discs from the trash heap.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 12:04 PM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

EAC is slow because it has extensive error detection and correction. It essentially rips the same sector multiple times and compares the results. If they differ, it rips again, and again, and again until it gets matching results, or gives up and interpolates over the error. If you are confident that your CDs are pristine, with no scratches or smudges, you can set EAC to use Burst Mode, or use another ripper program entirely.
posted by zsazsa at 12:08 PM on May 18, 2010

I'd suggest using iTunes to do the ripping. It will not rip into the file format you want, but files will be tagged and oragnized, and something like Tag & Rename can easily rename how you'd like.
posted by CharlesV42 at 12:34 PM on May 18, 2010

Can't iTunes rip to MP3?
posted by The Lamplighter at 12:40 PM on May 18, 2010

Its not as clean as you want, but you could import your mp3 files into iTunes, let it assign artwork and then use this to embed the artwork into the tags. its not a one-step process but it is all automatic.
posted by rtimmel at 12:51 PM on May 18, 2010

The Zune desktop software may do what you want. There is a 'Rip' section in the settings that allow you to have the disc ripped when inserted and ejected when complete, plus format and quality options. I ripped my CD collection in a few hours just by swapping discs over and over and ...
posted by barake at 1:01 PM on May 18, 2010

iTunes can rip into MP3 at a variety of bitrates.
posted by Ratio at 1:01 PM on May 18, 2010

I'm using MediaMonkey, which as far as I can tell is the gold standard for managing music libraries in Windows. I haven't run into the album art problem. It always adds that when I download the tags from Amazon.

Try mucking about with the options.

MediaMonkey will also do .flac, which is totally worth looking into.
posted by valkyryn at 1:07 PM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

nthing Media Monkey. I love love love that program.
posted by .kobayashi. at 1:13 PM on May 18, 2010

MediaMonkey will also do .flac, which is totally worth looking into.

Yeah, if you're going through the trouble of ripping your entire CD collection why not do it right and encode to flac as well as mp3.
posted by 6550 at 1:57 PM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

I use AudioGrabber. Every year or two I try to use something new and I always go back to AudioGrabber because it's simple, fast, and works well. It uses FreeDB to name and tag things. Very occasionally I correct those names in MediaMonkey, but it's pretty much never needed.
posted by Nelson at 2:13 PM on May 18, 2010

I use EAC to do this, it's totally customizable to name/encode/tag files any way you want. For ripping to the iPod I always use burst mode. Secure mode is great for when you have to make a perfect copy, but usually not necessary.
posted by anazgnos at 5:02 PM on May 18, 2010

EAC will give the best results, uses LAME and can use any naming scheme you want. If you want quicker rips, use burst mode or CDex.
posted by turkeyphant at 5:18 PM on May 18, 2010

Thirding that you might as well rip to .flac if you're going to go to the trouble. It's very easy to batch convert to .mp3 after you're done.
posted by sockpup at 6:19 PM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

I still use CDex, even though I gather it's something of a dinosaur to modern kids these days [shakes cane]. It trades user friendliness and a pretty front end for the ability to let you customize a million different things, including the naming convention, file paths, etc.
posted by ErikaB at 6:30 PM on May 18, 2010

Nthing the suggestion to rip to FLAC in case you ever upgrade your kit or want to make subsequent copies in future. Lossless formats like FLAC are completely bit-perfect, but once you make an MP3 you can never get the lost data back and any further transcoding will cause irreversible deterioration in sound quality.

Also whilst iTunes can rip to MP3, it's encoder sounds horrible compared to LAME at the same (any) bit rate.

Ripping 200 CDs is time consuming, disk space is cheap. Do it once, do it right - choose FLAC.
posted by dirm at 8:33 PM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you're interested in secure ripping, this recent thread has more information on how to create a long-term archive and work around EAC's slowness.

I think dBpoweramp does what you want (not sure since I do not use it) but you have to purchase it - $36 for a lifetime license to the ripping software, but only a 1 year license to the metadata database access (needed for adding tags and album art automatically), which needs to be renewed each year for $5. You can try it for free for 21 days.
posted by Bangaioh at 4:32 AM on May 19, 2010

Best answer: Ok, well I'm not too concerned about ripping bit-perfect results to FLAC... These CDs have been sitting unlistened-to in a box for the last, oh, 5 years at least. And to be honest with you, my hearing isn't good enough that I can tell the difference between perfect cd quality and 192 kbps vbr. So let's ignore the "preserving my music perfectly for perpetuity" aspects of ripping.

I've given up on finding something that can do what I want all in one step, and decided to just stick with MediaMonkey. It rips the cds quickly, the sound quality seems pretty solid (MediaMonkey actually uses Lame to encode to mp3 as well), and gets them into the file naming format that I want. Having to do the extra step of grabbing the album art/missing track info from Amazon isn't really that huge of a deal, I can do it when I set MediaMonkey going on the next CD.
posted by antifuse at 8:34 AM on May 19, 2010

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