Need advice on archiving my CD/DVD collection.
January 29, 2013 9:34 AM   Subscribe

Here's what I want to do. 1. put cd/dvd in drive of computer 2. rip it 3. software places files in folder structure I define 4. spits out cd/dvd and does it all over again. Ultimately what I'd like to do is create a digital library of all my music and movies in one central place so my smart tv/computers/tablets/phones have access to the media whenever and wherever. Please flood me with suggestions. I'm a noob at this.
posted by Mantix to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Is there a reason you're opposed to using iTunes, at least for the music CDs?
posted by Sara C. at 9:42 AM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

Windows only:

I just did this. Many people will give you advice, nearly all will tell you to use Exact Audio Copy -- which I also advise. Go ahead and download it now while you're waiting for more info. Read this guide for advice on configuring. I recommend FLAC for a save format.

Then you can use Foobar 2000 for batch converting all those files. It works great for this, and also for playing music.

Could you use iTunes? Yes, but it's not as good for converting large batches of stuff, and it's a bit clumsier to manage all the recording files. Foobar 2000 makes it easy to do a large conversion of medium-quality MP3's into one location, and another conversion of high-quality AACs (or MP3s) into another location, and so forth.
posted by amtho at 9:51 AM on January 29, 2013

On a Mac, you can use an app like XLD for audio CDs, which gives you similar control over file format and folder structure the way the aforementioned Exact Audio Copy would on a PC. It's free.

For video, the free Handbrake is the most commonly cited app, although I don't know if it can do an automated insert-rip-eject workflow like you wanted. Simpler, somewhat more user-friendly apps like Mac DVDRipper Pro or RipIt might be preferable if you don't mind spending a little money for something that requires less user input. (Although honestly Handbrake isn't really hard, most of the time you just choose a preset and press one button.)
posted by bcwinters at 10:19 AM on January 29, 2013

Music wise, the process is divided into ripping, adding meta-data, storage and playback.
Itunes - together with iTunes Match is not a bad solution to the last part of the chain and it lets you play back your music from anywhere - it also lets you upgrade your sound quality if you have any music which is of a poorer quality than Apple's copy. Lose any one of your devices and your music collection lives on.

You could get by OK just by ripping the sound files and then playing them back - but you will get much more out of your collection if you store good metadata about each track. For doing this I like beaTunes. Given a music file it will go off and find the cover, the lyrics, the key, the tempo, the composer, the genre and even the tags that LastFm listeners have used to label the track. If you have all this information then it becomes much easier to assemble your music into interesting playlists. The tool also takes an anally-retentive approach to worrying about your data; it offers to correct existing information that it thinks is wrong (and it is pretty good at being right in its assumptions).
posted by rongorongo at 10:34 AM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Is there a reason you're opposed to using iTunes, at least for the music CDs?

If they're going to sit on the hard drive, you really might as well rip them as lossless flacs. And I don't think I'm the only windows user whose previous experiences with Apple software were bad enough to put Apple in the DO NOT INSTALL category.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:21 AM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

MakeMKV will do what you want for video DVDs.
posted by Aizkolari at 11:46 AM on January 29, 2013

> Read this guide for advice on configuring

I know I linked to that guide in a previous answer but I can't really advise using it anymore. Its only mention of AccurateRip (the single most useful component of secure ripping) is in the offsets section, and most pages were last updated as far back as 2005. While most of the information there is still correct, one can attain even better understanding with the HydrogenAudio wiki, which has up-to-date and even more detailed step-by-step instructions for configuring EAC. Ripping has never been easier, there's really no point in using EAC's Secure mode (or even Burst Test & Copy) by default.

Here's what I want to do. 1. put cd/dvd in drive of computer 2. rip it 3. software places files in folder structure I define 4. spits out cd/dvd and does it all over again.

2. Do you care about secure ripping? If so, use either EAC, CUERipper, foobar2000 (all free) or dBpoweramp (paid), all Windows-only. For Mac there's XLD. Ripper comparison. If you don't care about secure ripping, then anything will do. Note that in most cases you can get AccurateRip verification (and thus the highest possible confidence that your rip was good) with simple burst extraction, so IMO there's no reason to not choose one of the AR-enabled rippers, they can be just as fast as any other. I personally suggest either EAC or CUERipper, since they're the only programs that can submit error correction data to the CUETools database, and that may help other users in correcting their bad rips in the future, I've already used it a couple of times to fix some CDs that were giving me trouble.

3. I think you can configure the folder structure with all rippers but if not foobar2000 will take care of that for you if your files are properly tagged. Tagging is the most difficult and time-consuming part, with EAC and even dBpoweramp I regularly need to correct/edit the metadata myself.
posted by Bangaioh at 3:21 PM on January 29, 2013

My solution was to stuff 3 old optical drives with good support for digital audio extraction into my PC , fire up three copies of CUERipper and use it to convert each disc to a single FLAC file + CUE sheet.

Most of our music was already in iTunes match, so I was most concerned about future flexibility, rather than near-term utility. I figured that if it came down to it, FLAC+CUE gave me the option of mounting things as virtual CDs and letting another tool create individual MP3s or AAC files. There are also plenty of tools that can do the conversions directly from the FLAC+CUE.

I went to the trouble of setting up a CUDA FLAC encoder that took advantage of the GPU, but I don't think it was really worthwhile since it didn't take my ancient Athlon64 all that long to do the lossless encoding anyway.

CUERipper comes with some presets for filenames/directory structures, but I don't recall liking any of them so I created my own, which was basically to have a single folder per artist, and then use a reasonable subset of the metadata for the filenames.

A few details you might want to consider:
* I chose CUERipper over Exact Audio Copy because it added another layer of rip validity checking. As I recall, it also drew from a broader range of sources for Metadata.
* I don't think CUERipper automatically ejects the disc and starts a new rip when a disc is inserted. It takes a few clicks. This overhead wasn't really a big issue because I was doing 3 discs at a time and it gave me a chance to eyeball things and make sure everything looked right before starting a rip, or after the rip was finished.
* It can take a long time to get a good rip of some discs, particularly older ones, so the time saved by having everything fully automatic isn't a huge efficiency boon.
* Discs that I'd used more than once or twice (ie all the discs I purchased previous to the iPod-era)
needed some amount of cleaning.
* Even after cleaning, some discs didn't rip well in the first drive I tried them in, but most of those worked fine when switched to another drive. Some though didn't work well in any of the three drives. EAC was useful in salvaging a few of those, but there were one or two that I couldn't rip without errors, no matter what I tried.
* Have some sort of backup scheme in place before you start ripping, and make sure you use it from the start. I was lazy about it and ended up having an unreadable NTFS partition about 2/3rds of the way through. Fortunately with the help of some linux data recovery tools and some LONG waits while they pulled data off, I didn't have to re-rip anything due to the drive corruption.
* My final suggestion is to try and break the process into stages as best you can. Go through and clean batches of discs and then rip them. If one of the discs gives you trouble, set it aside and deal with all the troublesome discs at once. I'd also suggest accepting the default metadata and album art when you rip (assuming you start with the single FLAC+CUE approach I used, and save the fine tuning for later, when you are using a tool that is optimized for tagging. Then, once you have the archival form in good shape, you can generate MP3 and/or OggVorbis and/or AAC files in one big batch and have them saved in whatever folder structure you decide is most useful.

As to how you organize it, and how fussy you want to get with the metadata, or photographing your own CD inserts, I can't help you :)
posted by Good Brain at 4:12 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

I chose CUERipper over Exact Audio Copy because it added another layer of rip validity checking. As I recall, it also drew from a broader range of sources for Metadata.

The latest version of EAC now includes the CUETools plug-in that in addition to verifying/submitting to the CTDB also allows EAC to look for metadata in the MusicBrainz and Discogs databases.

there were one or two that I couldn't rip without errors, no matter what I tried

Have you recently tried repairing them with CUETools? Since the inclusion of the plugin in EAC the number of submissions has exploded, and if the damage isn't too extensive you may now be able to fix those rips.
posted by Bangaioh at 4:43 PM on January 29, 2013

« Older Art/photo stock sites: have you earned anything on...   |   Can you please help me to free my car? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.