Langa Letter: Converting Audio Files? Let 'Er Rip! - InformationWeek

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02:28 AM
Fred Langa
Fred Langa

Langa Letter: Converting Audio Files? Let 'Er Rip!

Readers suggest more MP3 and audio-file tools than you can shake a memory stick at!

I'm using CDex 1.40 Release for ripping, this one is free, downloaded from Cnet. I'm using this software for about three years now, I haven't tried to upgrade yet because I'm still satisfied with it. Here's the link for the latest releases. Then I use my software that came with my Sony CD writer for making audio cd for personal compilation.
-- Bryan C. Bulusan

Simple, free, and it works ...
Regards, Adri Genis

There is one tool, and only one, for ripping MP3s -- CDex. Free, high quality, a bit complex on the initial configuration (but the defaults mostly work OK), and after that, it's toss in a CD and let 'er rip. It's available on sourceforge.
-- Charles Miller

They are FREE, Windows apps, really fantastic: cdex 1.51: Makes the WAV files from CDs. And Oggdrop makes the encoded .OGG (like MP3) computer files. It's a simple drag-and-drop GUI encoder; no nonsense, just works. It's really so simple, no joke. To make high-quality ogg audio files, from a CD.

All I do is ...
1) Use CDex to make the .wav files FROM a music CD. 2) use Oggdrop, just highlight all of the WAV files and drag and drop them into Oggdrop. At this point, the WAV files are not needed and deleted, and the original CD is also not needed, can be given away or returned to the library.
-- Alan Neill

I've had good luck burning data disks with Deep Burner.
-- AG Wright

I use jetAudio. It will burn, rip, convert, record, broadcast, and play more media files than I care to mention. The free version has no limitations that I can find. I use it on all 3 of mine, 2 of my sisters' and my mother's computers without any problems. This thing just works. It will convert and rip between 10 formats for audio. I use it on my Duron 650 with no hiccups or glitches. You can rip, convert, or burn while playing whatever you want. I don't use anything else other than foobar2000 for playing.
-- Bill Harder

Fred, jetAudio is the best of all the tools I've used... jetAudio does it all, I haven't found a need for anything else. Rips, converts, burns, etc. I do have the paid version but I believe the basic (freeware) version will do what you need...
-- Aimé Watts

Use jetAudio Plus, it works, enough said. It will rip from CDA to mp3, and allow you from mp3 320khz to burn an mp3 or CDA back at the target.
-- Andrew Beiler

Hi Fred, I use jetAudio for all my mp3 needs. It's free for the basic download and the mp3 add-on pack is only $8.95. Not bad for everything you can do with this application.
-- Brian

Exact Audio Copy
I've found that Exact Audio Copy (FREE!) works best. It's available here and a good page that tells you how to tweak it is available here. It uses the LAME 3.90.3 (by Dibrom) codec, which is by far the best.
-- Brad Pollina

Hi Fred: I'm sure you have heard by now: Exact Audio Copy is the free tool Ken has been looking for. Although it requires a "little" tweaking to get it going with MP3s (it invokes an external MP3 codec routine, such as LAME), this audio application is simply unmatched when it comes time to compress or decompress your audio CD collection. With a true Beginner mode and several online tutorials available, the setup -- and use -- is painless; we are talking one-button operation here, literally. But if you happen to know your way around WAV files and burners, boy, are you in for a treat. The Expert mode yields more customizable parameters than you could ever have dreamed possible, and then some. This gem supports FreeDB access (no need to type-in the album and individual song titles) as well as cue sheets -- for people in the know ;-). Here is the link. Andre Wiethoff wrote the code and supports it through a public discussion board, the Digital-Inn. This software is 'Cardware': you are supposed to send a postcard to Germany for registration... I have yet to find something as powerful yet as easy to use as EAC for the same price.
-- A. Grenier

Fred, I spent a good decade or so collecting audio recordings of live shows (many bands actually allow audience members to record their shows, e.g., the Grateful Dead, Phish, etc.), and there are a lot of resources for traders. Let me next say that live-show traders can be some of the most particular and exacting individuals I have ever met -- especially any trader who actually recorded the show himself with his own equipment. The slippery-slope fear of show-trading (i.e., the same artists that allow people to record their shows also allow them to be traded and copied for non-commercial use) is that poor recordings and trading habits contaminate the 'pool' and threaten to eradicate the 'clean' recordings. Now, in the days of analog, you expected to get third- or fourth-generation cassettes, because there was only one original copy. The onset of the digital age allowed something entirely new: making exact copies of the recording and passing on the ability to make further exact copies without actually possessing the original master. Of course, for this to work, we had to get the growing numbers of traders educated about lossless compression and DAO burning. Casual standards started to emerge, and the overall winner of the CD burner software of choice became Exact Audio Copy. The guys making the original recordings made sure to split tracks on sector boundaries, so if your software was able to burn the discs properly, there would be no little clicks or gaps between tracks. The Internet Archive and the music-trading community have a page set up that includes just about every worthwhile piece of software for the audiophile: Scroll down the page for the playing/burning/ripping software. Take care! Christopher Harvey

EAC, aka Exact Audio Copy, takes ANY CD and rips it; it's free. Then I use MKW to convert to .shn's and MP3's. If you are installing mkwACT for the first time on a Windows 95/98/NT PC, you must install the mkwACT Runtime Libraries first! If you are using Windows 2000 or XP, you do not need to install the mkwACT Runtime Libaries. I did my own tutorial for making shn files.
-- [name not given]

I use Exact Audio Copy (EAC), and have found it excellent -- it can produce variable bitrate mp3 files, thus complex music has a higher encoding rate, whereas simple speech has a lower rate. This facility optimizes the mp3 file size, without compromising quality. A separate encoder has to be downloaded from LAME (see below) to make use of this facility. Alternatively, a set bit rate (128, 192, etc.) can be used. Link for details, plus good links on how-tos and mp3 encoding files. Hydrogen Audio is a good place to start. Link for recommended LAME Encoder file.
-- Regards, Andrew Willard

Fred, Here's a few guidelines to use when burning MP3s to CD, regardless of what software you're using:

  1. Always use brand-name media -- not the "label-less" discs you get on sale at CompUSA, Fry's, etc.
  2. Don't burn audio CD's any faster than 24x, or 4x if you're burning the discs specifically to use in a car CD player.
  3. Always finalize the disc after burning, and use the "disc at once" mode rather than the "track at once" mode.

As far as the software side of the equation goes, I believe that Exact Audio Copy will burn back to disc just as easily as it rips from discs. You would just need to download the Nero ASPI Layer (if you don't already have CD-burning software) from here, placing that file in the same directory as Exact Audio Copy. Hope this helps!
-- Doug McCloud

Acoustica MP3 CD Burner
Adaptec CD Creator
Audio Catalyst
Burn Quick
Cakewalk Pyro
CD Burner Pro
CD Burner XP Pro
CD Extreme

CD to MP3 Freeware
Cheetah Burner
Creative OEM Software
Disc Master
Easy CD-DA Extractor
Exact Audio Copy
Express Burn
Free Rip
HT Fireman

J. River Media Center
Real Audio
Shorten Files
Windows Media Player

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