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!

CD Burner XP Pro
I've been using CDBurnerXP Pro at work because it's free and better than what comes with our CD burners (Iomega HotBurn). I've been though several versions without any problems. One thing I did notice early on -- if I try to access the burned CD before ejecting it, the system doesn't recognize it. If I eject it and reinsert it -- no problem. I've used it to burn from MP3's and also to rip from existing CDs and it works great -- especially for free!
-- Art Hoffman

I use CDBurnerXP Pro 3 and have not had any failures with XP SP2. I went to this burner when the provided program couldn't burn a bootable disk from a file (a la Langalist instructions for making a XP SP2 bootdisk).
-- Cary Orlandi

Fred, Musicmatch has a free version that can burn MP3s to CD. The free version is feature-limited -- burning a CD is enabled, but might not be at full speed. For the turntable-to-PC connection, Radio Shack has a Magnetic Cartridge Stereo Preamp (part number: 970-1018) for $25 that will solve the line-input-level issue. Thanks.
-- Curt Bates

Fred, I've been slowly converting ALL of my tapes and vinyl (incl 78s!) to MP3 files and ultimately I burn CDs from the best of the bunch. I spent weeks researching the best tools to use for the conversion, giving preference to free utilities but not to the point of obsession. All told, I have 8,665 "tracks" of music in my dbase. (I have ripped about 3,200 of those from "old media"). In the last 6 months I have burned 150 CDs. I use Musicmatch Jukebox on my Power Laptop but MMJB is a bit of a resource hog so I use WinAmp on my old Win 98 desktop (both applications are free but I spent the dough to upgrade to MMJB Pro for the extras, particularly the easy sync to my MP3 players). WinAmp has a lot more bells and whistles, but I don't like it as much. There are a lot of programs to remove tape hiss and crackle and pops, but IMHO the easiest to use (and the most bang for your buck) is Magix Audio Cleaning Lab 2005, which costs $39. However, I use an old utility (Cool Edit 96) which you can still find FREE on the Net and I get acceptable results with it on when converting good tapes and records (that haven't been terribly abused).
-- Bill Hartford

The best program for burning CD's will have to be Musicmatch Jukebox. It's not free, but is worth every dime.
-- Bill Wylds

Fred, the program that I use the most for burning is Musicmatch. I find this to be the best piece of software that I've downloaded and paid for. I can rip music into mp3, mp3 pro, wma. I use Musicmatch to convert mp3s to mp3 pro format (smaller format so you can put more on a CD) and I use the program to rename files in bulk. Musicmatch will also create a CD label or CD jewel box with up to 150 titles on the insert. It will also search for album art and place it on the cover. When burning mp3s Music Match will show you in red the file names that are too long for a disk and also will do a smart split if you have too many files for one CD. I have a CD/MP3 player and I create a data disk placing my files in directories. I use Musicmatch for burning all of my data disks, too. It's just the best program all around -- you have to register it for $19.95 to get the burner part of Musicmatch, but I've been using it for a few years now and it's really is the only piece of software that I use for burning. I have Sonic Record, Nero, Click and Burn, and have tried a variety of the free programs out there but have always gone back to Musicmatch for playing, ripping, burning, labeling. I LOVE this software.
-- Colleen Simpson

You can't go wrong with Musicmatch Jukebox.
-- Blakader68

Hi. You'll probably get a ton of letters about this, so I hope mine doesn't get lost in the shuffle. I've been into the whole MP3 thing since back when Napster was free, and the best burning software I've ever used is Musicmatch Jukebox. You can pick up a freeware copy of version 10 (the latest) at, but I highly recommend the getting older version 8, as its more reliable. There are still sites out there that archive the older versions all the way back to the program's beta. Try it.
-- Gabe Sepko

My free versions of Musicmatch and RealPlayer have CD-burning features. I believe Windows Media Player does also, although I've not tried it. The only problem I've found is that they will only copy music files that are already loaded onto the players. You can't, for instance, copy photo files or other documents with them. I use Nero for copying just about everything to a CD, but have used the others when I was having trouble with Nero. Incidentally, Nero apparently has a compatibility problem with Service Pack 2, but there's a free download with an updated version that solves this.
-- Bob Fakler

Hello, Fred, I always read your newsletter with interest, but find myself mostly on the learning side of things rather than the sharing side. I am pleased to share my fantastic experience with Musicmatch CD Burner. I have burned hundreds of CD's with this tool, not only music (almost all mp3, some wma) but also general storage of all kinds of other files and picture discs. Nothing but good to report with this software. Hope this helps...
-- Roland

Musicmatch has a free player that rips to MP3, and burns CDs from MP3s, but at a slower rate than the paid version. The paid version is only $29.95, and well worth the price, in my estimation. I bought the retail version at v7.2 which is a couple of years old. They are up to version 10, I believe, so I can't tell you about the current version. The newer versions also have better support for downloading to portable MP3 players, although some players supply a separate plug-in to be used with Musicmatch. Hope this helps!
-- Bryan A. Gerbis

Hi Fred, I've used both "Nero 6" and Roxio's "Easy CD Creator 6" with no trouble at all and I can highly recommend either one. "Nero Express" is included in the bundle with Nero 6 and Roxio 6 includes "Creator Classic" which is my favorite for burning anything, be it a Data CD, Music CD, or an Mp3 Disc, very quickly.
-- Bernie

Hi, Fred, I have used Nero 6.0 with InCD and have had no troubles at all. I have a Memorex 52 x 32 x 52 CD burner and have on occasion downloaded a song from WinMX. These songs have an extension of MP3 but work very well on my CD ROM drive. InCD is used to format CD RW discs to be used as large capacity floppy discs. I put all of my digital photos on those type CDs and there's room for about 1,000 pictures on each disc. The downloaded songs may be converted to an actual MP3 designation by using db Power Amp Music Converter, which is freeware. Once converted, they can no longer be played on anything but an MP3 player. Since the RIAA trials have scared everyone (including me) off, I haven't been downloading any music for fear that it would be illegal. Warm regards.
-- Chet Smith

Hi Fred. In the blind community we're always burning or ripping CDs. I started out a few years ago using Roxio's Easy CD Creator but most of the programs that come with it blind people can't use. I think it's overkill. Last year, I started using Nero Burning Cdrom and I like it well enough. It has some programs that blind people can't use, but it has a straightforward interface and it works quite well with screen-reading software. I also like Easy CD-DA Extractor from Poikosoft and when I just want to copy CD to CD I choose CloneCD. These are all fine programs.
-- djc

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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