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 to MP3 Freeware
Try this CD ripper.
-- Bill Carmean

Fred, Re: burning MP3 files to CD -- I've stayed with the first thing I tried: Apple's iTunes. It's free, supports Windows as well as Macintosh, and doesn't require that you open an account with the iTunes store (where you can buy songs for 99 cents each). iTunes (the free player/burner) is so convenient and straightforward that it quickly became my central point for managing all of my digital music files well before I decided to open an iTunes account to add some selected songs to my library. I've burned several CDs using it, not only for backup of the tunes I've purchased but also to create mixes for our CD player. It's been great -- and couldn't be simpler.
-- Matthew Blaisdell

Hi Fred, Just wanted to recommend Apple's iTunes for both burning and "ripping" MP3's. In fact, I use it on my computer for all my music needs. It seems that by leaving out any support for video, Apple was able to design the perfect (IMHO) audio software. It can be used to set up playlists, either by song, or by criteria of your choice. As for burning CDs, you can choose to burn audio CD's or mp3 type CD's. The only quirk in the interface is that you have to go into preferences to make most changes; a bit unusual, but easy to get used to. Although I will probably never own an iPod, I think iTunes is a terrific piece of freeware.
-- Bruce

Dear Fred, For simplicity, to solve your reader's quest, I would suggest iTunes 4.7.1 for Windows 2000 or XP. For power users, I would suggest foobar 2000. For foobar, one must install the Audio CD Writer plug-in, which uses the engine from Nero Burning Rom. This is available from foobar's download (components) page. Both are free, have a track record, and are without known spyware. Of course, there are many other excellent programs that will produce reliable audio CDs from MP3 files that have a 30-day free trial period such as dBpowerAMP CD Writer 1.1. I hope this information is helpful.
-- Chuck Joseph

Fred...I was thinking of your upcoming long trip, since you said you aren't an MP3 maven, and your comment that you would rather carry an MP3 player than an actual CD player. So as requested, here are my experiences as well as suggestions for your trip, etc. This is a summary of what I use, that reflects my personal tastes at this time, but is always evolving and I hope will supply you with much discussion.

There are a number of tasks that you will need to do to keep your DAP (Digital Audio Player, please no MP3 Player) running smoothly. Four tasks that you may need software for are the following:

1) A ripper program for taking tracks off your CDs and turning them into FLAC or Monkey's Audio. I prefer FLAC 1.1.1 over Monkey's Audio 3.99 because of smoother playback and better hardware support. Also, FLAC is compatible on MAC/Linux, 24-bit support, and has sector boundary alignment. In addition, I use NERO 6 Ultra Edition 6.6 to make backup copies to DVD. It is much safer to rip to a lossless codec, such as FLAC, then transcode as new codecs evolve for MP3, WMA, OGG, etc. If you have a large CD collection, you only want to rip once.

2) A tagging program to organize the tags attached to your music files.

3) An audio-editing program for deleting bits of songs you do not want, joining songs, etc.

4) A program for creating the database so you can select the music you want to play by genre, artist, or album.

A) Rippers: I rip using fault-free EAC (Exact Audio Copier) to FLAC and then make Ogg Vorbis files for my iRiver H340 (DAP, yes it plays mp3s). I personally think WMA is no better than and probably inferior to MP3s at mid to high bit-rates based on my own personal listening tests.

B) Taggers: I use Tag and Rename 3.1.7

C) Audio editor: I use Audacity 1.2.3 , it's simple and free.

D) Database generators: I use Irivium Explorer 8.7.0 software by Red Chair Software. They make software for a number of the better DAPs on the market. Fred, you may find the iRiver H340 ideal for your trip since it not only supports MP3, WMA, ASF, and OGG music files, FM transmission to your car radio, but has an integrated voice recorder for your musings.
-- dr_cj

Fred, I've used several programs, including Musicmatch (not free, by the way). I'm happiest with iTunes, believe it or not. You can burn music files to CD in MP3 format, in AAC format, or in the format used by audio CDs. I've never had it fail. It's free, of course. I installed it to buy music from iTunes, but later figured out it was a great program for organizing music files. (For the record, I only bought an iPod quite recently.) The only downside is that it is a big program.
-- Matt Chambers

Just my two cents worth: Apple's iTunes software is the best I've used so far in ripping and burning MP3s. Using it to make an audio CD is a snap: make a play list, insert a blank CD, click a button. That's it. Regards.
-- Daniel J Zook

Hi, Fred, Regarding burn CD, the best free software is Feurio, try it and you will love it, I have burned hundreds of CDs with this software, you can even create a CD label with this, too. This is shareware, so if you want to register to help is fine, or not, the trial version is full featured, it just nagging you to register. This is a German software program, excellent: You can also visit for more programs! Happy burning :-))
-- Nguyen

Fred, I have been using the best one for the past few years now, a program named Feurio. While it's not exactly freeware, it's shareware, you can download an unlimited trial version that isn't crippled in any way, for free. To me, this is the absolute best program for burning audio CD's (freeware, shareware. And retail) available.
-- Daniel L. Belton

CD Burner Pro
I have been using CD Burner Pro for several years and have had zero problems with it.
-- Bob Pitcher

HT Fireman
I found your article on mp3 burning helpful and informative. I have had many of the same problems with freeware. (Unusual interface, spyware) But there are exceptions where the freeware version becomes my preferred application. HT Fireman is a program I have used for many months to do data backups. I was impressed with its simplicity, speed, and reliability. I was surprised to hear that it had trouble with audio burning, but since I had never used it for audio I put in a disc and tried it out. It performed the task quite well and all of the discs I asked it to burn worked in my stereo system.
-- Bob Smock

Fred: I sympathized with Ken Laninga, looking for a neat MP3 burner. I, too, had a similar round of experiences including Nero burning at 52X on 48x CDR. I am trialing the Ashampoo downloadable from here or here. It's donation-ware. No nags or adware and from monitoring my firewall, it does not appear to be doing any communicating away from my PC. I just burnt a 440-MB CDR of my daughter's favorite tunes: easy to use and throws in a radio tuner. It's German-designed software. Happy burning to your readers.
-- Mike Boyce

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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