The Big Rip

by Volker Weber


Started to rip all my last century's CD collection to MP3 today. 6 GB down, with at least another 60 GB coming up.


What software are you using to do the ripping? I have over 5000 CDs to do.

Roy Rumaner, 2009-10-19

If album covers were easier to find. Most rippers use Amazon as an image source and their images are full of jpeg artifacts.

Hanno Zulla, 2009-10-19

Roy, is that a trick question? What does it look like? :-) 5000 CDs? Well, how do you eat an elephant? In small bites. Just get going.

Hanno, that is indeed the hardest part.

Volker Weber, 2009-10-19

Maybe coverscout is a good recommendation for missing album covers. I used the old version 2 that was free in a mac magazin. It is not perfect but works well.

Miguel Augusto, 2009-10-19

Is this mainly a re-rip or do you rip the CDs for the first time? Which parameters do you use?

Armin Auth, 2009-10-19

So far I only ripped on demand, now I am doing a full rip. 192 kbps MP3.

Volker Weber, 2009-10-19

I did the same with my slightly smaller CD collection last winter, but i used Max as the tool of my choice. After reading some comments better ripping and better encoding than iTunes. And uses MusicBrainz for disc detection and tagging giving IMHO better results than iTunes. Covers can be loaded from different sources (mostly Amazon), but it is generally ok.

I had one case of CD rot in the whole batch, CD totally unreadable. And some with problems, but not so much.

Dirk Steins, 2009-10-19

George Massenburg speaks about mp3s. The first 5 minutes are very interesting! link

Miguel Augusto, 2009-10-19

why don't you rip to a lossless format? Than you'll know you never have to rip again. The harddisk space shouldn't be an issue anymore.
And i can recommend DbPoweramp with the All music guide access for ripping.

Bram Withaar, 2009-10-19

Why? Because I never want to worry about file formats.

Volker Weber, 2009-10-19

I ripped to a lossless format (flac), exactly because I never want to worry about file formats again.

Hanno Zulla, 2009-10-19


why do You rip all the CDs now ... any reason to change your on-demand policy?

ciao tpk

Thomas Koester, 2009-10-19

that's why i ripped to flac (never want to worry about a format). And to lossless for the quality. Why throw away musical information by ripping it to something lossy.

Bram Withaar, 2009-10-19

Thomas, weil ich sonst nix finde.

Guys, I am just not as perfect as you FLAC rippers. I have iPods and mobile phones that don't play FLAC, both our car stereos don't understand it. My hearing is lossy, my hair is as well. And I can't tell a FLAC from an MP3 if I don't see the file name.

This discussion is unavoidable, isn't it? Sigh.

Volker Weber, 2009-10-19

vowe, maybe Bram and Hanno have more hair, too? ;-)

I have all MP3s, too, ripped all my discs in weeks of evenings killed by this activity. But it was worth it. MP3 is simply the most widely supported format by all kinds of players. And even if I could hear the difference given perfect equipment, I don't listen to my music on perfect equipment in perfect environments. Usually I listen to it while I'm traveling, usually in noisy environments. And even my home stereo aren't as perfect.

And yes, probably this kind of discussion is unavoidable in a techie forum like this. :-) And that's part of why I'm here :-)

Ragnar Schierholz, 2009-10-19

I guess the utopian idea is rip twice - once to flac (or whatever), then you can throw away your CDs (or shove them into very long term storage), and then rip on demand from the lossless to mobile friendly format - personally, my current setting is 192K AAC. But I haven't done this lossless rip yet either, so I'm curious what others are doing.

Kevan Emmott, 2009-10-19

I've ripped my collection of ~600-700 albums last winter with iTunes / 192 kbit/s. Made about 30 CDs during an afternoon of watching TV.

Now I think 256 kbit/s might have been a better decision. Maybe deicating an external 1GB disc, doing the ripping lossless and then compressing the lossless data to MP3 with the bitrate of your liking might be the optimum strategy. You could even do 2 different bitrates - smaller files for iPod. the lossless data would also become the backup.

of course this may be overengineered.

Arnd Layer, 2009-10-19

All I want is a good, future-proof backup of my digital music collection in case the original CDs turn unreadable. I already have some old original CDs that are difficult to rip today, due to scratches or just aging. And IMHO, a good future-proof backup is a lossless one for me, now that hard disk space is cheap.

I'm not a hifi snop and usually cannot spot any difference between MP3 and FLAC. Kevan is right, my FLAC-backup is used to do on-demand encodings to a mobile friendly format.

Hanno Zulla, 2009-10-19

Ripping (192/MP3/iTunes) was done half a year ago, but it took me months to complete and correct track information. Some covers are simply not online, but there are things like scanners ;)
I'm still buying CDs when it's reasonable. It's ripped, it's done.
Regarding FLAC: There are very few moments when I'm listening to music doing nothing else - therefore there are still CDs I can use to swing these dynaudio speakers - for the rest of the time MP3 is quite good enough. Finding a title works also with MP3 (as long as you didn't get these misspelled CDDB entries and don't correct them)...

Steffen Pelz, 2009-10-20

Well.... I guess whatever the file format, it must take up a bit less space than 8,000 LPs...

Nick Daisley, 2009-10-20


if you want to get rid of (part of) your CD collection after ripping, I can recommend They buy nearly every CD (and DVD) and pay from next to nothing to amazingly high prices.

Thomas Gamradt, 2009-10-20

FLAC as a source for future ripping makes sense to me. But I don’t see the point of using lossless formats for day-to-day listening. That smacks of the hi-fi snobbery of old, where people bought hugely expensive components and interlinks for purity of signal, etc. Utter rot when one considers (for example) that high-frequency hearing ability reduces with age.

Ben Poole, 2009-10-20

Until I get old - even though sometimes I overhear remarks that indeed I am not so young any more - I rip all my CDs with Apple lossless just for the reason that I might have to burn them on a CD again without quality loss...

Jan Fuellemann, 2009-10-20

Ben, you mean I should not have bought the 999 € power cable? ;-)

Volker Weber, 2009-10-20

nice taste in music I see, love Steely Dan,....

Tommy Oustad, 2009-10-20

>Utter rot when one considers (for example) that
>high-frequency hearing ability reduces with age.

This is a common mistake.
Assuming one's upper hearing threshold level is down to 9 kHz. Though this person hears differences when listening to music in full frequency spectrum or low pass filtered at 9 (or 10 / 11 / 12 ...) kHz.
I can't remember the details of the explanation give in a book about listening room acoustics. It has something to do with the ramp response time of amplitudes. The conclusion is, that low pass filtered music does not only sound muffled (depending on the cutting frequency), but also sounds less dynamic.
I never did tests by myself, since this is of no concern for me. My music lives in flac files, when from CD in cd resolution, when downloaded in 24/96. The small part of my collection which is suitable for ipod's head phones or the car is converted from flac into mp3, dynamic bit rate.

Helmut Weiss, 2009-10-20

I ripped all my CDs in 1996 or 1997. That was definitely to early. The MP3 tags were poorly maintained. Not to talk about album covers.

Felix Binsack, 2009-10-20

Read the discussion threads here and I have a question for you experts. I've done my share of ripping over time from the days Musicmatch started to now using iTunes, well by now I mean the last time I ripped a CD. Since iTunes sells the music now at 256K no DMR, well I thought (perhaps wrong assumption from a neophyte) it made no sense anymore to buy plastic disks that collect dust and with time contribute to the pollution of our environment plus I benefit from not having to take the time to rip them!!

Any comments as to what flaws my thinking may have?


Jose Alonso Leon, 2009-10-20

@Jose - I don't even buy the downloads so much now - well, I still do if I really, really like the music. But mostly I just listen using Spotify and/or

I have in the past ripped almost all of my old CDs and I have used lossy formats for the most part, except where the CD is very rare and precious in which case I rip both losslessly (for the archive) and to some lossy format (to use).

My rips are a mix of MP3 and (gasp) WMA which offers better sound quality for a given bit rate and plays without any problems on every media player device I use.

Chris Linfoot, 2009-10-20

Thanks Chris, I'm personally a fan of all Rogue Amoeba products and for radio listening I use Radioshift which has a built in Audio Hijack feature plus it gives me access to most of the Internet broadcasted radio stations but also live stations worldwide

I too find that I have downloaded much less then I used to from iTunes because I am able to buy only the one piece I may like in an album where in the past I had to buy the complete CD. But my real question was, is the audio quality I get when buying from Apple as good as what has been discussed in these threads?

Jose Alonso Leon, 2009-10-20

@Jose - yet there are still CDs you cannot buy online. The new Beatles boxes for instance. And there are collector editions: Nice boxes, tons of information, concert posters etc.
On the other hand there is a lot of music in studio recording resolution which you cannot buy on CD...
CDs and downloads are coexisting peacefully

Helmut Weiss, 2009-10-20

Apple's 128kbps tracks were really not very good - but no MP3 at 128kbps is really good enough for my ears, whatever the provenance.

I've never tried Apple's 256kbps tracks but they must be a lot better and probably comparable with the quality of rips you could make yourself (and, as you say, they come without DRM).

Chris Linfoot, 2009-10-20

Thanks a lot Helmut and Chris for your replies. I feel good then about having made the jump into the new ways offered by technology. I trusted my ears and you guys confirmed that they still have their use, won't have to do a Van Gogh thing here...:-)

Helmut you are very right in your statement about not all materials being available online but Apple and others seem to have noticed this market need and they have started to sell albums with all the stuff we once could find in print included in the purchase of vinyls and then CDs. With time we will have the paperless (plasticless) music world....:-) And this planet will be in better shape.

Jose Alonso Leon, 2009-10-20

Therefore I love macs: insert CD - rip - ready.

Henrik Heigl, 2009-10-20

@Henrik - there are even "laptop-less" solutions like this: RipNAS

This device rips the CD automatically, collects meta infos like Tags and Covers form internet sources and serves it via UPNP. In combination with a Linn DS player, controlled via iPod or iPhone (where you can scroll though playlists and see meta infos & covers) it is a sort of "Sonos functionality", without the yoghurt cup like plastic feeling. See here: Linn

If course any upnp player would do...

Helmut Weiss, 2009-10-20

I just found out that RIPnas is now using Windows home. I thought they used Linux in the past... anyway, it remains a comfortable solution.

Helmut Weiss, 2009-10-20

Vowe, I do not understand.

Above, there is no discussion on how bad those lossy jpgs are that Amazon dares to put on their website for others to mine for album art. Yet, the suggestion of needing or wanting a certain sound quality in order to enjoy the music recording is countered with arguments about expensive cables or file types. You have trained yourself to see the difference between one jpg and another, but when it comes to sound, you consistently resist to accept even the possibility that you hear better than you say you do.

Experiencing music is not about just the frequency domain, hearing loss or presbycusis. Sure, physical hearing problems will make things more difficult, but that is only a part of the story. Musical experience is about training the brain that is attached to the ear, on the many levels that are available, from music to sound, and hopefully, back to music.

Would you be interested in exploring this, just because you're too poor to buy into an idea of lesser quality?

Frans Swarte, 2009-10-20

I converted my whole cd collection (+- 200 cd's) to Nero disc image (NRG) files and wrote a little script to mount the images in a virtual drive (DAEMON Tools), fire up itunes, get the ID3 info from gracenote, rip the virtual disc with the current ITunes rip settings, un-mount the disc, write an exception report for any errors and repeat with next cd. Worked well, if I want to change from the mp3 format to Apple Lossless, I can just change the settings in iTunes and run the script over night.

Bliksim Nelson, 2009-10-20

Didn't want to start a discussion on wether FLAC sounds better than MP3 or not. Futile discussion, anyway. FLAC is a fine lossless backup format on the big disk at home, so that there is no need to re-rip whenever a better lossy format comes up in the future.

Hanno Zulla, 2009-10-20

Yeah, i really know what kind of work you have now.
As i´m leaving europe, i think first about to take all the CD and DVDs with.
Seeing the pricing for additional weight, i decided to rip them all.

Music CD done with iTunes, Movie DVDs was ripped with handbrake (great working on mac, also for the locked one).

After 4 Weekends just doing a lot of stupid changing work it was done, and now all available in the network.

Good luck for your actions there !

ingo Harpel, 2009-10-21

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


Paypal vowe