CD/Music Ripping Solution

Rancho Relaxo

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
219
Liberty, Mo.
Confession: I love buying CDs. Still. I know that says certain things about me, but I just can't get past not having a tangible thing in my hands to represent my music purchase. Problem is, I have fewer and fewer devices that play CDs (just our home stereo and cars).

So, I need to get ripping. I just don't have an optical drive anymore. I'd done plenty in the past (usually through Windows Media Player), but sometimes the results weren't the best.

I'd love recommendations on an external optical drive, file formats, software and possible playback device. The technical details:
  • I'd be ripping mostly from a Macbook Air. A bonus would be if the optical drive worked with PC, but that would apply to only my work laptop (which has some security restrictions that may render all this moot anyway).
  • I have a decent external hard drive to which I can back up/store all the files.
  • Playback would happen through a decent audio player (16GB HiFiMan HM700) and my iPhone 7 (256GB). I'd prefer a file format that works for both Apple and non-Apple playback devices. That's less of a big deal if I can get a nicer device that covers a wider range of audio formats.
  • Audio quality is important, but it doesn't have to be super-pristine. File size isn't super important, but it can be a factor. The 16GB player does limit things a bit.
Thanks so much for any advice here!
 

cgori

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Oct 2, 2004
2,435
SF, CA
I have had good results from fre:ac ( https://sourceforge.net/projects/bonkenc/ ) - that's free. To do auto-tagging beyond freedb I think you might need a CDDB account (or maybe you are ok tagging manually?).

For managing libraries, I was recommended, but haven't tried yet, MediaMonkey: http://www.mediamonkey.com/ - I don't know if MediaMonkey also rips.

MP3 is going to be the most-compatible for those devices - check if the HiFiMan supports VBR? - if not, do 256kbit or thereabouts. FLAC is great/best-quality but the file size is going to be a issue with your 16GB player, unless you are ok with ~500 tracks and rotating a lot (which maybe you are?)

You also might want to check out other players for the future. Maybe something like PonoPlayer - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PonoPlayer, even though it's not doing so well on the "music store" side of things at the moment, I think the device could be OK. It has 64GB internal and a microSD slot to store more. I'm sure there are others out there that I'm not aware of.

Or, just commit to using your phone full-time instead, but don't use AAC...
 

SumnerH

Malt Liquor Picker
Dope
Jul 18, 2005
25,975
Alexandria, VA
Rip to a lossless codec (e.g. FLAC). Save these on your computer. Encode to mp3 for syncing to your devices and playing everywhere, but by having the FLACs available you won't need to re-rip everything in a few years if you decide to go lossless or to a newer audio codec.
 

cgori

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Oct 2, 2004
2,435
SF, CA
This is a good point - for all my music I have full FLAC rips on a big network hard-drive, and then a parallel set of MP3s for use in portable players.
 

Rancho Relaxo

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
219
Liberty, Mo.
RR, how many CD's will you rip? Ballpark numbers for lossless and lossy compression are in the neighborhood of 10:1 and 2:1, and a CD with no empty space is about 700Mb.
I have hundreds of CDs, but aside from my initial pass (enough to fill up my MP3 player), I'll probably only rip them piecemeal or as I get new ones. I realize my portable player's 16GB may be limiting, but I'm okay with that if I have an easy way to get files on and off. My phone has a ton of space, but I know nothing about the various available players.