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  • 4000010: A Guide to Archiving RedBook Standard Audio CD’s

    Home Forums Knowledge Base 4000010: A Guide to Archiving RedBook Standard Audio CD’s

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      • #2278467 Reply

        AKB4000010: A Guide to Archiving RedBook Standard Audio CD’s

        By @netdef

        Published July 8th, 2020 | Rev: 1.0


        I am not a lawyer, but here’s my non-lawyer-speak personal understanding of how the law in the United States treats copying music CD’s you own. (I might be wrong. You should not take my word for it.)

        Let us assume you are making personal copies of Compact Disks that you own to play on personal devices for yourself. You must possess the originals to legally keep your archival copies. If you don’t have the originals anymore you are expected to delete your copies. Excuses like bags-o-holding disappearing are not acceptable defenses.

        Don’t pirate music; don’t loan or share your originals (after making copies) and especially don’t upload or share the copies themselves. Don’t give away or sell the original CD’s afterwards – but store them in a cool, dark, dry place. Don’t borrow CD’s, rip copies of them, and return the originals to your friends. Don’t ask your friends for copies of their music that they archived. Don’t download music other people ripped for their personal use. You get the idea by now. The legal version of the above says the same thing succinctly in twenty-two chapters using seven syllable words. More info:

        CD ripping: Making a digital archival or backup copy from a music CD to a file on a computer.

        We want to do this right the first time so we don’t have to do it again in the future. (It’s a lot of work!) To that purpose, I will show you how to use an open-source format (FLAC) that is an exact copy of the original, to use a work-flow process to keep these files manageable, and to use automated open-source data tools (music tag services) to make light work of what many fear most: making sure the filenames of the music files make sense. We are also going to use free open-source tools to rip the CD’s, and to encode them into the formats we want.

        Q: What is, and why do we use, FLAC?

        A: FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec. It’s a free to use open source music file format. We use it because it’s widely compatible with most advanced music players, and because it’s a true bit for bit copy that can be safely used if we need to convert to other formats. It’s compressed like a ZIP file but can be read and played directly by player software and devices.
        More info:

        We’re also going to use a free open-source program called FooBar2000. Its UI is a little dated, but it has been maintained very well over the years, is still under active development, is a fully mature product, is very efficient at the job we are going to do and has excellent metadata mass tagging abilities which will help us keep our music organized. It also automates information gathering so we don’t have to manually type in all the titles we want for our music. Our filenames will be created automatically with friendly names like the track number and title, so when we see it on our hard-drive we know exactly what it is. Our music will be automatically organized – as we rip it – into directories/subfolders which will be created automatically with the Artists names, followed by the Album names. As you can imagine, this is a huge labor savings right there, and helps to ensure consistency in our library.

        Q: What’s Metadata?

        A: Sometimes also called “tags” – it’s nothing more than descriptive information – mostly text – that describes things about your music.
        Information like the album name, track title, track number, artists name, the year it was recorded, the musical genre – and optionally much more. The system we are going to use is highly customizable, but we also want to be organized and use the same pattern of descriptions for every single track we archive. (Otherwise we can’t sort and find stuff easily.)

        This set of descriptions is embedded directly into each music file – so you don’t have to keep track of the information in separate databases. It’s also compatible with pretty much all music software and hardware playback devices. You be able to see what’s playing, what track it is, and lots of other helpful information in the UI of the gadget you’re using to listen to your music.

        Legitimate reasons to archive:
        1) You’ll have a copy in case of damage to the originals that renders them unplayable.
        2) You want to listen to your music on your modern personal devices, in your car from a USB storage device, or via in-house speakers that play from a central storage system on your property. (These are generally accepted safe use-cases but have not, as far as I know, all been tested in court.)

        Benefits to the methods in this tutorial:
        1) Your copy will be (barring a bad rip) as good as the original source.
        2) Your copy can be converted to less strict formats for compatibility with your other devices. (FLAC to MP3 for example; to play on a system that is not compatible with FLAC nor has enough storage to accommodate larger file sizes.)
        3) You can instantly create the most awesome mix-tapes (aka playlists) you ever imagined as a teenager based on your library.
        4) Your music library will be easy to organize, instantly sortable, searchable by multiple criteria, and easy to migrate to replacement storage systems.

        Prerequisites for this project:
        1) Enough storage on your home computer or home server to store your archive copy.
        – One hour of CD music is going to consume roughly 300MB (rounded up) of storage in FLAC format.
        – For a point of reference only: I’ve allocated 2TB for my sample archive – in which are stored a smidge over 1,000 albums, with around 13,000 songs, and consuming close to 300GB of disk storage. I plan to grow my library over time, so there’s another 1.7TB of free space left . . .
        – Don’t forget backup storage too. You are about to put a lot of time (see point 3 below) and effort into a project that will benefit your digital lifestyle for . . . well, life! Make a backup of your entire archive and store it someplace safe.
        2) A computer with a reliable and fast CD player – either built in (using the SATA IO interface) or by fast USB (3.0 at least.) It needs to spin up to at least 42X normal speed for CD’s.
        – A cheap but reliable example of a good fast internal CD drive might be the ASUS DRW-24B1ST, available online for roughly $20.
        3) Time for the project. Not counting getting organized, nor the ten minutes we are going to spend together getting the system installed and ready, each one-hour CD will take from 4 to 15 minutes to rip, depending on the condition of the CD (Dirty? Scratched? Degraded substrate surface?) and the speed of your hardware.
        – It took me about 90 hours or so to rip 1000 CD’s. Broke that down into hour long sessions in the evening. Each hour I was able to (on average) rip about 10 to 12 CD’s. Caffeine helps.
        4) Software that can rip CD’s accurately and allow us to easily embed metadata for each music track. And that, my friends, is what we are about to talk about after this lengthy introduction!

        That’s the intro – stay tuned for the next post in this thread on how to install and configure the software!

        ~ Group "Weekend" ~

      • #2278469 Reply

        Installing and configuring FooBar2000

        We need the main program, plus a package of open-source encoders. The installation is easy, the configuration is a bit involved, but we only must do this once and it will greatly streamline the actual ripping process.

        Download the most recent stable version of FooBar2000 (as of this writing we are on version 1.5.5) here:

        And the encoder pack (as of now it’s version 2020-04-17) here:

        Install FooBar2000_v1.5.5.exe and accept all the default settings. When finished, no need to open the program yet (If you do, don’t panic – it’s not going to hurt anything, we’re just not ready to customize it yet.)

        Now install the Free_Encoder_Pack-2020-04-17.exe encoder package, again it’s fine to accept all defaults as-is. We need the FLAC and the MP3 (LAME) encoders for sure, but if you think you might need the others listed it’s okay to include them too.

        First time opening FooBar2000:
        You will be presented with a bewildering Quick Appearance Setup screen asking you what layout you want.


        It really does not matter for our project, but I personally like Album List + Properties + Visualizations with the Black color theme and the Playlist grouped by Albums. Once you have the layout you like, click OK. You can change this easily, and even customize every aspect of the programs appearance later if you desire under the View > Layout menu. None of this matters to the core mission.

        Let’s leave FooBar2000 for a moment and talk about your archive storage location. As mentioned in the introduction – a little preplanning goes a long way here. You should plan for around 280 to 310 MB storage per CD album. Count your CD’s, think about how many more you might buy in the future, and scale your storage limit accordingly. If you want this library to be in your Windows user profile Music folder on your C: drive, and you have plenty of empty space left for this library plus everything else you might put on your computer over its lifetime. . . then great!

        Remember this path: C:Users[YourProfileName]Music where your profile name replaces that middle part. Chances are pretty good FooBar2000 is going to find that automatically, so in theory you don’t have to worry about this setting.

        If you wish to use a different drive, or even a network shared drive, that’s great too!

        I personally have my archive on a separate physical drive at D:MuseLibrary which is why some of the following screen shots will show that. You can use any target you want. Substitute my path with yours as you follow along.

        Back to FooBar2000, let’s get some basic configurations setup and verified.

        Click File > Preferences

        Select Media Library on the left side. If you wanted to use the default path, verify that C:Users[YourProfileName]Music is listed, and that the status is Monitoring.

        If you want to use FooBar2000 as your player for music already in your profile, but you want the archive to be in another place, you can Add that other path here by clicking Add…

        If you want FooBar2000 to only use your alternate path, add it first, then highlight and remove the default path to your user profile.


        Click Apply . . .

        Next, in the same Preferences panel, we want to select and expand Playback on the left, then click to highlight Output under the Playback. On the right, select your main speaker or headphone output as appropriate. (If you also see a long list of ASIO or WASAPI output options, and you know what they are for and how to use them, those are fine – but the audiophile aspects of FooBar2000’s output options are not the focus of this tutorial.)


        Don’t forget to click Apply again!

        Finally, still in Preferences, click the Advanced header on the left.

        You should see a long list of expandable options on the right.

        We need to verify three settings here:
        1) Under Tagging > Vorbis & FLAC > Metadata writing mode: check “more compatible with various software.”
        2) Under Tools > CD Ripper: Uncheck “Automatically look up metadata for untagged CD’s”
        3) Under Tools > Converter > Additional command-line encoder paths:
        —- Check and if needed enter this path: C:Program Files (x86)foobar2000encoders


        Click OK to apply and close the Preferences panel!

        (Continued in next post)

        ~ Group "Weekend" ~

        7 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2278475 Reply

        One recommended step before we proceed: Turn Windows AutoPlay off! If you’re working in assembly-line mode ripping CD’s, having to close the default music player every time you insert another CD in the drive is . . . sub-optimal. (In Windows 10: Settings > Devices > AutoPlay: Turn off: Use Autoplay for all media and devices. Also select Take no action for both options below that.)


        One final step for the installation. We’re going to calibrate FooBar to the offset for your CD drive.

        Place a clean, preferably new, and unscratched studio produced music CD into your tray. (Don’t use a burned CD-R or a DVD for this step.)

        In FooBar2000 click (in the toolbar) File > Open > Open Audio CD > Drive Settings Button.

        In the Drive Settings dialog box, there is a tiny button labeled Detect inside the entry field box for Read offset correction. Click that . . . and it should pre-populate a number. Click OK.

        Note: at this point, on Windows, depending on your security settings you may see a Windows Firewall security dialog pop up asking if you want to allow access to the internet for FooBar2000. If you want the upcoming automation features regarding automatic tagging to work, you should allow access.


        There are other settings here that you should be able to leave at default. But for some drives, and some old CD’s you may need to enable drive security.

        The Drive Security setting will greatly slow the ripping process – but will increase accuracy on hard to read CD’s. Same answer for the limit speed setting. For more information refer to the Wiki for FooBar2000 at

        Next post: Configuring presets for ripping (so we don’t have to do this for every CD)

        ~ Group "Weekend" ~

        5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2278479 Reply

        Create Ripping Presets for FooBar2000 (1/3)

        Presets are a way to get FooBar2000 to do repetitive things for us while ripping a CD. We can tell it what format to use, what options for the encoder to use, where to create the ripped files, and how to name the file and the folders in which it should land. Once we make a Preset, FooBar2000 will remember it for future use.

        I’m going to use my preferred organization scheme for this example, but you can customize it extensively if you have different needs.

        We’ve also going to create a second preset, but not for ripping (well, you could use it for that too) but to make copy conversions from our FLAC archival quality format to MP3 so we can quickly make copies for a car or phones storage to take on the road.

        Before creating a preset, place any music CD into the CD drive tray and close it so we can get to the dialog box we need.

        Create Preset 1: Rip CD to Archive (FLAC)

        In FooBar2000 click File > Open Audio CD > Click to highlight the CD Drive > Click the RIP button.
        A larger Rip Audio CD dialog box appears. Ignore most of the dialog box for now! We want to click the button on the lower left labeled “Proceed to the Converter Setup dialog.”


        On a fresh install of FooBar2000, there will be a single preset called (default). In order to create new presets, we have to duplicate that default and edit the duplicate.
        Right click the (default) preset and select Duplicate.


        You should see a second entry appear called “(default)(1).” Right click that and select Rename. Let’s call it “Rip CD to Archive (FLAC)”
        Highlight “Rip CD to Archive (FLAC)” and click the Load button (this is important!)


        (To be continued in next post)

        ~ Group "Weekend" ~

        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by NetDef.
        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by NetDef.
        4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2278486 Reply

        Create Ripping Presets for FooBar2000 (Continued 2/3)

        You can see the new preset has the same settings as the (default), we need to change these. Click the underlined links on the right side to change that part of this preset.

        First up: Output format. Select FLAC, then click the Edit button. On modern fast processors, I like level 7 compression, and it seems to be compatible with every device I’ve tried that understands FLAC.


        Click OK on the format dialog, then click back on the Converter Setup dialog.

        Next click on Destination:

        Specify folder: the actual path to your archive music folder! It might be your windows profile music folder, in which case it need to look like C:Users[YourProfileName]Music where YourProfileName is replaced with the actual folder of your user profile name. In my example, it’s D:MuseLibrary

        Check on “Convert each track to an individual file”

        My recommended Name Format is:

        %artist%%album%%track% %title%

        What this does:
        Creates a folder for the Artist (unless it already exists)
        Creates a sub-folder under that for the Album title (unless that already exists, but this shouldn’t happen.)
        Creates files for each track on the CD, beginning with the numerical track number, a space, and then the title of the song.


        That’s it! Click Back at the bottom of this dialog box.

        We’re not going to change anything in the Processing section – skipping!

        In the Other section, I like to show a full status report (optional). If you change that, don’t forget to click Back . . .

        IMPORTANT: click the Save button in the middle to save all the changes you made!

        Now click the Load button with that preset highlighted to confirm all your settings are preserved. It should look like this:


        (Preset section to be continued in next post)

        ~ Group "Weekend" ~

        4 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2278808 Reply

          There’s a really bad typo in the above post that was introduced in my attempt to copy and paste into the forum.

          The critical code for the Name Format field should include backslashes (file path delimiter).

          Wrong: %artist%%album%%track% %title%

          Instead should be

          %artist%\%album%\%track% %title%

          Also note there is a space between %track%  _and_  %title%



          ~ Group "Weekend" ~

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2278491 Reply

        Create Ripping Presets for FooBar2000 (Continued 3/3)

        Create Preset 2: Convert to MP3 for Phone

        Let’s save some work and duplicate the Preset we just made. Right click on the “Rip CD to Archive (FLAC)” preset and select Duplicate. A new preset will appear named “Rip CD to Archive (FLAC) (1)”

        Now right click “Rip CD to Archive (FLAC)(1)” and select Rename. Let’s call this one “Convert to MP3 for Phone”

        Highlight “Convert to MP3 for Phone” and click the Load button in the middle.

        We’re going to edit the settings: For Output format, change it to MP3 (LAME) then edit that to reflect the MP3 bitrate you want for your devices. Common selections are: 190kbps V2 (good quality, variable bit rate, good compression) or 320kbps CBR (stands for Constant Bit Rate) or in between.


        Second, we must change the Destination path. We don’t want to have MP3 and FLAC files for the same album in the same folder! It’s hard to separate them out for mobile devices later down the road.

        I use a second root folder on my media D: drive for quick MP3 conversions on the fly (more about this in the next section.) Let’s call it “D:PhoneMusic” Remember, we’re not planning on ripping from CD to this format, instead we want an easy option to convert FLAC files we’ve already ripped to MP3 for compatible devices we own.

        In Destination, we only need to change one setting, the path, to D:PhoneMusic . . .


        Click Back, and click the Save button in the middle. Here’s a final image of the MP3 preset summary.


        Highlight both new presets you’ve created – one at a time, and for each click Load, and confirm you successfully saved the settings for them. If it all looks good, you can close this dialog box for now!

        We are ready to move on from the configuration stage, and onto the ripping process itself! Stay tuned for tomorrow exciting episode . . . .

        ~ Group "Weekend" ~

        4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2278803 Reply

        Putting it all together:
        Ripping CD’s using the settings from our earlier configuration steps.

        It’s finally time to play! Configuring all that stuff from the previous chapters is a lot of effort, but the payoff is how much work we are about to save when ripping our CD library.



        Here’s how:

        Open FooBar2000

        1) Place the music CD into your drive tray – (FooBar will scan the CD to check media type automatically)

        2) Click File > Open Audio CD > Rip

        3) The Rip Audio CD dialog box pops up here. There are three things we need to do here for every CD we rip before proceeding.




        A) Information lookup: We’re going to let the Internet do the Metadata entry for us!
        For most albums the default freedb (which should already be listed) is fine.
        Click the Lookup button, and you will see 1 or 2 potential album matches with tracks listed. With luck the first one listed will be an exact match, but sometimes there are duplicate albums that are submitted by the user base. Choose the one that matches your CD album. Make corrections in the text fields if needed.

        B) Update files: Once you’ve selected the best match for the metadata, click the Update files button. The suggested metadata will be transferred to your Rip Audio CD dialog box. Again check for typos or track mismatches, but usually the information is right.

        C) RIP! At the very bottom is a selection box, make sure you’ve selected the preset you made in the earlier steps: Rip CD to Archive (FLAC) . . . and click the big button just above that selector field labeled Rip now using one of the existing presets:

        You’ll see a progress window appear, and if the CD is in good condition, and your CD drive is fast, you should be done in 4 to 7 minutes on average. At the end of the rip you’ll see some reports on any errors, and/or a success status. Check your target storage folder to be sure the folders and track names look right, and enjoy your success!

        You can also play the FLAC files from FooBar2000 – the new folder should appear in the list automatically.

        Repeat this for all your CD’s to create your archive quality music library. That’s all there is to it!

        Coming soon:  Quickly convert some of your archive FLAC files to MP3 for a road trip!

        ~ Group "Weekend" ~

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2278807 Reply

          Some tips for successful ripping:

          Dirty or scratched CD’s may rip very slowly.  Or not at all.  Skipping/distorted music in the resulting FLAC is caused by deep flaws on or in the surface of the CD.  Clean them!


          Sometimes you’ll see the Various Artists checkbox -checked- by freedb.  I personally hate this setting.  It can mess up your folder structure.  But that may another topic.  Don’t use that setting unless freedb suggests it.

          ~ Group "Weekend" ~

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2278502 Reply
        AskWoody Plus

        For converting Mp3… to Flac I use TAC – TAudioConverter Portable

        TAudioConverter support various encoders. It can convert to MP3, AAC, AAC HE, AC3, MusePack, Ogg Vorbis, Opus, WMA, DTS, ALAC, FLAC, Monkey’s Audio, TAK, TTA, WavPack, AIFF and PCM. TAudioConverter is multithreaded. This means that it will run several encoders in parallel to shorten encoding time. The number of parallel processes depends on the CPU cores you have

        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by Alex5723.
        • #2278508 Reply
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          Why would you convert MP3 to FLAC? MP3 is compatible with almost everything and you won’t gain quality – you may reduce quality with the conversion.

          FLAC is best for ripping standard music CDs for archive purposes.

          cheers, Paul

          • #2278565 Reply
            AskWoody Lounger

            you may reduce quality with the conversion

            I’m sorry, but that is wrong. FLAC = Free LOSSLESS Audio Codec.

            • #2278814 Reply
              Paul T
              AskWoody MVP

              You shouldn’t, but there is no guarantee the converter you use is up to snuff. Either way, there is no point converting an MP3.

              cheers, Paul

          • #2278588 Reply
            AskWoody Plus

            FLAC is compatible with everything I own : iPhone, car media system, PC, media streamer…
            and has way better audio quality then MP3.

            • #2278854 Reply
              AskWoody Plus

              FLAC is compatible with everything I own : iPhone, car media system, PC, media streamer…
              and has way better audio quality then MP3.

              OK but remember the old saying “Garbage in Garbage out”?
              That applies here Vinyl to FLAC, yes, MP3 to FLAC maybe NOT better.
              Or perhaps there is processing s/w that make a low quality MP3 improve in quality??


              Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
              • #2278876 Reply
                Paul T
                AskWoody MVP

                make a low quality MP3 improve in quality?

                Can’t be done. Once the information is lost through compression you can’t get it back. That’s why we like FLAC.

                cheers, Paul

                2 users thanked author for this post.
              • #2278983 Reply
                AskWoody Plus

                That question was rhetorical in nature although I would not be surprised if some one made s/w that claims to ‘improve’ the quality.


                Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #2278607 Reply
        AskWoody MVP

        @NetDef – you’ve managed to break this down into manageable steps that are easily followed. The visuals helped so much, especially with the highlights of where to look (you know, where I just blink and shrug when faced with making selections on my own), and what to choose.

        I do know I need to upgrade my storage/backup… and then spend the time… but it is time that my CDs get converted into FLAC.

        I have many already converted to .MP3 (what did I know?) already. Is there a quality difference between those .MP3 and those that Foobar2000 would create from FLAC? In other words, would I get better .MP3? My music goes everywhere with me…

        I agree with Woody- these need to be transferred to an AskWoody Knowledge Base article… and would definitely be newsletter worthy. Once I got over my awe, I went step by step, and successfully converted my first CD to FLAC… with no trauma! I was prepared to fog out, but it never happened. Thank you so much…

        All I can say is WOW… this will make such a difference to me, as I love my music.

        Non-techy Win 10 Pro and Linux Mint experimenter

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2278796 Reply

          Guess I should address the MP3 questions.

          1. If you have already ripped stuff to MP3, and you are happy with what you are hearing . . . don’t fix what ain’t broke!  🙂
          2. If one converts from MP3 to a “lossless” format like WAV or FLAC, you will not hear any difference on playback between the two files.  The newly created FLAC file won’t be as crisp as one that was ripped directly from a CD, but it will sound every bit as good as the MP3 from which it came.  But why bother?  You just get a larger file size, with zero benefit on playback.
          3. However, converting from MP3 to any other lossy format (including to a different MP3 bitrate) will definitely produce nasty results.  The new file when played will generally sound outright ugly and distorted.

          The benefit of ripping directly to FLAC from the original CD’s is now you have a digital source that can be very quickly converted if needed to other formats without problems.

          Conversion is much faster than ripping.

          ~ Group "Weekend" ~

      • #2278643 Reply
        AskWoody MVP

        All my CDs were ripped by using Media Player and are wma files. I’m not sure that I could tell the difference between vinyl, CD, MP3 WMA or FLAC – my hearing has degraded because of age. And ripping like I did was quick and easy. Another factor is what you play them on – could I tell a high end hifi system from my computer PC system or my Sonos speakers? I’m not sure.


        • #2278813 Reply
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          WMA is the format used on CDs. The reason you convert to FLAC is to save space – you will save a lot of space.

          cheers, Paul

      • #2278925 Reply

        I didn’t study this in detail, but certainly FooBar has plenty of loyal users.  I only use Exact Audio Copy (EAC) but that only rips and provides minimal meta data (there was an option in the program (don’t know if it’s still there) to buy a $10 lifetime license for some database called GD3 that in my experience can name tracks from CDs that come up empty at other free databases).

        As far as MP3 conversion — one consideration is if you use mp3gain (replaygain or R128 gain) on mp3 files you can either store the gain info as metadata or as part of the mp3 data track itself.  So if you convert and want to keep the gain info you need to take that into account, though I guess that CDs are typically mastered to a uniform target volume compared to digital/streamed music.   MP3 has typically used ID3v2 metadata tags which are fairly well documented / standardized (but v2.4 is better than v2.3 if your target players can read them).  Apple has de facto standardized their tags but for FLAC you are kind of on your own (meaning, you have to determine what Vorbis/Xiph comment tags are used in your library/player).

        You might consider Musicbrainz database and their tagging software Picard as an alternative to FooBar.

      • #2278998 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        This is for sure NOT the way to get a correct copy of an audio cd. For that, you need the tool Exact Audio Copy (EAC) that is available for many years already. It makes use of all kinds of techniques – partly on a hardware-level if drives support it – to get an audio-rip as accurate as possible. For good rips, that is really the only way to go, see

      • #2279078 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        With all the hoopla in the above posts, has anyone tried “Audacity” ?? I use it to copy my music CD’s, and to make music CD’s that have been made by me (Yes, I am an amateur musician). It is VERY easy to use and the best part is that it is a FREE download.

        Some folks may not like it, BUT, it works for ME, and that is all that matters.


      • #2279127 Reply
        AskWoody Plus

        I have ripped about 600 CD’s and SACD’s over the last year or so.  When I researched the software options, the two most often recommended were Exact Audio Copy and dBpoweramp.  They are recommended because they emphasize error-free ripping.

        See, for instance:

        Some commonly used software like Windows Media Player will merrily rip your CD with errors and not tell you.  These errors will show up as skips or gaps in the music.  It appears from the above that FooBar2000 will give you a report as to the number of errors, but will it allow you to set it to rip only if it can do so error-free?

        dBpoweramp, which I use, gives the user the option to rip the CD “securely” (error-free) or “unsecurely.”  In going through my collection I found a few CDs that could not be ripped securely due to excessive scratches or scuffs, or in a couple of cases what I presume to be “disc rot.”  Most ripped securely.  CDs in better condition will rip faster.

        dBpoweramp obtains metadata and an image of the CD’s artwork from the internet.  More importantly, it compares my rip with a database of users’ rips of the same CD and uses that information to determine a confidence level that the rip is error-free.  I have yet to see a case where dBpoweramp failed to identify a CD, which implies that they have at least one example of it in their database.

        I don’t need to fiddle with settings except in the rare case where a CD is too damaged to rip, in which case I might do an unsecured rip until I can replace the CD.  After each rip, I also run a piece of freeware called TT DR Offline Meter, which analyzes dynamic range track by track and for the CD as a whole, and adds a text file report to the folder containing the ripped CD.  Dynamic range is an important indicator of the quality of the CD’s mastering.  The report also includes information about whether each track clips.  Clipping is not good for your speakers, of course, and may cause some amplifiers to briefly go into protection mode to avoid damaging them.

        • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by wdburt1.
        • #2279240 Reply

          I’ve looked into dBpoweramp and am pretty impressed with the trial.  For this article I wanted to focus on free and PuP-free solutions.  dBpoweramp is considered by many to be the gold standard, but the full version is not free.

          As for comparing to others results for accuracy, FooBar2000 (and many other competitive apps) uses by default the exact same database as dBpoweramp:

          As mentioned before, Foobar also uses multi-pass ripping security – if you turn it on.  But unless you’re dealing with a damaged CD, I don’t recommend it as it greatly slows the process – and on pristine media it’s really not needed unless you get a partial failure report at the end of a rip.

          I have a question for you @wdburt1 . . . how did you rip your SACD’s?  Or did you rip the CD layers of your SACD?  I’ve been looking for a computer SACD transport but cannot find one. (I own about 230 SACD media disks.)  I can (and have) rip the CD layer, but not the DSD layers with multi-channel.

          ~ Group "Weekend" ~

      • #2279155 Reply

        Audacity is good if you want to manipulate or apply filters to your sound files, but not really recommended just for ripping or codec conversion.  I think it works best if first you do your rip to wav uncompressed format, then load the wav into an audacity “project” and apply the various filters that are available.  It is a good tool to “rip” vinyl.  For example it has a “sound finder” analysis tool that, with proper tuning of parameters, can split an album side recorded as a single file into its tracks.

        A shortcoming of Audacity is the limited support for various codecs, though for FLAC or MP3 it’s fine.  For others, it can use ffmpeg, but for some reason it can’t work with latest versions of ffmpeg, only a very old one.  But it does have a buried option to run a command line from within the program which you can setup to run ffmpeg as a separate program to process your files (I’ve been doing a lot of conversion to Opus lately instead of AAC).

      • #2279165 Reply

        I have no experience with TT DR Offline Meter, but FooBar will do a replaygain analysis on both an album and individual tracks.  Replaygain will provide both overall gain info (based on 80 dB playback) and clipping protection.  Typically the parameters are saved into custom metadata tags (for example in ID3 TXXX tags) so your player has to be able to read and use those tags.

      • #2279233 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        It also automates information gathering so we don’t have to manually type in all the titles we want for our music.


        Some years ago I used EAC to rip my CD library. Notebooks are no longer having CD devices so it was time to do a conversion.

        Anyway, my problem was the quality of information provided by those open, public CD database libraries. At first I noticed nothing wrong. Only later when I have almost finished ripping all CDs I could see different tracks of the same CD with the same name. Or even slightly different album names / artists names among the tracks (again, same CD, not a compilation). The net result is that I have some albums split across various folders. The same happens to artist names and other information.

        To make matters worse I have tried to use MusicBrainz Picard and I did a lot of mess!

        In my opinion, the best databases are the ones used by Windows Media Player and Apple iTunes (even though the latter considers too many CDs as compilations).

        If anyone knows a good public (open) database of CD information I will be glad to know.

        • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by Sandro. Reason: mispelling
        • #2279236 Reply

          This is indeed a problem, one I have observed in all the free lookup services.

          90% of the time, the metadata is fine.  But when it’s not . . . oh boy.

          You’re still saving a ton of time on average, but I highlighted the need for proofreading and not blindly accepting the suggested tags in my original post.  😉

          A) Information lookup: We’re going to let the Internet do the Metadata entry for us!

          For most albums the default freedb (which should already be listed) is fine.
          Click the Lookup button, and you will see 1 or 2 potential album matches with tracks listed. With luck the first one listed will be an exact match, but sometimes there are duplicate albums that are submitted by the user base. Choose the one that matches your CD album. Make corrections in the text fields if needed.

          ~ Group "Weekend" ~

          2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2281531 Reply
        AskWoody Plus

        Is there a way to get FooBar2000 to download album art? You don’t mention it here in the article and I’ve searched but can’t find out how?

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