Step 1.1 of the “MP3 Manufacturing” Workflow : Ripping CD to MP3
I use Exact Audio Copy (EAC) as my software of choice to rip music CDs to MP3. I never use iTunes even though it has an EXCELLENT (understatement of the year) Music Database that is almost 100% correct in identifying the CD, the singer, the tracks… I think iTunes uses Gracenote as the database. The EAC uses freedb which is pathetic (another understatement of the year) in identifying the CD etc. But because I don’t wish to copy the files directly to iTunes (which is what iTunes does) so I never use it. I want to be able to do all the ID tagging outside of iTunes and also I don’t want all the songs of the album in iTunes and hence my iPod. Only the ones I want to listen to (maybe that’s why iTunes Store is so successful. Who hears ALL the songs of a particular album). Besides, I can do without the music search functionality as I do the standardization work myself according to my own designs and preferences.
One thing is that EAC does not provide an MP3 encoder (unlike iTunes or Windows Media Player). You need to find that encoder separately. There are all kinds of varieties of MP3 encoder and some require payment. I use LAME myself. LAME is an MPEG Audio Layer III (MP3) encoder licensed under the LGPL. After you get your copy of LAME and copy to your hard disk, you then add to point EAC to the LAME executable file:
Lastly you need to set the bit rate. Now there are tons of arguments in the internet about which bit rate is better etc. Sorry, I am not interested (grin). In typical Singaporean attitude, I just choose (what to me) is the HIGHEST bit rate of 320 kBit/s. Is it the best ? Is it necessary ? Does it matter ? Sorry, not interested to discuss these.
In addition, I have this line in my command line.
-b 320 –id3v2-only –pad-id3v2 –ta “%a” –tt “%t” –tl “%g” –ty “%y” –tn “%n” %s %d
I might have copied this from somewhere in the internet (probably hydrogenaudio forums which is a FANTASTIC web site for this subject) but I have been using this for the longest time.
Today we are going to rip 张信哲 year 2004 excellent 下一个永远 CD. When you first insert into your CD ROM drive and if EAC, this is how it looks. Brilliant huh ?
And then this is how the EAC main screen looks like for the Chinese CD. Look at all the garbled characters.
Never mind. It is okay. We will do the formatting and standardization separately and manually outside of EAC.
Click on the MP3 button.
And off the software goes…
When it is done, you will see the result log and you can save the result log if you want to.
Go to the folder where you have indicated the files are to be dumped and picked up your MP3 files.
You are ready for the next step !
[UPDATE IN JAN 2013] : Since about a year ago, i have been using the dBpoweramp CD ripper and music converter… The idea is still the same.
Also if you want use EAC, i recommend this Xunside