How to Convert CD to MP3 - Convert Audio CD to MP3 Files
If you are anything like a typical music lover, you quite probably have hundreds of CDs in your music
collection. Wouldn't it be great if you could convert your entire CD music collection into MP3 files, put those
files onto your portable audio player and carry the whole collection in your shirt pocket. Well, good news because
with the help of an Audio CD Ripper or CD MP3 Ripper software and your computer CD-ROM, you can do just that.
Audio CD Ripper
The process of copying CDs to a computer hard drive is called 'ripping' and there are plenty of software tools
for doing just that job.
Ripping is a very fast process because the sound card is not used. Rather, the digital data contained on an
audio CD is copied to the computer and the whole process takes just a few minutes for a typical music CD.
The only thing that is needed to rip an audio CD is a CD-ROM and audio cd ripper software. This audio cd ripper
software also allows you to convert the audio files into a compressed format such as MP3, WMA or AAC. Compression
saves a lot of space on your hard drive and allows you to store more songs on your MP3 player.
Before you begin ripping, several decisions must be made about the file format and the level of compression. The
more compression that is used on an audio file the lower the sound quality, but also the smaller the file size.
Each individual must make their own decisions about what is acceptable sound, but here are a few guidelines.
CD MP3 Ripper
The 'standard' level of compression for MP3 files is 128 kb per second. Careful listeners may notice the loss of
high frequencies and other details, but files encoded at this bitrate are similar in sound to FM radio. An A / B
comparison with the original CD may allow you to hear the difference, but otherwise most people find this bitrate
to be acceptable.
If you are converting your music into other formats like WMA or AAC, lower bitrates can be used while retaining
similar sound quality.
One of the big advantages of MP3 (or WMA or AAC) over audio CDs is the ability to include information about the
song in the file itself. Song title, artist, year and genre can be encoded in the compressed file and displayed on
playback. This information is included in 'tags' such as ID3.
Of course, there has to be a way to include all this information in the file. Tags can be edited manually, but a
much simpler way is to get this information from a database so that it is included automatically as you rip the
Tags are a handy feature for organizing your music collection, so most ripping software includes support for
polling a database such as freedb. This is a free Internet service which contains information about millions of
commercially released CDs. As you rip a CD, it is identified by the ripping software and all of the track titles
and other CD information is downloaded automatically from the Internet. Even cover art may be available for
download and this can be displayed on some portable audio players.
freedb is the most popular CD database on the Internet mainly because it is free. There are other databases such
as CDDB which charge a licensing fee for software developers, so most freeware CD rippers rely on freedb.
Fortunately, your complete music collection can be 'normalized'. Normalization works by making loud tracks
softer and soft tracks louder so that on the whole, they average out. A complete folder full of audio files can be
normalized at the same time, or you can be more selective, choosing tracks which make up a particular playlist.
There has been a lot of publicity concerning the legal grey areas of trading MP3 files. If the record companies
had their way, MP3 would be banned from the surface of the earth leaving no trace! According to the record
companies, MP3 files are easy to exchange and theoretically they cut down on music sales. The situation has settled
down to the point where record companies have embraced online marketing and have found a way to sell songs
individually on the Internet.
As far as ripping your own CDs goes, the general consensus is that this is part of the 'fair use' of CD
ownership, although this varies from country to country. Making copies of CDs for your own use is generally
acceptable - trading those copies on the Internet is illegal in many countries.