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02/19/2005 Archived Entry: "CD Ripping and AudioGrabber"
Correspondent Paul R. sends a report of "CD Ripping" that may be of interest to readers. He writes, RTFDSS. That is what my buddy grumbles after hanging up with clueless customers. It means: Read The Fucking Data Sheet Stupid. Yes, a lot of people call for help and they haven't even read the datasheet for the part they are calling about. I almost did the same. I have been ripping my 400 CDs to MP3s while I have been been blissfully unemployed.
Now, I long ago used Music Match. It did a pretty good job. So I knew better then to load the new version because the Bill Gates/Realplayer/X10/Vonage ethics of the modern day means I would get a program that steals all my file associations, installs little background nag programs and generally ties up and fucks my registry while I sit watching helplessly. So I installed the old Musicmatch that I had wisely saved on my computer. It promptly downloaded the new musicmatch (at least it said it had to if it was going to work right) and THEN stole my file associations etc etc etc.
So I riped it all out, even going to the registry stetting so make sure it was gone for good. After a little research I found a freeware program called Audiograbber. Free. Nice. Polite. The only downside was that it could only rip at 48k since it had to use the Fraunhoffer publicly available codec. But they were nice enough to put the hooks in for any external encoder engine and recommended Lame, another nice piece of freeware. So a little misery putting the Lame encoder in the right place and then a few minutes sorting through the Audiograbber setup. What I loved about it was that let me name the files the way I wanted-- you could do a custom convention but I found that just checking the right boxes would make a directory for the artist and then a subdirectory for the album and then I could add track numbers to the file name so they would play in the right order (yes, he numbered them 01,02, 03 so even a Windows box will play them right). Also, Audiograbber uses the freedb database of song names. It is free and will not be taken over like CDDB for god
knows what purpose. The database has only failed to find a couple really obscure gospel albums (hey, even atheists need gospel now and then). And when you fill these in by hand, then you can submit them to the freedb, making the world just a little bit better place.
So I have set Audiograbber to make Lame the internal encoder and to encode at 128k, which is so good I can't hear the difference to the real CD. And I have played with the DA extraction speed, bumping it down from "maximum" where Audiograbber would indicate "possible speed problems" to 8X, which still chews through the CDs pretty fast. I can set it to 10x if I am not using the computer for anything else. So I have 128k quality recordings, fast ripping speed and great file naming.
After the first 100 rips, I am a little annoyed by two minor things. Every time the next song track gets ripped it opens a DOS box for the Lame encoder which steals focus from whatever I am doing. If I was typing, the cursor is now on the DOS box and the last three words go nowhere. grrrrrr. Also it put spaces in the filenames so I figured I would have to learn a two-line perl script to replace all the spaces with underscores so I can be ready for the coming revolution when we all use Linux and can then herd Bill Gates and his evil minions into mass graves.
After the first 100 CDs I figured that no programmer, who is constantly typing, would put up with a program that steals focus constantly. Yup. RTFDSS. I found the little check-box in Audiograbber settings that made the lame encoder run minimized. As a bonus I also ran across the check-box that replaces spaces in file names with underscores so my MP3 files are UNIX compliant.