The long CD ripping slog


As part of the preparation for our move over to Dublin, I’m in the processing of ripping all of my not insignificant collection of CDs.

In fact, having owned a whole series of digital players over the past 7 years or so I’d already ripped a significant amount of them, and for the past two years I’ve bought stuff pretty exclusively from iTunes. However the CD rips were typically 192kbps MP3 and don’t sound particularly good.

Spurred by the desire to be able to store away the CDs at my folks’ place rather than ship them over to Dublin I decided a while ago to make a concerted effort to re-rip them all, and to this time make the digital copies as future proof as possible.

So, armed with my iMac, it’s 500GB disk, about 500 albums and the same number of singes I made a determined start. The trouble is that a few months later I have only got about 1/3rd of the way through 🙁

To future proof, I am ripping to FLAC, using Max. I’m using the highest quality setting (compression level 8 ) and am using the comparison ripper, which means it makes multiple passes at each sector, then computes their hashes. All of this slows the actual ripping process down, but does produce good results.

I’m then taking the FLAC files and chucking them through XLD to produce 320kbps VBR MP3s using the LAME encoder. These are then imported into my iTunes library. Eventually they will also be shoved up onto the disk attached to my Linksys NSLU2 which runs the TwonkyVision uPnP server. This in turn allows me to access my music library from my XBox 360 which is connected to my Hi-Fi.

There are two other non-technical reasons for the slow progress. Firstly, I’ve started with the large number of compilation CDs I have. A lot of these are double, or even triple disc albums, and in general have more tracks/disc than normal albums. Secondly, and most infuriatingly, the track info held in the MusicBrainz database used by Max isn’t terribly good when it comes to compilation albums. A lot of the time the CD artist will be “Various Artists” but then the artist field for each individual track will not be set. Instead it seems people just put the track title as “artist / track” which needs manual correction. I estimate this has been the case in about 50% of the CDs I’ve done so far.

Thankfully I am now at the end of the compilations, and am getting onto albums and selected singles. These should go past much quicker thanks to more accurate track info and fewer tracks/disc.

A few stats:

CDs ripped so far: 261
Number of tracks: 3906
Total size of FLAC files: 96.83GB
Typical size per FLAC file: 25 MB
Total size of MP3 files: 14.04 GB
Typical size per MP3 file: 3.5 MB

2 thoughts on “The long CD ripping slog

  1. Pingback: Drive Through… » Finally the ripping is finished

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