Best way to burn CD collection onto HD



I am hoping to copy my CD library onto my home network hardrive. The idea is to access my music easily using iTunes. The set up I have is Mac laptop, wireless 1Terabyte Lacie Hard drive, iTunes, 1000 CDs. Using my laptop, I access my iTunes library saved as lossless apple file. The file is then played through my stereo.

The file gets to the stereo using an Apple airport express which recieves file wirelessly over the home network. The airport express has an optical output which I connected to a Music Fidelity x-24 DAC which in turn connects to my stereo through RCA connectors.

The problem is that after a weekend of loading CD’s into the laptop to copy them into remote hardrive, I realize this is going to take forever. There are services available, but they want 1 dollar per CD and I have to ship the CDs to them!

Is there a device, eg a cd juke box with digital output which could automate the process? Or is there a faster CD reader which I could use than native reader in Mac laptop? How do these services do it?

Tx in advance.


You are basically handicapping yourself with several factors.

First you are using a laptop and while processor speeds of some laptops can be credibly fast the optical drives that are typically installed in notebook computers aren’t.

Yours might be, but…

The second is from the context of your post it seems to me you are “ripping” and “compressing” in a single operation.

It might be more efficient to use ANY desktop computer and a FAST optical drive, with dedicated ripping software then doing the compression as a seperate operation.

Frankly while lossless compression allows you to expand the compressed files back to wave to burn them to disc as cdda files
without loss, but it really isn’t necissary in terms of quality
to use lossless compression
And even though you are “all apple” I’d recommend some other
form of compression that is more flexible Either FLAC or even a lossy compression like mp3 at a high bitrate.

The issue with the apple compression is that they are generally written only by apple and their software geniuses while good
don’t seem to have prioritized on making the operation FAST.
Apple making home rip and compression software FAST is
a comnflict against their own interests inthat they’d rather sell you the same files already compressed via iTunes.

I could be wrong, but…

on an older PC, a 2.6GHz Pentium 4, not even a dual core machine, I can actually “Rip” a CD with CRC confirmed accuracy in a little over 2minutes (typically 2:15-2:20), compression to 320kBit/Sec takes scarcely longer, typically 2:45

I actually do my compression in large batches while I’m not actually at my computer.

Frankly I NEED to be at my computer to feed it CD’s when ripping
but to read several hundred wav files and create mp3’s (Or AAC’s)
doesn’t require you to be sitting there… So the last factor is likely your operational proceedure… if you concentrate on doing what you need to do while you are sitting at your computer and planning for letting automated proceedures take care of themselves…

then there is deleting the no longer necissary wav files, moving the files to the properly labeled directories, and the great "fun"
of correctly tagging the files… so title artist track number are all correct…

To do a single album correctly for the whole process takes
me slightly under 10minutes, of course that can be streamlined by seperating the rip, compression and tagging operations
for efficiency’s sake…

As each phase of the process requires a slightly different mindset to be done efficiently, so it’s best to seperate them to different times.

The conversion software I use will also create aac’s and it’s the “free” sample version of NCH “SwitchSound” (downloadable)
But I don’t know if it’ll run on a MAC Or what non-apple software might be available that will run on your mac.



@AllenDeGroot. Thanks for a very informative tutorial. I was wondering about the same thing, on a smaller level.


Other than talking people through truck repair questions on another forum most of my computer’s processor time is used to do “Audio Crunching” (for personal use).

Though I will admit to doing some ripping and compressing (in bulk)
for friends that have a lack of patience, technical knowledge or simply no time to do it for themselves…

I just finished grinding my way through 200-ish CD’s for a neighbor
thiough I was “interrupted” twice by seperate boot drive crash events and a switch in computer and operating system fortunatly it was music I liked which made it less “painful”.

what did make it painful was the fact that my neighbor didn’t take particularly good care of their CD’s, so about 1/4 of the discs were badly scratched which required careful cleaning, scratch filling
and time consuming secure mode ripping.

But in many cases I “cheated” and simply substituted rips from my own (well cared for) copy of the same CD, I have most of my CD collection archived as uncompressed wav files.

the thing to do is deal with the disc that will rip “cleanly” first and save any “Special Needs CDs” for special TLC at the end when you’ve gotten the bulk of the job out of the way.

Yeah, FLAC, WMA-Lossless & AAC-Lossless take up less HDD space
I cnsider the time that must be taken to compress (and subsequently
to uncompress) those files to be simply not worth the effort.

when it’s a choice between compressing and simply buying another
$80 320Gb HDD another HDD is an easy choice for me.

Frankly the only reason I actually use mp3’s is a reason that some people find “odd” until I explain it… it’s about transfer write time.

10Mb mp3 files can be moved around faster than 60meg wav files.
well… that and for mobile playback I still use optical media (CD-R’s)
in a 10disc CD changer (for which I have multiple magazines)

a friend of mine jokingly calls it the world’s largest 7.7Gb iPod, but I can swap out it’s entire media stack in about 10 seconds by pushing the cartridge eject button and inserting a spare magazine.
And even playing 320kBit mp3’s on CD-R’s each disc will play
for ~4-1/2 hours. that’s 45 HOURS for each magazine…

when I can get a solid state iPod (Nano) with atleast 32Gb
(I’d prefer 64Gb) I’ll get one, but the currently available 16Gb Nano simply doesn’t “do it” for me.

I simply don’t trust the teenie weenie mechanical HDD inside the current 120Gb iPod “classic” enough to spend $250 on one.

I can buy an awful lot of (essentially disposable) CD-R’s for $250…

and funny thing, I can drop a CD-R and most of the time it’ll
still play:)



BTW, one more relatively important thing… Everyone looks at the processor size and the processor speed and especially HDD size, but it’s rare for anyone not afflicted with a bit of “computergeekitis” to actually improve the RAM in their computer.

And it doesn’t much matter if you run a desktop or a laptop notebook, if you are doing process intensive things more RAM is the way to speed things up.

My P4 2.6GHz is not a blazingly fast computer by modern standards
(ANY Dual core is faster, lat alone the quad core machines even ignoring the typical bloatware they are running with) but the fact that I have 2Gb of ram makes it perform respectably…

I’d really like to double that (my HP motherboard can take 4Gb of ram) which I expect to cost me $50-$75 at the next computer flea market.

Whatever you have as stock CAN be greatly improved upon.



Hi. I am incredibly confused about all of this. I too have a SONY CD changer (CDP-CX100). It has analogue coaxial outputs and a ‘Digital Output’ (I am guessing that this output is a ‘Toslink’- small square protuding cover over the port)

Anyway, I was hoping to take the CD Changer and plug it in to my Vista 64 Dual Core etc laptop.

Then I hoped that the CD Changer would play and some lossless software would copy all of them to a hard drive without much involvement on my part.

I see that there is a Creative Audigy 2 ZS Notebook pcmcia that has an optical input.

(1) Can I just hook the cd changer straight to a card like the Creative Audigy 2 ZS Notebook? (EAC does not seem to have a ‘line in’, if thats what I would be using)

(2) Then what software would I use to do the copying in the ‘fullest’ format?

(3) Once copied to say .wav files on the drive I guess that they could be converted to mp3 later. I see that some software actually pulls artwork and keeps track of titles and tracks as part of the recording process.
How do I go about gettting this information.

(4) Just to let you know my level of noob here. I read the posts in this thread and really have no idea as to the answer to the original question.
If AllanDeGroot could tell me specifically what equipment and software he used that would be great! And when you did the neighbors collection, how long did it take? How? Equipment? Were you copying one at a time, etc.