CD/MP3 Question

When I copy my music off of my CD’s, I usually use Windows Media Player
(Don’t know if that’s a bad thing). When they are ripped, they are done so in WMA format, at least that’s what I understand. From there I usually convert them to MP3 format using WMA Workshop. I would like to convert the tracks directly to MP3 format, but I don’t know what software is the easiest to do this with. Also, what is the format of the audio tracks right off of the CD? How would I be able to make a REGULAR CD that can be played in a non-MP3 playing CD player from the ripped MP3 files? I’m really confused on the conversion between the various audio file formats, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

There are many CD - Rippers. Most need an additional MP3 encoder. I recommend EAC (Exact audio copy) with the Lame Codec. (Use google…). CDex is another one.

I think that EAC, together with Lame, is the best ripper/encoder for the Windows platform. It’s not the easiest on the planet (though still manageable for the average user) but it does a very good job. Once you know how to handle it, you’ll love it. Just one thing: making quality rips does cost some time. It depends on your system, but it’s quite normal to take an hour for a good rip.

Download links:

The format of the audio tracks on the CD? There’s no real format actually… it’s just 16bit 44.1 KHz stereo audio.

Copying a set of MP3 files to an audio disc can be done with most burning software. About all burning software supports MP3 files as input for an audio compilation. When burning, the MP3 files are decoded to WAV files (with the same specs as a CDDA track) and put on the disc as audio. If you don’t have any software that can do this and you don’t want to spend any money, I advice to give CDBurnerXP a try. It’s free and great!

A while back I looked around the net for a solution to the CD to MP3 scenario and I found the program: Audiocrusher

Now not only was this program free, it also allows you to use the Lame, or Ogg vorbis encoders to encode your music to (Obviously Ogg isn’t supported too well under Media player though :wink:

I used to use, cdparanoia and lame on my Linux/FreeBSD box to encode CD’s and it provided fantastic quality in very little time… so I was pleased to see that now Audiocrusher ( now has support for Cdparanoia’s cd-ripping (which is rather good, and corrects most errors short of a huge scratch)

It’s easy to use, and just requires a little bit of technical knowledge to download the Lame Encoder - and it’s fairly customisable.

Hmm, I’ll have to try EAC though.

It worked for me at the time, and it’s nice, and the people who created it are fairly good at responding to bugs/suggestions etc … give it a try, it can’t hurt.


As said, there are no files on an audio CD (though windows tries to tell you otherwise - it’s just showing you an index that it makes up), the data is simply stored in it’s raw digital format with a few extra things for lead-in time etc.

You don’t have to use MP3’s if you just want to copy music disc to disc and in fact most decent rippers out there can rip the whole disc in one go and make a copy of it. I would recommend this if you want an exact copy, rather than go the mp3 way, however the mp3 way is good if you want to back up lots of music and then write it for use in lower quality systems (e.g. some car stereo’s, some home audio systems, walkmans etc)

Ripping a whole CD to raw format should take less time than encoding to mp3, but will use up approximately 600-700mb of hard disk space per CD but it’s all dependant on how many errors there are on the CD, and your hardware.

Again, just use Audiograbber/EAC and they’ll do the job for you - the extra stage of converting to mp3’s can be use - but please note that mp3’s are lossy and you are sacrificing some quality regardless of the bitrate (quality setting) you use.

If you would still like to rip with Windows Media Player (which I do), you can just get the MP3 plugin for it, several companies provide it for around $10, just browse the Media Player section of Microsoft’s site and they should have links to the companies providing it.

All the plugin does it let you rip at whatever bitrate you would like, if I remember Media Player locks the rip of an mp3 at 64kbps. Anyway, it should do for you…


The quality of this plugin will never be as good as the quality from LAME… simply because LAME is the best MP3 encoder around (according to many and many tests).

If you want audio compression, but no quality loss, you might want to consider FLAC. It’s free, it’s good! The only minor thing to this codec is the support for it: don’t expect broad support for it in standalone devices. And of course… the compression of these lossless codecs is way lower than those of lossy codecs like MP3 and OGG.