Ripping is the process of copying audio data from an audio CD
and compressing it into small, but high quality files. There are
several competing audio formats right now and I will mention
The most popular format and the first to use ultra high compression
and quality making music files practical. It is patented and music
distributors don't like it because it contains no controls to restrict
your ability to play to trade files. Of course, these are things that
helped make MP3 popular in the first place. An MP3-Pro format
is also available with better quality and compression, but I have
not tried it.
Ogg-Vorbis is a patent free open source audio format with
similar quality and compression to MP3. The codecs are well
supported in Linux and Windows media players. Since the
final release of the Ogg-Vorbis 1.0 spec, I prefer Ogg, but have
been reluctant to make it my default audio format until the are
some portable music players that support it.
The Microsoft Windows Media format. It is a high quality format
that has even better compression than MP3 or OGG. However,
it is closed source, patented, has copy controls, and is poorly
supported, if at all, on Linux.
Ripping music from a CD is normally a two-step process.
Copy the raw data (as a .wav) from the CD to disk.
Encode the .wav into either an .mp3 or .ogg.
It can all be done easily in one step, but I want to review how
to do it manually first.
Copying data from a CD to .wav format is done with the
cdparanoia program. In addition to simple reading, cdparanoia
adds extra robust data verification, synchronization, error handling
and scratch reconstruction capability.
It defaults to using the /dev/cdrom link unless you tell it to look for
other CD-ROM devices.
This rips tracks 1-4 from a CD into separate .wav files
in the current directory:
You can do some wild things with cdparanoia like ripping only
part of a track. See the man/info pages.
Once tracks have been copied, you need to encode them using
either the OGG encode (oggenc) or MP3 encoder (lame). The
oggenc program is included in most distros. The lame MP3 encoder
can't be included with most distros since it is patented.
You can however, download the latest source code from http://www.sulaco.org/mp3 ,you then have to compile the source to get the lame executable.
To encode to an OGG file at 128 kb/s (produces input.ogg):
oggenc -b 128 input.wav
To encode to an MP3 file at 128 kb/s (high psycho-acoustics):
lame -h input.wav input.mp3
Don't forget to delete the .wav files if you don't need them anymore.
The very best ripper I've tried so far is a GTK program called grip.
Grip combines a CD player, CDDB reader, ripper and encoder in
one nice interface.
Grip calls and/or embeds several programs, including gcd and
cdparanoia, oggenc, and lame.
There are few things to set up before you start using grip.
First, if you want to rip as a regular user and not be limited
to ripping as root, you need to loosen the permissions on a
few files used by by grip.
In you are using a SCSI CD-ROM (even one emulated through
ide-scsi), you need to add permissions to the generic SCSI device:
chmod a+rw /dev/sg0
If you are ripping from an IDE CD-ROM, this is not required.
Second, make these programs SUID:
chmod u+s /usr/X11R6/bin/gcd
chmod u+s /usr/X11R6/bin/grip
You are now ready to launch grip and set a few GUI options.
The GUI design may be a little confusing with nested tabs
with the same or similar names, but let's move on.
Go to the Config tab, then Rip tab, then Ripper tab.
Here you can select the ripper you want, either the
embedded cdparanoia, and external cdparanoia, cdda2wav,
or other. I use the embedded cdparanoia.
Next, go to the Config tab, Rip tab, MP3 tab to
select the encoder you want to use. I use either
lame or oggenc depending on whether I want MP3s
or OGGs. Also, fill in the path to your encoder.
Then, on the options tab, you can select your
desired bit rate and check the option to delete the
.wav files after encoding.
There are many more options to explore, but this is all you
need to get started.
Finally, to actually rip a CD, load a CD, start grip and it
should within a few seconds grab the CDDB information about
the tracks on the CD.
If you want to preview any tracks before deciding to rip them,
you can listen to the CD from grip.
Next, select the tracks you want to rip by right clicking next to
the tracks (a check mark will appear).
Next, go to the Rip tab and click Rip+Encode.
Watch the progress with the status bars at the bottom. Since
grip is multitasking, it can rip one tune while encoding another.
Grip stores your tunes by default under
Of course, you can change where it stores ripped files.