How to Rip Your CDs (Windows)

When was the last time you bought an audio CD? I can’t remember for sure, but it must be 4-5 years ago. No matter how easy downloading music is right now, I still love my CD collection. I don’t buy CDs as often as I used to, but I still think that buying them feels better than downloading music.
I recently ripped some of my CDs so I could back them up and listen to them (which is what I’m doing when writing this). This is how you do it.

The absolute easiest way to rip an audio CD is through Windows Media Player. Windows Media Player would automatically detect your CD and fetch its tag information.

By default, Windows Media Player would rip CDs in WMA format; you can rip CDs into WMA, MP3, and WAV files. The resulting audio files would be put in one folder while still retaining their tags and cover art (there would be a hidden image file called folder.jpg in the destination folder).

Besides Windows Media player, you can use the open-source Free:ac. To start, select File>Add>Audio CD Contents.

Like Windows Media Player, it would automatically search for the CD’s tag information from FreeDB’s database. You can also search the information manually. Unfortunately, FreeDB’s tag information doesn’t include cover art, so you’ll have to search and apply it yourself.

You can rip CDs into several lossless and lossy formats (Bonk, MP3, FLAC, AAC, WMA, WAV, Ogg), create playlist and cue files, rip CD into single audio file, and convert audio files.

Conclusion

If you want to rip your CDs, simple as that, use Windows Media Player. If you care about music quality and prefer to rip to lossless formats, use Free:ac.

If the resulting audio files have wrong or no tags, you can fix it using Mp3tag. You can assign tags (manually, from filename, or from third parties like FreeDB, MusicBrainz, Amazon, and Discogs), set cover art, and rename files using tag information.

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