Linux Mint – Ripping an audio CD

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Perhaps, you have an audio CD that you would like to import into Banshee. By default, Mint does not contain a program to convert (rip) an audio CD into MP3 files. Despite this, we are going to discuss ripping CDs in this chapter, because it’s a very common task that many music fans will find themselves wanting to do.

Note

Although the recording industry may not be fond of the practice, it’s very common for music fans to rip CDs into MP3 files with an MP3 player or car stereo. Of course, you should only rip CDs that you own, and it’s illegal to share them with those who haven’t paid for the content. However, for your own purposes, ripping CDs falls into fair use.

To facilitate ripping an audio CD, you’ll need to install an extra package from Mint’s repositories. There are several programs available that facilitate this type of task. To make your search easier, one program that’s recommended for this purpose is Asunder. To install Asunder, two packages are needed. Both packages can be installed in a single apt-get command as shown in the following command line:


sudo apt-get install asunder lame

You can search for them in Synaptic or Software Manager. In the preceding command, we installed two packages with a single apt-get install command. The asunder package contains the actual Asunder program itself, and the lame package provides Asunder with the ability to encode MP3 files. Once Asunder is installed, you’ll find it in the Applications menu. To get started with ripping an audio CD, insert an audio CD into your computer and launch Asunder.

Note

Although it is preferable to rip CDs into OGG files rather than MP3s (since OGG files use an open source codec that is completely legal), ripping CDs into MP3s is explained instead, because many devices that play music do not support OGG files today. Although MP3s use a codec that is not free, they are the assumed file type in virtually all physical music players and car stereos. If you do not need to listen to MP3s on a proprietary device, you may consider the OGG format instead.

Once Asunder opens, you’ll see the main window. However, before ripping your CD, it’s best to set up the program for the best quality audio. You only need to do this once, as the next time you open Asunder, it will remember your settings. The following screenshot shows the main window of Asunder:

To set up the best quality for creating MP3 files, click on the Preferences tab at the top of the Asunder window. Once the Preferences menu opens, click on the Encode tab. The following screenshot shows the Preferences menu of Asunder, where the Encode settings are located:

The following settings are ideal for the highest quality MP3 files that Asunder is able to provide:

  • WAV (uncompressed): Disabled
  • MP3 (lossy compression): Enabled
  • Variable bit rate (VBR): Disabled
  • Bitrate: Slide all the way to the right ( 320Kbps)
  • OGG Vorbis (lossy compression): Disabled
  • FLAC (lossless compression): Disabled

Once you have configured your settings, you’re ready to go. Click on OK and then on Rip. The process will take around 5 to 10 minutes, depending on your computer and the length of the CD. By default, music files are stored in the root of your /home directory, so when done, be sure to move the files into your Music directory so that music players such as Banshee can find them.

Note

Most of the time, Asunder will find the album information and automatically fill in the track names and album information. However, with rarer albums, you may have to input this data yourself.

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