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Rip CDs to MP3s                           BY  GURU  DAVE SMITH


Get the software for converting or ripping audio CD tracks to the MP3 file format. Start by downloading and installing the best ripper/player/burner on the market. Its called MusicMatch Jukebox, and it's Free. After doing this, decide these three things:


1.What track naming convention will be used?

The program will let you select up to seven different fields to be included with every CD you encode. Selecting only Artist, Album, Track Number, and Track Title should give you enough information to get your collection going. If you have the time later, you can add additional tags such as Tempo, Lyrics, Mood, and Cover Art to individual tracks or entire albums.

To modify the order of these fields, hit Options, Settings, and then select the Music Library tab.


2.What bit rate will they be encoded in?

For near-CD quality, the bit rate needs only to be set at 96 Kbps. However, for CD quality, encode all CDs at 128 Kbps or 160 Kbps. Expect more hard drive space to be filled by each song as the Kbps number increases.


To change the bit rate settings, single-click Options, mouse-over Recorder, and then select Settings. Choose the bit rate that's appropriate for you. If you have the hard drive space, leave it at 128 Kbps.


3.Where will the songs be placed after being ripped?

The default directory that MusicMatch uses to place ripped MP3s is  MyDocuments\MyMusic\. This is important to remember because you need to know where your songs will be if you want to access them later on.


To modify where MP3s are placed after they're ripped, single-click Options, mouse-over Recorder, and then select Settings. Select the Songs Directory button, and point it to the folder where you'd like them to be placed.


Check your CD-ROM drive to see if it's capable of digital-audio extraction

(MusicMatch does this for you). If it's a drive you got in the last year or so, chances are it is. If your CD drive doesn't handle digital audio extraction, you can still rip songs using it, but the process will take as long as it takes to play the songs.


Insert a CD into your CD-ROM after opening MusicMatch. If you're not connected to the Internet, do so. The program will automatically recognize that an audio CD is inserted and initiate the Recorder to begin searching the online CD database. If it finds a match for your CD, all the artist and album information will be filled for you. You may need to type this in if it doesn't return a match.


When you've completed inputting artist/album name and all the track titles, hit the REC button on the recorder. Depending on the speed of your PC, you should have the CD fully ripped in less than 10 minutes.